The Sacred Fire Ceremony is symbolic of the separate lives of the couple and the union of One accomplished by this beautiful and exciting ceremony.
A fire circle is built with high sides made of stones. Seven types of wood are specially cut from specific types of trees by a priest or spiritual leader. The wood and fire circle are blessed with prayer and song ceremonies.
Three separate fires are prepared in the sacred fire circle. One large fire prepared in the center of the Circle represents the Creator and the holy union of two people. Two smaller fires are prepared, one in the north and one in the south that represents the bride and groom who have individual lives before the wedding ceremonies. Tobacco, sage, sweet grass and corn are sprinkled on the respective fires by the spiritual leader, bride and groom as prayers are given and songs are sung.
The bride and groom each offer a prayer (aloud or silently) as the two small fires are lit. After both fires burn for a few moments, the bride and groom gently push their two small fires into the large stack of wood in the center which catches fire. All sing praises to the Creator as the two lives are merged into one holy union.
Another variation of the Fire Ceremony is called the Rite of Seven Steps. In this wedding ceremony, both the bride and groom take seven steps sunwise (clockwise) around the sacred fire. For each step taken, a vow is said by each.
The groom makes one step forward and says a vow, and then the bride takes a step to join him and says her vow until one round around the fire is completed. Family and friends join hands in a circle around the fire.
A variation of the Rite of Seven Steps ceremony has the couple exchanging gifts after each step to signify each vow given. Example: kernels of corn represent fertility and growth, a feather stands for truth and loyalty, a stone stands for strength, solidarity and wisdom. The vows shown below are only an example of words that may be recited; however, you should consider writing your own vows.
GROOM STEP 1: My beloved, our love has become firm by your walking one with me. Together we will share the responsibilities of the lodge, food and children. May the Creator bless noble children to share. May they live long.
BRIDE STEP 1: This is my commitment to you, my husband. Together we will share the responsibility of the home, food and children. I promise that I shall discharge all my share of the responsibilities for the welfare of the family and the children.
GROOM STEP 2: My beloved, now you have walked with me the second step. May the Creator bless you. I will love you and you alone as my wife. I will fill your heart with strength and courage: this is my commitment and my pledge to you. May God protect the lodge and children.
BRIDE STEP 2: My husband, at all times I shall fill your heart with courage and strength. In your happiness I shall rejoice. May God bless you and our honorable lodge.
GROOM STEP 3: My beloved, now since you have walked three steps with me, our wealth and prosperity will grow. May God bless us. May we educate our children and may they live long.
BRIDE STEP 3: My husband, I love you with single-minded devotion as my husband. I will treat all other men as my brothers. My devotion to you is pure and you are my joy. This is my commitment and pledge to you.
GROOM STEP 4: My beloved, it is a great blessing that you have now walked four steps with me. May the Creator bless you. You have brought favor and sacredness in my life.
BRIDE STEP 4: My husband, in all acts of righteousness, in material prosperity, in every form of enjoyment, and in those divine acts such as fire sacrifice, worship and charity, I promise you that I shall participate and I will always be with you.
GROOM STEP 5: My beloved, now you have walked five steps with me. May the Creator make us prosperous. May the Creator bless us.
BRIDE STEP 5: My husband, I will share both in your joys and sorrows. Your love will make me very happy.
GROOM STEP 6: My beloved, by walking six steps with me, you have filled my heart with happiness. May I fill your heart with great joy and peace, time and time again. May the Creator bless you.
BRIDE STEP 6: My husband, the Creator blesses you. May I fill your heart with great joy and peace. I promise that I will always be with you.
GROOM STEP 7: My beloved goddess, as you have walked the seven steps with me, our love and friendship have become inseparable and firm. We have experienced spiritual union in God. Now you have become completely mine. I offer my total self to you. May our marriage last forever.
BRIDE STEP 7: My husband, by the law of the Creator, and the spirits of our honorable ancestors, I have become your wife. Whatever promises I gave you I have spoken them with a pure heart. All the spirits are witnesses to this fact. I shall never deceive you, nor will I let you down. I shall love you forever.