Handfastings - Pagan Weddings
Love is like a red, red rose,
that's newly sprung in June.
My love is like a melody
that's sweety played in tune.
- Robert Burns
A handfasting is the name for a pagan wedding. On this page, I will provide some information about Handfastings. If you had a handfasting and made a page about it, please let me know and I will review and if I like it, I will link to it here. Blessed Be.
Handfasting is so called because the priest/ess who "married" the old Celtic couples literally bound their hands together for the duration of the ritual. It is also the origin of the phrase giving one's "hand in marriage"1
Couples were not bound for life as they are today, but rather for a duration of time chosen by them. A nine-year handfasting is traditional, however, other common duration by Celtic Pagans for this Union are:
Three years, always renewable by mutual agreement
Six years, always renewable by mutual agreement
Nine months trial Handfasting, renewable to three years, followed by a life-time commitment with mutual consent.
A year and a day trial Handfasting followed by a life-time commitment.
Three years trial Handfasting followed by a life-time commitment.2
Unfortunately, modern law has made legal Handfastings almost impossible to obtain unless one commits for life at the onset. Because of this legal quirk, many Pagans have ceased to care about the legality of their union and have opted to he Handfasted only by the tenets of their path, united by a priest/ess of by themselves.2
Most Handfastings include the following:
use of an altar
invocation of the goddess and god
presence of a priestess and priest
use of fire/weapon etc...
consecration of rings3
All Handfastings are different as each form of Paganism has their own way of doing it. For ceremonies and vows from Eclectic to Druidic to Heathen to Norse, go to Witches Wed. The link is below. You can customize your handfasting just as any Christian or Buddhist would make their ceremonies to their liking. Feel free to take anything out or add anything that you would like into the ceremony.
Handfasting Links at the Wiccan Way
History of Handfasting
Have questions about Handfastings? Want some ideas? Need some help planning the ceremony? Need to talk to someone who has been through it? Send a mail to Lady-Star at firstname.lastname@example.org
- New Link (duh!)
- Top Link
Links to Actual Handfastings
Jean and Norm
Earthwolf and Skye's Handfasting
Links to Other Handfasting Pages
Life Rites - Pagan Weddings
Pagan Handfasting for General Use
Selena's Guide to Planning Pagan Weddings
Rites of Passage Webring
The Medieval and Renaissance Wedding Site
Handfasting (example of ceremony)
Pagan Wiccan About.com: Handfastings
Magick Whispers: Handfastings
Handfasting Articles of Interest
Brides and Broomsticks: Tips for Pagan Weddings
Background, bar and home graphics were made by me. They are for this site only. © 2003 Kathleen Garber. Unless otherwise stated, the material contained in this site is mine. That is © 1997 Kathleen Garber. You may use the material from this site authored by me for personal use (e.g. BOS) but you may NOT sell copies or post this on your webpage. If you are unsure if you can use something on this page, please contact me first.
1 - McCoy, Edain. Celtic Myth and Magick. 104
2 - McCoy, Edain. Celtic Myth and Magick. 105
3 - Compiled with the help of: Witches Wed. http://www.thetask.com/thresholds/Handfastings/index.htm