July 17th, 2010

A Handfasting--Joy and Responsibility

I officiated at a handfasting earlier today. And it was lovely.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the word, a handfasting is a pagan wedding ritual. It comes from the old practice of having the couple's hands tied together during the ceremony; that's why they still call getting married "tying the knot."

See, you've learned something!

As a high priestess, I've been fortunate enough to help a number of couples celebrate their special day. I consider it to be part of my role as priestess; a service to my community.

It is a little overwhelming to think of the responsibility that comes with this task--tying a couple together both spiritually and (in most cases) legally. Not something to be undertaken lightly, especially in light of the fact that Witches believe words to have power, and vows even moreso.

But it is also a great joy and and a great honor to stand with a couple and accept those vows.

Each new handfasting makes me think of all those which went before. Some, like the first one I did, were unconventional (two Pagan women who wanted a formal ritual to solemnize their commitment to each other, even if they couldn't have a legally binding ceremony). Some, like the formal wedding of my best pal Robin and her wonderful husband, George, were a combination of traditional wedding and Pagan rite. (Not so difficult as it sounds, since many of the traditions come from Pagan origins in the first place!)

Each one was different, and special, and a little bit magical. I think my favorite part is when I lift the goblet and say:

Let it be known that no man is greater than a woman, nor woman greater than a man. For what one lacks, the other can give. And when they are joined, it is magic in truth, for there is no greater magic in the world than love.

I could use a little bit of that magic myself. But until I find it, it is my great pleasure to share in the magical day of others. Best wishes to Patti and Chris--may you walk the path together in joy and merriment.