How do you perform a hand fasting ritual?

There are a couple of different understandings about handfasting. One is the traditional trial marriage ceremony where two people are literally bound together. This is a temporary agreement that will expire after a year and a day. It can be made permanent after that time, if both people agree.

The other understanding is a commitment or betrothal. The couple publicly declare their intentions to marry one year and a day in the future.

Keep in mind that people may have a hard time finding someone to recognize their handfasting as a legal marriage and to officiate.

These are the basic elements of a Neopagan handfasting.

1 Choose a date near a full moon. May can be a good month for handfasting.
2 An outdoor and wooded area is a great location, although you may want a backup plan in case it rains.
3 A traditional wedding dress is not worn. Attractive clothing should be worn and the bride usually wears red.
4 Form a circle on the ground with rocks, crystals or other markers. The entire wedding party must fit within the circle. Candles should be placed in the cardinal directions and an altar is placed in the center of the circle. It needs to hold a knife, a chalice, a cloth, rope or ribbon and a silver box and a trowel. Lay a broomstick beside of the altar. The couple stands on the east side of the altar.
5 The person presiding over the ceremony rings a bell three times.
6 The couple walks to the center and then walk around the circle from the east.
7 The person presiding explains the significance of the ceremony to everyone.
8 The circle is cast by a priestess or priest.
9 The couple declare their deserve to be joined.
10 The presider asks if anyone knows of a reason why they shouldn t be handfasted.
11 The couple recites a statement of their intent.
12 The couple each drink from a cup, the hold the cup for each other.
13 The couple face one another and link their right and left hands to form an 8 .
14 A rope, cord or ribbon is placed over their hands. A red cord symbolizes life and commitment. This is the ritual that is called tying the note .
15 The couple each read a statement which expresses their love for one another.
16 The couple use the knife to cut locks of each other s hair which is placed in the silver box.
17 The presider offers advise to the couple and then asks the assembled guests if they will support the couple.
18 The couple kiss each other that is their first gift for each other. They pick up the trowel and dig a hole to bury the silver box at the center of the circle.
19 The presider, the couple and the witnesses all sign the documents.
20 To end the ceremony, the couple join hands and jump over a broom.
21 The priest or priestess banishes the circle.
22 The presider says, The circle is open but unbroken. The peace of the Old Ones go in our hearts. Blessed be.
23 The bell is again rung three times. The couple walk clockwise around the circle with friends and family.
24 A feast follows.

The individual utterances by the presider can be customized for the couple who are participating in the ceremony.

Rose Ariadne: Providing “Magickal” answers to your Pagan, Wiccan, Witchcraft spell casting questions since 2006.

One Response to “How do you perform a hand fasting ritual?”

  1. Krista Miller says:

    Hi, well my question is can the ritual be done by your own hand? Where i live we don’t have a preist or preistess near by. I’ve looked and no one knows of one

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