MYTH*ING LINKS
An Annotated & Illustrated Collection of Worldwide Links
to Mythologies, Fairy Tales & Folklore,
Sacred Arts & Sacred Traditions
by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.
[Retired from Department of Mythological Studies / Pacifica Graduate Institute]

  COMMON THEMES, EAST & WEST:


RITUALS OF MARRIAGE


Ariadne and Dionysos: Wedding Scene

In ancient Greece, all of the married deities had dysfunctional marriages except Dionysos (the god of nature, ecstasy, joy, wine, abundance) and Ariadne, Princess of Crete.  Dionysos adored his wife, and she him, and they never strayed from one another.  This ancient art shows the joyful couple seated in a bower while Pan and a centaur gather fresh grapes for the bride and bridegroom and their many happy wedding guests.

MARRIAGE IN CLASSICAL TIMES


Hera
(See site directly below)

http://www.arthistory.sbc.edu/imageswomen/papers/sosahera/hera.html

This is "Hera: The First Greek Goddess" by Sylvia Sosa at Sweet Briar College in Virginia.  This goddess was the patroness of marriage, which, perhaps, is fitting since her honeymoon with her youngest brother, Zeus, lasted 300 years. It began, however, with Zeus' rape of Hera and ended with countless centuries of Hera's jealous revenge against women seduced by her husband. That she turned her wrath against frail mortals instead of against Zeus suggests serious shadow issues lying at the core of their marriage. Nevertheless, since Hera was generously supportive of any woman who had never slept with Zeus, she remained the staunch ally of marriage in the classical world.

This site doesn't mention the 300 year honeymoon but does give a fine overview of Hera's vengeance against the women who slept with Zeus as well as their bastard children. About Hera's own marriage, the author writes:

...The first encounter between Hera and her husband Zeus, king of all the gods, was in the region of the Hesperides. Hera was not responding to his attempts to seduce her so he resorted to trickery that appealed to Hera's nurturing side. It was winter and Zeus turned himself into a cuckoo that appeared to be frozen from the cold. Hera, feeling sorry for the bird turned to her motherly instincts as she held the bird tightly to her breast to warm it. Zeus then turned himself back into his normal shape and took advantage of the surprised state Hera was in. Unable to fight him off, Hera was raped and then persuaded to marry him to cover her shame....

...There are varied stories on how the deity couple were married. In the ceremony of their marriage, the oldest tradition takes place in the Garden of Hesperides, which was the mystical symbol of fertility. This story said that Gaia gave Hera golden apples of the Hesperides . Hera, also known as Mother Earth in this story, found the apples so beautiful that she planted them in her garden on the shores of the ocean....

