On love, marriage and their secret spiritual traditions

On 29 April, pretty much the entire nation viewed the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. Weddings can seem almost trivial these days, when so many marriages end in divorce, but the interest so many people feel in Friday’s event is surely indicative of an age-old archetypal power that moves us despite ourselves. That’s why we thought it would be good to explore what good things might be at the root of this almost universal fascination with a royal wedding so that together, we can resonate with the deeper truths behind it, knowing that others are doing the same. Here, then, are our ruminations:

When Geoff and I were children, we both remember noticing that most of the songs people sang on the radio were about love. Feeling puzzled, especially because a lot of the songs didn’t seem to show any real grasp of what love was – or at least not the way we understood it – we asked our mothers why this should be. Why should people be singing all the time about a word they didn’t know the meaning of?

Now, a lifetime of reflection later, we understand, for we see love as the greatest teacher humanity will ever have; the one thing which, were we to find ourselves marooned on a desert island, would still guide us on every step of the inner journey each of us has to make towards greater beauty, greater light.

Naught is better here on earth
Than matchless, noble love,
Whereby all sorrow flees us and
We’re made like God above.

The Alchemical Wedding of Christian Rosycross, by Johann Valentin Andraea, 1616; download FREE from our website!

Love is often thought of as something that draws us to others. But have you ever considered how love is also something that draws our true Self out of us and into the light of day? Just look what we do for love! See how much we grow when we seek to increase the happiness of those we love. They say we learn from suffering, but how much would we learn from it if love were not there to shed light on our lessons, and show us how to turn chaos into order, ugliness into beauty? Indeed, if we want to turn our darkness into light, is there truly any other way, than to seek to expand our understanding of and capacity for love?

Kahlil Gibran says in The Prophet, ‘When love beckons to you, follow him, though his ways are hard and steep.’ How true that is. For the lessons love brings us are by no means always sweet. But if we remain true to it, through all the conflicts, puzzles and pain life presents us with, it will refine and purify us as no other power on earth can do. It will hew, sculpt and forge us until at last we become vessels that can contain its full glory – and surely that is our ultimate destiny as evolving human beings.

But there is more. We believe that, since time immemorial, there has been a secret spiritual tradition which places love – not just of the unconditional, universal kind, but the love between two people who choose to live their lives together – at its very centre. Kathleen McGowan speaks about such a tradition in her novels, and in our own experience, Geoff and I have had many intimations that such a tradition exists, and believe that it is this tradition which is at the root of the many stories about a ‘bloodline’ of people descended from Jesus and Mary Magdalene. We believe that it is this tradition that has inspired the wedding ceremony as we know it today, so that its secrets are handed down despite our ignorance of them.

And that is why the bride wears white. She dresses as a goddess, all that dazzling whiteness representing the inviolable purity of her soul. For a day, she bears the name (Bride = Bridget) of a goddess. She promises to love, to be a receptacle for love, to be true to love. And her groom promises to be true to her; to love and protect her. To worship her, even. This is the essence, the beauty and the deepest meaning of the marriage ceremony: the conjoining of the god and goddess within each of the partners.

It is our prayer that each of us may – in our quest for love – find our own inviolable purity, that space within where Spirit and soul conjoin, and that we may learn to share that love ever more perfectly with each other. And for William and Kate, we pray that they may find and share that space too, so that their love may in time perfect them, and bring them to a good harvest.