Handfasting Ceremony 1


Set-up
        - The main altar should be set in the northern end of the center of the
area in which the circle is to be cast. The altar should be set with the
following:
- rose petals strewn over the top
- one lit black candle (on the western end of altar)
- one lit white candle (on the eastern end of altar)
- unity candle (unlit)
- chalices
- wand
- rings
- fresh flowers

- The elemental "altars" should be placed in the appropriate quarters
just along the edge of the area in which the circle is to be cast as
follows:
                North- Earth: a bouquet of flowers (on main altar)
                East- Water: a bowl of water
                South- Fire: a candle or oil lamp
                West- Air: a stick of incense

Creating the Circle
(Before the procession, all guests that will be outside of the circle
should be seated)

-Priestess and Priest lead procession of all guests for circle into
area, Bride and Groom will be last to enter. Guests form a circle, with
Priestess and Priest at North end of circle leading, Bride and Groom in
center of circle.

Priestess and Priest give opening explanation for people outside of
circle. Note: statement of extension of circle to surround all guests
as it is cast.

-Circle is cast, starting with Priestess & Priest, by each person in
turn taking the hand of the person on their left and saying "Hand to
hand, in love, I cast this circle round." and then kissing the other
person's hand.

-People doing elements should be in the appropriate directions. After
the circle is cast all other guests will be seated and each person
invoking will take a representation of the element and proceed around
the circle. When done the elements will be invoked.

Invocations
Elements

- North- Earth: ""We call upon you, spirits of the Earth, Mother of us
all, to join our circle and to bless this couple. Bless them with your
strength, so that like the trees they will find themselves well grounded
in your heart, yet able to reach great heights. May their love grow
stronger every day, and may that love always help them to be strong for
each other."

- East- Water: " We call upon you, spirits of Water, the womb from
which all life comes, to join our circle and to bless this couple.
Bless their love- let it be as deep as your oceans, and as filled with
life. Bring to them the intuition to know each others thoughts and
feelings so that they may always be there to support each other."

- South- Fire: " We call upon you, spirits of Fire, spark of Life, to
join us in our circle and to bless this couple. Bless this union, as it
is more than a union of two people, but a union of two spirits. May
their passion for each other always be as spiritually fulfilling as it
is today."

- West- Air: " We call upon you spirits of Air, Father of us all, to
join our circle and to bless this couple. Bless them with the ability
to always see each other's point of view, so that they will always be
able to communicate well together."

Goddess & God

- Priestess and Priest step into the center of the circle.

- Priestess will invoke the Goddess: "We call upon you, great Goddess,
Maiden, Mother, and Crone, to join us in our circle and to bless this
couple. Bless them with your youthful joys, your nurturing love, and
your great wisdom.

"Yours is the ecstasy of the spirit and the joy on Earth. Your law is
love unto all beings. Yours is the secret door which opens upon the
door of youth. Yours is the cup of the wine of Life, and the Cauldron
of Cerridwen which is the holy Grail of Immortality.

"You are the gracious Goddess who gives the gift of joy to the hearts
of all people. You are the mother of all Living and your love is poured
out upon the Earth.

"You are the beauty of the green Earth, the white moon amongst the
stars, the mystery of the waters, and the desire in the heart of man
and woman.

"You are the soul of nature who gives life to the universe, from you
all things proceed, and unto you all things must return. And before
you, our inner most divine selves shall be enfolded in the rapture of
the infinite.

"Let your worship always be in the hearts of those here who rejoice in
their love for you and for each other- for all acts of love and pleasure
are your rituals. Let there be beauty and strength, power and
compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within them always.

"And let us remember that our seeking and yearning for answers will not
help us unless we know the mystery- that if we cannot find what we are
seeking within our selves, we will never find it. For you have been
with us from the beginning, and you are with us at the end of desire.
Be with us Maiden, Mother, Crone."

-Priest will invoke the God: "We call upon you, oh Great God, to join
us in our circle and to bless this couple. Bless this couple with your
joy of rebirth- for this is a transformation for them, from one life
into another- from two separate beings they become one, more complete
spirit.

"You are the Life Force, the Cycle of Life. You are the undivided self
- where we can unite mind, body, spirit, and heart.

"You are born of the Great Goddess. You are ever present in all that
grows. You are the grain, and the trees, and the flowers, and all of
the creatures on the Earth. You show us the cycles of life through your
presence in all living things. For as the leaves on the trees grow
green in the summer, they fall and die in the autumn. And though the
world may seem death-like in winter, all things are reborn in the
spring.

"You are the Green-Man. You are Pan. You are the Spirit of the Forest
and the joy of nature. With you we dance the Dance of Life, rejoicing
in the world around us.

