The Love Ceremony

Alan Kevin Walton King. (Ehirim File Images)


There is a grand ceremony that takes place in the Five Lands. Whose origin and nature have been hidden, that is until now. It is the ceremony of ceremonies, that I have the privilege of setting before you now. There is a blessing that accompanies the ceremony, to those that hear it, tell it, and participate in it.

For each year after the harvest the Five Lands come together to celebrate the Love Ceremony. It is the oldest and greatest and most anticipated ceremony of the year. Greater than the initiation ceremony where the boys and girls on the cusp of adulthood leave behind the vestiges of childhood and attain the full privileges and responsibility that accompanies their new status as full citizens of the village. Greater even than the wedding ceremony where two individuals come together in love to start a new tribe. Or even the ceremony that takes place after one has constructed a new home, or the ceremony that occurs when a village has been victorious in battle. Greater even than the ceremony after the first rains of the year, or the wonderful harvest ceremony, or even the ceremony after a child is born. Or the ceremony at the time of death when one transcends the material realm and becomes an ancestor.

The love ceremony is supreme because the Five lands that make up our realm, the mountains, the desert, the forest, the plains, and the waters come together to celebrate love in all its healing, creative, and joyous forms.

For before the Love Ceremony the Five Lands were sworn enemies. And the conflict became so great that all the lands were on the verge of catastrophe and extinction. But before the point of no return, each of the lands at the same time and without knowing their enemies were doing the same thing, sent one emissary to ask for peace or else become a sacrifice, for they knew not which.

But instead of a sacrifice each land was ready for peace. For by this time those who were feuding were advanced in age and saw the toll that the conflict had had on their lives. They did not want their children to face the same fate. And so, in honor of the Five Brave Heroes, the Love Ceremony was established.

So, after the harvest when the weather is still warm, before the winter and while the hearts and bodies of the people are still glad the Five Lands celebrate their love.

One village brings the Meal of Love, another the Song of Love, still another the Story of Love, another the Ritual of Love, and the last the Game of Love.

This year it was the Land of The Mountains turn to host the ceremony and to prepare the Meal of Love. And so as is tradition two are selected to gather the ingredients for the Meal of Love. A boy and a girl at the age of adulthood.

And so early the next morning they went out to the surrounding villages to collect the ingredients which would become the Meal of Love of the Love Ceremony.

And when they came to the first village the villagers said our ingredients are bitter because our love has been difficult this year. And they gave them bitter herbs. When they came to the second village, they said our ingredients are fatty because our love has been abundant this year. And they gave them fat young calves. When they came to the third village, they said our ingredients are salty because our love has healed us this year and they gave them all manner of salt and spices. The fourth village said our ingredients are sweet for our love has flowed easily this year and they gave them fruit of every kind. At the fifth village they said our ingredients are healthy for our love has sustained us this year and they gave them all kinds of vegetables and leafy greens. And so, did each village give ingredients according to the character of love that year.

At the end of their journey they brought all the ingredients back for the Love Meal. And all of the inhabitants of the Land of The Mountain worked together to prepare the greatest love meal that they could.

Everyone was glad to help and on the day of the Love Ceremony, before the sun broke through the dark night you could smell the aroma of love winding its way through the mountain villages.

And before long the Land of The Desert approached and you could hear the song of love “love is here” they sang, “yes our love is here.” And as they heard the Song of Love the children started to dance. And so, during the year whenever one was downtrodden or grief stricken, they could sing the Song of Love and so restore their love and joy.

Next the Land of The Water came with the Game of Love and the children gathered to learn the new game. And as they played you could hear the sound of laughter all around. So that whenever one was disappointed, they could remember that our very lives are the Game of Love that we play and love never disappoints for long.

Then the Land of The Forest came with the Story of Love and they went to each person and family one by one, and they taught them the Story of Love and the origin of The Love Celebration. And so whenever one was confused or hurting, they could remember and recite the Story of Love and experience refreshing and renewal rather than resort to conflict.

And after the sun crossed the sky everyone gathered for the Meal of Love. The Land of The Mountain villages and The Land of The Desert villages and The Land of The Water villages and The Land of The Plains villages and The Land of The Forest villages. And everyone was happy and full of love. And whenever anyone was tempted by bitterness or resentment or hatred, they would remember the Meal of Love that they shared at the Love Ceremony and their very bodies would be full of love once again.

And after the Love Meal it was time for the Ritual of Love. And all the villages sat in a circle as the Land of The Plains’ villages conducted the Love Ritual. During the ritual each person and each land and each village looked inside to see their love if it was well and whole or ill. And each put their love in the center of the circle and waited for their collective love to grow. For if it did then their individual love and village love would do the same. And if it did grow, they wondered what it might become.

And that night as they all sat in the circle life began to sprout in their midst. First a green shoot, then a stalk, and finally a branch. As night turned to day, they could see that a gorgeous Tree of Love was growing. And as the dawn approached, an elder from each village proclaimed a blessing of love upon the Five Lands. That as long as the Tree of Love grew so too would the love in their land.

And you too my children of love as long as you see life around you, know that love dwells within you as well.

Questions for The Journey

What is the flavor of your love? How is the love inside you is it whole or ill? How do you maintain your love? How do you heal your love? With whom do you share your love? How do you experience love? How do you express your love? How do feel and know that you are loved? How do you address the need for love in you and your world? What question do you want to walk with this day?

Through storytelling, poetry, singing, dancing, preaching, and facilitating spaces and times of cultural wellness, Alan Kevin Walton King creates a space for love. Bringing together his experience and training as a religious minister; along with training and performing with Griots and professional artists in Senegal, Mali, and the Gambia; his work in Post-Katrina New Orleans as a community organizer, a whole-hearted participant in second line dance performances, and as a preacher in communities looking to rediscover their vision; and most recently working as a psychotherapist and healer. Walton King Lives in Los Angeles

Alan Kevin Walton King: