Plucked from the content of Cleaning House comes a wedding blessing and a prayer, one that I had rolling around in my head when I married my love a few years back but didn’t put into word form until this novel. Who knew it’d take an elemental and a human together to coax it out of me?
“Fire powers this blessing.” Stowne lit the smudge from the bonfire. “Earth softens our path.” They tossed a handful of dirt into the air so it fell through the smudge’s smoke. “Wind cools our backs.” Stowne fanned the smudge so it burned brighter. “Water eases our way.” They dipped their fingers into the water bowl beside their stack-stone throne, flicking their fingers so the smudge steamed.
Light the way
Soften our path
Cool our journey
Ease the way
We ask of thee, Mother and Father.
Cent found herself reciting the prayer with everyone else in attendance.
“And you, Centenary.” Stowne dropped to their knees to kiss her feet. “A special blessing for you this night and every night hereafter.” They smudged her from her toes upward, repeating a version of the prayer in Tsalagi as they rose.
You light my way
You soften my path
You cool my journey
You ease my way
“I thank Mother and Father for you each day we are together and plead for your return every day you are not beside me.
“Bless you, Centenary. Bless you for choosing to be mine again, for coming back to me so we can continue.”
What do I— I remember. Cent pressed against Stowne, kissing their smiling mouth as she took the smudge from their hand. She knelt at Stowne’s feet, kissing them, rising slowly as she swung the smudge before them.
We light our way together
We soften our common path
We cool each other on our journey
Togetherness eases the way
I thank God for you each day
And can hardly wait for my return
I am yours. I walk beside you
Through rising flame
Through thickening earth
Through howling wind
Through raging water
Two become one tonight again
Because together we are stronger
She raised the smudge to the top of Stowne’s head, completing the blessing. “I love you, you big hunk of rock.”
“And I love you as well.” Stowne placed their hand over hers, and together they tossed the smudge into the fire, letting the sage bless the entire circle. “The ceremony is finished.”
You can read more excerpts from Cleaning House HERE.