Marriage to a God
Not literal marriage to a Physical God, that is, but a symbolic marriage to a less-tangible deity, who may or may not be real. Sometimes it's fairly benign — the girl in question (and it usually is a girl) simply serves as a priestess of the deity to whom she is wedded. Other times, this involves Human Sacrifice, in which case the god is probably either evil (possibly a demon or an Eldritch Abomination) or nonexistent. This type can be the dark secret of the Town with a Dark Secret and may be accompanied by a Fête Worse than Death. For the more literal type of marriage, see Divine Date.
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- The girl who traveled with the swamp in the fifth episode of Mushishi. She was sacrificed to the river god as a bride, so that the floods in her village would stop. When, to her surprise, she survived and woke up in the swamp (now with green hair) she decides to go along with it and basically act like the swamp is her spouse.
- In a way, the Priestess in Fushigi Yuugi becomes a consort to whatever god she summons. (Driven home, for example, by Seiryuu assuming human form and entering Yui's heart, causing her to orgasm.) This may be an explanation as to the fancy ceremonial robes (which, particularly with Miaka's do evoke images of some kind of bride), and why the Priestess is supposed to be a virgin.
- The manhwa The Bride Of The Water God begins with the heroine Soah being offered up as a sacrifice in symbolic marriage to the water god Habaek in order to end a severe drought. Then it turns out it's not all that symbolic and things get more complicated from there.
- Adam Destine from ClanDestine has this going on. It's a djinn, rather than a god, but the thought counts.
- Fred Christ, a transhumanist Con Man and Cult leader in Transmetropolitan, has "Brides of Christ," who are expected to get a lot more...frisky...with their deity than regular nuns do.
- Referenced in Troy. Achilleus tells Berseis, who is a virgin priestess of Apollo that if she professes to love the gods, she'll find the romance one sided.
- In C. S. Lewis's Till We Have Faces, Istra's sacrifice appears to be this initially. Then it turns out she does get literally married to a Physical God.
- In the Belgariad, Nyissians select a girl who looks especially like Salmissra, a priestess favored by their serpent deity. Said look-alike then rules as queen until death, regardless of qualifications or lack thereof.
- This is because Issa forgot to give the original Salmissra immortality and, in typical Nyissan fashion, the Nyissans thought it easier to get themselves another queen rather than risk waking up and possibly annoying their god. Polgara 'fixes' this during the Belgariad, when the current Salmissra takes a not-so-healthy shine to Garion. She makes her immortal, but turns her into a giant snake (she ends up rather preferring it like this.) 20 girls are initially selected for "training", and when one takes the throne, the remaining 19 are killed to prevent dissention. It's actually best if Salmissra lacks qualifications, as displaying any semblance of competence tends to lead to the grooming of their successors.
- Happens to the Minoan girl in The Egyptian. But God Is Dead and it's a Crapsack World anyway, so things go badly.
- Michael Gear/Kathleen O'Neal Gear's People of the Thunder ends when a Seer-woman dives into the river to marry the Horned Serpent (taking the Jerk Ass to end all Jerk Asses down with her)
- In The Once and Future King, Elaine joins a convent after Lancelot abandons her. The narrator notes that there's nothing particularly romantic about her decision to become a "bride of Christ", and she just thought it was the only thing for her to do.
- Happens with Maria and Aidoneus (the god of the dead) in This Rough Magic.
- This is what the villagers think happens to the young girls they sacrifice in Red Reaper novel Sword Sisters by Ragnarok Publications. In fact, they're eaten.
Live Action TV
- In True Blood, Maryann is a maenad, and her plan is to become the bride of Dionysus by finding the perfect sacrifice and ritually cutting out his or her heart as tribute to him. She believes this ritual will call Dionysus to Earth, after which he will ravish and devour her until she's "lost into oblivion".
- The Australian mini-series Brides of Christ shows the rituals of becoming a nun through the eyes of Diana and Veronica, from their postulancy to their novitiate and taking of the vows. Their's even a wedding, but all brides and no (visible) groom).
- Dungeons & Dragons module Adventures in Blackmoor. Toska Rusa was selected by the Afridhi to become the mistress and high priestess of their god Zugzul the One.
