Metzalli and Chris' Burning Man wedding is a sight to behold, but the symbols and rituals they employed were truly fascinating, including a dance to their ancestors and a ritual where they held a dagger to each others' necks as a symbol of trust.
In this particular case, we're going to let the couple and their photographer relay all the amazing details:
Wind sweeps and swirls the fine dust through the air, creating a translucent curtain of white, powdery alkali that blankets everything in its path. Ventilation masks prevent inhalation of playa dust into the lungs, turning to mud. Goggles must be worn to see through the constant dust storms. Bicycles are required to traverse the 60+ miles of roads. No, this is not an ordinary wedding. This is an exercise in radical self-sufficiency This is Burning Man. This is Black Rock City… and it’s trying its best to kill me.
We arrived just before sunset at the Temple of Promise, a lobed spire arching nearly 100 feet into the desert sky. The skyward curving shrine invites participants deeper, offering a transformative path as it gradually twists and tapers down before opening into a grove of weeping willow trees. The branches of the trees are initially bare. Participants write messages on long strips of cloth and attach them to the trees, creating the gentle shade of weeping willows. The temple has become an annual space of memorial and contemplation on the playa. It has also become a place for celebrating life and love so it was befitting for Chris and Metzalli to wed before it.
The ceremony began with a grounding ritual by calling upon the elements. Next the couple made their way around their circle of friends hugging and thanking them for being a spiritual part of their lives and their day. Next, Metzalli performed a dance for her ancestors followed by calling upon her four Goddesses: La Santisima Muerte, Mistress of Death, a protectress who guards from all harm while reminding that every moment is precious; Hekate, Queen of Witches, who provides vision to see between the worlds and connects the Quantum Sea; An Morrighan, the Great Queen, who provides bravery and strength for the battle; and finally Aphrodite, Lady of Love, who provides the power to love thyself and others truly and fully.
As the couple’s officiant spoke of love, perseverance, and understanding, Metzalli wanted their vows to signify fully trusting one another so the couple performed a dagger (or athame) ritual which stems from Gerald Gardner’s writings on the first degree of Initiation (origins of Wicca, with Gardner’s own Book of Shadows, the athame represents fire). Holding a dagger to another’s throat is a way of knowing they fully trust you and vice versa and in doing so, Metzalli wished to express the trust the couple has for each other visually.
Fires raged off in the distance as Metzalli and Chris shared their first kiss before hopping onto their bikes and riding off into the flames.
Photography: Jason Kaczorowski Photography