Love Magic and Intent: a Wedding

On June 2, I got married. Our wedding was everything I could have hoped for. I got to hold a goddess! and we showed our true, authentic selves to the people we most care about. They understood us and shared themselves with us. I truly choose to live in the best of all possible worlds.

I’d like to talk about how this came about, because that’s not where we started. I thought I was going to have to make huge compromises, so much so that I thought I’d have to do real work to appreciate the wedding I had rather than longing for the one I could not achieve. Instead, I got better at creating love magic.

I imagined my ideal wedding around the ritual fire, celebrated with the drums of our tribe in a space where love and spirituality are free. Rena is still learning to be comfortable around the fire. Also, many of the people we most want to celebrate with could not get to such a ritual space and would not be comfortable there anyway. So, no matter how much I wanted that wedding around the fire, we needed to do something else.

Rena wanted a waterfront wedding but not one in a hotel function room. When we toured the MIT Sailing Pavilion, we fell in love. The energy of the space was wonderful: people have fun there and enjoy the water. It is a space people use, not just a tourist space.

Even if I couldn’t have the fire, I wanted our wedding to be an event of our tribe. We wanted to hire an outside caterer, but as much as possible, we wanted to build a celebration together with our community. As part of that, Rena planned to bake our cake with the help of some of her friends. We reached out to a priest and priestess we knew to help us put together our ritual. So our wedding began to take shape as something that we would build together.

Even if there wasn’t a fire, I wanted there to be dancing. I thought back to my fortieth birthday party and the power of music in creating magic. A simple playlist was sufficient to set the mood for a party, but I would need more for dancing. Songs needed trimming and transitions were important. I needed a real mix. We considered hiring a DJ. I thought communicating clearly what I wanted to accomplish might be almost as hard as learning how to do it myself. So I started to learn how to mix tracks. I approach some friends and rather than telling me I was crazy, they helped me out, giving me advice on how to mix and encouraged me. As I realized I needed to write my own software, one coworker listened to my endless questions and frustrations and provided help.

Sharing the Fire

As my skills matured, a plan developed. Dance played two important roles in my spiritual journey. Around the ritual fire, dance is a meditation allowing me to be in the moment and reach out to gods. Similarly, through #TranceFamily, in the club and my own living room, music and dance allow me to be in the moment and reach out to a family of dancers who want to find peace, love and unity.

I was not going to have my wedding around the fire, but I could at least try to share the importance of that kind of dance with the set I was producing. I could help friends who had never been around a fire get a feel for what that is like. I could also try to show my pagan friends what I get out of Trance music. Before I knew it my set had turned into a ritual: there was a clear invocation, intent and opening. The set intertwined my goal of comparing two forms of dance with celebrating core aspects of Rena and my relationship.

The Love Snowballs

Jumping at the opportunity the sailing pavilion provided as a venue and finding a way to bring the magic of dance into the space were both instances of seeing opportunities and embracing them as fully as we were able. Again and again as we did that, the wedding grew as a vehicle for us sharing our desire to find love and create happiness. As we shared these successes with our friends, they added their own magic. As I already mentioned, friends were supportive in my desire to learn how to mix music and write my own software to do so.

I told {USERLINK(user="morningstar")}Dove{USERLINK} about the dance ritual I was constructing. I played part of the mix. She had not realize that electronic dance could hold a theme. She saw the parallels I was trying to draw; I was excited that someone else was able to follow what I was doing. We talked about how we might represent the fire and have something to dance around to give the feel for motion in a circle. Weeks later I would be amazed by her plan.