I might mention that in Rome, the goddess of marriage was the benevolent Juno, wife of the stately and non-philandering Jupiter. The month of June was named for her -- and it is still the most popular month for weddings.
http://ancienthistory.about.com/library/bl/bl_cupidandpsyche.htm
This is  "The Marriage of Cupid and Psyche" from a famous Latin tale by Apuleius. This translation is by William Adlington, first published in 1566, reprinted in a new edition in 1639. Here, after Psyche's many trials (beginning when she accidentally spills hot candle wax on her mysterious lover in her attempt to discover his identity) is the concluding portion dealing with the marriage ritual itself.  First Zeus (Jupiter) consoles Aphrodite (Venus), the mother of the bridegroom, Eros (Cupid), who is unhappy with her son's choice of a human bride. Jupiter tells her:
...And you my daughter, take you no care, neither feare the dishonour of your progeny and estate, neither have regard in that it is a mortall marriage, for it seemeth unto me just, lawfull, and legitimate by the law civill. Incontinently after Jupiter commanded Mercury to bring up Psyches, the spouse of Cupid, into the Pallace of heaven. And then he tooke a pot of immortality, and said, Hold Psyches, and drinke, to the end thou maist be immortall, and that Cupid may be thine everlasting husband. By and by the great banket and marriage feast was sumptuously prepared, Cupid sate downe with his deare spouse between his armes : Juno likewise with Jupiter, and all the other gods in order, Ganimedes filled the pot of Jupiter, and Bacchus served the rest. Their drinke was Nectar the wine of the gods, Vulcanus prepared supper, the howers decked up the house with roses and other sweet smells, the graces threw about blame, the Muses sang with sweet harmony, Apollo tuned pleasantly to the Harpe, Venus danced finely : Satirus and Paniscus plaid on their pipes; and thus Psyches was married to Cupid, and after she was delivered of a child whom we call Pleasure....
Ganymede's pot, of course, is filled with ambrosia, the life-elixir of the gods (analogous to India's amrita/soma). By drinking it, Psyche becomes immortal. Venus, apparently, is sufficiently satisfied to "dance finely." Overall, there is a festive sense here of great good cheer befitting the wedding of Eros, god of love.
http://ancienthistory.about.com/library/bl/bl_text_wsd_sec29.htm
This is a section entitled "Athenian Marriage Rites" from Chapter V of A Day in Old Athens, by William Stearns Davis (1910), Professor of Ancient History at the University of Minnesota. Here is an excerpt:
...At about fifteen the girl must leave her mother's fostering care and enter the house of the stranger. The wedding is, of course, a great ceremony; and here, if nowhere else, Athenian women can surely prepare, flutter, and ordain to their heart's content. After the somewhat stiff and formal betrothal before witnesses (necessary to give legal effect to the marriage), the actual wedding will probably take place,--perhaps in a few days, perhaps with a longer wait till the favorite marriage month Gamelion [January]....Then on a lucky night of the full moon the bride, having, no doubt tearfully, dedicated to Artemis her childish toys, will be decked in her finest and will come down, all veiled, into her father's torchlit aula, swarming now with guests....
There are links to five other sections concerning "The Women of Athens" at this site -- two cover arranging for a marriage and the lack of sentiment in the ceremony; the other three relate to the status and respect given women in ancient Athens.


Fertility
by Canadian artist, Rose Pearson
[Used with permission]

http://ancienthistory.about.com/library/weekly/aa021403a.htm
From N.S. Gill, about.com's excellent guide to Ancient / Classical History comes a page entitled "Ancient Goddesses of Sexuality, Love, and Fertility: Aphrodite, Freya, Isis, Ishtar, and Venus." She begins:
Personifying abstract powers, gods and goddesses are held responsible for many of the mysteries of life. One of the most important mysteries to humanity is that of birth. Fecundity and sexual attraction are key elements in the survival of a family or race. The very complex feeling we shorthand as love makes humans bond with each other. The ancient goddesses held responsible for these gifts were honored highly in their societies.

Here are five of the top ancient love goddesses. You'll note that beauty (or attraction), promiscuity, fecundity, magic, and an association with death are some of the attributes associated with love goddesses....

It should be mentioned that we will find that same "association with death" on a number of other websites relating to marriage.

Gill then gives useful mythic overviews (with links to suggested sites for more details) of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty; Venus, her Roman counterpart; Freya, the Norse goddess of love, magic, and divination; Ishtar, the Babylonian goddess of love, procreation, and war; and Isis, Egypt's goddess of love, motherhood, fertility, and magic.

