Sunday, February 1, 2015

Handfasting, today's Pagan Weddings

In honor of Imbolc and Bridget the ancient bride, 

I humbly present


 for today's Pagan Weddings!

 "You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving. The great acts of love are done by those who are habitually performing small acts of kindness. We pardon to the extent that we love. Love is knowing that even when you are alone, you will never be lonely again. And great happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved. Loved for ourselves. And even loved in spite of ourselves.”
Love reflects love in return

The Divine Comedy
by Dante 

Weddings are a part of our lives, even if you aren't married. Friends will be getting married and even one day your children may choose to tie the knot.
Handfasting is a time honored tradition of literally tying the hands of the wedded couple until the next morning. Handfasting has changed over the years and we must adept. How do we know how to honor a pagan couple who chooses to be married under the pagan tradition?  Well I hope this will help clarify the different kinds of Handfasting out there and how you can act accordingly if you are ever invited to one.

Thoughts on Marriage
By Mark Twain
A marriage…makes of two fractional
lives a whole;
it gives to two purposeless lives
a work, and doubles the strength
of each to perform it;
it gives to two
questioning natures
a reason for living,
and something to live for;
it will give a new gladness
to the sunshine,
a new fragrance to the flowers,
a new beauty to the earth,
and a new mystery to life.


Wedding: This is a full legal marriage in which the couple has incorporated the hand bonding tradition, or pagan/spiritual rituals. The Unity candle carries the concept of handfasting, with the two flames joining as one.
 In invited a wedding, traditional wedding gifts are appropriate. Pagans tend to be colorful in their weddings, so you may be asked to wear clothing fitting a certain theme.

A Year & a Day Ceremony: This is a tradition, done a year and a day before the legal wedding takes place.Its a type of mock marriage or engagement ceremony. In this case, there ceremony is small, done with only a small group of people, if any. If this is included in an engagement party, engagement gifts are acceptable gifts. If not, small spiritual gifts are usually appropriate.

Nonlegal Handfasting Ceremony: There are many reasons one may want to profess their eternal love, but not be willing or able to legally be bound together. In many cases the couple may be very young, such as teenagers, expressing their love and future plans. Other cases they may be older and a marriage would effect their income. In some cases, they may be legally marriage to a separated spouse, or live in a state that discriminates against same sex marriage. The reasons can vary. Often this is done a small affair and good wishes and support are all you asked to bring.

Anniversary Handfasting: A couple may choose to renew their vows yearly after their handfasting. Often it will be a private affair for the couple, who is simply celebrating their anniversary.

If you are invited to this type of handfasting, an anniversary gift is all that is appropriate. Though be thoughtful for special occasions like 50th anniversaries, something for us all to celebrate.

Mock Weddings: sometimes in love, it is a light heart affair, sometimes leads two a ceremony. Nothing is binding. It can be a moment of lust and fun, a theatrical performances, a promise, or just two kids pretending to get married.

Pagan weddings can vary from many ways, from greatly traditional to extremely eccentric. You never know what to expect. Our marriages symbolize our love for each other and retelling of how we met. You can play along or sit back and enjoy the show.

Celtic Blessing

You are the star of each night, 
You are the brightness of every morning, 
You are the story of each guest, 
You are the report of every land.
No evil shall befall you, on hill nor bank, 
In field or valley, on mountain or in glen. 
Neither above, nor below, neither in sea, 
Nor on shore, in skies above,
Nor in the depths. 
You are the kernel of my heart, 
You are the face of my sun, 
You are the harp of my music, 
You are the crown of my company

In loving Memory of
the late
Isaac Bonewits
and in Honor his partner
who together joined
my husband and I
nearly nine years ago.

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