Forbidden Fruit

Handsfasting - An Example of the Rite

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Just what is Handsfasting all about? Let me tell you...

First Wiccian Church Handfasting/Wedding Ritual

Processional

Call To Celebration

On behalf of __________ and __________, I would like to welcome you to the joyful celebration of their union. __________ and __________ have come together in mutual joy; together they have explored the challenges and sorrows of life and their love has remained; their commitment to each other has grown so that they have decided to enter the sacred covenant and be handfasted.

What is handfasting? It is a sacred covenant, a contract entered into by this woman and this man; it is the ceremony through which their promises are made before all that they hold sacred. Handfasting is the ritual which consecrates a union, which takes the couple and initiates them into a higher level of commitment to that magnetic pull which emanates from their mutual attraction and their mutual love.

Love is divine. We have been taught that the divine is everywhere. If the divine is truly everywhere and this bride and groom are made in the image of the divine, allow me the poetic license to describe this aspect of the divine in terms which allow the feminine and masculine natures of the divine to be more easily perceived. As the unified divine force becomes manifest in woman and in man, this ceremony shall describe that holy presence with the respectful names of Goddess and God.

There is something deeply powerful when a man and a woman have been drawn together. In the archetypes of ancient wisdom, the bright, fiery nature of the man might be seen in the symbol of the Sun. The intuitive, feminine nature, as the counterpart or polarity to the solar male archetype, would be seen as that of the Moon.

Consider what happens as the Moon and the Sun make their dance around our Earth. When the Moon and Sun are juxtaposed from one another with our beloved planet between them, the Sun shines in full glory upon one half of the Earth and the Moon shines in full glory upon the other side of the Earth. There is a moral in this for partnerships. For a union to bring forth creativity, each partner must have the freedom to manifest strength. Whether the creative work be that of a child or of a project, it takes the perfect balance of the active, solar forces and of the receptive, lunar forces to achieve divine unity.

Also consider the nature of the New Moon, when the night sky is filled with stars made more brilliant than ever due to the absence of the lunar light. And where is the Moon? She is away with the Sun and, in ancient mythologies, stories were written of their mating dance. On those magickal occasions when their positions are just so, there is also an eclipse and the shadow of the Moon races across the Earth from horizon to horizon. In ancient times, such events were very powerful.

It is no less true in modern times, for the Sun and the Moon are the two forces which provide all light for our Earth, and the gravities of the Moon and Sun are the major forces which work the tides, the weather patterns, and those influences which so affect our lives. Indeed, the vegetation of this green and lush planet requires the Sun, without which photosynthesis could not take place. And the alchemical transformation of glucose back into energy and growth takes place with the moonlight. The marvels of modern science serve well to emphasize the delight found in ancient stories which, if taken as metaphors for the poetry of reality, remain no less marvelous today.

Creating Sacred Space

[This can be done solo by the minister, or by the Maid of Honor and the Best Man, or by two of the female attendants and two of the male attendants. If the attendants are carrying the elemental symbols around the circle, the grain and water are carried by the women and the incense and candle by the men.]

As the incense is carried around the couple, the minister says:

May the gentle winds of faith stir your souls into seeking one another. May you share in the joy of wisdom and the bliss of winged dreams.

As the candle is carried around the couple, the minister says:

May you kindle in one another the sparks of knowledge and the fires of delight. May you embrace the passions of love and live within one another's warmth.

As the cup of water is carried around the couple, the minister says:

Together shall you explore the mysteries of the waters and be bathed eternally in your love. May you share your journey of life blessed as you travel from shore to distant shore.

As the bowl of grain is carried around the couple, the minister says:

Together shall you cross the fields of our planet Earth to seek knowledge from nature, and when it is time to consign your souls to the universe will your bodies be given to the flowers.

[The minister scatters flower petals around the couple, or the Maid or Best Man may do so.]

Let your love be as flowers in the breeze. Let it create an ever growing circle that spreads love unto the Earth. May you live within a circle of love and may your union be a thing of beauty to all who behold it. May you dance in the eternal circles of time with the dance of the Earth, with the sacredness of Life, and of this sacred space.

Intention

[Minister rings bell three times.]

