Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Pagan Blog Project: H is for Handfasting

So, I love the thought of a Pagan Wedding - I know, I'm only 16, BUT in my future, I do look forward to this step in my stepping stones.
I think it's wonderful that I have an alternative to the tradition Christian wedding.

It's called a Handfasting, which is a cerimony of love where one marries another. Originally people performed the ceremony twice, the first time is considered "trial marriage" and lasts for a year and a day, and is made permanent when renewed.
Traditionally, either both hands or the right hands are tied together (generally with woven cords in symbolic colours) symbolising unison, and hense the term "tying the knot" when it comes to weddings.
It is not for certain people - anyone can have a handfasting, whether you're pagan or not, and whether it is of a man and woman, woman and woman, or man and man. That is the beauty of it - it is a private thing and can be solidified legally by a marriage certificate among other arrangements, but is not necessary as it is a swearing of love to yourselves, the witnesses, and if you believe in them, the Gods and Goddesses. To make this a legal marriage, there are various requirment depending on your country and you should look into this if you want to take this course.
The general proceedings include the tying of the hands, the exchangement of rings and vows, and occassionally, I've heard, the drinking of wine by the couple from a single chalice.
It is best performed at afternoon or morning, when both moon and sun are in the sky, signifying both masculine (sun) and feminine (moon) coming together - and of course, is supposed to take place outdoors.

Also, although an entirely different ceremoney, some combine the Bessom wedding tradition with the handfasting, in which the couple jumps over a bessom (broomstick), which was to be reversed (jump back over the broomstick) should the two divorce.
I thought I'd add that for those of you somewhat more Witchy.

There is no 'set way' to perform this ritual, and you can mix and switch it up all you like - after all, it is your very own ceremony and personal to you.
At the bottom of this page, you can find one of many forms of this ceremony.

Blessed be.

1 comment:

  1. As you said, it's beautiful that we as pagans have a marriage tradition of our own :-)

    When I was looking into pagan themes to incorporate into my own wedding, I found Raven Kaldera'a and Tannin Schwartzstein's book on Handfasting to be really helpful; maybe you'd like to look into it :-)


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