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Spirituality's Place In Your Wedding Ceremony

Uncategorized Apr 03, 2023

 by Lois Heckman, Celebrant Academy Instructor

 
Spiritual. This is how many people describe their beliefs. But what exactly does this mean? Literally, spiritual means ‘relating to things of the human spirit rather than material or physical things.’ But in a more religious context it can mean a wide range of ideas.

For some, it means they embrace the idea that there is more to life than what we see, while rejecting the dogma of organized religion. They feel a connection to something beyond themselves they may call the Divine, the Universe, the Sacred, God, or it might even remain nameless.

Spirituality can be a very open-ended concept and therefore it is not incompatible with religion or belief in God. 

Gallup's 2022 Poll on Values and Beliefs poll finds 17% of Americans saying they do not believe in God. Taking the number if non-believers to a new high. 

Other polling sources come out with similar results. If you think everyone is honest when responding to polls, I have a nice bridge to sell you. These are how people self- report and I think many people are afraid to say they are not religious.

Additionally, Gallup did not offer the category ‘spiritual’ as an option. If they had, my guess is the numbers would have looked very different.

I have met with many couples who want to connect to their faith traditions, but in ways that are more compatible with a 21 st century view of the world which includes science and our evolving ideas and knowledge. Think about Galileo and the Church in1600's for a great example of what happens when dogma trumps progress.

How does one honor spiritual ideas and values in a wedding ceremony?

There are as many ways to express it as there are different paths of spirituality itself. Sometimes I simply make a statement of fact, saying that the couple share a sense of spirituality, and perhaps try to describe it, if possible. For example, ‘they find peace and meaning in nature.’ 

Other times we include specific poems, excerpts or quotes from various sources, that reflect their worldview. There is wisdom everywhere, and it doesn’t take long to find it. 

Some of my favorites sources are in poetry and literature, along with classics such as:
  • Rumi
  • Kahlil Gibran
  • Celtic writings, Lau Tzu
  • Buddha
But it is the couple themselves who will direct me to the right inspiration. Other texts that contain beautiful and meaningful words include:
  • Hinduism (the Vedas)
  • The Torah
  • The Bible
Scientists and naturalists inspire me as well. Many have written eloquently about our place in the universe. My favorites include:
  • Neil DeGrasse Tyson
  • Carl Sagan
  • John Muir

Beyond words, there are rituals that connect us to earth, air, water, fire, nature, culture, ethnicity, history, art and family. The possibilities are endless, and it’s always challenging and exciting to explore how we humans view our place in the world.

To me, being spiritual means putting great value on love and goodness in the world. What could be more beautiful than that?


Written by Lois Heckman, Instructor of our Rituals and Writing Courses inside the Masters Celebrant Certificate Program. Meet Lois and learn about her coursework!

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