The first time I heard the word ‘traditional’ get overused and misused at the same time, I was taking classes to learn Reiki. After learning about Usui Mikeo’s spiritual awakening and subsequent teachings, I was excited to study this path to understanding one’s self.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, don’t feel bad. Even my Appletop underlined ‘Reiki’ and ‘Usui Mikeo’ in red. Let me fix that, real quick, and teach it those words…
…like I had to do with ‘Appletop’…
…and we’re good!
Usui Mikeo went up on a mountain, almost a hundred years ago, and fasted for twenty-one days. At the end of his time meditating, he received a great spiritual gift.
According to the story, anyway.
He was able to heal virtually any disease, in pretty much anyone, according to that story. It’s a pretty cool story, but it wasn’t really the part of Usui Mikeo’s life that I was interested in. I wanted to learn about what he taught to people after his experience. When I tried to take a class in California, I was told that there were two kinds of Reiki. One was a clear mishmash of shamanism, qigong and paganism, with some Japanese words thrown in for effect. The other was Usui’s original work, which had been recently translated and was being integrated into what had been taught previously by itself.
The teacher called the first ‘Traditional Reiki’. She referred to the other as ‘New Reiki’. I pointed out that she had it backwards, enough times that I got a sideways glance instead of a reply; I took the hint, and kept my mouth shut for the rest of the class. Mostly.
It’s been the same with this subject, a time or two. You might be surprised to hear that some women don’t like to hear what kinds of thing you think of when they mention traditional marriage, when you know a little about history. Then again, you might be the wise one who just knows when to keep their big mouth shut.
As you may have guessed by now, I’m not that guy.
Do you know where the tradition of the best man comes from, or why he’s called that? That’s how you referred to your top warrior, back in the day; he helped you abduct your bride, and battle the army that pursued as you made off with her. I don’t think I have a whole lot of friends that would fight off my bride’s father’s army while I took actual literal possession of her, but maybe I do. I’ll have to ask…
Got to make sure he’s got a sword, too. That is the tradition.
And that dowry guys seldom get these days…it was payment, for taking the burden of having a daughter from a father. There’s nothing romantic about your father paying a guy to take you off his hands, but it’s definitely a tradition.
Traditionally, marriages were sanctioned by churches. There was no legal contract involved, and there was no divorce either. People stayed together, back when marriage was made a tradition. It’s why folks still say, “till death do us part” as part of the ceremony, although over half of them don’t mean it.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not against marriage. I just want a modern marriage, that’s all. When my partner and I join what little of our lives together that have not already been joined in legal marriage, I want to make sure that we’re clear on a few things.
I’m not expecting a dowry, or a war. My girl’s dad is not going to try to kill me, as far as I know…he’s certainly had his share of opportunities, and all he’s used them for is to become one of my favorite people to hang out with. He’s also not going to pay me, or say something horrible like, “well, she belongs to you now.”
We both love Dawn, and we wouldn’t talk about her like that.
Fortunately, none of our family members will suggest something selfish like us having kids. We have way too much to do, and the world has more people than it has resources to distribute among them.
That would just be silly.
Instead of kidnapping her against her will, I’ll go ahead and ask. It’s much more polite, albeit much less traditional. She can wear a veil if she likes…since I already know what she looks like, and am endlessly pleased by it, it won’t be for any traditional reason; but that’s fine. We might dress up like our wedding party, to confuse the evil spirits as to who the real bride and groom are…but we’ll probably do it mostly because that’s the tradition.
We’ll have flowers, to take the place of the herbs and spices that used to hang around an event like this. They were also there to ward off evil spirits, who were apparently big fans of crashing weddings back in the day. I mean, why did they do so much to keep them away? We’ll try to forego the evil spirits by not sending them invites, and by drinking plenty of the good ones.
Speaking of drinking…the bachelor’s final night as a bachelor has only recently morphed into a party, and the presence of strippers at that party is really quite new. It was once a great feast, with the bride’s father and the groom’s friends toasting the groom long into the night. The French term for it means something like ‘the night that we bury the boy’, to remind the fellow getting married that it’s time to grow up and be responsible for his family.
It’s much more American to hang out with naked ladies that last night, than it is to drink with a bunch of dudes. When we remember that it was Sparta that started this tradition, we might also remember the sexual practices that they were known for. Just because it was all dudes at the party, it doesn’t mean nobody took their clothes off. I’ll take the American tradition any day, if we’ve got to be traditional about it.
I’ll have to make sure my best man reads this, when the time comes.
I’ll also have to make sure he has a sword.
Before anyone decides to get married, they should definitely take steps to make sure the union will bring out the best in everyone involved. It turns out that this can be more difficult to determine than ever, with prescription drugs literally altering some people’s chemical makeup. Next week we’ll talk about that, and how some women stop taking birth control to start a family…only to find that they are no longer chemically compatible with the partner they chose while on birth control drugs.
That’s not the only issue we’ll be discussing, when we talk about who is ‘just not right for each other’. There are some pretty strange things that happen, when the wrong people get together.
I hope you come back next week, and read about it.
Thanks for reading!
All the best,