Reading – The Rule of Life, by Buddha – Sermon at Rajagaha

Sermon at Rajagaha, Verses 19-22

Do not deceive, do not despise each other anywhere.
Do not be angry nor bear secret resentments;
for as a mother will risk her life and watches over her child,
so boundless be your love to all, so tender, kind and mild.

Cherish good will right and left, early and late,
and without hindrance, without stint, be free of hate and envy,
while standing and walking and sitting down,
whatever you have in mind, the rule of life that is always best
is to be loving-kind.

 

 

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Reading – quote from “Scenes from The Song of Hiawatha” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

(Note, this is not a traditional Iroquois reading. This is from an epic poem written in 1855, which was inspired by the life of Chief Hiawatha, co-founder of the Iroquois Confederacy.  There is virtually no connection, apart from name, between Longfellow’s hero and the real Chief Hiawatha.   It is a work of American Romantic literature, not a representation of Native American oral tradition.  With that in mind, these are still beautiful words for a wedding, if authenticity to Native American tradition is not a consideration in your ceremony.).

 

Come join us in celebration, those who love sunshine on meadow,Who love shadow of the forest,love the wind among the branches and the palisades of pine trees,and the thunder in the mountains whose innumerable echoes flap like eagles in their eries.
Listen to this song of marriage. How, from another tribe and country came a young man, “give me as my wife this maiden, and our hands be clasped more closely, and our hearts be more united.
Thus it is, our daughters leave us, those we love and those who love us.
When a youth with flaunting feathers beckons to the fairest maiden.
From the sky the sun benignant looked upon them through the branches, Saying to them, “oh, my children life is checkered shade and sunshine.”
The two figures man and woman Standing hand in hand together, with their hands so clasped together that they seem in one united. And the words thus represented are, “I see your heart within you.” Sing them songs of love and longing
Now, let’s feast and be more joyous.

 

 

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Ceremony – Native American Rite of Seven Steps

Here are two variations on the Native American Rite of Seven Steps.  One variation is set up for one speaker at a time, in the manner of vows.  The second variation is said alternating between the bride and groom.

Rite of Seven Steps by a single speaker:

Let us take the first step to provide for our household
a nourishing and pure diet, avoiding those foods injurious to healthy living.
Let us take the second step to develop physical, mental and spiritual powers.
Let us take the third step to increase our wealth
by righteous means and proper use.
Let us take the fourth step to acquire knowledge,
happiness and harmony by mutual love and trust.
Let us take the fifth step, so that we be blessed
with strong, virtuous and heroic children.
Let us take the sixth step for self-restraint and longevity.
Finally, let us take the seventh step and be true companions
and remain lifelong partners by this wedlock.”

We have taken the Seven Steps. You have become mine forever.
Yes, we have become partners. I have become yours.
Hereafter, I cannot live without you.
Do not live without me. Let us share the joys.
We are word and meaning, united.
You are thought and I am sound. May the night be honey-sweet for us;
may the morning be honey-sweet for us;
may the earth be honey-sweet for us and the heavens
be honey-sweet for us. May the plants be honey-sweet for us;
may the sun be all honey for us;
may the cows yield us honey-sweet milk.
As the heavens are stable, as the earth is stable,
as the mountains are stable, as the whole universe is stable,
so may our unions be permanently settled.

Rite of Seven Steps with alternating speakers:

GROOM STEP 1: O’ my beloved, our love has become firm by your walking one with me. Together we will share the responsibilities of the lodge, food and children. May the Creator bless noble children to share. May they live long.

BRIDE STEP 1: This is my commitment to you, my husband. Together we will share the responsibility of the home, food and children. I promise that I shall discharge all my share of the responsibilities for the welfare of the family and the children.

GROOM STEP 2: O’ my beloved, now you have walked with me the second step. May the Creator bless you. I will love you and you alone as my wife. I will fill your heart with strength and courage: this is my commitment and my pledge to you. May God protect the lodge and children.

BRIDE STEP 2: My husband, at all times I shall fill your heart with courage and strength. In your happiness I shall rejoice. May God bless you and our honorable lodge.

GROOM STEP 3: O my beloved, now since you have walked three steps with me, our wealth and prosperity will grow. May God bless us. May we educate our children and may they live long.

BRIDE STEP 3: My husband, I love you with single-minded devotion as my husband. I will treat all other men as my brothers. My devotion to you is pure and you are my joy. This is my commitment and pledge to you.

GROOM STEP 4: O’ my beloved, it is a great blessing that you have now walked four steps with me. May the Creator bless you. You have brought favor and sacredness in my life.

BRIDE STEP 4: O my husband, in all acts of righteousness, in material prosperity, in every form of enjoyment, and in those divine acts such as fire sacrifice, worship and charity, I promise you that I shall participate and I will always be with you.

GROOM STEP 5: O’ my beloved, now you have walked five steps with me. May the Creator make us prosperous. May the Creator bless us.

