Ritual: GARDEN GIFTS by Zita Christian

Many believe that eating basil will protect you and give you courage. And eating orange peel will make you fertile. True.

My daughter Laurie Neronha and I love to cook. Despite the aggression implied in the language of the kitchen — snip, chop, pinch, peel, pound, punch, beat, whip – we believe that a cook’s intention to satisfy, desire to nurture, and expression of love flow from the heart to the hands as they prepare the food. To that belief, I sprinkled the magical properties of herbs and created the ritual “Garden Gifts.”HeatherZitaHenry_m

To personalize the ritual, I connect each plant with one of the Couple’s favorite recipes or a classic recipe from their ethnic background. As written below, Garden Gifts paid tribute to Henry and Heather’s rich cultural heritage.

This ritual can be performed using either live potted plants wrapped in colorful foil or a small spice jar tied with a colorful ribbon.

I like to use four plants/herbs but three or five would work well, too. My favorite research book on the magical properties of the plants is A Compendium of Herbal Magick by Paul Beyerl.

Using live plants - tarragon, lavender, basil, rosemary

Using live plants – tarragon, lavender, basil, rosemary

The ritual is below. I’ve included stage direction so you can visualize how the ritual was enacted. In addition to weddings, this ritual works well for birthday parties, retirement celebrations, and croning ceremonies.

THE RITUAL

Celebrant: For as long as couples have gotten married, friends and family have shown their support by giving gifts. Couples today might receive anything from a porcelain place setting to a restaurant gift card. In much earlier times, wedding gifts symbolized qualities desired in a marriage. Harkening back to those days, and in honor of how much our Couple loves to cook, I now invite the presentation of four garden gifts—each an echo of the cultures our Couple brings together in their marriage.

Gina-carries-tarragon-for-compassionI call for the gift of COMPASSION (Tarragon).
Gift Bearer #1 comes forward carrying either plant or spice jar.

Celebrant: Long associated with the feminine, tarragon offers the magical blend of compassion with independence. This delicate herb teaches how to give of the self without losing the self. Please accept this symbol of compassion for your kitchen – and for hearty Irish potato soup.

Bearer presents the gift to the Couple who then place it on the altar. Bearer returns to his/her seat.

Celebrant: I call for the gift of PROTECTION (Basil).
Gift Bearer #2 comes forward carrying either plant or spice jar.

Celebrant: Long known for its ability to protect, basil has been used in ritual baths to purify a person before an initiation. No matter how perilous the path ahead, basil would provide the courage to face fear and the fortitude to move forward. Best of all, the protection basil provides is for the entire family. Please accept this symbol of protection for your kitchen – and for Native American fish soup.

Bearer presents the gift to the Couple who then place it on the altar. Bearer returns to his/her seat.

Celebrant: I call for the gift of FIDELITY (Rosemary).
Gift Bearer #3 comes forward carrying either plant or spice jar.

Celebrant: For centuries, rosemary has been used in celebrations. People believed it would strengthen the memory … and couples would never forget why they fell in love. Please accept this symbol of fidelity for your kitchen– and for old English roasted lamb or Russian potato salad.

Bearer presents the gift to the Couple who then place it on the altar. Bearer returns to his/her seat.

Celebrant: I call for the gift of FERTILITY (Orange Peel).
Gift Bearer #4 comes forward carrying either plant or spice jar.

Celebrant: The orange tree is one of the most prolific. Because the tree blooms and bears fruit at the same time, oranges have long been associated with fertility, the blossoms worn at weddings. But there’s an older meaning. From the time of the ancient Greeks, oranges were given to strengthen a person on a quest and to reward the victorious. Some Greek scholars believe that the story of the golden apple really referred to an orange. Please accept this symbol of both strength and fertility for your kitchen– and a refreshing dessert of Puerto Rican orange pudding.

Bearer presents the gift to the Couple who then place it on the altar. Bearer returns to his/her seat.

About Zita

Zita brings “Happily Ever After” to life. She is a wedding officiant, ordained interfaith minister, a certified Life-Cycle Celebrant®, playwright and multipublished romance novelist. Through Moon River Rituals, Zita creates customized ceremonies for individuals, couples, families, and communities in CT, RI, MA, and NY. She is a proud supporter of marriage equality. To see her handfasting cords, visit www.etsy.com/shop/MoonRiverRituals and www.Facebook.com/MoonRiverRituals. Zita also hosts and produces three television shows: Weddings with Zita, Page 1 and Full Bloom. Watch them on YouTube.com/ZitaTVNetwork. For information about Zita's writing, visit www.ZitaChristian.com, Yes, she wears many hats
This entry was posted in Business Blessings, Cultural Traditions, Friendship, Life in General, Marriage Equality, Weddings and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.