By Witchipedia, Lore

What is a Sacred Marriage: the Hieros Gamos

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Written by: Morningbird & MS Team

Also known as the hieros gamos, the Sacred Marriage is the perfect union of male and female within alchemy to create a spiritually and physically perfected whole.

Or at least a whole that approaches the perfect, since some alchemists would say that the only perfect being is the Christian God.


Carl Jung avidly studied historical alchemy since he related the terms and beliefs in alchemy to his own beliefs about the inner mind, the female soul or anima, the male soul or animus, the sub-conscious, the shadow self, the death wish or Thanatos.

Modern writers can be expected to be influenced by Carl Jung’s concepts. After all, psychologists and psychiatrists write prolifically in mostly ordinary language while alchemists wrote in code.

The term Sacred Marriage can also refer to the (usually sexual) union of two gods. In Wicca, the Sacred Marriage is the symbolic combination of the Goddess and the God (or her Consort) as a dagger is placed into a chalice.

Sometimes, with full mutual consent, the High Priestess and High Priest have sex to represent the Goddess and the God ritually.

About Morningbird (Witchipedia's Founder)

I am a homesteading hearth witch who grew up along the shores of the Hudson River and has lived among the Great Lakes for the past 20 years. Together with my musical husband and youngest child, I steward a one-acre mini homestead with herb, vegetable and flower gardens, chickens, ducks, geese and rabbits, and areas reserved for native plants and wildlife. 

I have three children; two are grown, and I have been practicing magick alone and with family and friends for over 30 years.

6 thoughts on “What is a Sacred Marriage: the Hieros Gamos”

    • It may be heteronormative, but it is also the definition. The idea behind Sacred Marriage is about opposing forces uniting based on the hermetic Principle of Gender using the symbolism of the phallus and womb. It originated with male-dominated ceremonial magick traditions and was adapted by early 20th Century Witchcraft traditions under the guise of feminism. Women could strap on a sword and represent the male principal, but men could not represent the female principal.

      The idea of the Principle of Gender and all of the rituals associated with it have always been problematic and sources of discussion and debate throughout the modern magical era.

      • I was just kinda shocked it was even on here considering that this website seems pretty tactful about respecting sacred cultural practices/avoiding cultural appropriation. I kind of expected it to also be a bit more mindful toward focusing on magic that’s inclusive toward trans and nonbinary folks. Especially considering how many of us practice magic.

        • I am open to suggestions as to how I can describe this practice in a more sensitive way. I am presenting just the facts here as I know them. Is this term applied to additional practices that are more inclusive that I am not aware of?
          It is important to include it so that when someone says “Hey, will you come to our Sacred Marriage ceremony this weekend” you know what to expect or at least what questions to ask. Removing it entirely because it is offensive would leave anyone not familiar with this term in the dark and possibly in an uncomfortable and even dangerous situation.

          • So you’re saying it was added for informative purposes without necessarily personally agreeing with the concept? The only reason I spoke up is because I was concerned the website was excluding LGBTQ+ members of the witchcraft community.

          • Yes, all of the information is here for informational purposes. The definitions are here are so that people can engage with the community without being confused by jargon, which is often used as a gatekeeping tactic. I don’t agree with all of the concepts presented. I try to include multiple definitions and viewpoints as well as historical and cultural context. If there is more information, or more updated information or evolution or debate that I can also include, I would like to. I am sure that there has been more activity on this subject since this article was written and it is definitely due a rewrite. The Witchipedia has existed in some form for the majority of my adult life and I spend more time rewriting articles as new information becomes available and new discussions are had than I do writing new articles these days. I always welcome new viewpoints and references to help me in that direction. But as there are hundreds of articles, I don’t always know what needs attention until someone points them out. So thank you for doing that.

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