The focus of this final part of my look at the Bodisei will be a special ritual in Bodisei culture.
The Bonding ceremony
If they wish so, two (or more, but I will come to that point later on) people can have a Bonding. This is a special ceremony through which the two are believed to become strongly spiritually connected with one another. These Bondings are unbreakable and a sign of an already strong connection and of deep loyalty, dedication and affection. Those involved should therefore be utmost serious before deciding upon having it.
Because of all this, a Bonding could easily be confused with marriage. However, that last concept is, as with fathers, non-existent among the Bodisei, both in fact and word. Firstly, while they are most often performed between lovers, it is not uncommon for those (either of the same or different sex) in non-romantic, yet strong friendships to have Bondings. It is not a necessity for romantic involvement, sexual intercourse, having children, living together (Bodisei, bonded or not, spend their entire lives with their own family), forming or strengthening ties between groups or families (families in Bodisei bands are few and already very close) or for whatever other reason a marriage may be held. Also, it does not come with any formal status within Bodisei society nor any sort of exclusive and permanent commitment that often come with marriage and no consent from anyone except the bonded is necessary. It is the choice and matter of those bonded and those bonded alone, of not a single other, and it affects not a single other.
This ceremony goes, largely, as follows:
First, the two make several cuts in the palm each of their own hands. This is done in a shape decided upon by them before the ceremony takes place and is the same for both. From that moment they may not look at each other throughout most of the ceremony. With their faces pointed at the ground, they then approach each other with cupped hands. As they close their eyes, they take each others’ hands (left hands are taken with the right hands and vice versa) and let their blood mix. Upon releasing each other’s hands after about three minutes, they then open their eyes again and look each other straight in the eyes. As of that moment the Bonding between the two is a fact.
All this takes place in complete silence, with only the two bonded as direct witnesses. The Bonding is made visual to others by means of the scars of the cuts, which remain throughout their lives and bare the same shapes for both Bodisei.
While a Bodisei is allowed to have more than one Bonding, this happens only on very rare occasions and only with the consent of the other bonded. When it does happen, the other already bonded will be considered to have a half-Bonding with the newly bonded. The half-Bonding differs from the Bonding in that it usually isn’t as strong as the latter and can be broken if both half-bonded agree on this, which is a rarity. Half-bonded Bodisei may have a “full” Bonding themselves.
Behind the Scenes
With marriage not present among the Bodisei I was looking for something that could fulfill a similar role, a union signifying strong affection between people, but at the same time was very unlike marriage; unofficial, only affecting those involved in it and actually unbreakable. The Bonding ceremony was the result. Like I mentioned yesterday, I’m quite proud of this one. While fairly simple, I believe the ceremony is at the same time quite effective and powerful, I think. The cutting of the patterns involves pain and signifies the sacrifice those involved are willing to make for each other. The mingling of the blood symbolizes the Bonded coming closer together, becoming a an indissoluble part of each other’s life. And the patterns are the physical representation of unity and the permanence of their bond. Ever since its conception quite some years ago this is undoubtedly one of my background pieces I look upon most fondly. If there was one thing I might do differently, it would probably be either changing or removing the half-Bonding. While described as rare and not as strong as a full Bonding, I think it does somewhat cheapen the effect of the Bonding ceremony. Other than that, though, I still do love the Bonding ceremony.
And with that my look backstage at my own created people, the Force-sensitive Bodisei, comes to an end. Despite the interest in it appearing to dwindle as it went on (judging by the number of likes for the later entries) I really enjoyed sharing this with you all and I hope enjoyed this little mini-series as well. I have at least one other culture and quite some other background information I created for my Star Wars stories and which I would love to share, so a continuation of Going Backstage at a later point is definitely a possibility. I hope to see you there! May the Force be with you all!