Reverend Jewel Howard
I've been officiating at weddings in New Mexico for over two decades, and I can say with perfect certainty I have received much, much more than I've given. During this time, I have come to realize that our true goal as humans, is to create Spiritual Marriages, symbolizing the connection between heaven and earth or, as Eckhart Tolle would put it "between presence and form."
I first came to Taos on vacation in 1983. Having lived in New York City all of my life, I found Taos to be a "foreign country"containing beautiful landscapes, deep blue skies, adobe buildings, different cultures and a variety of languages. Truly, Taos was a nice place to visit, but I raced home to my comfort zone—New York City.
Yet somehow Taos always pulled me back—five times in three years! Finally, I surrendered to the lure of the “mountain,” and the persistent voice in my head, telling me that Taos would accelerate my spiritual journey. This has certainly been true.
In 1990, I was ordained as a Field Minister in the Brigade of Light Church, a non-denominational Christian Church, founded in 1969 in Charlotte, NC. As a minister, one of my greatest joys has been the pleasure of marrying couples that are drawn to the awesome beauty and spiritual energy of Taos. It has been an honor for me to be part of these marriages, which are always a reminder to me of the commitment, optimism and triumph of LOVE.
I am lovingly assisted by Reverend Barbarah Underwood, who takes care
of many of the details, so that I can be totally present with each couple.
It is an honor for me to share this website with one of my favorite people, Venus Masci, a wonderful photographer and a dear friend. Venus and I have collaborated on wedding services for over 20 years, and I'm thrilled to share her wedding images on this website.
Some Thoughts on Love and Relationship from Reverend Howard
It is always the same and it is always different — this unique journey I take with each couple. Whether they marry in cut-offs or formal dress, in front of two or two hundred, they have come to understand that this is an event of the Spirit, an Initiation that will change them forever. It's important to remember where our true safety and security lie. As long as we play the human game, we' ll seek comfort in form, very often in the object of our affection. As in the fable of the Blue Bird, we search the world for happiness, only to find it in our own backyard. That backyard is our own safe place, our own heart, our own connection to Source and to our loved ones. To quote Marianne Williamson in her book Illuminata, "intimacy doesn't build a bridge to another person, but rather eradicates the illusion that there ever was a gap." When I marry a couple, I have a unique viewpoint — I see their faces, read their body language, observe the way they connect to each other, their loved ones and me. Some are totally connected to each other and oblivious to everyone else. Some are giving instructions even as they share their vows. Some are totally conscious in the present. Some are in another world, some on another plane. What I Would Say To You On Your Wedding Day... "You want it to be wonderful, but "wonderful" doesn't mean perfect. Don't try to micromanage the event — leave space for the "magic"to happen." "You can't control this event any more than you can control life. This is an event of the heart — spontaneity, joy and passion are qualities of the heart." "Be present. Be conscious. Be flexible." "Don't take it personally—any of it. Be grateful for it—all of it." "Prepare as much as you can, make it as much your vision as possible, and then let go and be in the moment."
~ The beautiful Southern bride, dressed in a strapless gown, standing in the snow in her bare feet.
~ The Groom who nearly fainted (there were several of those).
~ The Groom who flew 7,000 miles (from Korea) to wed the woman he's courted for 17 years.
~ The Groom who cancelled a formal wedding back home because, "I didn't want to be taking my vows worrying about the roast."
~ A bride so organized we made her burn her 'list' after the wedding.
~ A 70-something couple who married at the foot of Taos Mountain accompanied by children and grandchildren.
~ An incredibly courageous couple who married the day before she checked into the hospital for a biopsy.
REV. JEWEL HOWARD
A wedding is an event of the heart. Together we co-create a wedding ceremony or renewal of vows that is an event of the spirit and a celebration of the heart.