Keep pure your highest ideals and strive ever towards them; let none stop you or turn you aside, for love is the secret door which opens upon the land of youth; and love is the cup of the wine of life which is the holy grail of immortality. From love all things proceed and unto love they must return. __________ and __________, know that this union shall avail you naught unless you remember that those things which you seek are now to be found within this union.

Handfasting

__________ and __________ have each prepared themselves in their hearts to begin a new life, one built together on a strong foundation of love and respect. In this, handfasting is a rite of passage as the past is left behind and they walk together bound by the ties of love. To symbolize these bonds, I here bind their left hands together [minister wraps a cord around their wrists] with this cord, which, like their love, holds them together and yet they maintain their individuality. May this joining together bless your union with sensitivity and understanding. [Bell is rung.]

You begin your journey of life shared, bound together by the vows of this rite. Many are the years you will share and countless the moons you may watch together. If you keep your vows, your sacred trust, happy will be many of your days. May the keepers of the sacred winds whisper joy into your life. May the fires of love kindle your passions for each other throughout your years. May you explore the mysteries of the cup of love and share in the reflection of love in one another's soul. May you plant strong roots in the Earth to grow old together and share a happy home.

And now please clasp your right hands together. [Bell is rung.] You begin your journey of life shared, bound by the vows of this rite. Many are the roads you will take, many the dreams you will share, and countless summers may you pass together. May this joining bless your union with thoughtfulness and nurturance. Your hands, thus joined. Form the symbol of infinity, blessing your union in the eternal ebb and flow of the universe. [Bell is rung.]

Beloved, I seek to know of you and ask of the Goddess and God that I be given the wisdom to see you as you are and to love you as a mystery. I take joy in you, I delight in the taste of you. You are to me the whispering of the tides, the seduction of summer's heat. You are my friend, my lover. Grow old and wise with me and I'll the same with you. The life before us holds promise of rainbows and sunsets and a willingness to share those things of sadness. I love you. I adore you. I honor you.

[Bell is rung and cord is removed from their wrists.]

The Handfasting Commitment

__________ and __________, you have spoken your vows in your hearts long since, but now speak them before the Goddess and God to place Their seal upon your union.

__________ (Groom), will you repeat after me: By seed and root, by bud and stem, by leaf and flower and fruit, by life and love and in the presence of the Goddess and God, I, __________, take thee, __________ (Bride), to my hand, to my heart, and to my spirit, to be my wife from this time forward, to join with you and to share all that is to come.

__________ (Bride), will you repeat after me: By seed and root, by bud and stem, by leaf and flower and fruit, by life and love and in the presence of the Goddess and God, I __________, take thee, __________ (Groom), to my hand, to my heart, and to my spirit, to be my husband from this time forward, to join with you and to share all that is to come.

Minister hands chalice of wine to the Groom saying:

We fill this cup with the promises of this union.

Minister hands the athame to the Bride and she holds it over the cup as the minister says:

We thank you, Goddess and God, for Your blessings and abundance as we do bless this wine in honor of this joyous and holy occasion. As the chalice is to the female, so is the athame to the male, and joined together in love [Bride dips blade into the chalice] they bring peace in the ecstasy of divine union. May this wine be blessed in Their honor and be shared in Their love. Blessed be.

[Couple drinks from the chalice and hands it to the minister to replace on the altar]

Minister then asks:

Do you have tokens of your vows to exchange? [Rings are given to the minister.] May these rings, symbols of the unending circle of your love, be blessed by the Goddess and God that they may ever remind you when apart or angry of the vows which you have spoken today. Blessed be.

__________ (Groom), you may now place the ring upon __________ (Bride's) third finger of her left hand, repeating after me: In accordance with the love and the law of the Goddess and God, you are consecrated to me with this ring.

__________ (Bride), you may now place the ring upon __________ (Groom's) third finger of his left hand, repeating after me: I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine.

In ancient cultures, the broom was associated with the home and was used in ceremonies to sweep away negative influences that might lurk in the dust. A couple who wished to declare their union would jump together over the broom. Will you, __________ and __________, honor the ways of your ancestors by jumping over the broom?

Great Mother, abundant source of all, guide Your children on the path of Your love. Hear the voices of the bride and groom filled with joy and gladness in Your honor. Blessed are they in their love and blessed are You who makes them joyful together.

[Minister sweeps in front of the couple, places the broom on the ground, couple links arms and jump over the broom together. Minister removes the broom.]