Meanwhile, Rena and I were considering wedding vows. I happened to be looking at Wikipedia. I noticed an old alternate form of the Anglican vows. The groom promises to love, cherish, and worship the bride. The bride promises to love, cherish, and obey the groom. That sounded a lot like our journey of surrender and the divine. Through surrender we open to ourselves but also open to the divine worthy of worship in each of us. The vow is not entirely accurate to our situation: She surrenders to me, and through accepting her gift and reflecting the goddess I see back to her, I offer worship. However she offers her own form of worship through her surrender and in how she reflects myself back to me. Still, there is worship and obedience in what we do. Using that vow was an opportunity for us to bring our quest to grow closer to the divine into our wedding. That quest has become big enough that leaving it out felt like we would be leaving out an important part of who we are. In today's world, a vow of worship and obedience is bold enough to be noticed. However it is traditional enough that our guests would understand and accept in a way that they could not accept me collaring my Rena at the wedding.

So, as we sat with our priest and priestess, we discussed ‘worship and obey’. The priestess asked Rena if she wants this. She smiled and nods. I think this was part of giving our priest and priestess permission to really throw their spirit into the ritual. In his message giving me the first draft, the priest said, “Wow it gets real when you see it like this.”

It all Comes Together

June 2 came. I stood in the circle taking three breaths. Over the past month, many of our friends had added their own magic. The previous day, our apartment was filled with the joy of baking and camaraderie as the cake was assembled. Rena and I each had a team of friends to support us as we prepared ourselves and the event. Dove, my parents and a number of friends set up the space. Others went above and beyond what we had asked to take pictures. All these people intermingled their love with our celebration, connecting through love and happiness.

Finally, it all came together. I called to Rena as herself, as her goddess, and as the Beloved. As the words of the invocation left my lips, I realized we hadn’t planned what I should do while we waited for Rena to enter the circle on her father’s arm. Then it came to me: if I opened my arms just so, beckoning, a goddess would step into them. And there she was! The woman I would spend my life with stepped into my arms glowing with a palpable love. In that moment, she was far more than just a woman: our rite had been joined by the divine.

Achieving that invocation was yet another case where our desire to shine built off our tribe’s magic. The original ritual didn’t have space for Rena’s father to walk her in. She needed that. We asked how to accomplish this and our priestess suggested that we could work it into the invocation. This gave us the opening and support we needed to truly be open and to build an invocation that captured far more of our deep mysteries than either of us thought we would be able to bring into the wedding.

Talking to people that night, it was clear we had accomplished our goals of sharing our love and spirituality in a way people could understand. A coworker came up and talked to me about how he really connected with the ring blessing. I don’t think he had ever been at a pagan ritual like this before. My parents were able to connect with the ritual. As I learned later, a friend had spent time with them helping them understand what to expect in ways that I could not.

I even got to share my fire. The dancing accomplished everything I hoped it might. As the sounds of Great Spirit filled the dance floor, Dove brought out her skulpture of the Eternal Flame complete with light, heat and sound. Now I have a fire to dance around wherever I am. And as I had hoped, I got to share the energy and joy of the ritual fire with our guests. Even my parents danced around the fire. So much love and magic and desire to connect from many people made that moment possible.

Rena and I both value bringing happiness and love into the world. As she has described pictures of the wedding, it’s clear we did that. Together, we created a space where we and those close to us could find something special.

Our parents urged us to commit to finding happiness in life—to doing the work to find the same happiness they have found. That is an easy promise to make.

Not Without Fear

We achieved something special because we were open to the opportunities available to us. We shared our vision with our tribe and asked for their help and we met them with joy and gratitude when they were able to join us.

However, as with any love work, there is risk. Dove ended up taking on the role of event coordinator. I had been reluctant to ask her. I couldn’t imagine someone I would rather have help out. However, Dove has helped me so much over the years, I felt that I had turned to her too much. I wanted to find someone else. I don’t think we could have achieved this type of event if we hired an event coordinator. Too much of the magic came from the personal connections. There was a time when I was really worried about whether I’d be able to achieve our dream. I knew I couldn’t do it on my own. Until it was clear that Dove would be able and willing to help, Rena and I were not seeing any options.

Things could have turned out much differently. Reaching big sometimes leads to big falls. Life and Love are worth the risk though.