Wednesday, April 27, 2011


The time is fast approaching when Ali and I and our officiant will start nailing down the details of the wedding ceremony. It's going to be awesome, because (a) it'll be pagan, so rather different from the Christian ceremonies of most weddings, and (b) Alison will be having huge input. The officiant and I will have lots of input too, of course, but Ali has an amazing genius for ritual -- she has a deep understanding of what makes them work, coupled with an artist's intuition.

We've had a bit of a hiccup with our officiant; the one we'd settled on months ago had to back out at the end of March for personal reasons. But it looks like we've found another, one who's excited to be working with us to design our ceremony, and we're going to be in great shape.

In the 5th and 6th centuries BC, about 50 miles northwest of Rome, there was an Etruscan city called Caisra. Caisra, nestled between lush, protective hills and the Tyrrhenian Sea, was quite rich and powerful, and a traditional friend of Rome. It had three ports, and handled a wealth of trade between the Mediterranean sea powers (Greece, Carthage) and the Etruscan towns further inland and in the Po valley. But at the height of its power, it was defeated by the Greeks, and was made to pay tribute. Later, during the wars between Rome and Carthage, it lost its ports and quickly dropped in population and prominence. Today it is only a third of its original size, and the villagers farm on top of their necropolis.

But the name Caisra was borrowed into the Roman language -- Latin -- in the adjective caerimonia, "pertaining to Caere" (the Roman name of the city). Caerimonia was used to refer to rites of divination, and so it has been supposed that the Etruscans of Caisra were known for their ability with prophetic ritual. The old word came into Medeival Latin as ceremonia, and was borrowed into English in the 14th century as cerymonye. The spelling was later standardized as ceremony.

Spiritually ceremony is a word which brings energy, sunlight, and growth into manifestation, and grounds it.

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