When my friends A & F approached me about helping design and officiate their handfasting, I was honored – and extremely excited! They’re some of my closest friends, and A is an active and valued member of the Circle that Opal and I co-facilitate.
Planning the Ceremony
The planning process looked a lot like what you might expect – I sat down with both of them, and we talked about what they wanted and didn’t want out of this. There was some negotiation – A is a pagan; F is fairly atheistic.
We determined that:
- The handfasting should be held at Mabon – autumn, and in particular Mabon, is a significant time of year for A.
- Because of this, we would be focusing on the handfasting as the harvest, the nourishing culmination of their relationship until now, and something that will sustain them throughout their lives.
- The handfasting should take place during our Circle’s Mabon ritual – there would be a wedding for A & F’s families. This handfasting was to be seen and witnessed by our community, not the outside world.
- Both wanted a fairly brief, but meaningful, ceremony.
- They wished to write their own, elementally-focused, vows.
Since we were incorporating the handfasting into a community ritual, we had A & F take major parts in the sacred drama for the ritual – the meeting of our heroine with the king she would marry. The king who, in his love, would defend her against spurious accusations and maliciousness from his subjects, even if he didn’t fully understand her work. After the drama, and our communal work as a Circle, we proceeded to the handfasting:
Introduction & Background
“Tonight, we celebrate love and connection. Tonight, we meditate on the things and people that support and nurture us – the things and people who protect and defend us. Tonight, A and F wish to be handfasted, to affirm before us – before this community – that they will love and support, nurture and defend each other throughout their lives.
Like Rose and her king, A and F’s journey has not been conventional, nor has it been smooth. Their relationship grew from friendship into a romantic partnership over a long distance – F lived in DC, while A was in California. While Rose had to make do without words, for a long time, words were almost all A and F had. But, they persevered, through A’s year in China, through tumultuous changes in location and employment. They moved from the challenge of being far apart to the equal challenge of living together and sharing resources. Seven years, now. Seven years they’ve been loving and supporting each other, working through troubles and celebrating good times. Their love has stood the test of time, and tonight, they will affirm that they are determined to continue building their lives together, supporting each other, and loving each other with all they have.”
Binding of Hands
“A, F, by accepting this ribbon, you are pledging to continue building your lives together, as one family, in love and trust. Do you accept this?”
[Joy binds their two hands with ribbon, speaks.]
“I bind your left hands together, acknowledging that your lives and hearts are intertwined. Your right hands remain free, for we know that just because two people promise to live and grow together, they do not cease to be individuals.”
**Since these vows were A’s work, not mine, they do not appear here.
“Now, A and F, by the power vested in me by the gods, by the recognition of all these witnesses, and, most importantly, by the love and commitment you bear for each other, I do affirm before the gods and all those present that you are partners in heart, mind, and body. Your lives, as your hands, are bound fast together for the duration of your earthly lives. So mote it be.”