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Thread: My handfasting at stonehenge

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    Lightbulb My handfasting at stonehenge

    Hihi,
    Back in March 2011 I was lucky enough to get hand-fasted at stonehenge in a private ceremony consisting of just my close friends and family.
    It was a wonderful experience but I remember how un-inspired I was by the hand-fasting ceremonies that have been published, so I thought I would share our hand-fasting in case anyone is interested, please ask questions if you have any

    I will start with the basics and then move on to the actual hand-fasting ceremony.

    The Venue:
    Stonehenge is an awe-inspiring place, but the stones are closed off from the public with the exception of the usual big holidays (solstices) when thousands of people cram into the circle for assorted reasons. For the majority of the public this is the only times access is possible, but it is possible to hire the circle for an hour for a private group access.
    This access is in the early morning before the tours around the outside of the circle starts, Or after hours.

    English heritage have some very strict rules regarding what can and cannot be done/taken into the circle and provide an application form for you to fill in, its important to bare this in consideration when planning the ceremony as it can really affect what you wish to do (no glass, no food, no eating, no drinking, no bloodshed, no smoking, no oil or incense or smoke, no fire, no flames, no damage to the stones or ground, no amplified music).

    Our ceremony was to start at 0800hrs.


    The Guests:
    Only 20 people including officiants can enter the circle.
    This was not to much of a problem for us as it helped keep costs down and ensured only those who really were close to us were there. Though we had to include spaces for our photographers as well.

    We were very much aware that not all of our guests were entirely aware of what was going to happen or had any experience with pagan ceremonies ( our parents on both sides are Catholic to varying degrees), to help with this we produced an information sheet for the ceremony, a nice little A5 booklet, which explained:
    -The english heritage rules.
    -Dress code.
    -"Whats going on" a point by point guide to the events in the ceremony, padded with some nice factoids (origins of tying the knot etc..).

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    Re: My handfasting at stonehenge

    I covered the hand fasting cord in another thread so now its time for...

    The Ceremony:

    The basic sequence of the ceremony was :
    Challenge of the bride and groom – outside the circle but very brief
    Bride and groom enter circle
    Exchange of gifts between bride and groom
    Casting of the circle
    Poem
    Vows
    Exchange of Rings
    Binding
    Poem
    The Pronouncement
    Closing of the ritual

    1:The Challenge:
    As we entered the the circle we were challenged by my Best-man in his role as guardian of the border-lands.
    Best-man: "Halt! I am your guard as you come to the borderlands! Who are you, who come to the edge of the worlds?"
    Bride: I am...
    Groom: I am...
    Best-man: "Why do you seek to leave the wild? Here you have your freedom, and you need not answer to anyone for your actions".
    B: "We come here hand in hand to start a home together"
    G: "We come here together to proclaim our love and to wed ourselves to each other, we seek to step across the borderlands"
    Best-man shakes his head and looks sad. He takes a bowl of ashes which is a symbol of mourning and transformation and marks the foreheads of Best-man: "I wish you well in your new life. However remember that no matter how much you love each other the call of the wild will find you through the walls of your home. May your love and commitment be stronger than the howling of the winds"

    Entering the circle and exchange of gifts:
    Officiants: "Today we stand within this most ancient of sacred spaces for the wedding of Groom and Bride. Groom and Bride
    stand here before the gaze of the universe, to declare their love and be made husband and wife together. Love, in its infinite form, is something that cannot be forced. It cannot be taken away. It is a gift we give to ourselves, and an honour we give to others from the bottom of our hearts and souls. When two people come together and give one another this gift, this most sacred gift of all, it is certain the universe is sitting back and smiling upon us, laughing and showering us with every possible blessing.
    Today is a day to celebrate the love of Groom and Bride. They are two people who are the halves of a whole. Two souls, coming together to form one single being; two hearts, beating in a single rhythm. These cords will form the final part of their bond at the end of this ceremony. As they pass around the circle, please take a moment to reflect on the moment and your wishes and blessings for their future happiness.

    Before we begin the ceremony, and ready this space for what we are to do it is traditional for the groom and bride to exchange gifts, do you have such gifts?"
    Groom: I gift you these keys of Iron, all that is mine, is also yours.
    Bride:Yaaaaaaaaay!
    Groom: I give you this sword, may it protect you as I would and with it may you defend what is now yours.
    Bride:I take this sword, you have given, to protect me, and in return give you this new sword so you may defend yourself and us.

    --Circle is cast and awakened--

    ---------------
    The giving of gifts was important as it was part of our heritage and quite traditional, the swords had been cleansed and blessed beforehand as were the keys ( the keys are 150 years old, and one of the swords is similar in age).
    It also helped declare the theme of our relationship as one of equals.
    By exchanging swords our ability to defend ourselves was linked to our love and trust of each other. Should I cheat then the sword given to me would shatter if I tried using to to defend myself, and vice-versa.
    Also be exchanging swords we are sharing and mixing our hamingja and fylgja.

  3. #3
    Thane Doc_Holliday's Avatar
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    Re: My handfasting at stonehenge

    I'm not sure what to say as most of this because I am pretty well clueless on this type of ceremony. But I must say, you are very lucky to have had such a sacred occasion at such a sacred location.

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    Member Py9's Avatar
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    Re: My handfasting at stonehenge

    Your post makes me want to divorce and marry my hasband again in handfasting. This is such an amazing ceremony, why did i have to get married in a jewish wedding??

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