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August 1998 E-Zine Issue

A PAGAN IN THE MIDST

Monthly Column by Jennifer Rogers©1998

The Handfasting

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Actually this article should be entitled "Our Handfasting" for what I am about to share with you is the actual ceremony that took place on June 27, 1998, the day of my wedding.

A Handfasting is a very powerful ceremony. One that binds not only the physical form but the spiritual. It is a binding of two souls as one. There are different types of Handfastings or actually the intent and length of time differ. A Handfasting can be done for a year and a day. During this time the couple get acquainted with living as husband and wife and try out whether they'll be compatible and comfortable to make it a life time commitment. After the year and a day another ceremony takes place to make it binding and official for life.

The second form of Handfasting is for a lifetime. Your vows entail wanting to spend the rest of this life time with your significant other, till death do you part.

The third category and the one we chose, Handfasting for Eternity. This one perhaps needs the most deep thought and self knowledge. Eternity is a very long time so you must give it a lot of thought before committing to it. The meaning behind this binding is that when you die and in our belief when we are reborn we will find each other and continue our unconditional love where we left off.

A Handfasting can also be dissolved, if things don't work out the way they were intended. Unlike a divorce, unless the couple has also chosen to follow the laws of the land and have a registered marriage license and certificate with the state. The binding agreement is between the two parties and God and Goddess. To undo a Handfasting if you will, you must go to the location where it took place (if this is possible), it is not necessary to invite the gathering, just the person that officiated the Handfasting and do a Reversal on the Ceremony also known as a Handparting to set free each individual from the binding and let each go their separate ways in goodness and love.

I sincerely hope that I will not be writing an article for the unbinding from personal experience. This might seem less official than a divorce, just remember anybody can go to the courts pay a few dollars for the license and get the state to approve the marriage. In a handfasting you are involving your loved ones, family and friends, who ever you called into the circle to witness your binding and above all God and Goddess. It is a serious matter when you call a circle to connect two lives and two souls. A handfasting is unique as you both are because you can take as many elements from other ceremonies as you wish and make yours unique.

What follows is the actually Ceremony as it took place. It was officiated by Ed Fitch as the High Priest and Stephania Ebony as the High Priestess.

Handfasting on June 27, 1998

Preparation

For the circle: On the altar / pedestal shall be appropriate tools: East (Air) - Incense-

(Perfect Mate). South (Fire) two taper candles lit and one big one not lit. West (Water) Chalice filled with sweet wine and North (Earth) Purple ribbon. Bell for signaling the start of the Ceremony. The scrolls with the vows.

The area shall be cleanse by the Priest and High Priestess before guest arrive.

The Bride and Groom shall be indoors away from the guests after they are in their Ceremonial garb. Bride and Groom shall be in separate quarters. Later the Groom will join the circle when the Best Man comes to get him. Bride will stay until the Maid of Honor comes and signals for Bride to join the party.

CEREMONY

PRIEST: CALLS EVERYBODY TO JOIN IN THE CIRCLE

PRIEST STATES: "For those of you here tonight who are not Pagans, I would like to explain a few things about what will happen during this ceremony.

First of all, you will hear us give greetings to the Goddess and God, and to the spirits of the Elements. We worship both the feminine and masculine aspects of the Gods, so we address both the Goddess and God in our rituals.

To us, the spirits of the elements of Air, Fire, Water and Earth are worthy of our respect and recognition. We do not worship them but we feel that they are, and should be part of our lives and ceremonies.

We will form a circle, within which the actual handfasting rite shall take place. To us, this circle is a part of neither the world of men, nor the realms of the Gods. It is a place apart from and outside of time, between worlds, which contains only us and our ritual.

If you feel that any of these things may make you uncomfortable, feel free to excuse yourselves from the ceremonial area. Please understand, once the ceremony has commenced, you may not rejoin the circle until its conclusion. This is due to the nature of the Ritual.

(Pause for any that may take leave)

Entering of the Circle:

Music Starts: START OF PROCESSION

The Daughters enter the circle (We each have a daughter) (Ring Guardians)

(Best Man) and / or witness

(Groom)

(Maid of Honor) and/or witness

(Bride)

Handfasting Ritual Begins:

PRIESTESS:

Entering of the Circle:

Music Starts: START OF PROCESSION

The Daughters enter the circle (We each have a daughter) (Ring Guardians)

(Best Man) and / or witness

(Groom)

(Maid of Honor) and/or witness

(Bride)

Handfasting Ritual Begins:

PRIESTESS:

"On behalf of Bride and Groom, we bid you Welcome. They have asked you to share with them the joy of their commitment to each other in front of God and Goddess.

Now is time for the Ceremony to begin."

CLOSING OF CIRCLE

Priest: Invokes the four corners and encloses circle (this can be done with the Priest calling all watchtowers or priest and priestess taking turns, whichever they prefer)

PRIEST: Introduce Poems that were written by the Couple

He will read the poem that the Groom wrote as a proposal for his Lady.

The Poem is entitled "The Proposal"

PRIESTESS: Will read the poem that the Bride wrote as her answer

The Poem is entitled "The Counter-Proposal"

Actual Ceremony which Encompasses all four Elements

East—PRIEST - Explains briefly the significance of the Air Element (The mind-thus the thoughts that they present to each other through the communication of their vows)

Bride says her vows to Groom - (Ring)

Groom’s daughter will come to the Bride and give her (Groom’s) ring.

Bride at this time places the Ring on Groom’s finger. And pledges her everlasting love to him.

Groom says his vows to Bride - (Ring)

Bride’s daughter will give Groom the Bride’s ring

Groom at this time places the Ring on Bride’s finger and finishes saying his vows to her.

(The vows are to be kept secret until they’re said to each other at the Ceremony)

(The vows are a personal bind between the Bride and Groom, therefore they are not included in this article, this is something that each couple would write from the heart to each other)

South—PRIESTESS- Signifier - Fire- (The passion, etc.)

Candle lighting—Bride and Groom will each take one of the taper candles on the altar and jointly light the single big candle. (These candles were handmade by the Bride prior to the Ceremony, carrying with the thoughts of love, harmony and magical wishes that were intended for their union)

West—PRIEST- Signifier - Water (Emotions)

A sip of wine is shared to symbolize the joining of the Bride and Grooms life force for Eternity.

North—PRIESTESS - Signifier - Earth (Solidity, grounding)

Ribbon binding with their two left hands joined together and bound with the purple ribbon in a figure eight to once again emphasize that this union is intended for Eternity.

PRIEST: (GIVES CLOSING SPEECH)

A re-caption of what took place.

Presentation of the Couple to the God & Goddess

PRIEST AND PRIESTESS - Vanish the Corners and Open the Circle

PRIEST - Introduces the couple as Husband and Wife to the World.

EXIT-- PRIEST—will lead men to form archway with swords or canes

EXIT – Procession in order: Bride and Groom, Witnesses, Women folk

Ed -- closes the Archway.

Reception Begins --- Bride and Groom’s First Dance

Toast to the Bride and Groom by Best Man and Maid of Honor

The End of the Beginning

This was without a doubt one of the two most magical moments in my life, the joining of my soul with the one I love. The other was when I gave birth to my beautiful daughter thirteen years ago. If any of you decide to use this or any portions of this article to create your own Handfasting, feel free to do so. May you experience all the magic and blessings that we both experienced on that day and that continue to be part of our lives.

Blessings,

Jennifer

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