Note:  The invitation, program and ritual below were used in our handfasting.  Much of the ritual itself was adapted from various sources that unfortunately were not referenced at the time of writing due to time constraints, but some portions of our ceremony were found at Witches Wed, one of the most complete handfasting resources we've ever seen.  We'll  keep trying to find all the original sources and credit the authors as soon as possible, and apologize for the oversight.  Please e-mail us if you are the author of any of the material below, or know where the original text may be found so proper credit may be given.  Feel free to adapt any of our material to your own handfasting or wedding, and may you forever be as happy together as we are right now!

Oak and Amber



Our Handfasting:

Our Invitation

Our Program

Our Ritual

Handfasting Links


Our Invitation:

Our handfasting invitation was printed in the font "Black Chauncery" on notecards from Hallmark using a Canon inkjet printer.  The original printed invitation used our full legal names and included our names and phone numbers, as well as those of our respective mothers for responses.  We wrote it together, and somehow both of us managed to miss the error in the city name;  Claremore borders Tulsa and I typed the wrong place.  (Amber won't let me forget I was the one who made the mistake! - Oak)
 
 

Oakdancer and Amberflame

Cordially invite you to attend their handfasting

Saturday, March 27th, 1999 at 10 o'clock in the morning.
 

The handfasting will be held at:

The Belvidere
Third Floor Ballroom
Tulsa, Oklahoma

Reception to follow immediately.
 

R.S.V.P.


Our Program:

This program was provided to introduce the members of the wedding parties to family and friends of all the participants as well as inform our non-Pagan guests what to expect and help them to understand the meanings of certain parts of the ceremony.  This was printed out onto four
8 1/2" x 11" pages then reduced to one double-sided page on a photocopier.
This was then folded in the middle to form a 4-page booklet.
Deviations from the original text and page breaks indicated in [brackets]
Except for the poems included within, Amber wrote this all herself.

Handfasting Program
"So powerful is the force of love that it is the foundation of all religions
and the unbreakable thread that binds us together
as a tribe, a community, a nation, and a world."
- Anonymous

Introduction:
Handfasting is a term used for Pagan weddings. Pagans are those people who do not hold to the traditional concept of deity as found in Christianity, Judaism or Islam. Pagans generally worship deity in the form of the Goddess and the God, commonly called the Lady and the Lord. Pagans are also known as Wiccans and Witches.
Handfasting is a very old concept, dating back to the days when most people could not afford expensive metals for rings and such. In the old ceremonies, the man and woman would come together to have their hands bound together - thus the term "handfasted." Some of these ceremonies were only binding for a year and a day, while others made the commitment for life, and some even made it for eternity, throughout all lifetimes.
Modern handfastings usually include both the binding of the hands as well as the exchange of rings. Today's ceremonies may or may not be legally binding, depending on the couple's preference and what type of clergy are used.
Most handfastings are conducted by High Priestesses and/or High Priests. These people hold the roles of Pagan clergy. If they are ordained and licensed, they may conduct legal ceremonies. If not, the ceremony is not legally binding, but it is still considered a spiritual bond by the couple.
Another common element of most handfastings is the "jumping of the broom." This is a sub-ritual found in many cultures, but most commonly recognized in the South as a remnant of slave customs. By jumping the broom, the couple symbolically leave their past behind and make a fresh start, with their lives "swept clean" of any past negativity and burdens.

Like any conventional wedding, handfastings are a time of great celebration and rejoicing. We invite you all to join our celebration, and to share in our joy.
Just to explain, Oakdancer and Amberflame are our magickal names, our "Witch names" if you will. Because we share the same belief systems, and because we believe that our religious beliefs bring out the best in us, we will be using these names for the ritual.
 
 

This Day I Married My Best Friend
This day I married my best friend
... the one I laugh with as we share life's wonderous zest,
as we find new enjoyments and experience all that's best.
... the one I live for because the world seems brighter
and our happy times are better and our burdens feel much lighter.
... the one I love with every fibre of my soul.
We used to feel vaguely incomplete, now together we are whole.
(author unknown)

[Break]

Outline of Handfasting Ritual:
Introduction of Ritual by High Priestess of the East
Opening of the Circle by High Priestess of the East
Casting of the Circle by High Priestess of the South
Greetings to the Lord and Lady by High Priestess of the North
Blessing of the Elements by High Priestess of the East
Blessing of the Goddess and the God by High Priestess of the South
Binding of the Hands and Exchange of Vows by High Priestess of the North
Exchange of Rings by High Priestess of the South
Jumping of the Broom
Farewell to the Lord, Lady and Elements by High Priestesses of the East and South
Closing Blessing
 
 


The Knot
There have been moments I've wondered
If we would ever stand here
With all the tribulations and trials
And things that just wouldn't come clear
But here now I stand before you
My heart is pounding away
As I fall into the depths of your eyes
And forget what to say

Tying the knot of eternity forever
Two souls working together as one
Feeling the magick upon us
And from behind the clouds comes the sun
Tying the knot's not the answer
To all the problems we've had
But all I know is with you at my side
You conjure good from the bad

Our families have had their problems
They can't see eye to eye
Why a man with a mouth like yours,
Could wind up with a woman so shy
But in the end love flames eternal,
And tears stand in everyone's eyes
As they see the truth in our feelings
Because with love you don't need to ask why.

Tying the knot is the main thing,
The final way of promising true
That wherever I go, whatever I do,
I've chosen to share life with you
Tying the knot makes us stronger,
With you as my partner I'm fine
And with time things get better
We'll age together like wine

So in a moment the answer
All I have to say is "I do,"
You look so very happy
The world seems so fresh and new
The ring I slip on your finger
My hands are trembling and cold
But your smile fills my heart,
And we're united with this band of gold.

[Break]

Members of the Handfasting Ritual:
Bride - [Amberflame]
Groom - [Oakdancer]
Junior High Priestess - [Silverwing]
Illuminary Lighter - [Willow]
High Priestess of the East - Laura [omitted]
High Priestess of the South - Bethany [omitted]
High Priestess of the North - Amie [omitted]

Bride's parents - Edward and Jo [omitted]
Groom's parents - Dorothy [omitted], the late Max [omitted] and the late Joe [omitted]
 
 


Why Marriage?
Because to the depths of me, I long to love one person, with all my heart, my soul, my mind, my body.
Because I need a forever friend to trust with the intimacies of me,
who won't hold them against me, who loves me when I'm unlikable,
who sees the small child in me, and looks for the Divine potential of me ...
Because I need to cuddle in the warmth of the night with someone who is thankful,
with someone I feel blessed to hold ...
Because marriage means opportunity to grow in love, in friendship ...
Because, knowing this, I promise myself to take full responsibility
for my spiritual, mental and physical wholeness ...
As I create me, I take half of the responsibility for my marriage
As together we create our marriage ...
Because with this understanding, the possibilities are limitless ...
(author unknown)

[Note: The notation "author unknown" is from the written text of our ceremony. We have now found that this beautiful poem, "Why Marriage?" is the original work of Mari Nichols Copyright © 1995, and it is now used here with permission of the author. (Thank you, Mari!) - Oak 1/13/03]









Explanation of Pagan Customs:
Casting the Circle: this is a method of creating "sacred space," or a place of positive energies for a magickal working. The Circle represents the perfect symbol of eternity, with no beginning and no end, and thus is a symbol of Divine protection. When Witches (and honored guests) stand within the circle, it is said that they meet "in a time that is not a time, in a place that is not a place, between the worlds." In such a magickal place, anything can happen!
Magick:  This is one of the most misunderstood terms found in the Craft, so spelled as to distinguish it from so-called stage "magic". Witches define "magick" as "the deliberate manipulation of energy toward manifesting a specific goal or intent." Therefore, magick is quite simply using thoughts, and sometimes tools as a focus, to bring something to manifestation. Magick is worked for the good of all concerned in the situation, bringing no deliberate harm to anyone. Most forms of magick relate to healing, protection, fertility, prosperity and enhancing relationships of all kinds.
Elements/Quarters:  The elements/quarters refer to the four elements and directions: North-Earth, East-Air, South-Fire and West-Water. The four elements make up physical life on this plane. They are also represented in the pentacle (5-pointed star enclosed in a circle), which includes the fifth element, that of Spirit, which combines and activates the other four. The element of Spirit is represented, in terms of direction, by the center. Again, this serves to tie the other four directions together.

[Break]

Blessing for a Marriage
May your marriage bring you all the exquisite excitement a marriage should bring,
and may life grant you also patience, tolerance, and understanding.
May you always need one another - not so much to fill your emptiness
as to help you to know your fullness.
A mountain needs a valley to be complete; the valley does not make the
mountain less, but more; and the valley is more a valley
because it has a mountain towering over it.
So let it be with you and you.
May you need one another, but not out of weakness.
May you want one another, but not out of lack.
May you entice one another, but not compel one another.
May you embrace one another, but not out encircle one another.
May you succeed in all important ways with one another,
and not fail in the little graces.
May you look for things to praise, often say "I love you!"
and take no notice of small faults.
If you have quarrels that push you apart,
may both of you hope to have good sense enough to take the first step back.
May you enter into the mystery which is
the awareness of one another's presence -
no more physical than spiritual, warm and near when you are side by side,
and warm and near when you are in separate rooms or even distant cities.
May you have happiness,
and may you find it making one another happy.
May you have love,
and may you find it loving one another!
-- James Dillet Freeman
 

Handfasting of Oakdancer and Amberflame
Saturday, March 27, 1999
10 o'clock in the morning
The Belvidere
Claremore, Oklahoma

[Top]




Our Ritual:

The ritual we used was written by Amberflame using material from various sources.  It was originally written for four High Priestesses but had to be revised practically at the last minute due to an unexpected cancellation.  Since the whole thing was being planned long-distance it would have been almost impossible to find a replacement on short notice, so Amber re-wrote the ritual for 3 H.P.'s.






Introduction
The High Priestess of the East (Laura) stands before the guests, with her back to the altar. Bethany stands as High Priestess of the South, in that quarter. Amie stands as High Priestess of the North, in that quarter. Standing beside Laura is Silverwing, who will serve as junior high priestess, helping any of the high priestesses in their duties. The Eastern HPS extends her arms for a moment, and offers the following welcome and introduction:

"Welcome all, and thrice blessed is this place and time that sees two travellers find a common road.
  East, South, West, North, Above, Below, Past and Future - these all form the Sphere of the Universe.
  We are, each one of us, at the center of that sphere. And when two people marry, they meet at that center, and both are changed.
  The traditions that we follow are as old as language, and though this is not a conventional church, I would remind you that, nonetheless, this is sacred ground. Sacred because of what is to take place here, for that which passes between loving people is eternally holy.
  Our work today is a happy one. We are gathered in the Presences of the Goddess and the God, of the Elementals, and all benevolent Beings of the Universe, to celebrate the joining of Oakdancer and Amberflame in the ancient rite of handfasting, which is a reflection of their sincerity and commitment to each other as witnessed by those they care most about.
  While a faith may bless, and the state has already made this commitment legal, neither state nor faith can create or invalidate this union. It is a sacred commitment between these two people, responsible only unto each other, held true by their values and beliefs.
  This is not the first cycle of their lives together. Rather than starting completely new, this ceremony represents a   new season.   Just as spring is a time of planting and summer is a time of growth, this cycle represents the harvest of growth,  maturity and abiding respect.
  Past successes, failures, disappointments and joy simply nourish this harvest, providing a rich and stable place from which to grow together as the cycle of life continues.
  On an occasion such as the handfasting of Oakdancer and Amberflame, one recognizes the truth of Saint-Exupery's statement, "Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction." For, in fact, man and woman are not only looking outward in the same direction; they are working outward. Here one forms ties, roots, a firm base. Here one makes oneself part of the community of human society.
  And here are the bonds of marriage formed. For marriage, which is always spoken of as a bond, actually becomes, at this stage, many bonds ... many strands of different texture and strength, making up a web that is taut and firm.
  This web is fashioned of love, but of many different kinds of love: romantic love, at first, then a slow-growing devotion and, playing through these, a constant rippling companionship. It is made of loyalties and   interdependencies, and shared experiences. It is woven of memories of meetings and conflicts, of triumphs and disappointments. It is a web of communication, a common language, and the acceptance of lack of language, too;   a knowledge of likes and dislikes, of habits and reactions, both physical and mental. It is a web of instincts and intuitions, and known and unknown exchanges.
  The web of marriage is made by proximity, in the day-to-day living, side by side, looking outward and working outward in the same direction. It is woven in space and in time of the substance of life itself.

The Eastern HPS then takes up the handfasting cord, and holds it high above her head for a moment. She then passes it to Silverwing, who takes it to the Southern quarter HPS, as she explains:

"This is the cord of handfasting, which will tie Oakdancer and Amberflame together in the bonds of love and commitment. For such bonds to be strong, they need support - the support of the lovers themselves, the support of the Gods, and the support of a community of family and friends.
"I ask now that each of you give your support, letting it flow as loving strength and good wishes into the cord as it is passed around throughout the circle."

Silverwing then moves deosil around the circle, allowing each HPS to bless the cord. After which, she begins circulating the cord amongst the guests.
After a brief pause, the Eastern HPS concludes the introduction with:

"Now open the circle and your hearts, for two are coming who would be made one!"
 

Opening of the Circle

The Eastern High Priestess (Laura) stands before the guests, with her back to the altar. The bride and groom stand outside of the Circle, bride to the North beside Amie and groom to the South beside Bethany.
The Eastern HPS at the main altar rings the altar bell three times. She turns to the South and says:
        "Who comes to be joined together in the Presence of the Goddess?
          What is thy name, O Man?"
The groom replies:
         "My name is Oakdancer. I enter this Circle in perfect love, perfect peace and perfect trust."
Once more, the altar bell is thrice rung. The High Priestess turns to the North, and asks:
         "Who comes to be joined together in the Presence of the God?
         "What is thy name, O Woman?"
The bride replies:
         "My name is Amberflame. I enter this Circle in perfect love, perfect peace and perfect trust."
After a brief pause, the High Priestess invites them in with:
         "Oakdancer and Amberflame, we greet you with joy, in perfect love, perfect peace and perfect trust.
           Welcome to this Circle."
The altar bell is once again rung three times.
 

Casting of the Circle

The High Priestess of the South (Bethany) moves deosil to begin in the East, drawing an invoking pentagram above the quarter illuminary. She is accompanied by Willow, who will light the candles. She then stands with arms raised, palms up, and says:
         "Be with us here, O Powers of Air!
           With Your breath of life, join the bonds between these two and tie them tightly.
           Give them the powers of communication, wisdom and understanding, that they might live in harmony. Let them share loving words and thoughts, full of kindness and care. "
She then has Willow light the quarter illuminary, and afterwards they proceed deosil to the South.

She repeats the process in the Southern quarter, invoking:
         "Be with us here, O Powers of Fire!
           Spark their love and passion with Your all-consuming ardor!"
           Give them warmth deep within their souls and sweet desire, one for the other, so they may enjoy vitality, passion and creativity, and that they may live by the heat of each others' fire."
Willow lights the quarter illuminary, and they proceed deosil to the West.

She repeats the invocation to the West, saying:
          "Be with us here, O Powers of Water!
            Give them the deepest of love, and richness of body, of soul, and of spirit!"
            Bless them with love, intuition and friendship, so they shall know understanding and forgiveness. Thus may they ride out the tides and love together, seeking shelter always in the calm waters of each others' hearts."
Willow lights the quarter illuminary, and they proceed deosil to the North.

She invokes the elementals of the North, saying:
         "Be with us here, O Powers of Earth!
           Let Your strength and constancy be theirs for all time!"
           May You bless them with stability, fertility and strength, so they shall stand firmly together and know the balance, offered one to the other. Bless their union with prosperity and security."
Willow lights the quarter illuminary, and they proceed deosil back to the East.

The same High Priestess, beginning in the East, uses her athame to cast the parameters of the Circle, enclosing the whole area, including guests. At its completion, she seals with Circle with the following statement:
         "The Circle is cast in love, peace and trust, a perfect fusion of spirit and matter."
 

Greetings to the Lord and Lady

The High Priestess of the North moves to the main altar and stands before it. She stands silent for a moment. Then, using her athame, she sketches an invoking pentagram above the Goddess illuminary and says:
         "Lady of Stars and Twilight Mystery,
           Thrice-Crowned Triple Goddess of all Life,
           We welcome Thee to this Circle.
           Give us Thy blessings upon this Rite of Love and Commitment.
           Blessed be!"
She then lights the Goddess illuminary.

She repeats the process for the God illuminary, saying:
         "Lord of the Shades and Golden Sunlight,
           Horned Hunter God of all Life,
           We welcome Thee to this Circle.
           Give us Thy blessings upon this Rite of Love and Commitment.
           Blessed be!"
She then lights the God candle.
 

Blessings of the Elements

The bride and groom stand together in front of the altar, facing each other. The High Priestess of the East stands with her back to the altar, between the two, and begins the blessing:
         "Unity is balance, and balance is unity. Hear then, and understand:"
She picks up the sword or athame, and inscribes a pentagram above each of their heads, saying:
         "The blade that I hold is the symbol of Fire. Know and remember that this is the element of Light, of energy, of  the vigor which runs through our veins. By this blade of Fire, we bring to your handfasting the Power of  Will."
The HPS lays down the blade, picks up the wand, and inscribes a pentagram over each of their third-eye chakras, saying:
         "The wand that I hold is the symbol of Air. Know and remember that this is the element of Life, of intelligence, of the inspiration which moves us onwards. By this wand of Air, we bring to your handfasting the Power of Mind."
The HPS lays down the wand, picks up the chalice and, dipping her finger in the wine, inscribes a pentagram over each of their hearts, saying:
         "The chalice that I hold is the symbol of Water. Know and remember that this is the element of Love, of growth, of the fruitfulness of the Great Mother. By this chalice, we bring to your handfasting the Power of Desire."
The HPS puts down the chalice, picks up the pentacle, and lays it against each of their bellies, saying:
         "The pentacle that I hold is the symbol of Earth. Know and remember that this is the element of Law, of endurance, of the understanding which cannot be shaken. By this pentacle of Earth, we bring to your handfasting the Power of Steadfastness."
 

Blessing of the Goddess and the God

High Priestess of the South retrieves the handfasting cord, which has been passed around the room, and drapes it over the bride's shoulders, and says:
         "Thou shalt be the star that rises from the twilight sea.
           Thou shalt bring a man dreams to rule his destiny.
           Thou shalt bring the Moon-tides to the soul of a man,
           The tides that flow and ebb, and flow again,
           The magick that moves in the Moon and the sea;
           These are thy secret, and they belong to thee.
           Thou art the Eternal Woman, thou art She ...
           The tides of all men's souls belong unto thee.
           Isis in Heaven, on Earth, Persephone,
           Diana of the Moon and Hecate,
           Veiled Isis, Aphrodite from the sea,
           All These thou art, and They are seen in thee."
 She removes the cord, and takes up a wreath of flowers, which she hands to the groom. He places it on his bride's head, proclaiming:
           "Thou art Goddess."

High Priestess again takes up the cord, drapes it over the groom's shoulders, and says:
           "In thee may the Lord of the Forests return to Earth again;
             Hear the ancient call, and show Thyself to men.
             Shepherd of wild things, upon the wild hill's way.
             Lead Thy lost flock from darkness unto day.
             Forgotten are the ways of sleep and of night;
             Men seek for them whose eyes have lost the light.
             Open the door, the door that hath no key ...
             The door of dreams whereby men come unto Thee.
             Shepherd of wild things, may you one with Him be!"

She removes the cord and takes up another wreath of flowers, which she hands to the bride. The bride places the wreath upon her groom's head, proclaiming:
           "Thou art God."
 

Binding of the Hands

Making an infinity sign in the air, the High Priestess of the North explains the symbolism of handfasting to guests:

"What we now know as the infinity sign in mathematics, a horizontal figure 8, came to represent infinity because it was once the Goddess' sign of perfect union - female with male, Goddess with God - creating a world without end. This dual circle grew from the world's oldest wedding custom, the ceremonial joining of hands so the couple's arms form the double circle.
"Trysting, or handfasting, is an ancient way of bonding which we need to re-establish. When precious metals were too expensive or unavailable, lovers' hands were bound together and then ritually separated to symbolize one bonding of two separate individuals.
"We approach handfasting from a Universal point of view. The bonds called down upon the couple are loyalty forever. The words exchanged are promises to take care of each other in this life, and in the life beyond.
"A union such as this unites not only these two people, but brings together two halves of a circle. When a man and a woman pledge their hearts to each other, they not only create a home and a family of their own, they also carry with them the support, good will and hopes of all that care for them as individuals.
"This union is a confirmation to the families from which you come that they are worthy and that their contribution to your lives shall be continued in the home that you have created. In a close and personal way, your marriage is a uniting of these two families that bore and raised you. By uniting together, each of you joins the family of the other to bear its strengths and promises into the future as it lies within your ability to do so."

Directed by the High Priestess, the bride and groom join their right hands, then join their left hands over their right ones. After a brief pause, she says:

"The hands which you each offer to the other are an extension of yourselves;
  Just as is the warmth and love which you express to each other.
  Cherish the touch, for you are touching another life.
  Be sensitive to the pulse, and try to understand and respect the flow and rhythm, just as you do your own.

 "Beloved Lady and Lord, bless these hands that you see before you this day. May they always be held by one another.
   Give them the strength to hold on during the storms of stress and the dark of disillusionment. Keep them tender and gentle as they nurture each other in their love.
   Help these hands to continue building a relationship founded in Your grace, rich in caring, and devoted to reaching for Your Perfection. May Oakdancer and Amberflame always see their four hands as healer, protector,  shelter and guide."
 

The HPS then binds their joined hands loosely with the cord, as she says:

"May the binding of this bond be felt as lightly as this cord. It is a bond of love, equally shared, and not a chain of  servitude."
 

The bride and groom slowly turn for one circle, gazing into each other's eyes. Then they stand still, and each, starting with the groom, repeat the following binding promise:

"You cannot possess me, for I belong to myself. But while we both wish it, I give you that which is mine to give.
  You cannot command me, for I am a free person. But I shall serve you in those ways you require, and the  honeycomb will taste sweeter coming from my hand.
   I pledge to you that yours will be the name I cry aloud in the night, and the eyes into which I smile in the morning. I pledge to you the first bite from my meat, and the first drink from my cup.
   I pledge to you my living and my dying, each equally in your care. I shall be a shield for your back, and you for  mine. I shall not slander you, nor you me. I shall honor you above all others, and when we quarrel, we shall do so in private, and tell no strangers our grievances.
  This is my wedding vow to you. This is the marriage of equals."

The HPS asks each the following, starting with the bride:
           "What personal bonds do you, Amberflame, affirm?"
[Personal vows spoken here]
           "What personal bonds do you, Oakdancer, affirm?"
[Personal vows spoken here]

The HPS then removes their bindings, while saying:

"These promises you make by the Sun and the Moon, by fire and water, by day and night, by land and sea. With these vows you swear, by the Goddess and the God, to be full partners, each to the other. If one drops the load, the other will pick it up. If one is a discredit to the other, that person's own honor will be forfeit, generation upon generation, until they repair that which was damaged and find that which was lost. Should you fail to keep the oaths you pledge today, the Elements themselves will reach out and destroy you.
"By this symbolic freeing of your bond, may you free yourselves from all fear and rejoin your lives, united but separate, in beauty, community and peace. Carry this symbol of your love for each other, for yourselves, for the Earth, and for the Goddess and the God within us all.
"Let the powers of the mind and of the intellect guide you in your joining. Let the strength of your wills bind you together. Let the power of love and desire make you happy. Let the strength of your dedication make you inseparable."
 

Exchange of Rings

The High Priestess of the South takes up the rings, which have been previously cleansed, blessed and purified, and explains the symbolism:

"Because no couple can be together all of the time, we still use rings to symbolize the bonds that Oakdancer and Amberflame have today agreed to.
  A ring is an unbroken circle, a symbol of unity and love, representative of the greater circle of life of which we are all spiritually a part of. Having neither beginning nor end, it mimics the continuous cycle of which we are an element. For these two, it began with the gift of life, and will continue through the end of time.
  May these circles of gold reflect the circle in which we stand, to be a constant reminder to all of the pledges exchanged. Let these rings remind these two daily of the Wheel of Life, as well as the unbroken cycle of eternity.
  May their love always encircle each other, as these rings encircle their fingers."

The HPS gives the bride's ring to the groom, who places it on his bride's finger as he says:

"By seed and root, by bud and stem,
  By leaf and flower and fruit,
  By life and love, in the Names of the Lady and the Lord,
  I, Oakdancer, take thee, Amberflame,
  To my hand, my heart, and my spirit
  To desire thee, and to be desired by thee,
  At the setting of the Sun and the rising of the Stars.
  I shall respect thee, thy beliefs, thy people, and thy ways as I respect myself.
  Whatever life presents to you, it presents to me also.
  Nor shall death part us;
  For in the fullness of time,
  We shall be born again at the same time, and in the same place, as each other;
  And we shall meet, and know, and remember, and love again."

The HPS gives the groom's ring to the bride, who places it on her groom's finger as she says:

"By seed and root, by bud and stem,
  By leaf and flower and fruit,
  By life and love, in the Names of the Lady and the Lord,
  I, Amberflame, take thee, Oakdancer,
  To my hand, my heart, and my spirit
  To desire thee, and to be desired by thee,
  At the setting of the Sun and the rising of the Stars.
  I shall respect thee, thy beliefs, thy people, and thy ways as I respect myself.
  Whatever life presents to you, it presents to me also.
  Nor shall death part us;
  For in the fullness of time,
  We shall be born again at the same time, and in the same place, as each other;
  And we shall meet, and know, and remember, and love again.

The HPS then gives the following reminder:

"Above you are the stars and sky; below you are the stones.
  As times passes, remember ...
  Like the sky, let your love be free, and full of movement and change.
  Like a star should your love be constant,
  Like the Earth should your love be firm, solid and nourishing.
  Be close, yet not too close,
  Possess one another, yet be understanding.
  Have patience, each with the other.
  For storms will come, but they will go quickly.
  Be free in giving of affection and of warmth.
  Make love often, and be sensuous to one another.
  Have no fear, and let not the ways or the words of the unenlightened give you unease.
  For the Goddess and the God are with you, now and for eternity!"

  "Your actions have spoken of your intent.
    Your words have rung true to that intent. May they sing in the winds, burn across the sky, ripple through the waters, and be graven upon the stones themselves.
    Always remember the roots of your love, the reasons that you have chosen each other. Hold your dearest memories close, that they will cushion and protect you against any stones you may find in your path. And wrapped in your love, know the road will be smoother.
    Out of the billions of the Earth, these two have come, have looked into each others' eyes, and are now made one.
    Their ways have converged and shall now be together. In our deepest beings, we hope that their path may be pleasant and the sky fair where they reside. But if trouble comes, as it can surely come to all, may the pressure of the trial only bring them more closely together. With clasped hands and united hearts, may they bear life's sorrows together and share life's joys together.
    The wedding is not over; it has just begun. Not once and forever, but again and again shall the mystery of two people, together and in love, move one another and touch the world. For marriage is not something said and done, but a promise whose fulfillment is acted in time."

The High Priestess of the East turns the bride and groom to face the assembly, and says:

"Let the Sun and the Moon and the Stars,
  And you, our brothers and sisters, bear witness:
  That in our eyes, as well as the Eyes of the Lord and Lady,
  And all Beings of the Universe,
  These two, Oakdancer and Amberflame,
  Have been joined together as lovers in trust.
  And may the Goddess and the God bless them, as we do ourselves.
  Thus are thy hands fasted ...
  The Two are One,
  The Work of Joy is done,
  And yet begun!
  So mote it be!"

All in attendance repeat "So mote it be!" as the couple kisses. This is followed by the "jumping of the broomstick."
 

Farewell to the Lord, the Lady, and the Elements

The High Priestess of the East moves to the altar, raises her arms, and says:

"Starshine Lady and Sun-Drenched Lord,
  Elemental Forces and All Beings of the Universe,
  We thank Thee for the Gifts of Love and Light,
  Joy, Growth, Wonder, Power and Knowledge
  Given to this couple, as well as ourselves.
  May we carry Thy Presence in ourselves always.
  Blessed be!"

HPS of the South, accompanied by Willow, moves to the East, salutes the quarter with a kiss to her hand, and says:

"Powers of Air, we thank Thee for lending Thy power to this sacred rite.
  May Thy breezes always brush Oakdancer and Amberflame with joy.
  Farewell, and blessed be!"

Willow then douses the flame. She and the HPS move to the Southern quarter. The HPS salutes the quarter with a kiss to her hand, and says:

"Powers of Fire, we thank Thee for lending Thy power to this sacred rite.
  May the flames of their love always burn bright and pure.
  Farewell, and blessed be!"

Willow then douses the flame. She and the HPS move to the Western quarter. The HPS salutes the quarter with a kiss to her hand, and says:

"Powers of Water, we thank Thee for lending Thy power to this sacred rite.
  May their love be as eternal as the tides.
  Farewell, and blessed be!"

Willow then douses the flame. She and the HPS move to the Northern quarter. The HPS salutes the quarter with a kiss to her hand, and says:

"Powers of Earth, we thank Thee for lending Thy power to this sacred rite.
  May their love reach as high as your peaks.
  Farewell, and blessed be!"
 
 
 
 

Closing Blessing

The High Priestesses gather around the bride and groom. All lead the Pentagram Blessing:

"To the Lord and Lady, I dedicate mind (touch third eye with right fingertips), heart (left breast), action (right shoulder), support (left shoulder), will (right breast), and the Soul (crown chakra) that combines them."

Then all join hands and repeat:

"Merry meet, to merry part, to merry meet again!"

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Handfasting  and Wedding Links

Handfasting.com
Witches Wed
Selena's Guide to Planning Pagan Weddings
Washington Wedding Net
Wedding Superstitions and Traditions
Ultimate Internet Wedding Guide - Special Poems for your Special Day

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