Yet Other Marriage Ceremonies

by T Polyphilus

It is now usual for weddings, particularly between Thelemites, to become an exercise in personal expression by the couple, and to strive for uniqueness in liturgical form that will reflect the particularity of the event. Consequently, it is ordinary for wedding liturgies to be written for the occasion by the couple being married, or by the clergy presiding, in consultation with the couple.

There are many different ritual components that can go to make up a given wedding ceremony. Here is a rough list of possibilities. Of these, I consider only the assent of the couple to be indispensable.

  • Introit of couple
  • Opening Greeting
  • Preliminary Invocation
  • Readings and/or admonishments
  • Vows
  • Consecration and Exchange of Tokens
  • Assent of Couple
  • Proclamation
  • Other petitionary prayers
  • Benediction (CCXX I:18-19 is my preferred benediction to offer the couple)
  • Eucharist or other Magick

Many of these components can be so composed as to exhibit important sentiments of Thelemic Gnosticism, without unduly alienating members of a larger community whose presence may be desirable. For example, here is the text of a Preliminary Invocation, tacitly addressing Nuit:

Perfect majesty of earth and heaven, we are made in your image in love and for love, and our hearts are restless until we respond in love to you through each other. Bless [N.] and [Nn.], who stand before us now. We are thankful for all of the joy which they bring to this occasion, as we are grateful for all those who have taught them how to love. There is no bond that can unite the divided but love. Let their thoughts, words and deeds express that bond. So mote it be.

Here is a set of petitionary prayers directed to Ra-hoor-khuit:

Supreme and uttermost god, look with favor upon this world, and especially upon this man and this woman who have joined together as partners in honor and celebration of life.

Make open their paths to knowledge and understanding in the ordering of their common life, that each may be to the other a strength in need and a companion in joy.

Grant them your light and make their life together a sign of love in the world, that unity may overcome estrangement, courage conquer fear, forgiveness heal guilt, and joy dissolve shame.

Bestow upon them the gift and heritage of children, and the power and subtlety to bring them up with love and respect as their legacy to the earth.

Give them such fulfillment of their mutual affection that they may reach out in love and concern for others.

May all persons who have witnessed this rite find their lives strengthened and their loyalties confirmed.

Grant that they may triumph over adversity, and that through your power they may increase in light, life, love and liberty all the days of their lives together.

Here is a blessing of the couple addressed to Hadit:

Thou who art life and the giver of life, pour out the abundance of your blessing upon this man and this woman. Defend them from every enemy. Lead them into all prosperity. Let their love for each other be a seal upon their hearts, a mantle about their shoulders, and a crown upon their foreheads. Bless them in their work and in their companionship; in their sleeping and in their waking; in their joys and in their sorrows; in their life and in their death. Finally, in your splendor and rapture, bring them to that table where your saints feast forever.

I have prepared two full ritual texts for wedding ceremonies involving the Gnostic Mass: one for an occasion in which only O.T.O. initiates attend, another based on a study of the Sarum Missal which forms the earliest stratum of the liturgical tradition informing the majority of modern anglophone wedding ceremonies. Either of these texts is available to active E.G.C. clergy upon direct request.

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