As promised, here is the text of my presentation on spirit marriage and etc. at Many Gods West: “When They come courting.” It includes the sources I used as well as a bigger “resources” section with things I couldn’t fit in at all. I’ve also included an Acknowledgements section, because I got a lot of help, both from friends and from years of reading what people on this path long before me have said.
The presentation was received well, and I’m pleased that a number of people told me afterwards that it was useful and interesting! I also know there were several other people who were interested in being there, but had other conflicts. (The number who did show up – 14 or 15 – was just about right for my comfort level. I had two fears going in about audience size: that only a couple people would show up, or there’d be, like, 50.)
I had slides prepared which I wasn’t able to show, and I think things went fine without them. However, I’d found a bunch of images that I found evocative of different aspects of the pagan experience that I still want to share, and collecting them online means I can add a few more than I had in the slides, so here, follow this link.
The time restriction was also tough: there were a lot of things I wanted to say more about and I had to really simplify the historical and non-pagan examples. There is a huge amount of complexity and richness in all of that, and for anyone interested in this subject, I strongly recommend reading more about it! My top general recommendations are Emma Wilby’s Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits and the dissertation “Marrying Jesus: Brides and the bridegroom in medieval women’s religious literature;” of all the non-pagan reading I’ve done, those have been the most meaningful for me, and not just for marriage-related reasons.
I’ve been toying with the idea of doing an expanded and revised version of the document so I can put in more on some of those examples, and include a few other examples that I couldn’t work in AT ALL. There were also several parts of the pagan section I wanted to say more about. I didn’t really get into the sexual aspect that can exist in such relationships, like what purposes sexual connection serves (there can be many, including “some spirits really like that energy”). We’ll see if that happens . . .
However, and this is very exciting, I spent some time over the weekend talking with someone who has experience with faery lovers in the context of traditional witchcraft, who said they’d been thinking about doing an anthology on that subject. I have also been thinking for a while that a book on spirit marriage, godspousery, etc., would be great, but I do NOT want to write it (it would take years to do the research, and I do not want to do years of research!), so I was thinking anthology thoughts. So we’re talking about putting something like this together, to cover a broad range of experiences, which would be really awesome. I’ll post updates when there’s something to update about it.