This year, 2014, at Valentine’s Day, we are literally getting pummeled with cold, snow, and ice for at least the fifth time. Do you think the Feminine Divine is trying to get our attention? Looking outside at the beautiful white landscape, it’s almost as if Mother Nature is giving us a clean slate on which to create the next phase of our existence here on her beautiful planet, Gaia. This extreme weather, this Divine cleansing, forces us to let go – of our obligations, meetings, routines, busyness, and even technology, that we might go inside (ourselves) and feel that which is actually important ~
L O V E. What perfect timing for winter storms…..
As an Interfaith minister, I have had the blessed honor to perform custom-created weddings for couples looking for something especially personal and meaningful for their special day. One of my favorite rituals to solidify the vows is called the Rose Ceremony which occurs after the vows and rings, where the couple exchanges a single red rose as their first gift to one another as husband and wife. What I particularly like about this ritual is that while a simple, sweet and romantic gesture during the marriage ceremony, the ritual itself speaks to the reality within the context of marriage in that it’s not going to be smooth sailing all of the time. What truly intimate relationship really is? While the simple exchange of a rose can seemingly feel like not much happened at all, what has happened is the symbolic exchange of the gift of true and abiding love within the devotion of marriage. Further, this ritual asks of the couple to choose a place in their home where they will place roses at every anniversary as a recommitment that theirs is a marriage based on love. Maybe more importantly, is that this area will also be a place where one can place a rose when they cannot find the words to say, “ I’m sorry”, “I forgive you”, “I need you”, or “I am hurting” ~ essentially for the words that cannot be spoken or found and as a reminder of the love and hope that was shared on their wedding day.
Just like Valentine’s Day, it seems that so much emphasis is placed upon the wedding day and all the details of several meager hours when the real emphasis should be placed on the marriage, (or the rest of the year) which is supposed to last forever,….. right? (I love that word - how’s everybody doing with that?) In its deepest aspects, its truest essence, Love does last forever. It may just change form which is what usually throws us into a tailspin of resistance and subsequent pain when something that is meant to end in form only, is seemingly taken away from us, (especially if you’re not the one choosing the ending!). But still, from a metaphysical perspective if we contemplate the unconditional quality of love in its purest form, like matter, it cannot be created or destroyed. It just IS. Sometimes lovers wait lifetimes to be reunited again after their love existed temporarily in a sort of holding pattern until the climate is right for it to grow and blossom again. Soul mates of all types find and lose each other again and again to learn other lessons on the myriad planes of existence. It’s intricate & obscure, magical & mysterious, …. It’s the nature of Love.
The seat of Love is the Anahata (heart) Chakra, and the human heart is so much more than an organ that simply pumps blood throughout the body. It is contextual, holistic, intuitive and pure. It’s all-knowing and what it really wants to do is simply, love – unconditionally honoring the Unity and interconnectedness of All That Is.
We have all felt times when we were emotionally hurting, whether from an argument or a break up, that there can literally be an aching or pain sensation in the chest.
People who are seemingly healthy and fit with clean coronary arteries have heart attacks because of emotional wounds that have not been healed or forgiven. Many heart attacks occur 9 am Monday morning because of the dread of going to a job that doesn’t make one’s heart sing. A healthy spouse will die of a broken heart in a few days, weeks or months when they have lost their Beloved. Heart transplant patients can have changes in their personality after surgery because they not only received a new organ, but a new essence or soul quality of their donor. I could go on and on…
So on this Valentine’s Day, this day of Love and of the heart, instead of the clichéd and exceedingly expensive (what’s wrong with that picture?) red roses or chocolate that lasts a limited amount of time, why not commit and even surrender to making love your priority every day by creating a meaningful ritual or a sacred place of remembrance that Love really is all there is. And if there is no one special in your life with whom you are intimate, commit to nurturing the Beloved within. Place flowers, a candle, or something that is unique to you, in a special place in your home and heart. We are here to learn to love ourselves first. Only then can we have something sacred to offer the Other, not just today, but every day.
Wishing every living Being a blessed, warm, and sacred Valentine’s Day.
~ Dr. Joanna
I’ve included the Rose Ceremony here for those who are interested.
Rose Ceremony ~
Your gift to each other for your wedding day has been your wedding rings - which will always be an outward demonstration of your vows, and a public showing of your commitment to each other. You now have what remains the most honorable title that may exist between a man and a woman ~ the title of husband and wife. For your first gift as husband and wife, you will each exchange a single red rose.
In the past, the rose was considered a symbol of love and a single rose always meant one thing - "I love you." So it is appropriate that for your first gift as husband and wife ~ that your gift would be a single rose.
Please exchange your roses.
In some ways it seems like you have done nothing at all. Just a moment ago you were holding a single rose - and now you are still holding a single rose. A marriage ceremony is similar...tomorrow may seem no different from yesterday, but in fact today, you have both given and received one of the most valuable and precious gifts of life - one I hope you will always remember - the gift of true and abiding love within the devotion of marriage.
(Bride & Groom), I would ask that in your home now and wherever else you may make your home in the future ~ that you pick one very special location for roses; so that on each anniversary of this truly wonderful occasion, you place roses in that spot as a recommitment to your marriage ~ and a recommitment that this will be a marriage based on love.
In every marriage there are times when it is difficult to find the right words. It might be difficult sometimes to find the words to say "I'm sorry" or "I forgive you"; "I need you" or "I am hurting". If this should happen, if you simply can not find these words, leave a rose at that spot which both of you have selected ~ that rose then says what matters most of all. That rose says the words: "I still love you." The other should accept this rose for the words which cannot be found, and remember the love and hope that you both share today.
(Bride & Groom), if there is anything you remember of this marriage ceremony, it is that it was love that brought you here today, it is only love which can make it a glorious union, and it is by love which your marriage shall endure.
Dr. Joanna Carmichael is an RN, Doctor of Metaphysics & Divinity, Interfaith Minister, Ayurveda, Meditation & Yoga Practitioner, Spiritual Teacher and animal activist.