http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/greekmarriage/a/ExchangeMaiden.htm
Again from N.S. Gill, this is "Homosocial Marriage in the Tragedies of Sophocles," her book review on Exchange and the Maiden : Marriage in Sophoclean Tragedy by Kirk Ormand (University of Texas Press; June 1999, ISBN: 0292760523, 240 Pages). Here is an excerpt:
...Ormand uses the term "homosocial" to explain the competitive world in which men lived, where women were little more than bargaining chips and fields to be cultivated. In this homosocial world women were so insignificant that a woman's part in adultery could be ignored, since the act of treachery was an almost insignificant part of the ongoing competition between men. Not even marriage was strictly heterosexual; instead it was a contract cementing the relationship between two men. Since, as objects in the exchange, women could be returned, their loyalty was always in doubt....
Gill then moves to Ormand's presentation of individual Sophoclean women, including Deianeira, Antigone and Electra, Alcestis, and Tecmessa.  About Alcestis, who gave her life for her unfeeling husband, Gill writes:
That women were strangers in their husbands' homes is most tellingly revealed in the Alcestis. Admetus tries to allay Heracles' worry, by assuring him that the person the family is mourning isn't a family member, but a stranger. It is, of course, Admetus' wife, who may be an example of another of Ormand's feminine ambiguities: marriage as a form of death. Marriage meant the end of a secure, familiar life with one's parents, at home, and also the end of childhood. Thus Alcestis may have accepted the physical death as just one more side of her marriage.
Here is another excerpt from near the end of Gill's review:
...In the concluding chapter Ormand explains how, ultimately, women remain mysteries in Sophocles' tragedies. Whether they die or stop participating in the dialogue, the women all end up silent:
"Because women in fifth century Athens were supposed to be silent, to be kept out of public view, to be removed from a position of subjectivity, they become, in the Athenian imagination, ciphers: unbounded, unresolved, dangerous.... Sophocles' dramas represent women's marriages as a state of perpetual and unfulfilled longing."
Exchange and the Maiden is a difficult study. It is based on complicated ideas like homosocial competition and analogies that are at once figurative and literal....
I always enjoy Gill's work and her review of this book is no exception. She also includes links to related topics, including a fine review of Ted Hughes'  Euripides' Alcestis.
http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0062&layout=&loc=matrimonium
From the Perseus Project comes this detailed page from Harry Thurston Peck. Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. New York. Harper and Brothers. 1898. Here are several excerpts:
Greek Marriages:

Athenian tradition ascribed the introduction of the marriage relation to Cecrops (Athen. xiii. 2), before whose time men were said to have had wives in common, as was the case in historic times among the non-Hellenic tribes on the borders of the Greek world--e. g. the Massagetae, Nasamones, and Ausenses ( Herod.i. 126; iv. 172Herod., 180). In the rest of Greece monogamy was of slow growth as against promiscuity of sexual relation; yet in the Iliad and Odyssey the households described are monogamistic, even though concubines are mentioned. (See Concubina.) Throughout the greater part of Greece the position of the married women was a very subordinate one, the chief exception being found in the usage of Sparta, and to a less degree of Crete and Cyrené and, in general, the Doric States....

...At the time of the betrothal the dowry of the bride was settled, and this was a most important point for her future welfare. For the wife was reckoned to have no claim at all on her husband's property. Supposing her husband died, even the most distant cousin might inherit from him; but the wife, never. Nay, she might not even continue to reside in his house after his death, unless she pleaded pregnancy; in that case she would come under the protection of the archon, and would remain undisturbed until the child was born (Demosth. c. Macart. p. 1076. 75). Hence the dowry was the only security to the wife against extreme poverty in the event of her husband's death, or if she were divorced; the husband, therefore, had to give a guarantee for its return in the shape of some piece of landed property. It would, however, be incorrect to suppose that the dowry would ever become the wife's absolute property; it would in the case supposed revert to her kurios, who would either support her from it or give her in marriage again. But as against her husband or his creditors, it was absolutely hers. The dowry, as has been said, did not exist in Homer's time, and was a gradual growth; Plato disapproved of it (De Leg. vi. 777 A) as tending to produce avarice; in early times it was small....

...The marriage ceremonial at Athens, among the higher classes, was more elaborate than with us. The consecration of all girls to Artemis, when they were ten years old, at the festival Brauronia, stood in intimate relation with it. When the marriage itself drew near, the sacrifice to the tutelar gods of marriage (theoi gamêlioi) took place. This was performed by the father, and might take place some days before the marriage, or on the day itself....

