Saturday, December 5, 2009

The traditional weapons exchange

So, my Woogie has been doing some reading about the traditional Heathen wedding, and has let me know that the groom is supposed to give his bride an ancestral sword, and that she, in turn, is supposed to give him a new sword. And that this takes place during the wedding.

Well, first off, this is just awesome. I mean, how spectacularly cool would it be to exchange swords at the wedding? I know, right? Sweet!

However, I'm unsure of the symbolism in terms of our marriage. According to the Viking Answer Lady (and everyone should just love Viking Answer Lady):

The ancestral sword signified the traditions of the family and the continuation of the bloodline, while the sword given to the groom by the bride symbolized the transfer of the father's power of guardianship and protection over the bride to her new husband.

Right. Doesn't really fit us. I mean, we have considered adopting children, and there's nothing wrong with passing down the traditions of the family, but I'm not taking over guardianship of her from anyone. I mean, I'm all for protecting her, but I would not like to imply that she is incapable of taking care of herself.

This might be a moot point, though, as my family doesn't have any ancestral swords. And why would they? First of all, my people are not Viking warrior folk. They are small town Mississippi folk. My grandfather on Dad's side was a sharecropper. My grandfather on Mom's side worked on the railroad. Second off, swords just aren't practical anymore.

What Dad does have is an old shotgun that belonged to his grandfather and a .22 rifle he bought for himself from the Sears and Roebuck when he was in high school. One of those would fit with the spirit of the thing. After all, I'm sure the sword exchange was meant to be practical as well as symbolic. I could give her the ancestral shot gun, and she could get me a shiny new shotgun, giving a whole new meaning to shotgun wedding.

However, it would be difficult to find a venue that lets you tote a couple of big guns to the wedding, even here in Mississippi.

As another option, we could both get each other new swords. We chose the name Blackthorn together as the surname for our new and not-exactly-tradtional queer family. It's not the last name either of us were born with. Having a new sword made to be passed down our line as the Blackthorn family sword is not a bad idea, I'm thinking. Even if we don't end up adopting, we could end up passing it on to a younger queer Heathen who we feel is part of our made family. And giving each other swords could symbolize that we are to protect each other and our family together.

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