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The Fragrant Muse?

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Wedding of ShiningWoman and StandingBear



On October 6, 2001, James StandingBear and I were married in a Lakota ceremony in Woolaroc, Oklahoma.

We rose to a day bright with sunshine which, after a week of rain, we considered symbolic.  The ceremony was held during a weekend where friends gather, sleep in tipis and celebrate life in the style of a pre-1840 mountain man rendezvous, right down to period dress.

James made my dress, his leggings and peace shirt.  He also made leggings and shirts for my sons Davide and Gianluca.

 

Our ceremony was quite beautiful, full of Lakota style rituals.

In the morning we stayed apart, me in my tipi, he in his.  At one point my "mother" (a girlfriend who was representative of this role) and I walked to his tipi where I gifted him with a pair of moccasins I'd made for him.  They were white doeskin trimmed with red beads. I added a bearclaw on the top of each one, representative of his name, StandingBear.   This act  is symbolic to indicate to the man that I can make clothing out of the hides that he will provide. 



When I left, he slipped on the moccasins which is an important gesture indicating his desire to have me for his woman.  He walked around camp for about an hour talking with the other men while I stayed in my tipi with the women.   I knew that if he wore the moccasins it meant he would soon be at my door asking for my hand in marriage.     At one point, he donned an enormous buffalo hide around his shoulders and approached my tipi.  When I came out he wordlessley opened one arm while holding out the hide.  This was an invitation for me to step into the buffalo robe and stand next to him (i.e. share my life with him).  When I did this, he wrapped his arms around me with the buffalo hide enveloping both of us.  This was symbolic of his providing hides for warmth and meat for food and his promise to shelter me.   Although it may sound sexist, in reality it's not - it's quite romantic really.  (Besides, the woman is the keeper of the lodge and when she is done with him she can put his stuff outside and he has to find a new home).

Next we walked around camp with the buffalo robe around us and my sons walking with us.  We were followed by quite a procession: Red Shirt the Lakota Shaman, SongDog the Keeper of the Pipe,  John Tiger a Crow who is also a Methodist minister (who would make it legal) and 150 friends.  No one spoke, they just followed us to the meadow where the marriage ceremony took place.

The ceremony was exquisite.  We had one nervous moment when James realized he had left the paper with his vows back in the tipi.  Since he had to go first, he just spoke from his heart.  When it was my turn I left my vows in my neckpouch and decided that if he had to wing it then so would I, so I just talked about what I felt about him and our life together.  After the Lakota portion of the ceremony was done, John Tiger took over adding the traditional portion of the wedding where we exchanged rings.

When the ceremony was over we danced, ate and drank away the rest of that gorgeous autumn day and spent our wedding night in the small tipi that was bought just for the occasion of our marriage.




13 comments:

MagnificentDebra said...

Happy Anniversary! What a beautiful and unique ceremony!

Barb said...

What a wonderful, beautiful ceremony.

Cyndy said...

Very, very nice. What a great story! Thanks so much for sharing!

Happy Anniversary!

Ambiance in the Attic said...

Happy Anniversary ShiningWoman! This was an amazing story of your wedding day. I think you should post it every year!

julochka said...

that is a rocking cool story. and you are indeed shining woman. beautiful. i hope you have a wonderful anniversary!!

An Open Heart said...

That is the sexiest wedding I have EVER heard of! Happy Anniversary!


S

JFKlaver said...

Haiye!

marinik said...

how cool... happy anniversary

elitebirdfly said...

Cara Liz, ti ringrazio per avermi fatto sognare raccontandomi un momento della tua vita, mi sono emozionata! Sei meravigliosa! Un abbraccio. Elisa.

B said...

What a wonderful and special wedding! Happy anniversary again!

Delena said...

Wow, I am blown away. What a unique special wedding ceremony!
I love blogging as it opens your mind to so much beauty out there.
Happy Anniversary.

MissBuckle said...

What a great wedding :-)

Holly said...

Don't that just beat everything!