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Handfasting Ritual by Crone

Handfasting AltarHandfasting Ritual by Crone

Set-up is more complex than for a solitary ritual with a small alter at each direction, one in the center, and a larger alter between any two of the directions.

The main altar should be covered in a white altar cloth and have flowers, goddess and god statues, wand, athame, chalice of water or wine (depending on couple’s preference), plate with a bit of bread, a basket of flower petals or small flowers, and a bowl. Lighted candles are optional.

North altar: green scarf, two small stones.

East altar: yellow scarf, two feathers

South altar: red scarf, two small candles (not lighted)

West altar: blue scarf, two shells Center altar: white or lavender scarf, two pieces of rose quartz

If there are attendants, they can be stationed at the 4 direction and at center altars to present the gifts.

“He” and “She” are used where the names of the couple would actually be used. Since many in attendance have never experienced a pagan ritual, I begin with a few words of orientation. I explain that as pagans we do not gather in a church or temple, but instead create sacred space wherever we are. The beginning of the ritual will involve creating sacred space. We honor the Goddess and the God, but they should feel comfortable in substituting the god of their own faith in our prayers and invocations if they wish.

I tell them we invoke spirits of the four directions, and that the couple will receive blessings from the directions. I invite them to participate in the chanting.

Cast the Circle with broom, saying:

“We cleanse our circle round and round
All love and joy may here be found.”

Leave the broom where it is readily accessible, but not where it will be in the way throughout the ritual.

Have an attendant or child cast the Circle by scattering flower petals from a basket, with chant:

“We cast this Circle here today With love to guide us on our way.”

Invoke the directions and the Goddess and God with wand or athame:

“North and south and east and west,
All by Mother Earth are blessed.
These directions now we call.
May your spirits join us all.

Goddess, we invite you here.
Enter please and then stay near.
Be with us on this special day
Sharing love in every way.

God, we’d have you join us, too,
Be with us, please, in all we do.

Lady and Lord to you we call
That you might come and bless us all.”

An attendant brings the couple into the Circle, walking them around the Circle deosil, and ending in front of the altar. Welcome He and She. I am honored to be here with you.

He, why have you come here this day?

He: I have come here to be joined with She in Hand Fasting.

She, why have you come here this day?

She: I have come here to be joined with He in Hand Fasting. That I will gladly do.

First I would ask the blessings of our Lady and our Lord upon this celebration.

“Gracious Goddess of love and life
We ask that this couple may have no strife.
Gracious God of the sun above
We ask that they may always love.
Lord and Lady, bless, we pray,
This couple on their special day.
Blessed be.”

(If you know the couple, this is a good place to insert some personal words about them.)

If it is your will, He, repeat your pledge to She thus:

By seed and root, by bud and stem,
by leaf and flower and fruit,
by life and love,
in the name of the Goddess and the God,

I, He, take thee, She, to my heart
And my spirit.

Nor shall death part us,
for in the fullness of time,
we shall be born again, and love again.

Thou art Goddess, She, and I love thee.

If it is your will, She, repeat your pledge to He thus:

By seed and root, by bud and stem,
by leaf and flower and fruit,
by life and love,
in the name of the Goddess and the God,

I, He, take thee, She, to my heart
And my spirit.

Nor shall death part us,
for in the fullness of time,
we shall be born again, and love again.

Thou art God, He, and I love thee.

Have you tokens to give one another in honor of your love? Rings are placed in a bowl on the altar. Hold wand over them and say:

These rings are round, as our sacred Circle is round. These rings, like our Circle, are never ending, as is your love for each other. May the Goddess and the God bless them as they bless your union.

Gives ring to He who puts it on She, saying: He, say to She: This ring is a symbol of my love for you.

Give ring to She who puts it on He saying: She, Say to He: This ring is a symbol of my love for you.

HandfastingWith a scarf, ribbon, or cord, tie one hand of each together at the wrist saying: With this cord I bind you hand to hand and heart to heart, together as one. With this knot you are joined in sacred union. As you move together in the Circle, you will note that your movement will be awkward unless you consider the movement of the other. It is a reminder to you to always consider the other as you make your plans in life. Yet as one hand is bound, so the other hand is free, symbolizing that even as you are joined together, you are still separate beings, separate selves with separate identities. May the Lord and Lady smile upon you and bless you with health, prosperity, love, and joy.

Let us now journey to the four quarters to receive their gifts and blessings.

They walk to the North. The North represents Earth and the Physical Realm. Your blessings from the North are good health, a happy home, groundedness, and fertility.

Give each a small stone, saying: “May you always nurture your love, and each other.”

They walk to the East. The East represents Air and the Mental Realm. Your blessings from the East are good communication, learning, and intellectual growth.

Give each a feather, saying: “May you always grow in wisdom, about life and about each other.”

They walk to the South. The South represents Fire and the Action Realm. Your blessings from the South are creativity, harmony, sensuality, and vitality.

Give each a small candle, saying: “May the fires of passion always spark your love.”

They walk to the West. The West represents Water and the Emotional Realm. Your blessings from the West are understanding, intuition, and friendship.

Give each a shell, saying: “May you always provide emotional support for each other.”

They walk to the Center. The Center of our Circle represents Spirit and the Spiritual Realm. Your blessings from the Center are balance, integrity and wholeness.

Give each a rose quartz, saying: “Rose quartz is a symbol of love. May it remind you to always continue in your spiritual growth.”

Lean broomstick against small center altar, or have an attendant hold the broom in position. Have couple place their gifts on the center altar. You have been bound and you have been blessed. You may jump the broomstick together to complete this sacred rite.

They jump amidst much cheering and hoopla. They’ll probably kiss, but if not, say: “You may kiss the bride.”

Bring the couple to the main altar, and hold high athame and chalice, dipping blade into cup, saying:

“You stand as representatives of the
Goddess and the God, thus united.
You are One in love, in beauty, and in truth.
In the sight of the Goddess and the God
He and She have been joined,
hand to hand and heart to heart.

So Mote It Be.”

Offer chalice of water or wine to the couple saying:“This is your first drink as a hand fasted couple. May you never thirst.”

Couple drink.

Offer plate of bread to the couple saying: “This is your first food as a hand fasted couple. May you never hunger.”

She and He, you have been joined here within this Circle. May you go forth from this sacred space in love and joy.

This benediction is the blessing of the triple goddess on your union:

“The light of the Maiden surrounds you.

The love of the Mother enfolds you.

The wisdom of the Crone empowers you.

Wherever you are The Goddess is.

And all is well.

Blessed be.”


© 2009 Darkhairedcrone Crone is an active member of the UU (CUUP’s) and has been a member of Email Witches since 2004

The Controversial Cauldron Beltane - May Day 2009 Edition 2:3 Sponsored by Controverscial.com

Wherever you are
The Goddess is.
And all is well.

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