Origin of the “Benediction of the Apaches”

Benediction of the Apache
Benediction of the Apache

One of the more used readings or benedictions is the Benediction of the Apache. I use this sometimes when people want a Civil ceremony or a ceremony without any prayers but they want something that has a spiritual tone to it.

It has an interesting history that has less to do about Apaches and more to do about modern day fiction. Elizabeth Oakes in the Phoenix examiner writes the following account of the origin of this Benediction. Her web site can be found at (click here) and the following is what she writes about it.

“The original text of the “Apache Wedding Prayer” derives from Elliott Arnold’s 1947 novel Blood Brother, which was adapted into a screenplay for the 1950 Jimmy Stewart/Jeff Chandler film Broken Arrow. The book and film are fictionalized accounts of the historically-documented friendship betweem Tom Jeffords and the Apache leader Cochise during the Apache Wars.

To keep the fictionalized Tom Jeffords company, Arnold invented a beautiful young Apache maiden named Sonseeahray as a love interest and, as Arnold concedes in the book’s preface, he also invented the wedding rite depicted in the book. No such Apache ritual exists, according to historians John E. O’Connor and Angela Aleiss; Arnold’s wording of the “ceremony of love” is significantly different from the version we know today:”

“Now for you there is no rain,
For one is shelter to the other.
Now for you there is no sun,
For one is shelter to the other.
Now for you nothing is hard or bad,
For the hardness and the badness is taken by one for the other….”

Here is the version that is used most often. ”

Benediction of the Apaches

“Now you will feel no rain,

For each of you will be shelter to the other.
Now you will feel no cold,
For each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now there is no more loneliness for you.
For each of you will be companion to the other.
Now you are two bodies,
But there is only one Life before you.
Go now to your dwelling place,
To enter into the days of your togetherness.
And may your days be good and long upon the earth”

One thought on “Origin of the “Benediction of the Apaches”

  1. I think the apache benediction is a beautiful verse for weddings, my husband and i were married at a lake we visit every year and this verse was the most important in our ceremony. if you are at all spiritual with a native backround it makes it even more special, i have it hanging on my wall with our marriage certificate and i read it every day, it meand more to me than all the under god and poetic stuff typically spoken at wedding ceremonys.

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