Celebrating Legends, Folklore, & Spirituality 365 Days a Year – Compitalia (Lares and Penates)


January 12

Compitalia (Lares and Penates)

To the ancient Romans, the Lares and Penates were synonymous onymous with ancestral ghosts or spirits. Every family had its own Lare that protected the home and several Penates who watched over the hearth and food pantry.

Typically, the Lare was a small bronze statuette of a youthful figure holding a dish and raising a drinking horn. It was housed in a small shrine or niche in the wall and was prayed to each morning and at mealtime. During special family events (births, birthdays, weddings, and deaths) the little figurine was crowned, decorated with flower garlands, and given offerings of incense, cakes, and wine.

The festival of Compitalia was held in honor of the Lares and marked the end of the agricultural year. Shrines erected at the crossroads (compita) where three or four farms intersected. A broken plowshare was hung up at the shrine, and an altar was set up for sacrifice. There would be a blessing rite that was followed by a period of feasting. It was Augustus who transformed formed the rural celebration of Compitalia into a state festival that was conducted by a state priest on behalf of all the people.

Handfasting and Marriage Broom Lore


As a Priestess and Wiccan Minister, I perform several Handfasting Rites per
year. One of the main things I encourage Wiccan engaged couples to do is to find
a broom together. This is the symbol of hearth and home. Once the broom has been found, then it is anointed as I stated above, then some of the broom brush is pulled from the stem. That brush is then woven together and placed upon the
wedding altar. The broom is present during our counseling sessions and then the
wife-to-be is usually the keeper of the broom until the wedding. This represents
that she is the keeper of the home and keeps peace and harmony while the man
goes out to work. It also means that she is the keeper of the Magickal power of
the home. As it seems in these modern times that this is wrong to have such
sexed roles, this is celtic lore from more than 600 years ago.

The night before the wedding, the couple will dress the broom by weaving 3
strand of colored ribbon around the handle. What this represents is the inter-
twining of their lives and they themselves are no longer individuals but are
part of each other. The broom is then placed either standing by the altar or
placed lying under the altar during the ceremony as the vows are said, the
promises made, that hands fasted. They are pronounced husband and wife and the broom is then put before them as the final test of love. The couple either
steps, or in old tradition, jumps, over the broom. This is the final end of the
ceremony. Then it is recommended that the couple takes the broom home and
makes love with the broom under the bed. This seals the marriage.

Your broom can be your best friend and your magickal ally. Treat your broom with honor, reverence and respect and you will have a life-long companion and ritual tool.

Broomstick Weddings

Broomstick Weddings

“To marry over the broomstick,” “jump the besom”, was an old-time form of
marriage, in which both parties jumped over a broomstick to signify that they
were joined in common-law union. Also in the Netherlands, one can still find the
old saying “over de bezem trouwen” (marrying over the broomstick). At gypsy
wedding ceremonies, the bride and groom jump backwards and forwards over a
broomstick. A besom used to be placed before the doorway, the married couple
had to jump over it without dislodging the broom, from the street into their new
home. At any time within a year, this process could be reversed to dissolve the
marriage by jumping backwards. All this had to take place before several

In folk-belief, like that in Yorkshire, it was unlucky for an unmarried girl to
step over a broomstick because it meant that she would be a mother before she
was a wife. Light-hearted wags used to delight in putting broomsticks in the
path of unsuspecting virgins.

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.



The following wedding ceremony was written to provide for Pagans who must of
necessity be wed in the presence of the uninitiated who are not pagan and are
perhaps unaware that the bride and groom are pagan. Replace the words Bride and
Groom below with the names of the happy couple. This ceremony was used by both
my wife and  myself and by my sister and her husband.  They modified the text
at the point below where it says “loving each other  wholly and completely” to
add the phrase “forsaking all others” as  they are into monogamy.  Either
version works beautifully, I recommend the participants rewrite where necessary
to form a legal contract that they can and will keep. It is easy to avoid being
an oathbreaker if you only swear to that that you will keep and avoid swearing
to something just because the other party wants it or because it might be
“expected” by the family. Notice: parts of  this ritual were cribbed from the
writings of others. I apologize in advance  for failure to reference sources but
after the fifteenth rewrite we had forgotten where we got the text and what was
and what was not original to us.  I doubt if there are quotes from other sources
longer than paragraph length and thus should not be a copyright problem.  If you
see something that is yours, please send me mail and I will reference you in the
future. Our thanks to those who paved the way. –Ryan Hunter]

[PRIEST] We have come together here in celebration of the joining together of
____bride______ and ____groom______.  There are  many things to say about
marriage. Much wisdom  concerning the joining together of  two souls, has come
our way through all paths of belief, and from many cultures. With each union,
more knowledge is gained and more wisdom gathered. Though we are unable to give
all this knowledge to these two, who stand before us, we can hope to leave with
them the knowledge of love and its strengths and the anticipation of the wisdom
that comes with time.  The law of  life is love unto all beings. Without love,
life is nothing, without love, death has no redemption. Love is anterior to
Life, posterior  to  Death, initial of Creation and the exponent of  Earth. If
we learn no more in life, let it be this.

Marriage is a bond to be entered into only after considerable thought and
reflection.  As with any aspect of life, it has its cycles, its ups and its
downs, its trials and its triumphs.  With full understanding of this,  Groom and
Bride have come here today to be joined as one in marriage.

Others would ask,  at this time, who gives the bride in marriage, but,  as a
woman is not property to be bought and sold, given and taken,  I ask simply if
she comes of her own will and if she  has her family’s blessing.

