I stole this picture from another blogger today but it's cool because hes a Mason too, so special thanks to the Widows Son. I have loved this picture ever since the first time I watched the movie Dogma. I am far from being a cynic but that's why I love George Carlin so much, he was my sacred Clown.
Wow, where has the time gone? The last few weeks have been a blur, I passed my first midterm exam (sigh) and I must say I don't feel as though the course work prepared me for the test, but now I know what to expect for the final exam, and I may light candles next to this picture cause Bible class ain't no joke.
We conducted a Handfasting this last weekend, I say "we" because it was a Coven ritual and everyone took an active part in the ceremony, which really takes the pressure of me. They were already legally married by a justice of the peace a few years ago so there was no need for marriage consultation or counseling and we were able to focus of the speculative aspects of marriage and had a really nice wedding.
That's my favorite part of everything, the ceremony, the ritual and the beauty of a graceful act of magic. The Zen of Wicca. Those rare moments when a large group is gathered, creating and sharing a moment of group consciousness. A Divine Union. It makes it all worth while, and I was happy and honored to have been asked, and have the highest hopes for the re-newed bride and groom.
Every time I mention doing "marriage counseling" it seems to spark conversation and conflict, so let just jump straight into that fire while we're here...
No, I do not have any degrees or credentials in counseling. Although I am in the process of obtaining them.
No, I am not a certified or licensed therapist. But again, that's not what I am doing, or talking about here. Yet, what I am doing can only be described as counseling, "Pastoral Counseling", it seems that religion is the back door into everything. Please allow me to explain...
"With great power comes great responsibility..." Stan Lee
My wife is currently working an internship as a Paralegal at a Family Law Facilitator, this is the place you go get a "Do it yourself divorce". They show you which papers you fill out and point you in the right direction. They also cover child custody and its the place we went to when I adopted my Daughter. The saying there is if you had to go through the same amount of trouble to get married as you do to get divorced, well there would be less of both.
Anyone who has experienced divorce knows how incredibly ridiculous it is. Enough Said there. So I have known many people who have become "Legal Pagan Clergy" and perform marriages for various reasons.
#1. Money, like a drug dealer they rationalize with the mantra "if they don't get it from me, there just going to get it from someone else" "I am providing a legal service, like a lawyer" The truth is often subjective, but there is a difference between what is right, what is wrong and what is legal. And that's what's wrong with our country today.
#2. Ego Gratification, most of these types do it for free because its another notch in their belt. "I am a Pagan Priest and I have married sixteen couples..." But they didn't know them before hand and haven't seen hide nor hair of them afterward and have not taken any opportunity to review or critique the influence they have had in the lives of their customers.
Myself, I have been married twice, and both times I have fully embraced the "Sanctity of Marriage". It is with this same conviction and virtue that I consider uniting lovers. I have had several young couples request a Handfasting in the past, during the first conversation I ask about their Wiccan faith, how their Mom, Dad or other relevant family feel about the marriage and the nature of their Wiccan Faith and most often the family does not know about either one...
So when two very young people (18-20 something), who don't live together but still live with their parents, Who have little or no prospects for independent living, but are madly in true love and will never never ever ever part, come asking you to marry them, what do you do?
I take responsibility for my actions, and I must look myself in the mirror every morning. It's kind of important to me. So in cases like this I DO counseling. In a Rites of Passage class I took at Cherry Hill Seminary, we covered this topic and there was a list of interview questions you should ask the bride and groom, separately. They were questions that these young couples have never asked themselves because they were way too busy being madly in love.
But when you ask them separately and their answers to these small questions about children, disabilities, death and other worst case scenarios, and all there answers conflict, well it seem to me they've got a lot more to talk about, don't they? I already know what some of you are thinking, I've heard it all before and Yes, it is my business. It is within my power, therefor it is within my responsibility, isn't it?
Sometimes "No" is the best service we can provide. Don't you think? Let me know...