Howdy! Have you ever wondered about a ceremony that might “tie the knot” in Native America? Below I’ve posted an excerpt of a Lakota Wedding Ceremony from my newest release, BLUE THUNDER AND THE FLOWER. However, let me take a moment to say this about the ceremony: many American Indian tribes did not have a wedding ceremony. Most couples were married by simply living together. Sometimes, when a marriage between them might be frowned upon, they ran away and tied the knot in private.
With that said, am hoping you will enjoy this excerpt.
BLUE THUNDER AND THE FLOWER
Excerpt: “I do.”
“You are telling this to me truly? It isn’t for yourself and your…needs, alone, that you are speaking to me of divorce?”
“It is not. I say again that my intentions are honorable.”
She took several moments before speaking and he watched her closely to see if he might be able to know what her thoughts were. He didn’t obtain any insight, however. When at last she spoke up, she said, “Then, if that be the case, I do believe my answer is ‘yes.’”
He didn’t reply to her. He wasn’t certain his voice would allow him to speak. Instead, he merely nodded. After some moments, he let down his guard a little, his stance becoming more casual, and he said, “I would like to marry you in the Lakota way, I think, because if we seek the Captain of this ship to marry us, what happened between us personally will come to be known by all, and I do not believe this is good for you or me. What is private and between us should remain private. Also, if we become man and wife in the Lakota way, I will still be able to allow you to divorce me if you are unhappy with me.”
He watched her closely, trying to determine her thoughts—not only on his insistence that she could divorce him, but also to determine if she might object to the two of them making their own marriage ceremony. But, once again she seemed to be able to hide what was in her mind and he was not enlightened as to her thoughts.
However, after a moment, she stared straight at him and said, “Mr. Thunder, you have said I may divorce you many times now. Know that I won’t do it. Nor will I allow you to chase after another woman or to divorce me. And, you agree with this?”
He nodded. “Hau, hau.”
“Very well. But, I have another question for you about our marriage.”
“I am here to listen to you.”
“Very well. It is this. What do you have to gain by marrying me? Yes, yes, you speak of taking care of me. I thank you for your consideration. But, by marrying me, you will have to change your life somewhat. Why would you do this?”
He laughed aloud. But then, seeing she did not share in his humor, he said, “You must be truly innocent if you do not know how marriage to you would aid my life.”
“Then I suppose I am innocent. Oh, I admit, you would have a woman to share physical desires with. But, you have already attained this with the pretty women who encircle you and your friends, for it is no secret that many women haunt your steps. I would like to think that I would be helping you in some way, also. And, I don’t understand why you would seek to do this for me.”
He stared at her for some moments as he sought to come to terms with an answer for her. Why was he doing this? Because he cared for her? Yes. He knew this already. But, was this the only reason?
He didn’t know; he simply didn’t know.
At last, he answered her and said, “It is true that a man has…needs that are answered by having a woman in his life. But, there is more to it than this, and I should tell you what I can so you might come to understand my culture better. Often in life, a man will require the attention and care which only a woman can give. And, when a family is the result of her care, a man must dedicate himself to the support of her and their family, for, it is within the love which a woman gives him that he might grow into being who he is, in truth. And so, without his woman’s love, a man does not genuinely live.”
She became suddenly silent and stared at him…simply stared. It took several moments before she was at last able to voice her thoughts, and said, “You are a strange man, Mr. Thunder.”
He grinned at her. “You could be right, but why do you say this?”
Again, she hesitated. After a few moments, however, she uttered, “You speak of marriage and divorce as though both belong together, and you worry that I should have the right to walk away from you. And yet, you also tell me that a man without a woman is a man who doesn’t truly live. If this be so, and you really believe this, why would you try to make a divorce easy for me?”
She looked directly into his eyes, but he didn’t wish to stare back at her, for indeed, he was afraid she might see too deeply into his heart and become aware of the trauma that was always present there. Hence, he merely shrugged and said, “Because if I can, I would have you be…happy.”
Again, she became silent, and into that silence, he asked, “Do you have any other questions for me?”
“I do not.”
“Is your answer, then, still ‘yes’?”
“Hau, hau. I am happy to hear this. Are you ready to marry me in the Lakota way, then?”
At last Blue Thunder relaxed and smiled at her. “You have brought happiness and sunshine into my heart with your decision. But, I have a question.”
“You have told me you are coming to America alone and that, outside of your friendship with my kóla’s wife, Jane, you have no one to look after you?”
“Yes, this is correct.”
“No father whom I should gift with many skins and blankets and other treasures?”
“No. Both my mother and father are dead.”
“Hau, hau. Then, come, let us marry.”
She looked up, smiled at him and whispered, “Yes.”
“I must retrieve the buffalo robe which is on the lower bunk, if you will excuse my reaching past you.”