...At the conclusion of the feast the bride was conducted, veiled, into the bridal-chamber; the bridegroom closed the door; and a law of Solon enjoined that the bride and bridegroom should eat a quince together, to symbolize the sweetness of their conversation ( Plut. Sol.20). The epithalamium (q.v.) was then sung before the door of the bridal-chamber by a chorus of maidens, and the song was accompanied with dancing. But the Scholiast on this passage tells us that some epithalamia were sung in the early morning to wake the wedded pair, the two kinds being called katakoimêtika and diêgertika respectively....

...Marriages generally took place in the winter (Aristot. Polit. vii. 16); and the month Gamelion (our January) derived its name from the favour in which it was held for this purpose. The fourth day of the month, according to Hesiod ( Op.800), was the most favourable day; and as in a lunar month this would be the day on which the first crescent of the new moon appeared, the interpretation of Proclus seems correct: that the day when sun and moon met in the same quarter of the heavens was the day when man and woman might best meet in wedlock. Pindar, however (Isthm. vii. 44), and Euripides (Iph. in Aul. 717) prefer the full moon....

...After marriage the wife lived with the other female inmates of the house in the gunaikônitis, or women's apartments: in a large house these would be a separate building, connected by a passage with the men's rooms. The wife then had the superintendence of the entire household: she had charge of the education of the boys till they were put under a master, of the girls till they were married; she tended the sick, whether free or slave; the kitchen, the furniture, the stores came under her; and last, not least, the talasia erga (Oecon.vii. 6), all that related to the spinning and weaving of wool and the making of clothes, for it must be remembered that the clothes of an ancient household were mostly made within the house itself....

...It will be seen that the wife had no lack of duties, but they were duties that would naturally be felt to be monotonous; and it is interesting to find that religious exercises were then, as in later times, one of the chief resources of the married woman....

Roman Marriages:

...In the choice of the wedding-day, superstition played a large part. May (as by many even now) and the first half of June were unlucky for marriages (Ovid, Fasti, v. 487; vi. 225). The reason was that the month of May took its general character from the festivals of the Lemuria (q.v.). In the first part of June came dies religiosi connected with the worship of Vesta. Besides these periods, it was necessary to avoid the dies parentales, Feb. 13-21; the first half of March; the three days of the opening of the lower world (mundus patet), viz.: Aug. 24, Oct. 5, Nov.8; and also the days of Kalends, Ides, and Nones....

...On the day before the marriage the bride put aside her toga praetexta, which, with other belongings of childhood, was laid before the Lares, and put on the tunica recta, or regilla, which was woven in one piece in the old-fashioned way at the upright loom. The bride wore this dress also at the marriage, and a flame-coloured veil (flammeum), with which she was said nubere caput. The dress was fastened by a woollen girdle (cingulum) in the nodus Herculeus, as to the significance of which there is some difference of opinion. It has been explained by some as intended to secure a fruitful marriage, because Hercules had many children; Göll takes it to be an amulet against the evil eye (fascinum). But it is perhaps nearer the truth to take it to be the symbol of a stable marriage, and perhaps the original of the “true lovers' knot.”  The hair was arranged in six locks (sex crines) parted by the point of a spear (hasta caelibaris), and held in place by vittae or bands. Hence the words crines and vitta are used by poets as a synonym for marriage. The custom of parting it with a spear is perhaps a relic of the old marriage by capture, and may convey the idea of the word dorilêptos. The bride had also a wreath of flowers and sacred herbs (verbenae) gathered by herself, and the bridegroom wore a similar wreath ( Plut. Pomp.55)....


