Well Cherokee Lodge members Wodige Digatoli and I have an announcement. We will be having our Cherokee Wedding October25,2014 at 11am. Tims point in Big Lake about a mile outside of Manila Arkansas. Everyone is invited Wado. So I wanted to post the ceremony for everyone.
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 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 the earth
("Wedding Braids" by Stan Davis)
A priest escorts the groom to one end of the open space in the council house (north or south)
A priest escorts the bride to the opposite end of the space.
The couple meet at the center, near the sacred fire ( the sacred fire is the gift of light, knowledge, heat ... the bedrock of civilization)
The priest stands, facing the east, toward the door of the council house ( groom on one side, bride on the other)
The groom’s mother stands beside the groom. (children belong to the mother, and her family) She holds the gifts of venison and a blanket (food and a warm bed for his wife - symbols of his ability to support her)
The brides mother stands beside the bride. She holds the gifts of corn and a tanned skin (food and clothing for her warrior/husband to be)
The brides brother stands behind his mother. The brother accepts responsibility for his sister and her children (he will be the godfather if the husband is killed)
The bride and groom wear blue blankets over their shoulders (traditional symbol of their Old Ways - single life)
The priest says a prayer blessing the sacred fire and the marriage union. (thanks to God for his blessings)
The priest asks the Great Spirit for a long and happy life for the couple.
The bride gives the groom a red and black (cloth) belt that she has made.
The groom accepts and puts on the belt. (accepts the union) (replaces the wedding ring in modern society)
The mothers give their gifts to their children. The bride and groom exchange these gifts. (marriage is acceptable by the mothers)
The bride and groom join their blankets, symbolizing mutual support ( both under the double blue blankets)
The bride and groom share a corn drink from a double sided vessel. (Share the fruits of their labors - crushed dried corn and water)
They drink East, West, North, South (declaring their marriage to all the earth)
The priest drinks Up toward the Heavens, Down to Mother Earth, and toward the couple (Only the priest can ‘address’ the spirits of Heaven and Earth to bless the union. After the spirits of heaven and earth have been asked to bless the union, the priest directs the spirits attention to the bride and groom. They are the ‘center’ of the union, and must constantly reflect on their inner thoughts to make the marriage work. )
The vessel is thrown down and broken, to seal the wedding vows.
The broken fragments are buried (returned to mother earth)
The blue blankets are shed and a white blanket is wrapped over the shoulders of the couple, symbolizing the union. (symbol of happiness)
Once the knot has been tied in the white blanket the couple then will do the rite of the seven steps it is as follows.
The Rite of Seven Steps and the Native American wedding vows that might be stated during the ceremony.
Both bride and groom take seven steps sunwise (clockwise) around the sacred fire. For each step taken, a vow is said by each. The groom makes one step forward and says a vow, and then the bride takes a step to join him and says her vow until one round around the fire is completed. Family and friends join hands in a circle around the fire.
A variation of the Rite of Seven Steps ceremony has the couple exchanging gifts after each step to signify each vow given. Example: kernels of corn represent fertility and growth, a feather stands for truth and loyalty, a stone stands for strength, solidarity and wisdom. The vows shown below are only an example of words that may be recited, however, you should consider writing your own vows.
GROOM STEP 1: Oâ 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: Oâ 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: Oâ 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: Oâ 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: Oâ 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: Oâ 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.
The priest or elder will close with a Cherokee prayer
God in heaven 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.
A wedding feast is held (traditionally by the whole village, but not practical today)
The couple walk silently and alone to their dwelling place, among the bride’s family
(the groom goes to live with the wife’s clan and the house belongs to her. The children also will belong to the wife's clan, having her brothers more responsibility and control over them than the father).