Handfasting

Handfasting is a ceremony, during which a couple are symbolically bound together to demonstrate their commitment to one another.

Some people see it as a pagan equivalent to a wedding , but it has echoes far back into the history of many cultures , particularly among the Celtic nations

It may have originated out of an act of completion of any contract - as in " shake hands on it " , or as a token that two hands will work together as one - and in the Roman Catholic church it was used as a ceremony of betrothal during the middle ages

It was a legal form of marriage in Scotland until 1939 , which may account for the popularity of couples wishing to elope to Gretna Green

It is still a legal ceremony in some places , including several states in the USA

Handfasting ceremonies can be celebrated at any time of the year , with some preferring particular days like Mayday or the Summer Solstice and often outdoors in atmospheric locations. A handfasting ceremony in Cornwall has a special connection with the ancient Celtic peoples of this region, and many couples feel that Cornwall's spectacular scenery lends added power and meaning to their ceremony.


Marina and Peter arriving at Carnglaze Caverns

There is no universally prescribed ritual associated with handfasting, except the tying of hands , and so each individual couple can chose for themselves what to include

You may choose to jump together over a broom , a sword or a small fire during your ceremony

You may chose to promise each other love and loyalty for a specified period of time :

  • for a year and a day?
  • for all of eternity?
  • as long as love lasts?

The choice is yours - as are the vows , the music , the readings and the ceremony decisions, including Pagan, Wicca, Celtic , Norse, or any other traditional aspects you may wish to honour.

So is, most importantly - the place:

  • out in the open?
  • in the ruins of a bronze age house ?
  • inside a stone circle?
  • on a boat?
  • in the woods?
  • on the beach?
  • in your garden?
  • beside a river?

The choice is yours.

Would you like to:

  • jump over a broom and a sword or just a broom ?
  • step over a small fire ?
  • with each other, or separately?
  • drink from the same cup?
  • exchange garlands or flowers?
  • light a togetherness candle?
  • have the 4-cord or the 6-cord ceremony ?
  • use the burning bowl ?
  • include the wishing tree or the wishing stones ?

All of these and many other traditions, some going back to a very long-lost time , are yours to choose from.

These are an example of the vows made at a handfasting ceremony:

You cannot possess me
for I belong to myself
but while we both wish it
I give you that which is mine to give

You cannot command me
for I am a free person
but I shall serve you in those ways you require
and the honeycomb will taste sweeter coming from my hand

I pledge to you
that yours will be the name I cry aloud in the night
and the eyes into which I smile in the morning
I pledge to you
the first bite from my turnip
and the first drink from my cup
I pledge to you my living and my dying
each equally in your care.
I shall be a shield for your back
and you for mine
I shall not slander you, nor you me

I commit myself to your path in life
Your happiness is my happiness
Your problems are my problems

I will try to understand and live with integrity in our relationship
I will work hard at our relationship
even when it gets difficult
I will remember to have fun!
I will respect and and honour our different spiritual needs
and try to understand them.
I commit to loving you
and commit with all my passion and love and mind to us
to our gorgeous relationship

This is my handfasting vow to you
to be held for a year and a day
until we either decide to part without rancour
or renew our pledges to each other
in a partnership of equals

If a handfasting is what you want, whatever and wherever you choose, I can create a bespoke ceremony especially for you, which will be uniquely yours, and which you and your guests will remember forever. Contact me to find out more