Inspired by a previous post about my interest in totem animals a friend lent me an intriguing book called Tafassasset – Regentier und Zauberbilder. Felsbilder der Sahara und Spurensuche nach dem afrikanischen Geist. (Which would probably translate as follows: Tafassasset – Rain animal and magical images. Saharan rock paintings and the search for traces of the African Spirit – by Edgar Sommer.
The book is beautifully written and contains some interesting ideas and concepts helping me to understand more aspects about the potential inherent power of the image and art making.
Loosely explained, the author implies that the ancient rainmaker or shaman would connect with the spirit of the rain through a ritual. The spirit first manifests through language and song and then materialises through dancing. Finally the painting of this process against a cave wall conserves and binds the ritual, and by that also the spirit, in time and space.
I love learning about different traditions, rituals and beliefs and then picking and combining the best parts or those that make sense to me in my own life. I improvise a lot – either out of necessity or out of curiosity. And also because I have never been comfortable with blindly following what others do… it has to fit and make sense for me.
So, today I wanted to share with you a wedding ritual, which I have made-up created for our wedding. I wanted to honour the role played by family and friends in a marriage and celebrate the joining of the two separate families and set of friends who have now been brought together (and met each other for the first time) through our union. I could not find any meaningful ritual that I resonated with, so I made up my own.
I mused over the ‘spirit’ I wanted this ritual to connect with and represent: love, an eternal bond and the interconnectedness of the people close to us…
Bond – binding together – different lives touching,
sharing and creating something new.
We are all like threads in a beautiful cloth…
I liked the idea of weaving and of threads representing each person.
We asked every wedding guest to bring along a ribbon. I created the symbol of eternity, an 8 on its side, from wire. I found a cord made out of three strands, representing my husband, myself and our union.
On the final day of our three-day wedding celebrations, we all joined on the beach at sunset, for everyone to weave their ribbon together with ours around the eternity symbol.
I had no idea how it will work out, but I guess that was part of the ritual too. I trusted that together we would find a way to make it work. It anyway needed joined forces to make it possible.
Yes, it was confusing and difficult to figure out, there were some struggles, some disagreements and lots of willingness to find a way to make it work. Advice was given and also rejected. Help was offered and accepted. Some were more involved than others. And eventually we completed the task. Together. Perfect.
It turned out to really represent what life as a couple and part of an extended family is about. The intention of a loving bond for life is set, and everybody in his or her own way becomes part of it. Problems are solved together and eventually we have an intertwined, beautiful, colourful, knotted, patched, perfectly-imperfect life and relation to show for it.
Everyday I am reminded of this, when looking at the final symbol of our love and the love of our families and friends, hanging above our bed. Its spirit contained in time and space.