Handsfasting, was a tradition form of marriage or religious rite of passage for people in Scotland until the
19th centuary. It has now, been adapted to those practicing in more Nature based religions, to allow couples to make a commitment
to eachother, regardless of ethnic culture. There is no set rule when performing a handsfasting ritual, there can be only
guidelines. It is up to the two people carrying out the ritual to decide "exactly" how they wish it to be performed, in order
to make it meaningful.
Traditionally, the handsfasting ceremony, lasts one year and a day, sometimes termed as a "celtic engagement"
ceremony, for others it is a marriage ceremony. After the one year and a day, if the couple have performed this as an "Engagement"
they then may get married.
If used as a marriage ceremony, couples may stay together or go their separate ways, with no guilt.
The spiritual bond of a handsfasting ceremony, is taken very seriously that a physical bond.
Traditionally the palms or wrists were slightly cut to shed some blood so that their blood
may be exchanged and therefore signifying how seriously this commitment is taken by both parties. In Scotland there used to
be handfasting 'chant' that went something as follows, " blood of my blood and bone of my bone...". Today, couples favor just
the handfasting with a ribbon without the blood ritual.
Vows, which have been written by each person are then exchanged, signifying the spoken contact
between the two. Rings (or jewelery of some description) are exchanged to symbolise eternal love. After the vows and the rings,
the couples wrists are then unbound and they can walk together along the same path.