"You are the Horned-One, wild and untamed, yet gentle and tender. You
are the primal voice within us all. You are our truest emotions shown
to us undisguised. Through you this couple is able to fully feel and
experience their love as the spiritual joy that it should be.

"You are the Sun-God. your brightness and warmth shine upon us always
and fills our hearts.

"You are the loyal son, the caring father, the devoted brother, and the
lover. You are the protector, the comforter, the rebel, the shaman, the
seed sower and the harvester, the hunter as well as the hunted. You are
the brightness of our days and the darkness of our nights. You are the
hidden mystery which is shown in all that surrounds us. You are eternal
and ever changing.

"Be with us, Life-Bringer."

Handfasting Proceedings
-Priestess and Priest give opening comments or blessings.

-Rings are taken from the altar. Priestess hands Groom' ring to
Bride. Priest hands Bride's ring to Groom. As they hand rings to
couple they say "Let this ring, without beginning and without end, be a
symbol of your eternal love for each other."

-Promises and rings are exchanged by couple.

-Priestess takes the unity candle from the altar and holds it before
the couple. Priest takes the other candles from the altar and hands the
white candle to Bride and the black candle to Groom (making sure they
are lit).

Priest: ""Before this time you were two..."

Bride & Groom light the unity candle from their candles

Priestess: "now you are united as one."

-Priestess places candle back on altar and brings the broom to the
center of the circle.

Priest: " The broom is a symbol of domestic life. It is a tool of
purification and protection."

Priestess: ""The couple will jump the broom to symbolize their leaving
behind of one life and entering into a new life together as a family."

Both: "May you begin your new life together pure of heart and well
protected by the Goddess and God."

Cakes & Wine

-Chalices are filled with mead and the cakes are picked up by quarter
persons. They hold these in the center of circle.

-Priestess: " Let us share with this couple this, their first food and
drink together as husband and wife."

-Priest: " Let their first act as wedded couple be to bless this food
and drink as priest and priestess of the Goddess and God." he hands
wand to Groom.

-Chalices and cakes are held in front of couple. Tree chalice is given
to Bride.

Groom: taking wand "As the wand is to the male..."

Bride: holding chalice "So the cup is to the female..."

Both: while placing wand into chalice "So joined they are one in
blessedness."

- They then place wand into other chalices, blessing the mead.

-Cakes are held in front of the couple. They place their hands above
them.

Bride: " This grain was grown from the Earth, mixed with Water, cooked
by Fire, and cooled by Air."

Groom: " May all who partake of this cake know the joys of love as we
do."

-Groom & Bride take the tree chalice and both drink. The chalice is
then passed to Priestess & Priest and the quarter persons, then around
the circle. The other chalices are passed around to the rest of the
guests outside of the circle. (Priest places the wand back on the
altar)

-They take a cake and share it. Then pass cakes to Priestess & Priest
and quarter persons. Cakes are then passed around circle and to guests
outside circle (2 plates).

Closing

Priestess (to couple): "Above you are the stars, below you the
stones. As time passes remember..."

Priest: "like the stars in the heavens should your love be constant.
Like a stone should your love be strong."

Priestess: "Be close, and yet not too close, for you should share your
life's experiences with each other, but not all of life is experienced
together."

Priest: "Be patient with each other, for difficult times will occur as
part of the cycle of life, but you can pass through them stronger if you
love one another and work together."

Priestess: "Be generous in your giving of warmth and affection to each
other."

Priest: "Spread your warmth and joy to those around you, have them
share in your happiness."

Priestess: "Keep pure your highest ideal- rejoice in the search for
spiritual fulfillment."

Priest: "Always challenge each other to grow, for your love will grow
as your spirits do."

Priestess: "May your union be the kind of marriage that sets you freer
than you can ever be alone..."

Priest: "...for the sum of one and one, if they are soulmates, can be
infinity."

- The quarter persons go to their directions again. All others in
circle stand and join hands again.

Priestess: " We thank you, Great Goddess, for blessing this circle and
this union. May we always feel your presence in our hearts and lives."

Priest: " We thank you, God of many names, for blessing this circle
and this union. May we always feel your presence in our hearts and
lives."

North- Earth: " We thank you, spirits of Earth, for blessing this
circle and this union. May we always feel your presence in our hearts
and lives."

East- Water: " We thank you, spirits of Water, for blessing this
circle and this union. May we always feel your presence in our hearts
and lives."

South- Fire: " We thank you, spirits of Fire, for blessing this
circle and this union. May we always feel your presence in our hearts
and lives."

West- Air: " We thank you, spirits of Air, for blessing this circle
and this union. May we always feel your presence in our hearts and
lives."

Priestess & Priest: " The circle is open, but never broken."

All: "Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again."

-All drop hands to open circle.

Written and ©Andrea Brenton





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