I know, I know, you’re probably rolling your eyes at the idea…self-marriage? Is it narcissism at its best, or what?
You may even be affronted by the idea.
Marry yourself? Is this a mockery?
Certainly it is provocative, and kind of crazy sounding. I first heard of the idea of self-marriage when I moved to the Big Island in 2008. A new friend I met at Kirtan—a devotional chanting group—invited me to her wedding with herself. I have to admit, I was simultaneously intrigued and mystified.
As a ceremonialist, one who adores ceremony and putting intention into sacred art forms, I thought it was fascinating that she wanted to say vows to herself. The wedding was quite beautiful and together with friends we celebrated not only our friend saying her personal vows and her commitment to self-love, but also each other in a ceremonial setting.
I didn’t feel moved to wed myself until a few years later. My husband and I were going through an incredibly challenging time. Somewhere in the midst of weeks of arguing and immense emotional pain, I heard the words, clear as a bell, “I need to marry my self.”
Although I wasn’t sure what that meant, the words rang a deep inner truth in my heart. The kind of truth that almost knocks you over. You know—you don’t why or how or when—but you know.
What I knew was that I needed to open up space in our relationship, take some time and recommit to myself, find myself again. What I didn’t know was how ultimately powerful it would be to marry myself.
My definition of self-marriage includes two essential components: firstly, making or stating vows of commitment and secondly, bringing together two or more people (or essences) to create something larger than one as an individual.
In customary marriage, most people use traditional vows or write their own that are then spoken aloud in front of a witness to honor a commitment to another person. However, in the case of self-marriage, we write and say vows to ourselves. This, on its own, holds an immense power. Vows are a responsibility; they are an act of holding ourselves accountable. They are a statement of clarity about our commitment to self.
How often do we say vows to others? How many times do we make commitments (many times begrudgingly) to people, events, our jobs, even our car mechanic but don’t bother making a commitment to our own well-being?
I have found in my years as a mother, a writer, a wife, a spiritual practitioner, and healer, that indeed many times I make spoken ‘vows’ or made commitments. Taking the time to write my own was an experience of my own personal power that enabled me to honor others more easily.
In traditional marriage, two people come together and pledge their love to each other, thus forming something greater than themselves. In my marriage to my husband, I experienced the emergence of a third element. He and I have performed several ‘love ceremonies’ over the years to assist both our personal growth and our relationship as we develop and change. I feel this is essential to any long relationship.
Although I wasn’t certain at the time I chose to marry myself how this related, it became clear during the process. One of my vows stated my wish to call back all parts to myself. And this is the core of self-marriage, to reintegrate each and every part of our being—our self-love, our inner wisdom.
To call back all the parts that have been celebrated, explored and accessed as well as the parts that have been traumatized, oppressed and pushed into submission. This is a reclaiming, one that allows for a more multidimensional expression.
I had no idea how powerful the ceremony would be. Mine took place in the far east in India, at an ancient Yogini Dakini Goddess temple, a place that is reflective of my personal spiritual path and my work with Fire of the Goddess.
After the ceremony, I felt a profound shift within. I felt, for the first time in my life, a complete alignment with my purpose on earth. There was a feeling like I clicked into place.
Perhaps, as Westerners, growing up without an initiation into becoming a woman or man of power, love and wisdom, the self-marriage ceremony acts as a method to reconnect us to our larger self, our life purpose, our authentic being.
Far from narcissistic, I actually found the experience of self-marriage to be one of the most humbling, loving and direct methods to surrender my smaller ego self to the larger self of my inner authentic being.
During the ceremony and afterward, I kept thinking of a story I heard of certain indigenous peoples in Africa who contact the spirit of a new baby while s/he is still in the mother’s womb. They spend time dialoguing directly with the soul of the person coming in to find out what gifts s/he is bringing to the village. In this way, the extended family can then prepare to meet the child’s needs and developments.
For me, self-marriage was the way back to my soul’s essential gifts so that I could further develop on my path as a spiritual person.
Each person who decides to create a self-marriage ceremony will certainly find his or her own method, which could be as simple as lighting a candle or as complex as a journey across the seas.
Founder of Self Marriage Ceremonies, Dominique Youkhehpaz, sums up the process of self-marriage, “Self-marriage is a commitment to valuing and prioritizing self-love and self-care within a culture that has neglected it, left it behind, commercialized and dehumanized it. Self-Marriage is a commitment to being there for yourself, to choosing the livelihood and lifestyle that will help you grow and blossom into the most alive, beautiful, and deeply happy person you can be.”
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- Assist Ed: Olivia Gray
- Ed: Brianna Bemel