As she stepped aside, he bent to take hold of the buffalo robe and another bag which contained a strip of rawhide, cured and painted red. Digging into another bag, he brought out his pipe. Then, standing up again, he took her hand in his and escorted her to the tiny porthole in their room; the window was still open and the morning sun shone into their little compartment.
Bringing her to stand next to him, he threw the robe around both their shoulders. And, holding out the strip of rawhide, he bound her wrist to his. As she looked up to him, he smiled, then bending again, picked up his pipe. Next, he held the pipe out to her, inviting her with gestures to grasp it, and, when she did so, he moved his hand over hers, firmly clasping it with his around the pipe’s stem.
He smiled at her again and spoke to her softly, saying, “It has been told to me by the elders of my tribe that there may be times when a man and his woman might wish to say bad words to one another. I have been warned against doing this. It was said to me, also, that it is best to go away for a day or so until a man or a woman knows he or she might speak to one another with kindness. It has also been said to me by my father that a man shows his affection for his wife and his children by being productive, by ensuring there is food to eat and skins for making clothing and a lodge to protect them against the elements. My father also told me that a husband must make certain that those things a woman believes she needs, she has. And, by doing all this, he becomes a good husband. Above all else, my father told me a husband must be kind, tolerant, faithful and must give his ear to his wife when she has concerns. I say to you now that this which has been said to me, I will do. And now, as we stand here next to each other, do you wish to give voice to what you have been told by others that makes a good marriage?”
“Yes, I think I do,” she responded. “Although I do not remember my parents or what they might have said to me about marriage, I have come to believe a woman should give her talents to her husband and family. She must take charge of the household and keep it in good order. She must be faithful to her husband and give her love only to him. She must love her children and must teach them well. All this, I will do.”
He sighed. “It is good. And now, Mitáwicu, I believe we should kiss.”
“That word you said, what does it mean?”
“’Wife.’ My wife. We are now married.”
He watched her full lips turn upward in a smile.. And, when she said in a whisper, “What a beautiful word,” he felt as if his heart expanded, at least a little.
“Mitáwicu,” he said, “It is a beautiful word for an equally beautiful ceremony that joins together two people. From this day forward we will be as one in body.”
“Yes,” she said softly, but then she frowned suddenly “I have another question, though, and it is this: in my world, when two people become married, they are required to perform the marriage act at once. If they do not do so, they are not considered married. Is this also a custom amongst your people?”
“No. It is not in the Lakota way that a marriage must be consummated at any certain time. A woman may take as long as she wishes before a man might”—he smiled at her—”shower her with his affection.”
She nodded, and he murmured, “Mitáwicu.” Then, bending, he brought his lips to hers and was surprised to feel the blood rushing to his loins. He was stunned even further when she sighed and shifted her weight inward toward him, as though she, too, were filled with pleasure.
Hau, it was good, if unexpected. Yes, he thought she was beautiful and that she needed a man’s care, yet, he knew he didn’t love her—at least, not like a husband should.
But, there was more to the ceremony, and he reached down to take the pipe out of her hand. Setting it aside, he threw off the buffalo robe. Next, he raised their bound hands up toward the little porthole, where the sun still shone beams of light into the room, and said, “Creator, do you see that we are now married?”
He didn’t expect an answer, and there was none forthcoming at this time.
Bringing her in closely to him, Blue Thunder took Marci in his arms, then dropped to his knees, carrying her with him. And, he kissed her again, holding her slightly away from him, for already his body was making its needs known to him, and it was in the most natural way a man might regard a woman who was now his wife.
But, he wasn’t ready to carry this into lovemaking and he knew she wasn’t either. It wasn’t the right time, for they had not committed themselves to one another because they were in love. So he resumed the ceremony, taking her free wrist up to his lips and placing a kiss upon the pressure point there. When he looked up at her again and beheld the passion within her gaze, he felt oddly, since he knew he wasn’t marrying her because of a sexual need for her; rather, he was doing what was necessary to ensure her safety and because she required someone to care for her. He had decided he would be that man. Yet even now, he felt himself on the verge of “convincing” her to make love with him.
But he didn’t. He wouldn’t. Hadn’t he already told her that he would be spending most of his time with the horses on this trip, and so she needn’t worry about the physical aspects of marriage?
However, he would tell her one important fact, and, holding her closely to him, he said, “I do believe I am going to enjoy our marriage. It is my hope you will, also.”
When she grinned up at him, he took advantage of her open mouth and kissed her again. This time, he let his tongue trace over her lips. That she sighed in surrender to him caused the need in his loins to press in on him; indeed, it almost undid his resolve against making love to her now. But again, he cautioned himself to respond to her in a reserved fashion, since neither of them was yet emotionally ready to carry it further. So he said simply, “Come, wife, we should see that your trunk is properly loaded onto the ship.”
And, her response was a beautiful, if simple, smile.
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