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Untitled Title: Our Handfasting
Author: Scarlet

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What I have here is the script and description of the handfasting ceremony that my husband and I used on our wedding day
(minus our real names for personal reasons). We sat for long hours discussing how it would work and finding just the right
words to say to each other and to our family. We wanted a ceremony that was true to us and our beleifs but we wanted one
that was beautiful and timeless and one that our family would feel blessed to witness. The guests were mainly my own family
as his could not attend due to prohibitive travel issues. We found a legal clergy to officiate and visited her a month prior to sign
our legal documents (the wedding wasn't a venue for legal matters as far as I'm concerned, it was a religious and personal
ceremony). She is a practicioner of shamanism and was very open to our ceremony and did a lovely job welcoming our family
and giving us a beautiful out-door ceremony in a wooded feild near a small lake.

For attendents, I had my two best freinds as Maids of Honor, the young lady who I have been a mentor for several years as my
only Bridesmaid and my freinds little sister as my flower "fairy" (she even wore adorable wings). My husbands Best Man was a
good freind of ours and his only attendent.

The chairs were arranged to form a circle in four quarters and all facing the altar which was framed by trees and placed in the fourth
quarter. The guests gathered and were seated and my groom stood waiting at the altar.

Casting the Circle-
When the music started, the procession began with my bridesmaid carrying our wedding broom which was made out of a strong
branch from near his home and long grasses harvested near my childhood home. She circled the guests around the "aisle,"
sweeping away all negative energy and waited at the altar. She was followed by a spirited flower fairy, dancing and skipping and
scattering flowers and pedals in the air and on the ground. After her the maids of honor came, the first ringing a bell and the second
carrying our chalice of mead, then the best man brought around the lit lantern and all of these tokens of the elementals were placed
on the altar. Thus the elementals were called to our circle.
I then made the circle with my father and met my groom at the altar. What our officiant said is adapted from "Handfasting and
Wedding Rituals" by Raven Kaldera and Tannin Schwartstein.
"Friends and family, tribe and community, we are gathered here to celebrate love in all it's forms, but especially the love that
makes a commitment between two people. This kind of love is not afraid to make promises. It is not afraid to work and to
struggle. It seeks not only to be but to continue. It is based not only on pleasure of the present but on the hopes of the future.
This is the kind of love that creates an anchor between two people, one they can float away from and then find their way back
safely. It also anchors a home and a family and along with other such great loves creates the bonds of a community. We
celebrate and applaud the love and the promises of *Groom* and *Bride*. May they always be a living hope for the future
and for all of us.

Evoking the Deities (Sun, Moon and Ancestors)-
The following poem was adapted by me from one I found online and our officiant used it to cast the circle.
Marriage is a sacred event. Let us remember the spirit of sacredness."

“In the name of that Spirit which lights the sun,
Whose love began the universe,
Whose touch sparked all beginnings,
I bless this circle and all within it.
In the name of that Spirit which brightens and darkens the moon,
Whose love holds all things together,
Whose body encircles eternity,
I bless this circle and al within it.
In the many names of all those who have ever loved,
Whose stories are stars in the sky,
Whose paths light our lives,
I bless this circle and all within it.
May only love enter and loving hearts depart.”

Offerings to the Gods and Ancestors-
"Let us now make these humble offerings to the Spirit which surrounds us."
Here we each took a handful of birdseed, privatly whispered our blessing and released it behind the altar.

"Guests, you will receive grain from the attendants. This grain and it’s blessings may be showered over the couple after
the ceremony or whatever you wish to do with it. There is a bowl behind you if you wish to offer it there. If you wish, you
may take this time to say a silent prayer for the couple or to meditate on what the word “Love” means to you and your
wishes for *Groom* and *Bride*.

Music was played as the attendants passed out small bags of birdseed and a moment allowed for private prayer.

Blessing of the Couple-
The following was also adapted from the handfasting book previously mentioned.

"Take hands, both of you. And all of you gathered here in the spirit of love, also take each others hands. We all understand
the gesture that you are now making. To reach out to someone and be acknowledged, held, and loved is something we
all crave as human beings. Taking the hand of the one who loves you is the symbol of that unspoken bond.
Your hands are also a part of you that you use noticeably often. Every day you look down at your hands as they do their
jobs, and this is also why we wear a token of our wedding vows there. Every day, as you look down, you will see a brief
flash of light, a sparkle as the ring placed on your finger today will shine. It will remind you, again and again, over and over,
of your promise to your loved one. Every time you take hands, you will feel that wedding ring on your partner's hand and
you will both be reminded again in turn. It will always be with you, visible, worn openly and with pride. It will say to the world
that someone loves me enough to make a promise to share a life."

Blessing the Rings and Cords-
Now we took the cords we'd made and the rings we were to exchange and had the officiant bless them with the following
Native American poem found on a website.

"Now you will feel no rain,
for each of you will be shelter for the other.
Now you will feel no cold,
for each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now there will be no loneliness,
for each of you will be companion to the other.
Now you are two persons,
but there is only one life before you.
May beauty surround you both in the journey ahead
and through all the years.
May happiness be your companion and your
days together be good and long upon the earth.

Treat yourselves and each other with respect,
and remind yourselves often of what brought you
together. Give the highest priority to the
tenderness, gentleness and kindness that
your connection deserves.
When frustration, difficulties and fear assail your
relationship, as they threaten all relationships at one
time or another, remember to focus on what is right
between you, not only the part which seems wrong.
In this way, you can ride out the storms
when clouds hide the face of the sun in your lives --
remembering that even if you lose sight
of it for a moment, the sun is still there.
And if each of you takes responsibility for the quality
of your life together, it will be marked by
abundance and delight."

Vows-
We took the blessed rings and said the first part of our vows to each other seperatly.
*Groom* (placing ring on Bride): “I promise to carry a faithful heart and be honest with you always. I promise to be a
part of you forever, to be a unit when faced with the outside world. You are an extention of myself and I'll always plan for
your welfare when planning for mine and will not be selfish when you are in need. I promise to always do my best to serve
us as a unit and to respect your choices. I promise to support you when you are weak, even if I don't understand how
you came to be so. I promise to keep no unkind secrets and to share happy suprises. I promise never to let a mutual
problem stop me from sharing so that we may negotiate the storms in life and come out into the sun again safely. I pledge
respect for you as a person for it is your beauty and color that lights our life together.”
*Bride* (Placed ring on Groom and repeated same thing said by Groom)
Now we clasped hands and the officiant began to bind our hands together as we said the final part of our vows in unison
(the only part we had to memorize).
Both (as hands are bound): You are first before all others. You are my best friend, my family and my partner. You are
my anchor, my wings, my love.

Grounding and Celebration-
Finally, the officiant brought forth the chalice of mead and offered it to each of us.

Officiant: And now, please drink to the love you`ve shared in the past. (The couple take turns sipping from the cup)
Drink to your love in the present, on this your wedding day. (The couple take turns sipping from the cup)
And drink to your love in the future and forever more. (The couple take turns sipping from the cup)

She then pronounced us married, we kissed and jumped over the broom.

Closing the Circle-
We then ran counterclockwise around the aisle to open the circle as our freinds and relatives showered us with the
blessed birdseed.
The officiant hung back to do a silent private prayer in closing of the circle. From there, we went on to a great party!


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