Thursday, July 18, 2013

Handfasting Ceremony

So I have had a few requests for more information on handfasting.  This is a handfasting ceremony based on UU Pagan reading.  The main thing about this ceremony is that it is customizable to your path.  Use what helps but be open and explore and use what fits your life best.  Have Fun!  (See Handfasting in May Posting) 


A Wedding Service

Pagan wedding ceremonies, often called handfastings, are a good option for couples who wish to celebrate the spirituality of their union without getting involved in the a religious debate, especially if it is an interfaith couple. Paganism is a tradition that celebrates the holiness of nature. Worshipers do not follow a formal doctrine and although committed Pagans gather to worship together, the religion for many is more about an attitude to spirituality and reverence for Mother Earth and the interconnected world all living beings share.

An Earth Centered, Wicca or Pagan ceremony is fairly easy to organize. Couples can choose readings or vows and work with the celebrant or guide on how to conduct the ceremony. Some couples will invoke the blessing of the God and Goddess, which are acknowledged to come in thousands of forms. The couple light a candle to honor the Gods and signify the beginning of their new life. The couple may further invoke the blessings of the spirits by saying 'blessed be'. The celebrant will then conduct the handfasting ritual, asking the couple to join hands and wrapping the joined hands in a strip of cloth. Gay couples may choose to have a rainbow hand fasting, using gay accessories of strips of red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple cloth to represent the chakras and their sexuality. The couple then exchange vows, asking the sky and Earth to bestow the union with their elements.

Couples who are interested in traditional paganism may choose to include a broom, to sweep away past hurts and a chalice of wine, to represent their combined spirits. The expression 'Tie The Knot' comes from the Handfasting Ceremony where a cord, usually red, was tied around the couple's hands.

Set up can vary - One set up starts with a circle around the service with flowers, soil, feathers, water and other symbolic elements.  In the center of the circle is a small alter (table) with the four basic elements (bowl of earth/soil to the north, bowl of water/seashells to the west, bowl of air/feathers to the east and a bowl of oil/candle to the south).
 
 

       Handfasting Ritual with Eight Cords



Leader: "Know now before you go further, that since your lives have crossed in this life you have formed ties between each other. As you seek to enter this state of matrimony you should strive to make real, the ideals which give meaning to both this ceremony and the custom of marriage."

         *Light oil (or candle)*

L: "Would you both face each other and join your left and right hands to form the figure eight, a symbol of eternity.

With full awareness, know that within this circle you are not only declaring your intent to be handfasted before your friends and family, but you speak that intent also to your creative higher powers and your Ancestors that have pasted on.

The promises made today and the ties that are bound here greatly strengthen your union; they will cross the years and lives of each soul's growth.

Do you still freely seek to enter this ceremony?"

         Bride and Groom: "Yes"

L: "It is believed that the human soul share characteristics with all things divine. It is this belief which assign virtues to the cardinal directions;

Blessed be this union with the gifts of the East Wind. Communication of the heart, mind and body. Fresh beginnings with the rising of each Sun. The knowledge of the growth found in the sharing of silences.

Blessed be this union with the gifts of the South Flame. Warmth of hearth, home and the heat of the heart's passion. The light created by both to illuminate the darkest of times.

Blessed be this union with the gifts of the West Water. The deep commitments of the lake and the swift excitement of the river. The refreshing cleansing of the rain and the all encompassing passion of the sea.

Blessed be this union with the gifts of the North Earth. Firm foundation on which to build fertility of the fields to enrich your lives. A stable home to which you may always return.

Each of these blessings from the four cardinal directions emphasizes those things which will help you build a happy and successful union, in the name of the Ancestors, Gods and Goddesses. Yet they are only tools. Tools which you must use together in order to create what you seek in this union.

[Groom's Name], Will you cause her pain or grieve?"

         I May

Is that you intent?

         No

[Bride's Name], Will you cause him pain or grieve?

         I may

Is that you intent?

         No

*To Both*

Will you share each other's pain and seek to ease it?

         Yes

And so the binding is made.

         *First cord is draped across the bride and grooms hands*

 

[Bride's Name], Will you share his laughter and health?

         Yes

[Groom's Name], Will you share her laughter and health?

         Yes

*To Both*

Will both of you look for the brightness in life and the positive in each other?

         Yes

And so the binding is made.

         *Second chord is draped across the couples hands*







[Bride's Name], Will you burden and upset him?

         I may

Is that you intent?

         No

[Groom's Name], Will you burden and upset her?

         I may

Is that your intent?

         No

*To Both*

Will you share the burdens of each so that your spirits may grow in this union?

         Yes

And so the binding is made.

         *Drape third chord across the couples hands*







[Bride's Name], will you share his dreams and visions?

         Yes

[Groom's Name], will you share her dreams and visions?

         Yes

*To Both*

Will you dream together to create new realities and hopes?

         Yes

And so the binding is made.

         *Drape fourth chord across the couples hands*

 

[Groom's Name], will you cause her anger and annoyance?

         I may

Is that you intent?

         No

[Bride's Name], will you cause him anger and annoyance?

         I may

Is that your intent?

         No

*To Both*

Will you take the heat of anger and use it to temper the strength of this union?

         Yes

And so the binding is made.

         *Drape fifth chord across the couples hands*

 

[Bride's Name], Will you honor and respect him?

         I will

[Groom's Name], Will you honor and respect her?

         I will

*To Both*

Will you seek to never give cause to break that honor?

         Yes

And so the binding is made.

         *Drape sixth chord across the couples hands*
 







Do you (Groom) take (Bride) to be your wife. To be her constant friend, her partner in life and her true love? To love her without reservation, rich or poor, honor and respect her, protect her from harm, comfort her in times of distress and to grow with her in mind and spirit?

         I will

And so the binding is made.

         *Drape seventh chord across the couples hands*

 

Do you, (Bride), take (Groom) to be your husband.  To be his constant friend, his partner in life and his true love? To love him without reservation, rich or poor, honor and respect him, protect him from harm, comfort him in times of distress and to grow with him in mind and spirit?

         I will

And so the binding is made.

         *Drape eighth chord across the couples hands*

 

L: *Tie chords together while saying:*

"As this knot is tied, so are your spirits now bound. Woven into this cord, into its very fibers, are all the hopes of your friends, family and of yourselves, for your new life together.

With the entwining of this knot do I tie all the desires, dreams, love and happiness wished here in this place to your lives for as long as love shall last. In the joining of hands and the fashion of a knot, so are your lives now bound, one to another.

 

By this cord you are thus bound to your vow. May this knot remain tied for as long as love shall last, in the name of the Ancestors, Gods and Goddesses. May this cord draw your hands together in love, never to be used in anger. May the vows you have spoken never grow bitter in your mouth.

 

 

Two entwined in love, bound by commitment and fear, sadness and joy, by hardship and victory, anger and reconciliation, all of which brings strength to this union. Hold tight to one another through both good times and bad, and watch as your strength grows. Remember that it is not this physical cord, but what it represents, that keeps you together. 

 

         *Snuff or blow out candle, you may now kiss.*

 

Go now in love. With the blessings of the elements in closing and may peace attend you all your days. So may it be. "

 
 
 

~After the couple leaves the circle walking south, with love, they may remove the cords in private.  Exchanging gifts of rings or other tokens for the meanings of the cords.~
 
 
 




1 comment:

  1. Great blog post and I especially like the top photo. Very romantic.

    ReplyDelete