- Exalted features the Brides of Ahlat, an Amazon Brigade in the southern regions of Creation who are symbolically married to the local god of war.
- Warhammer Fantasy has the dark elf Witch Elves, virgin women symbolically married to Khaine, the god of war and murder. Apparently "he is a jealous god, unwilling to share his chosen ones" and the Witch Elves are happy to stick sharp, pointy things in anyone who tries it on.
- The organization that would become the Sisters of Battle in Warhammer 40K were first known as the Brides of the Emperor. Thankfully it's just a name, as the God Emperor in question is a few twitching cells away from definitely kicking the bucket.
- In Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abaddon, one character is "engaged" to Tento, the god worshipped by the Tsukigata family. Turns out that said "god" is actually a race of freaky bug demi-people that need human women to reproduce, as there are no female Tento. The women who are mated with them end up insane and physically warped.
- Something like this happens in Siren.
- The Chant in Dragon Age: Origins tells of Andraste, mortal woman who the Maker fell in love with, and became His prophet. She then led a crusade against The Empire, was betrayed by her mundane husband out of jealousy and not feeling he could compete with God and burned at the stake.
- In Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy, the remote mountain village of Hoogland traditionally offers up a bride to the Dragonlord, who they believe to be responsible for the destructive whirlwinds that plague the village. The bride is taken to the Dragonlord's chapel and locked inside, where she supposedly transforms into a gentle breeze and temporarily quells the deity's wrath. All that's left behind are Empty Piles of Clothing. Subverted; there's a hidden tunnel that leads from the chapel to the nearby woods. One of the local women secretly brings the brides a change of clothes and helps them escape to pursue a new life elsewhere.
- In The Oblongs, two nuns get into a cat fight when one of them declares that she's a bride of Christ, and the other one adamantly claims that she's the bride of Christ.
- In an episode of The Angry Beavers, Norb and Dag are watching a late-night B-Movie about Viking Women from Venus, who drink radioactive lava from a volcano, in a competition to become the Bride of the Volcano.
- In The Simpsons episode "Gone, Maggie, Gone", a nun claims to be "married to Jesus", and Homer responds "Yeah, right, and I'm married to Wonder Woman!"
- During imperial China, in some villages, girls used to be periodically thrown in the river (or other local water bodies) as 'brides of the river/water god'. Usually the practice was stopped by imperial investigators giving the cult a taste of their own medicine by drowning them, although in one case, the god of one river was married to the goddess of another.
- Nuns: Brides of Christ.
- Brides but never precisely wives in the physical sense. The Church as a whole is canonically the bride to Jesus' Bridegroom, so it's mostly metaphorical.
- It's also a common Old Testament metaphor which really is less of a surprise than some might think (a lot of the New Testament metaphors were shout outs to the Old that readers or hearers were expected to understand). Israel was/is the wife of God (at least, after Josiah got done kicking Asherah out). To the point that idolatry is compared to adultery.
- In the medieval days the "marriage" was taken a bit more literally and nuns wrote poems imagining erotic love with Christ. Even up to the 19th century, some nuns wrote of Jesus and/or God as one would speak of a difficult but beloved husband. Many scholars have commented that the greatest spiritual writings often seem like love poems.
- Considering that, for a medieval woman, becoming a nun was almost the only option if she didn't want to get married to a mortal, it was more than just metaphorical. One can imagine that many nuns were Happily Married, as in a time when domestic violence was legal, Jesus would be a guaranteed non-abusive husband/bridegroom. And they'd have the saintly virgin Mary as mother-in-law. For noblewomen it was kind of a legal loophole to get out of the obligation to marry someone.
- In some parts of Finland, the traditional festivities that were held to appease a slain bear included a young woman or man playing the part of the bride or groom to the bear in order to strengthen the bond between the humans and their bear ancestor.
- In Voudun, followers cement their devotion to Baron Samedi, the deity of death, with a ritual marriage. Then they call him down to possess people in a trance.
- This is common practice in other Loa followings as well, such as Ogoun. Sometimes they're asked not to see their significant others on the loa's holy days to avoid jealousy.
- During the New Kingdom period of Ancient Egypt, the God's Wife of Amon (usually but not always the queen) was one of the most important figures in the priesthood of the sun god Amon.