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Wednesday, 17 March 2010

A Handfasting Ritual

A Handfasting Ritual Cover
A Handfasting is an old Celtic term used to denote a wedding ritual. If performed by a recognized clergy, Handfastings represent a binding contract and are legal. However, they can also be performed by a High Priestess or High Priest of a coven, even though they may not have obtained a legal clergy status. These weddings may or may not be considered legal when you take into account "common-law" status etc... and you will have to check the laws in your area for more information about this subject.

However, a High Priest or High Priestess is not required to officiate a Handfasting. If the couple does not desire a legally binding wedding, they may perform a ritual themselves where they make their vows to each other before Nature and/or the Gods.

Unlike weddings in other religions, a Wiccan Handfasting is thought to last only as long as the two participants wish to remain wed. The couple may or may not indicate prior to the actual Handfasting how long they intend their marriage to last. It may be for a year and a day, it may be so long as their love shall last, for their lifetime, and even beyond.

Most couples enjoy writing their rituals themselves, or along with their High Priest/ess.

A Handfasting Ceremony

with an officiant

An altar is erected bearing a wedding cake flanked on either side by large pillar candles. Before the cake are arranged the athame, a red cord, and a cup of white wine. In addition there may be red roses strewn about the altar.

The HP stands with his or her back to the altar and music is played to indicate the beginning of the ceremony.

HP: As marriage is a journey taken together let the bride and groom come to us together in perfect love and perfect trust of their own free will and mind.
The couple move among their loved ones and enter the sacred space together.

The HP lights the candles on the altar and invokes the presence of the God and Godddess to bear witness in the joining of the two lovers.

HP (Lighting Candles): Lord and Lady, as we come together here today to join these two souls as one, we ask that you be with us and move among us. Bless (Groom) and (Bride), their love, and their joining for as long as they both shall live. So Mote it Be.

The wedding guest then form a circle of brooms around the altar and the couple, then take their seats again.

HP (addressing the crowd): The circle is complete and we are between the worlds. Here the realm of spirit meets the world of men and become one. In like fashion, we have gathered here today before the ancient gods and our loved ones to unite this man and this woman in holy matrimony. For love is more than the joining of flesh to flesh or a meeting of the minds, it is a powerful connect felt deep down within our very souls.

PAUSE to allow everyone to reflect on what has been said.

Who is the groom?

The guests states the grooms name in unison.

Who is the bride?

The guests states the brides name in unison.

HP (addressing the couple): Do you (N) and (N) join us here today of your own free will and mind to acknowlege the bond shared by you both?

If the answer is yes, then the HP directs the couple to face one another and join hands, followed by the recital of their vows to one another. If desired, they may exchange rings as their vows are recited. When they are done, the HP binds the couple's left hands together with a red cord and says:

Here before our Lord and Lady, and these witnesses, (N) and (N) have sworn their eternal vows to one another. With this cord, I hereby bind them to those vows. So Mote it be.

Everyone: So Mote It Be.

The HP directs the couple to cut the cake using only their right hands. They then each feed a piece of the cake to one another, and then each take a sip of white wine from the cup.This is a task that they must accomplish by working together.

HP: (N) and (N) as you partake of this food and drink, consider the sacrifice made by the wheat that became the flour in your cake, and of the grapes that became the wine in your cup; when you face adversity, do not dwell on the sacrifices you have made for love but remember that strength comes from adversity. Just as you care for each others needs here today may you be ever mindful that for a marriage to work you must work together. So Mote it Be.

Everyone: So Mote it Be!

Finally, the couple turns and jumps over the brooms out of the circle and into the arms of their family and friends who shower them with blessings. All in attendance make merry and join in partaking of food and drink.

Free e-books (can be downloaded):

Vovim Baghie - The Grand Satanic Ritual
George Robert Stowe Mead - A Mithraic Ritual

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