The Blood & Roses ceremony is a ritual first devised—though rarely employed—during the early days of the Sanguinarium, designed in the fashion of a traditional Celtic or Wiccan handfasting. As such, this marriage is not federally recognized or legally binding, and those who feel it appropriate are encouraged to have both a Dayside and a Nightside wedding. It is a ritual meant to be performed for a Vampyric couple who has remained together for a considerable period of time. It is not meant to be performed for human/Vampyre or Black Swan/Vampyre couples, polyamorous relationships or relationships that are noticeably short or built upon weak foundations.
This is a modernized retelling of an old Tradition that has been long forgotten by many, as it is my wish—as a Ramkht of the Gotham Halo, a Chylde of the Legacy and a student of the Sanguinarium—to re-introduce the Old Traditions of the Sanguine Era to my brothers and sisters of the Blood who may not be aware that we once had such Traditions, a culture and a heritage under which we were all One in the Unity of the Current.
To share such beauty with you all is my extreme pleasure, and I hope that somewhere, someday, two lovers who share a love as strong as our Blood will come together to be bonded together in Darkness and Light.
In the Blood of the Gotham Halo,
Vincent Irkalla, Ramkht
The best time to perform this ceremony is during a waxing moon, preferably when the moon is in the House of an astrological sign related to love and marriage, such as Libra. Suitable locations include natural areas like public parks or grottoes; homes with open backyard areas are perfect, and any area chosen should be able to accommodate a small group of spectators. Locations such as cemeteries may be desired, but please take caution that you are not trespassing upon private property—or at the very least, try not to get caught.
All in attendance ought to be dressed appropriately, in formal or traditional attire. Extravagance is encouraged—makeup, Victorian or Venetian costume, etc.—but the attire of the attendees should not draw attention away from the two meant to be bonded. It is needless to say that they should be the best-dressed, so long as they are comfortable, as well.
There are some basic materials required for this ritual; attendees and those presiding over the ritual should be prepared. A durable stick of chalk will be needed in order to draw the ritual circle and sigils (see below) upon the ground for the bride and groom to stand upon, if the ritual is performed somewhere with hard, solid pavement. It should be clearly visible even with two people standing within it. If the ritual is performed on not-so-solid ground, such as soil or sand, then the Ramkht should use his or her wand to trace the marking into the ground.
In the upper-left quadrant is the letter A in Vampyric script, representing alpha (“beginning”). In the lower-left quadrant is the letter O in Vampyric script, representing omega (“end”). The two are kept apart to represent a love that has no beginning or an end—an immortal love. The center of the circle should be marked with a Sanguine ankh; the couple to be bonded will stand on either side of it.
A small altar and altar cloth (see below) are necessary so as to lay out the rest of the materials, which are:
· one red candle
· one blue candle inscribed with the name of the bride
· one blue candle inscribed with the name of the groom
· two black candles
· a wine glass or silver chalice, filled ¼ of the way with the blood of the betrothed
· two silver rings, appropriately sized for the bride and for the groom (not shown)
· the Ramkht’s wand or ar’thana (not shown)
· a small brass bell to open the ritual (not shown)
As bride and groom each take up a black candle in their hands and light it, they will then use the flame from those black candles to light the blue candle on the altar with the others’ name upon it; that is, the bride will light the groom’s candle and the groom will light the bride’s.
The rite officially opens with the presiding Ramkht drawing a pentagram in the air with their wand or ar’thana in order to cleanse the area in which the ritual is taking place. They will then ring a bell to signal the commencement.
Standing before the couple to be wed, in front of the circle and behind the altar, the Ramkht declares: “Under the veil of night, we gather here, in Love and Loyalty, and in the name of Truth and Passion, to celebrate the affirmation of the bond between and __(bride)__ and __(groom)__.”
All present participants give an offering of their energy, either sanguine or pranic, unto the Strigoi Morte.
The Ramkht continues: “On this night, this couple offers their most sacred and precious gift: each other. Tonight, both __(bride)__ and __(groom)__ humbly stand before the Ancients, as well as their brothers and sisters of the Blood, to consecrate this declaration of eternal unity.”
To the groom, the Ramkht says, “Repeat after me, milord: ‘This circle which we stand in represents, as does the circle of this ring, our undying love and devotion. With this symbol, I thee wed, forever in this life and any to come,’ ” at which point, the groom slides his ring onto the ring finger of his beloved.
To the bride, the Ramkht repeats, “Repeat after me, milady: ‘This circle which we stand in represents, as does the circle of this ring, our undying love and devotion. With this symbol, I thee wed, forever in this life and any to come,’ ” at which point, the bride slides her ring onto the ring ﬁnger of her beloved.
“And it is done: your bond is made,” the Ramkht declares, “By the power of the Ancients, in the name of these two souls, bound forevermore, I now pronounce Sir __(groom)__ and Madame __(bride)__ as husband and wife for all of eternity!”
The newlywed couple kiss before the spectators. All who are present may all close the ritual by shouting, “In Love and Loyalty!” Members of Clan Sabretooth (α) may choose to close the ritual with an exclamation of, “Hail Elorath!”, while citizens of the Gotham Halo may opt to close with a Gotham Howl.
Originally published 23:15 EST, 30 Sep 2018 (S.Y. 22)
Updated 5:28 EST, 2 Nov 2018 (S.Y. 23)
Header image credit: modified stock image