PAGAN HANDFASTING

(suitable for adaptation, spindling, folding and mutilating to fit many
occasions, including same-gender unions.)

This is written for a chapel service, but may be beautifully adapted for a
grove or other outdoor site. A rehearsal is essential, at
least for the handfasting and blessing of wine and cake, since it could get
confusing.

Before the rite begins and the Bride is dressed, the priest (P), priestess
(PS), bride (B), and groom (G), privately bless and charge the rings.
These are then placed on a wand (or perhaps in a shallow bowl for two-female
handfasting). A cord is loosely wrapped around the wand. The rings will be
carried by the Ring-Bearer.

Mother, bride and attendants prepare in one room. This may include a
women's blessing of advice and good wishes. The groom and men prepare in
another room and do likewise.

While all are preparing, and before anyone is allowed into the chapel,
grove, etc., the P&PS bless salt and water, bless fire and air, join the
elements, cast the circle. While the guests are seated by the ushers,
the P&PS quietly call the quarters, lighting the candles (there are great
candlelabras available for this from wedding rental places).
P&PS return to the altar. When all are seated, the ring-bearer enters,
hands the wand and rings to the PS. The maidens and groomsmen enter,
then the groom, and finally the bride (with her father, if she likes, alone,
otherwise) [ In same-gender unions, I would recommend the couple enter
together, or if their parents attend them, the eldest should enter first.]
When all have entered, the Warden or an usher should discretely close the
circle portal with flowers, sealing the circle.

Begin with a prayer of invocation to the God and Goddess. If you use names,
I'd recommend Deities appropriate to weddings (seems obvious, but...)

P&PS each hold an end of the wand with the rings.

PS: "We are gathered in this sacred place to join this man and this woman,
life to life and spirit to spirit."

P: "Place your right hands over this wand and your rings, his hand over
hers."

P: "Is it your wish (B's name) to become one with this man?" (B answers)

PS: "Is it your wish (G's name) to become one with this woman?" (G answers)

P: "If any would ask why these two should not be joined, let them stand
before the Gods and those assembled here and speak
now."

North voice: "I would speak. Do you have the means to support yourselves and
to provide for your worldly needs?"

PS: "Do you?"

Couple: "We do."

West voice: "I would speak. Do you love one another? Do you like one
another?"

P: "Do you?"

Couple: "We do."

South voice: "I would speak. Do you have the will to argue, if you must, to
air your problems, then stand together against
adversity?"

PS: "Do you?"

Couple: "We do."

East voice: "I would speak. Do you share your thoughts and ideas, burdens
and dreams?"

P: "Do you?"

Couple: "We do." A pause follows.

PS: "All challenges have been answered; let the rite proceed."

(This challenge is widdershins to banish all doubts and obstacles.)

P: "Do you (B's name) take (G's name) to be your husband, in the sight of
the Gods and all here assembled?" B: "I do."

PS:"Do you (G's name) take (B's name) to be your wife, in the sight of the
Gods and all here assembled?" G: "I do."

P takes cord from the wand (handing it to the PS), removes the rings and
gives each the other's ring. PS at this time may say a
word about the symbolism of the ring and perhaps mention the ring in which
the rite is taking place.

G then says his vows as he places the B's ring on her finger.

B says her vows as she places the G's ring on his finger.

(People nowadays often write their own vows, so I'll not add any here. "With
this ring I thee wed, to have and hold, " etc. is the
old style.)

The wand is given to the G and the chalice from the altar to the B. He
blesses the wine. B gives G a sip of wine, takes a sip
herself. P takes the wine. B takes the wand, PS gives the G the cake from
the altar. The cake is blessed. G gives bride a piece
of cake, takes a piece himself. (P&PS may take and receive wine and cake
from one another also if so desired but it's not
necessary.)

P: "Place your hands again upon the wand."

P: using the cord, the P binds the hands very loosely: "As your hands are
bound together now, so your lives and spirits are
joined in a union of joy, love, trust, and mutual support."

PS: "As the Goddess and the God and those within this circle are witness to
this rite, I now proclaim you are husband and wife,
thus are your hands fasted, two are now made one."

P: "You may seal your union with a kiss."

(P &PS may kiss the B&G, also, if everybody likes.) The P&PS may present the
couple to those gathered, as is sometimes
done.

Usher opens portal, B&G process out, followed by attendants who may
accompany parents and other honored guests. After all
have left, P&PS thank the Gods, release the quarters, open the circle.

Feasting should follow, photographs should be taken, the broom jumped, rice
should be thrown, and everybody should have a wonderful time.


~Author Unknown





http://www.joellessacredgrove.com/Spells/handfasting6.html