Women Weaving
Time/Life: Great Ages of Man/Classical Greece:86

http://www.stoa.org/diotima/anthology/wlgr/wlgr-privatelife267.shtml
From Diotima comes "Private Life: How to train a wife." Athens, 4th cent. B.C. (Xenophon, On Household Management [Oeconomicus] 6.17-10, exc. G). Here is an introductory excerpt from an engrossing site:
... Although in this dialogue Ischomachus claims that he has trained his wife to run the household effectively, it seems likely that he was deceived about the extent his wife's innocence and malleability.[1] In the course of her education, Ischomachus has not allowed his wife to assume any unusual authority; she runs the house, but remains accountable to him. It is important to remember that in training her his purpose is to serve his own convenience, not hers; Ischomachus is not concerned with his wife's particular needs as a female, but rather wants her to behave as little like a conventional woman as possible....
What follows is a revealing (and maddening) dialogue between Socrates and Ischomachus about the "training" of a wife.
http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/classes/JSp.html
Again from the Perseus Project, this is "Til Death Do Us Part: Marriage and Funeral Rites in Classical Athens" by Jana Shopkorn. Here is how it opens:
In the ancient Mediterranean world there was hardly room for choice: not only was marriage destiny, but so was death. The identity of the Classical Greek world is established through the traditional sacrifices and rituals that were practiced in these times of bliss and mourning. The sacred wedding and the dramatic funeral compliment each other in character and content, for the ceremonies are both interwoven with ritual meaning and overlapping rites. Evidence for these formalities, both literary and artistic, help to provide a complete account of Greek customs in order to form the general picture of the wedding, the funeral, the parallels, the writings, and the vase paintings.

Every respectable woman in Athens became a wife if she could. There was no real alternative other than marriage. The bride and the groom prepared for the wedding by means of offerings, dedications, and sacrifices. All of these rites had a purificatory and propitiatory character...

After a detailed section on marriage, there follows an equally detailed section on funerals, comparing and contrasting them with weddings. Here are several evocative passages:
... General agreement exists on the practices of the fifth century wedding and funeral, if not a significance between the two rituals. Wedding rituals of purification, the adorning of the bride, the shearing of hair, and the procession accompanied by song are paralleled by rituals which took place at funerals. The funeral, like the wedding, is a special concern of the women of Classical Athens. Both events are family festivals and an initiation to another realm.[13] There are numerous overlapping elements in the two rituals of marriage and death. A bride in fifth century Athens offers, as a dedication, a lock of hair before marriage, whereas mourners offer the same when visiting the deceased. Both the bride and groom, like the dead, are ritually bathed in sacred water, dressed and adorned, and ultimately crowned by women who play critical roles in both ceremonies. The duality of marriage and death persists with the parallel of covering both the bride and the corpse with a veil and a sheath respectively. Both events involve a night journey to a new home, taken by a cart or chariot in a procession with torch-bearers where song and dance are ritualistic. Just as a wedding culminates in the nuptial bed, the dead are laid out on a bed as well. Each ritual contains blessings, both over the married couple and over the deceased. Both festivals define an irreversible, physical change -- the loss of virginity and the loss of life. This idea of loss, rebirth, and renewal is present in both marriage and sacrifice.[14] The overriding continuity between wedding and funeral rites suggests the significance of these rituals in Classical Athens.[15].

 A connection between weddings and funerals is exhibited in young Athenians who died unmarried. Such untimely deaths demand the crowning of the grave site with loutrophoroi , representing the ritual vessel for nuptial bathing. When someone died unmarried they had to receive a posthumous bridal bath in order to attain the goal of life.[16] One of the loutrophoroi  pots might also have been buried with the young deceased. Death before marriage signifies a marriage with the underworld. The notion that unmarried girls have made a marriage with Hades invokes the paradigm of Persephone in The Homeric Hymn to Demeter.

Many rituals of marriage and death are exposed in The Homeric Hymn to Demeter. The link between death and marriage is very real in the myth. Persephone marries Death himself, and in doing so she loses her identity. Persephone's abduction by Hades happens when she is picking flowers in a meadow among the company of virgins. Persephone, the young virginal bride, exemplifies innocence because of her young age.[17] While she is gathering a narcissus, the earth gapes and Hades "snatche[s] the unwilling maid into his golden chariot and [leads] her off lamenting."[18] As a parallel to the Greek wedding procession it is reasonable that Hades should have a chariot when he carries Persephone off. Like the typical Athenian bride's incorporation rites, Persephone's eating of a pomegranate seed binds her to marriage with Hades in the underworld. This fruit, as a symbol of both blood and death and marriage and fertility, signifies the marriage of Persephone and Hades. With this seed, Hades coerces Persephone to stay with him....