Pronouncement

__________ and __________ have celebrated their union in love. Would you begin your life together with a kiss?

Blessing and Benediction

Gracious Goddess and Lord of the Dance of Life, we thank you for your presence at this sacred rite and we ask for your blessing upon us. We thank the elements for all blessings and wisdom, growth and desire, for love and understanding, for nurturance and stability. May you be with us always.

The circle is open but unbroken, may the peace of the Goddess and God go in your hearts. Merry meet and merry part and merry meet again.

Recessional

And this is our non-denominational wedding ceremony.

If it were possible to begin this ceremony by gathering together all the wishes of happiness for (Bride) and (Groom) from all present here . . . if we could gather together those precious wishes of affection and our very fondest hopes and turn them into music, we would be listening now to a most inspiring symphony, which would be composed of the most harmonious notes possible to produce.<BR><BR>Even though this is not possible, just speaking of it should assure (Bride) and (Groom) that our hearts are attuned to theirs in these moments so meaningful to all of us for "what greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined together to strengthen each other in all labor, to minister to each other in all sorrow, to share with each other in all gladness."<BR><BR>Marriage is an act of faith and a personal commitment as well as a moral and physical union between two people. Marriage has been described as the best and most important relationship that can exist between two human beings; the construction of their love and trust into a single growing energy of spiritual life. It is a moral commitment that requires and deserves daily attention, since no earthly happiness exceeds that of a reciprocal satisfaction in the conjugal state. Marriage should be a life-long consecration to the ideal of loving kindness, backed with the will to make it last.<BR><BR>We read in The Prophet by Kahil Gilbran:<BR><BR>True love gives nothing but itself<BR>And takes nothing but from itself<BR>Love does not possess, nor would it be possessed<BR>For love is sufficient unto love.<BR>Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself,<BR>To awake at dawn with a winged heart and<BR>Give thanks for another day of loving.<BR>To rest at Noon and meditate love's ecstasy;<BR>To return home at eventide with gratitude,<BR>And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart<BR>And a song of praise on your lips.<BR><BR>(Groom), will you take (Bride) to be your wedded wife, to love, to cherish, to continually bestow upon her your heart's deepest devotion?<BR><BR>And (Bride), will you take (Groom) to be your wedded husband, to love, to cherish, to continually bestow upon him your heart's deepest devotion?<BR><BR>Please hold hands and repeat after me beginning with (Groom):<BR><BR>(Bride), you are consecrated to me now as my wife from this day forward, to love, to cherish, to have and to hold, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sickness and in health, in sadness and in joy, to share together as long as we both shall love.<BR><BR>And now (Bride):<BR><BR>(Groom), you are consecrated to me now as my husband from this day forward, to love, to cherish, to have and to hold, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sickness and in health, in sadness and in joy, to share together as long as we both shall love.<BR><BR>What token of your devotion do you offer your beloved? (Give rings to officiant)<BR><BR>May these rings be blessed as the symbol of affectionate unity. These two lives are now joined in one unbroken circle. Wherever they go, may they always return to one another in their togetherness. May These two find in each other the love for which all men and women yearn. May they grow in understanding and in compassion. May the home which they establish together be such a place of sanctuary that many will find there a friend. May these rings on their fingers symbolize the touch of the spirit of love in their hearts.<BR><BR>(Groom), in placing this ring on (Bride's) finger, repeat after me:<BR><BR>

(Bride), I give you this ring as the pledge of my love and as a symbol of our unity.<BR><BR>

(Bride) in placing this ring on (Groom's) finger, repeat after me:

(Groom), I give you this ring as the pledge of my love and as a symbol of our unity.

Inasmuch as (bride) and (Groom) have consented together in marriage before this company; have pledged their faith and declared their unity by each giving and receiving a ring and are now joined in mutual esteem and devotion; by the power vested in me by the State of California, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss.

The Benediction of the Apaches

Now you will feel no rain,

For each of you will be shelter to the other.

Now you will feel no cold,

For each of you will be warmth to the other.

Now there is no more loneliness for you.

Now there is no more loneliness.

Now you are two bodies,

But there is only one life before you.

Go now to your dwelling place,

To enter into the days of your togetherness.

And may your days be good and long upon the earth.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to be the first to present to you: Mr. &amp; Mrs. (Name)


 

 

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