BRIDE STEP 5: O my husband, I will share both in your joys and sorrows. Your love will make me very happy.

GROOM STEP 6: O’ my beloved, by walking six steps with me, you have filled my heart with happiness. May I fill your heart with great joy and peace, time and time again. May the Creator bless you.

BRIDE STEP 6: My husband, the Creator blesses you. May I fill your heart with great joy and peace. I promise that I will always be with you.

GROOM STEP 7: O’ my beloved goddess, as you have walked the seven steps with me, our love and friendship have become inseparable and firm. We have experienced spiritual union in God. Now you have become completely mine. I offer my total self to you. May our marriage last forever.

BRIDE STEP 7: My husband, by the law of the Creator, and the spirits of our honorable ancestors, I have become your wife. Whatever promises I gave you I have spoken them with a pure heart. All the spirits are witnesses to this fact. I shall never deceive you, nor will I let you down. I shall love you forever.

 

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Reading – Cherokee Prayer

Great Spirit above please protect the ones we love.
We honor all you created as we pledge
our hearts and lives together.
We honor Mother Earth – and ask for our marriage to
be abundant and grow stronger through the seasons;
We honor fire – and ask that our union
be warm and glowing with love in our hearts;
We honor wind – and ask we sail though life
safe and calm as in our father’s arms;
We honor water – to clean and soothe our relationship –
that it may never thirsts for love;
With all the forces of the universe you created,
we pray for harmony and true happiness as
we forever grow young together.

 

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Reading – Commitment Reading of the Pueblo Tribes

Before we met, you and I were halves unjoined except in the wide
rivers of our minds. We were each other’s distant shore, the
opposite wings of a bird, the other half of a seashell. We did not
know the other then, did not know our determination to keep alive
the cry of one riverbank to the other. We were apart, yet connected
in our ignorance of each other, like two apples sharing a common
tree. Remember?

I knew you existed long before you understood my desire to join my
freedom to yours. Our paths collided long enough for our indecision
to be swallowed up by the greater need of love. When you came to me,
the sun surged towards the earth and moon escaped from darkness to
bless the union of two spirits, so alike that the creator had designed them
for life’s endless circle. Beloved partner, keeper of my heart’s odd secrets,
clothed in summer blossoms so the icy hand of winter never touches us.
I thank your patience. Our joining is like a tree to earth,
a cloud to sky and even more. We are the reason the world can laugh
on its battlefields and rise from the ashes of its selfishness to hear me say,
in this time, this place, this way – I loved you best of all.

 

A Pueblo ceremony may also include using a traditional wedding vase.  You may enjoy this example video.

 

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Reading – Wedding Prayer – Great Plains Tribes

0 Morning Star!
When you look down upon us, give us peace and refreshing sleep.
Great Spirit!
Bless our children, friends, and visitors through a happy life.
May our trails lie straight and level before us.
Let us live to be old.
We are all your children and ask these things with good hearts.

 

 

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Ceremony – Blessing to the Four Directions – Native American Tribe Unknown

Today we call in all the powers of the 4 directions, and ask them to bless and watch over you.

May the powers of the East illuminate your path and bless you and your home with Grandfather Sun’s first light. May it be your inspiration for keeping life fresh and new.

Let the powers of the South protect the child within each of you. Always honor and trust with joy. Let laughter be your giveaway.

May the powers of the West walk with you giving you the strength to release that which no longer serves you, and the vision needed to meet all of your new goals.

The North blesses you with the wisdom of when to speak and when to listen and reminds you to be grateful for every blessing everyday, and to keep forgiveness in you heart. May your words always be sweet upon your lips.

Above the Great Star Nation reminds you; you came from the stars and to the stars you will return. We give our blessing to guard and guide you through your dreams.

The powers below bless you by keeping you grounded and on your path and reminding you to always walk softly on Mother Earth, as she is your heart beat and sustenance.

The powers within honor your hearts joy and help you be faithful to your personal growth.

Pipe to right: May you always accept our protection by walking in courage.
Pipe to left: May you receive abundance as well as nurture yourselves and others.
To Sky: May the Great Spirit watch over you as long as the grass grows, and the waters flow.

 

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Reading – “Apache Indian Wedding Blessing” from Broken Arrow

(Note: This was written for the 1950s Western movie Broken Arrow. There is no known connection to the traditions of the Apache or any other Native American nation.)

Now you will feel no rain
For each of you will be shelter for the other.
Now you will feel no cold,
For each of you will be warmth for the other.
Now there is no more loneliness.
Now you are two persons, but there is only one life before you.
Go now to your dwelling, to enter into the days of your life together.
And may your days be good and long upon this earth.

 

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Reading – “To Be One With Each Other” by George Eliot

What greater thing is there for two human souls
than to feel that they are joined together
to strengthen each other in all labor,
to minister to each other in all sorrow,
to share with each other in all gladness,
to be one with each other in the silent unspoken memories?

 

 

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