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She's here to chat about marriage traditions and here's what she had to say...
June is the favorite month to tie the knot for most brides and grooms. It seems it’s due to more than the sunny weather and all the blooming flowers available for the ceremony. The tradition of June weddings goes as far back as the Roman empire. June is named for the Roman goddess of marriage, Juno. A popular proverb has even been passed down to us from the ancient Romans, “Prosperity to the man and happiness to the maid when married in June”.
Speaking of ancient wedding traditions, my favorites are ones form Celtic history and lore. Weddings were just as important to the ancient Celts as to the Romans of old. The ancient Celts thought so much of love and marriage they had more types of recognized marriages than any other culture. Under the Brehon (Brehoon) laws of Ireland, there were not one, but 10 types of marriage. I’ll list them.
#1. The man and wife contributed an equal amount of property or finances.
#2. A woman moved to the man's property and contributed little or nothing financially but managed the housekeeping.
#3. A man moved to the woman’s property and contributed little or nothing financially but managed her cattle and her fields.
#4. The husband and wife both had property and managed their own individually, but the children's rights were still safeguarded.
#5. By mutual consent the man and woman shared their bodies, but lived under separate roofs. I call that the have your cake and eat it too marriage.
#6. A man abducted the wife of a defeated enemy. So the woman came to that marriage as a spoil of war.
#7. The man and woman got together only for one night of sex. In modern times we have a slang expression for this relationship, we call it a one night stand. The Celts had an expression as well, they called it a soldier's marriage.
#8. A man seduced a woman by lying to her or by taking advantage of her while she was drunk.
#9. A union by forcible rape. The ancient tale of Camma and Sinorix detail what Celtic women felt about this marriage. After Sinorix killed her husband and forced her to wed him, Camma put poison in the ceremonial wedding cup which they both drank from together. Vengeance against Sinorix was more important than her own life. She used the marriage to get revenge.
#10. Both the man and woman were either feeble-minded or insane.
The Welsh, under the laws of Hywell (whowell) the Good, had the same types of marriages as the Irish, except for # 10.
All types of banter must have occurred regarding these marriages. Going by the way I numbered the marriages, they might have said something to a frenemy like, “Oh, you must have been born from a number 10 marriage.” And they could have more than one spouse, so an ancient Celtic man or woman could have several combinations of marriages.
Can you imagine meeting someone and asking not “are you married?” But “what number marriage do you currently have?” They might reply, “Oh, I have a #1 and a #5 and of course a couple of # 7’s.” And I thought modern day dating was complicated.
To modern man, it seems silly or even cruel to refer to some of these unions as marriages. But it isn’t, because these marriages were not for the benefit of the man or woman, they were for the protection of the children. By recognizing all these unions as legal marriages, the Celts insured there were no illegitimate children. A child born of any of the 10 unions would inherit like any of their parents’ other children. Also the land did not go to the eldest son. The estate was split between all children including the daughters.
Speaking of the ancient Romans and Celts, my new release, Druidess is set in first century AD, when conquering Romans plunge the British tribes into chaos. The future of the mist covered isle of Britannia and its brave people rest in the hands of two druids, whose views are as different as fire and ice. Yet they find love together.
A Note from the Book Boost: This must be why my parents just celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary this past Saturday. June is a lucky month! Thanks for the fun facts, Cornelia. Please tell us more about your latest.
Arch Druid Rhys is a master of the sacred mysteries but a novice in the ways of the heart. Sulwen, a sacred druidess, discovers Rhys, the shape shifter, has evoked a basic, feral desire in her, only to find the goddess may soon exact the unfathomable price of taking him from her.
Though their love is a potent as their magic, is it strong enough to survive the turmoil of the Romans, the Rebel Queen Boudica, and the gods?
He restrained himself, and tenderly traced the line of her cheekbone with his fingers as he gazed into those soulful eyes. “I have seen your image everywhere, in the blue, bubbling creek, in the white clouds of the heavens. I’ve heard you call out to me on the wind, and in the chirping of wrens. I knew you were coming. Yet I can hardly believe you are here. I bless the gods for keeping you safe.”
“I worried about you as well. As the Iceni Archdruid, you would be the first the Romans would slay.”
“Do not worry for me, cariad. The Romans murder anyone who disagrees with them. I am blessed to be among those.” Anger surged through him as he spoke of his foes. “We still have the freedom of our tongues. Though they took our weapons from us, we have forged new ones to wield against Roman flesh.” Absently, his fingers curled into a fist.
“It is Andraste’s will that we battle the Romans. The goddess bade me to tell Boudica to move onward.”
“We shall keep moving.” A wave of apprehension swept through Rhys. “These tidings from Andraste puzzle me. I wish I knew what the goddess is trying to forestall. Something I have not foreseen must hinder the queen.”
“Yes, it must be so. Though the goddess has called me, she had not revealed what I am to thwart. I only know I must bid Boudica to march onward.”
“Yes, I ken what you say. The goddess often asks things of us we do not understand. I have also been put to a hard task, but we will speak of it later.” Rhys cast his eyes downward. Will I ever be able to tell her? If the final battle is lost, I am fated for adbertos. A sacrifice to the gods. “Now we need to think of tomorrow, when we ride into Londinium. The city is sparse, for when Suetonius rode in, most of the men in town left with him.”
Sulwen clasped her hands together and shook her head. “The Romans are cravens. They leave the women and children to the mercy of their enemy.”
“Yes, when have you known Romans to do otherwise?” Gods, when I learned of the massacre, I could not sleep nor eat for days. I feared they had killed you.
“In truth, they are as treacherous as the feline monster, Y Cath Palug,” Sulwen snaped. “Yet they shall not stop us. It is our land, we mean to keep it. The gods will prevail.”
“Yes, and for now we shall forge ahead as Andraste bids.” Once again I am facing the thought of loosing you. Yet this time it will be at my death. Knowing I shall not see you again until our next life together makes my sacrifice even harder.
“Do you think it will end soon?”
Rhys raised his chin, meeting her gaze. “Yes, I do. Very soon. I shall end with it.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Worry not of it now.” His gaze swept over her face, knowing he would never forget the glow of her skin, her large, deep green eyes, nor her perfectly bowed lips. “It is best you rest.” He caressed her soft face with his large hands. “Let us lay together by the bonfire.”
Before she spoke, the smoldering light in her eyes said yes. “I will join you at the bonfire.”
“Ah, Sulwen.” His eyes locked onto her full, sculptured lips.
His mouth swooped down to capture hers. He caught her upper lip between his and suckled them.
Salty, musky, he loved the taste of her and the soft, warm feel of her mouth. Blood pounded in his head. His skin burned. He plunged his tongue inside where it danced and curled. His breath was ragged. Raising his mouth from hers, he gazed into her eyes, which shimmered with an inner fire. His lips still burned.
Rhys led her to stand with him beside the crackling blaze. He wrapped his arms around her small, willing body. He crushed her against his chest, where her pillowy breast rubbed against him.
Burning. Wanton. He held her tightly as he rasped, “Do you know what we must do?”
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