Here is how this excellent page concludes:
...The significance of marriage and funeral rites are illustrated, not only in vase paintings which are a vital source of evidence of the ancient Greek world, but also in textual documentation. Through examining The Homeric Hymn to Demeter and its attitude to the institution of marriage and death, an understanding of the ancient world of wedlock and sacrifice is developed for the modern world. The idea of marriage to death exposes a juxtaposition which proves so forceful that one ritual seems to engender the other. These two rituals reveal an interrelationship -- one which penetrates further than a mere attraction of opposites.

MARRIAGE IN
CROSS-CULTURAL TRADITIONS


"Annunciation"
by Canadian artist, Rose Pearson
[Used with permission]

http://www.lawrence.org/edlinks/wedding/wedding.htm

This is "Wedding Customs Around the World." Links include Chinese wedding traditions; ethnic wedding customs in America; African wedding guide; worldwide wedding customs; Aztec wedding ceremony; Japanese weddings: and traditional wedding ceremonies in South Asia.
http://www.zawaj.com/weddingways_main.html
This is Wedding Customs Around the Muslim World.  Excellent links include a Traditional Indian Muslim Wedding; Why Emirati Weddings are Getting Less Lavish; Philippine Muslim (Tausug) Marriages on Jolo Island; Bedouin Weddings; Kashmiri Muslim Weddings; Weddings of the Rashaayda Bedouins of Sudan; Moroccan & Berber Weddings; "The Money Hat" - a Palestinian Wedding Head-Dress; Traditional Palestinian Wedding Dresses; a Wedding in Harar (the only walled city in Ethiopia); a Ribnovo Wedding in Bulgaria; a Wedding in SE Morocco's Tafilalet; a Traditional Yemeni Wedding; Marriage in Somali Culture; Turkish Odyssey: Weddings in Turkey (as well as other rites of passage, such as birth, naming ceremony, circumcision, death); the Winter Wedding Whirlwind in Pakistan; Pakistani Cultural Dresses of Four Provinces; Wedding Ceremony of United Arab Emirates; Antique Arab Wedding Veil; Wedding issues based on Qur'an and Sunnah; Marriage Customs in Villages of Upper Egypt; Egyptian Marriage Customs of the Past and Present; Indian Marriage Customs; Gujarati Muslim Weddings; the Javanese Wedding; and the Malay Wedding.
http://www.weddingsatwork.com/culture_folklore.shtml
This is "Philippine Wedding Folklore & Superstitions" -- an engaging, touching little site. Here are a few excerpts from its opening:
 In this day and age, we Filipinos still cling numerous widely-held folk beliefs that have no scientific or logical basis.... What are enumerate below are mostly superstitions by the Tagalogs. We’re quite sure there are more from the other regions as these beliefs vary from province to province. Some of the items [...] are stuff we heard from our moms and relatives in the provinces from weddings past. These things do come up whenever there’s a wedding in the family....

...It’s ultimately up to you if you want to follow them, but be warned that one superstition may totally contradict another so don’t go crazy over them. Pardon some of our side comments below some of the items, we really can’t help it!

Here are some of my favorites (FYI: parenthetical comments are theirs, not mine):
If the flame dies out on one of the wedding candles, it means the spouse, on whose side the unlit candle belongs to will die ahead of the other. (Glad somebody thought of the Unity Candle and overshadowed all these candle negativity!)

It is considered bad luck for siblings to marry within the same year. In the vernacular, this is known as "sukob" or sharing one's luck with somebody else.

