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Handfasting

31 Aug

Handfasting

I was privileged to be asked to provide some of the backdrop to the handfasting of a lovely couple Sadie and Steve today deep in the forest of Cannock Chase. All the timber used has important Celtic and Pagan resonances.

The entrance arch to the sacred grove was held by the bridesmaids. Made from Hazel – representing magic and healing – rods were twisted together, steam bent and held fast with bast (inner bark) – a tough hand made cordage taken from Elm. Elm is scared to the Earth Mother and in Celtic Lore is meant to add stability and grounding. The red berries are from Rowan, the tiny scars in the berry ends are five pointed and are said to represent a pentagram, and the misty lavender flowers are from the first flush of Heather – a traditional symbol of good fortune and an apt decoration for a faery portal.

entering the sacred grove

Here Steve and Sadie enter the grove surrounded by the circle of their family and friends…..who arrived in this enchanted chariot;

wedding party

Bob

The couple were greeted by Bob, the master of ceremonies and organiser of this Woodland Wedding who commissioned me to make the arch he stands under. Oak and Rhododendron made in the shape of two keels (or whale jaw bones) with Bob’s company sigil in ash continuing the pagan theme and creating a space to conduct the ceremony.

Traditionally a Handfasting is a betrothal between two lovers for a year and a day, after which the couple can decide to part or stay together. It has its origins in ancient Norse – handfesta  means to strike a bargain by joining hands. Modern Pagan or Wiccan practises follow this ancient tradition of joining the hands of the couple and binding them with a ritual cord or ribbon and ‘tying the knot’.

Handfasting

For me the best thing about the whole event was the way two people came to together with Bob Worm’s help to create their own magical space and declare their betrothal in the late summer sunshine, observed  by those who love them most dearly – nieces and nephews, children and grandchildren.

bridesmaids

It is never to late to find love.

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