H is for Handfasting





The actual term “handfasting” comes from the tradition of the bride and groom crossing arms and joining hands — basically, creating the infinity symbol (a figure-eight) with the hands. In Neopagan ceremonies, the clergyperson performing the ceremony will join the couple’s hands with a cord or ribbon during the ritual. In some traditions, the cord remains in place until the couple consummates the marriage. While some people may choose to have their handfasting be a permanent bond, others might declare it to be valid for “a year and a day”, at which point they will re-evaluate the relationship and determine whether to continue or not.

Getting Handfasted: Start Early on Your Rite!

Getting Handfasted: Start Early on Your Rite!

by Paul Stephens

So you’ve decided to get married. Everyone is congratulating you and offering you best wishes. You are going to be busy picking colors and people to wear them, finding flowers and someone to arrange and deliver them.

I hate to ask, but have you asked your priest or priestess if they are available on your happy day? Have you written the ceremony? Do you even know what kind of ceremony you would like to have? Did you know that most priests and priestesses would require that they see you and your mate-to-be for at least three premarital evaluation sessions to see if they will perform the ceremony? There is always so much to think about with a wedding or handfasting that you might well have assumed that this friend of yours would have nothing better to do than to spend the weekend before your ceremony and the day of your ceremony with you and all your family and friends.

Before you start off on the wrong foot, let’s do a little time travel and look at how you should go about arranging your pagan wedding or handfasting. As soon as you confirm that you will be married, six to nine months before the ceremony but before selecting a particular date, get together with your priestess or priest — or, better, both — and find out what their calendars have open. They are busy people who teach classes, run meeting groups and manage circles, groves or covens. Often, they also attend meetings with various groups to organize multifaith gatherings —  and, unbelievably, they need time for themselves. Unless you have a very understanding group and a tolerant priest or priestess, you can forget sabbat rituals for your wedding day.

Once the four of you have set the date, you can schedule the evaluation sessions that most pagan priestesses and priests require before officiating the ceremony. You can discuss who will write the ceremony and resolve yourself to writing at least part of it. Where will it be? Outside weddings are always so nice — unless it rains. Be sure to plan alternatives, or plan for the worse and expect the best.

Speaking of the worst, I am reminded of a priestess who was involved in an accident a week before she was to perform a wedding. It is a good idea to have an alternate officiant so that the wedding can go on even if the worst should happen.

The priest or priestess will supply some ritual tools and weapons, but you will be required to supply some materials as well, so now is a good time to make that list. The plans thus far will take place before we tell Mom or call that nice lady who makes your robes. It might even happen before you pick the colors.

After spending the better part of a day with your officiant, you can begin thinking about the invitations, colors, wedding party and assistants. You can begin writing the ceremony first draft. You can begin making all the arrangements for flowers, tables, chairs, portable gazebos, music, gowns or robes and the caterers. Be sure to get a good night’s sleep, because until after the ceremony, you will have precious little time for sleep. You are the ones who have given yourselves plenty of time. You have six to nine months before your wedding.

Elder’s Meditation of the Day June 19

“Respect should be given those indigenous nations who still carry on their ceremonies; still following the ancient laws of nature with songs and ceremonies.”

–Oren R. Lyons, Spokesman, Traditional Circle of Elders

Many of our Tribes still have the ceremonies, songs and traditions. Today, the ceremonies and songs are coming back even stronger. The Elders have a lot of this knowledge. The young people need to learn these songs and traditions from the Elders. This is the strength of the people. The ancient Wisdom and Knowledge of ancient Laws are hidden in the ceremonies and songs. We should seek out these songs and ceremonies.

Great Spirit, teach me the songs and ceremonies. Make my eyes open to see.


Preparations To Do Spellcrafting

Preparations To Do Spellcrafting

(Natural Magick) 

You need to get yourself and the area or altar ready for the spell.

Clear the space you intend to use either psychically or physically. This could involve lighting cleansing incense like pine or lemongrass or having a quick smudge round the room or outdoor area where you will be working. For a more formal ceremony, sweep and asperge the area.

Use a compass to ascertain the four directions or calculate these from known places.

Set up any psychic protection that is required around the area you will be working in. You can concentrate this protection around the edges of what will be your magick circle, whether this is positioned in your mind or symbolized by the candles of the four main archangels or angels of nature. In these positions they could act as the guardians of the four quarters instead of the nature devas.

However, if you have more time available, you may prefer to set up a protective square to act as psychic boundary within which to cast your circle. You could also position your archangels at the edges of your garden or working area, or empower four large marker trees, bushes or stones. You should thank them and bid them farewell once the circle has been uncast.

If you are creating an external physical circle made, for example of branches, stones or shells this is a good time to set it up, with the help of anyone who is sharing the occasion. The standard diameter for this circle is 9 foot, although this can be altered if you are working in a confined space alone or if a number of people are attending and you want to move around.

Set up the basic altar and put everything in its place(for a more formal spell you can dedicate the altar now or at the beginning of the rite).

Basically, a bowl of salt goes in the north, incense goes in the east, a candle in the south and a water bowl in the west.

If you are making a sacred salt and water mix, you will be tipping the salt into the water so remember either to save a little in the bowl for the earth empowerment or have some spare salt in a second small dish at the side of the altar that you can use.

If you are incorporating a cakes and ale part into a longer ceremony or spell (a formal dedication of honey cakes and wine, beer or juice to give thanks to the earth mother and sky father for sustenance and all good things in our lives) set the cakes ready on a plate to the north of the altar. The drink will be put in a goblet or chalice (ceramic, glass or metal) to the west of the altar. Since this won’t be part of everyday spell casting.

As this is natural magick you should aim for organic products, barley wine or beer or organic juice and organic cakes with honey. You may well not have the time to make your own.

If you are having a garden ceremony, you can have a bath beforehand in water to which you have added rose or lavender oil, and put on something comfortable. If you are holding your ceremony on a windy beach, thick sweaters and jeans may be the order of the day. However, you can still cleanse yourself psychically. Anoint your hairline, center of your brow, throat and both wrists with one of your special waters to open your higher chakras or energy centers. Or use an essential oil in lotus, lavender or rose. Mix and match and cut out any stages that don’t fit a particular occasion. For example. You’ll only have the cakes and ale on special occasions and sometimes you’ll want just a simple circle cast while following only the basic spell casting steps.


The glitz and glamour of today’s white weddings actually derive from the ancient pagan betrothal ceremony called the handfasting.  The tradition of this hand-clasping ritual is believed to date back to Roman times. It is thought that a handfasted bride and groom initially took their vows only for a year and a day. After that time, if they were still madly in love, another ceremony was held to united them permanently. In the twenty-first century, Wiccans and Witches do still get handfasted but like most things, handfasting has evolved with the times. Angelic Wiccans tend to have ceremonies based on conventional handfasting, but with services attuned to the vibration of angels rather than the Pagan Gods and Goddesses.