for Engagements, House Warmings, & Weddings
In our culture we have very little opportunity to formally acknowledge one of life’s significant stages – the step of “moving in together” or buying a house together, not just for lovers or “intendeds” but also for best friends or a bunch of people setting up house together.
Handfasting is an ancient Celtic custom that’s relevant in it’s simplicity for this moving in together stage of life.
In a handfasting ceremony you get a chance to make some promises to one another. For lovers, this little ritual can ward off the inquisitiveness of family and friends who might expect you to start making wedding plans when what you really want is to indulgeyourselves in the current stage of your relationship.
At an engagement party, a Handfasting ceremony can underline the fact that by announcing your engagement you are simply announcing that you are definitely “engaging” each other, not necessarily rushing into wedding plans. A simple handfasting ceremony can satisfy everyone’s longing for ceremony, at least for the short-term!
Handfasting usually involves draping or tying a red cloth or cord around joined hands. By standing a little way apart, holding each other’s left hands and right hands you to form an infinity symbol. There are some words to say to explain the symbolism and what this ceremony means to you. Then you turn a full circle while maintaining the special way of holding hands.
Here are some typical words that go with the actual handfasting:
“Please take each other’s right hands then join your left hands on top creating the sign of infinity or a interconnecting web”. (The celebrant wraps a soft cloth/cord around the hands.) “Now look at each other, make your promises and then turn a full circle”.
“Above you are the stars, below you are the stones, as time doth pass, remember – 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.”