Bride, is it true that you come of your own free will and accord?

[BRIDE] Yes, it is true.

[PRIEST] With whom do you come and whose blessings accompany you.

[FATHER] She comes with me, her father, and is accompanied by all of her
family’s blessings.

[PRIEST] Please join hands with your betrothed and listen to that which I am
about to say.

Above you are the stars,  below you are the stones,  as time doth pass,

Like a stone should your love be firm like a star should your love be
constant. Let the powers of the mind and of the intellect guide you in your
marriage,  let the strength of your wills  bind you  together,  let the power of
love and desire make you happy, and the strength of your dedication make you
inseparable.  Be close, but not too close. Possess one another, yet be
understanding.   Have patience with one another, for storms will come, but they
will pass quickly.

Be free in giving affection and warmth.  Have no fear and let not the ways of
the unenlightened give you unease,  for God is  with you always.

Groom, I have not the right to bind thee to Bride, only you have this right.
If it be your wish, say so at this time and place your ring in her hand.

[GROOM] It is my wish.

[PRIEST]  Bride, if it be your wish for Groom to be bound to you, place the
ring on his finger.  (places ring on Groom’s left ring finger)

Bride  I  have not the right to bind thee to Groom only you  have this right.
If it be your wish,  say so at this time  and place your ring in his hand.

[BRIDE] It is my wish.

[PRIEST] Groom,  if it be your wish for Bride to be bound to you, place   the
ring on her finger.(places ring on   Bride’s   left ring finger)

(to Groom) Repeat after me:

I,   (grooms full name),   in the name of the spirit of God that resides within
us all,  by the life that courses within my blood and  the love that resides
within my heart,   take thee  (bride’s full  name) to my hand, my heart, and my
spirit, to be my chosen  one. To desire thee and be desired by thee, to possess
thee,  and be possessed by thee, without sin or shame, for naught can exist in
the purity of my love for thee.   I promise to love thee wholly and completely
without restraint, in sickness and in health, in plenty and in poverty, in life
and beyond, where we shall meet, remember, and love again.  I shall not seek to
change thee in any way.   I shall respect thee, thy beliefs, thy people, and thy
ways as I respect myself.

(to Bride)
I  (bride’s full name), in the name of the spirit of God that resides within us
all, by the life that courses within my blood, and the love that resides within
my heart,  take  thee, (Groom’s full name) to my hand, my heart, and my spirit
to be my chosen one.   To desire and be desired by  thee, to possess thee, and
be possessed by thee, without sin or shame, for naught can exist in the purity
of my love for thee.  I promise to love thee wholly and completely without
restraint, in sickness and in health, in plenty and in poverty, in life and
beyond, where we shall meet, remember, and love again.  I shall not seek to
change thee in any way.   I shall respect thee, thy beliefs, thy people, and thy
ways as I respect myself.

(hands  chalice to the groom,  saying:) May you drink  your  fill from the cup
of love.

(Groom  holds  chalice to bride while she sips then  bride  takes chalice and
holds it to groom while he sips.  The chalice is then handed  back to the Priest
who sets it on the  table.   Next  the Priest  takes the plate of bread,  giving
it to the groom.   Same
procedure  repeated  with bread, groom feeding bride  and  bride feeding groom.)

By the power vested in me by God and the State of  ________,  I now pronounce
you husband and wife.  May your love so endure that its flame remains a guiding
light unto you.

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.


A Witchy Wedding Album

Unlike a non-Wiccan wedding album, which usually holds photographs of the happy couple and their immediate family, a Wiccan wedding album is a more interactive remind of the couple’s special day.  Usually, the right-hand man purchases a large hardback book and decorates the outside in some way. Inside, there is a written copy of the sermon and vows from the ceremony. After the ceremony each guest writes a “well wishing” note on the pages that follow, and some of the dried lavender is collected from the ground and pressed into the book. Later, photographs can be added, along with other mementos, such as cards from guests or a copy of the invitation. This treasure is then kept in a special area in the couple’s home so that they can maintain all their wonderful memories in one place.

Guests, Gifts and Potluck

As with non-Wiccan weddings, the number of guests in attendance depends on how many people the couple chooses to invite. Most handfastings are very informal, and they’re usually not catered. Guests may be asked to prepare a signature dish, cook an old-fashioned delicacy, or bring a first-rate bottle of wine or a case of imported beer. These days, it is not so fashionable to buy large, expensive gifts or home appliances, most witches feel that small, homemade items or foods are more personal and allow each and every person invited to contribute in some way.

All of these offerings are placed on trestle tables, and once the wedding ceremony is over, the guests help themselves to the many mouth-watering contributions. Witches don’t tend to be materialistic, so this potluck arrangement is ideal for us and it keeps the cost to a minimum. I’m sure you’ll agree that this make the term ” the more the merrier” is very true indeed.

 As guests arrive, gentle music is played in the background, and each person is offered a glass of wine. Chairs are placed in a large circle around the altar (which is off-center in the circle), and the guests sit, drink and await the celebration.

Once all the guests are seated, the “right-hand man” (usually a member of the groom’s family or a good friend) walks into the circle, ringing a handbell. This cleanses the area inside the circle of any negative energy. The bride’s made of honor then takes dried lavender flowers mixed with small chips of rose quartz and casts them at the feet of the guests for good luck. At the same time, one of the bride’s handmaidens or bridesmaids follows the right-hand man, waving a smudging stick or some sage incense from the altar to further purify the circle.