The bride should ‘accidentally’ step on the groom's foot while walking towards the altar if she wants him to agree with her every whim.

A bride who wears pearls on her wedding will never become a miserable wife as the pearls will served as a foil for bad luck and and represent the tears she could have shed if she hasn’t worn any on the wedding day.


MARRIAGE IN THE 21ST CENTURY


"Women I Have Known"
by Canadian artist, Rose Pearson
[Used with permission]

http://sierraclub.typepad.com/greenlife/2007/03/10_steps_to_a_g.html

From the introduction to this excellent Sierra Club site:
Going green is a great way to make the festivities unique and meaningful -- and show friends and family just how fun, beautiful, and delicious a sustainable lifestyle can be....
Ten intriguing tips from The Green Life are then given. My favorites are: [still to be grokked]
http://www.interfaithofficiants.com/DesignYourOwnCeremonyPages/DesignYourOwnCeremonyRituals.html
[annotation tba]

BUT WHAT IF IT ALL UNRAVELS?
CREATING RITUALS OF DIVORCE...


Buried
by Canadian artist, Rose Pearson
[Used with permission]

A ritual of marriage once contained, held, and embraced a mutual sense of joy and everlasting love, but statistics indicate that at least half of today's marriages end in divorce. How does one undo a ritual of marriage with its "until death do us part"? Contemporary societies offer no rituals of divorce. Angry, bitter legal proceedings take their place. During and after a divorce, both parties often feel a sense of betrayal, abandonment, and sadness. The likelihood of divorcing mates coming together in ritual-space to mark the sundering of their marriage is remote. If they were able to do this, they would probably not be divorcing in the first place.

Yet for the psycho-spiritual health of each, a ritual of blessing and release is essential. It might take years before one or the other is prepared to do this, but it is crucial for at least one of the two to create a solitary ritual to free the other from one's "field." Otherwise, a sense of failure, bitterness, and many other negative emotions stay "hooked" into that psychic field. In terms of one's own life, this inhibits growth and openess to hope and well being. For those who accept reincarnation, not to release the other means that future karmic patterms will draw both parties back into bleak and endless "been there, done that" scenarios. It really isn't worth risking such downward spirals in lifetime after lifetime.

Possible rituals of divorce might include a recognition of the good times, the love that once brought you together, the sharings, the laughter, the togetherness, along with a recognition that something went sour. This isn't about blame or establishing who was right or wrong. It is simply about blessing and releasing the other, with all their good qualities and all their destructive ones, from one's "field." Wish the other well, for at some level, despite appearances, your mate is sincerely trying to grow and mature, just as you are. Get past the personal issues and see that mate simply as a generic human being, a stranger, a life-form, a struggling unit of consciousness, just as you are.

Reach out then, wish that being well, just as you wish yourself well, and then let go. Each of you at the sub-atomic level is a garden of stars. You are simply moving into new orbits and neither should hold the other back or there could be disasterous collisions. Bless and release. Burn a photograph if that symbolizes for you what this is all about. Or break a goblet from which you once sipped wine together. Or dance, reaching out to your own truest companions, invisible or otherwise. Do whatever it takes but free that other being, for your own sake as well as for the other's.

You shared a path for a brief time, whether for months or many decades. You both gained, you both lost, you both grew. Now each walks forward into new, holy, spiraling paths and neither can accompany the other. Neither has failed. It is simply how life works. New trajectories beckon. Bless and release. Bless and release. Then shake the dust from your gypsy feet and move forward with trust.

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Text and Design:
© 2007 by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.
All rights reserved

Page created: 7 May 2007 but only had time to grok the first Classical 2 links.
27-28 May 2007: grokked a few more, added still more.
29-30 May 2007: added divorce section.
5 June 2007: added Rose Pearson art & launched unofficially even though 7 links remain to be grokked.
22 June 2007, 6am: grokked the last 3 links in the Classical section: 2 from Perseus Project, one from Diotima; also 2 cross-cultural links; two links yet to go in 21st century section.