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Our Beltaine Handfasting - 2000

On May 6, 2000 Brian and Jerri were handfasted in the old Celtic way. That is, a betrothal for a year and a day. Family and friends, both Pagan and non-Pagan alike, joined us to make merry and dance the maypole, too!

The Ceremony
(this is a sized-down version that doesn't include the full Beltaine celebration)

May is the month of sensuality and sexuality revitalized, the reawakening of the earth and Her Children. It is the time when we reawaken to the vivid colors and vibrant scents of the season, tingling summer breezes, the rapture of summer after a long dormant winter.

It is customary that Handfastings, for a year and a day, occur at this time. These are the trial marriages that typically occur between a couple before deciding to embark on life eternal. It was understood by our ancestors that one does not really know another until they live with them, and things change. With this understanding unions were entered upon, first as a test period, and then a further commitment. It was kept in mind that only through the choice of both to remain, could the relationship exist.

John (High Priest - HP): Our work today is a happy one. We are gathered in the presence of the deities of the fruitful trees, the flowing waters, the warming sun and the singing air, and in the sight of the Goddess of our Blessed Earth to celebrate the joining of our two dear friends Jerri and Brian, in union by the fasting of their hands by ancient rite.

Ariadne (High Priestess - HPS)(holding up the cord): This is the cord of handfasting. It will tie Brian and Jerri together with bonds of love. 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. We ask now that each of you send your support to Brian and Jerri, letting it flow as loving strength into the cord.
(Send cord around circle so that all can send energy to it)

Consecration of rings & neckchain (Couple and HPS go to altar)

(Ariadne dips the rings into the water from the Chalice Well in Glastonbury - from a previous trip Jerri and son Tim had made - and in the salt)

By the powers of the earth and water I consecrate these rings and chain, that they may be a constant reminder of the purity of your unfailing love and devotion. Just as a circle has no beginning, no ending,and no flaws, neither shall your love.

(pass the rings through the incense smoke)
By the powers of fire and air I consecrate these rings and chain, that they may be a symbol of your passion and commitment. Just as the smoke rises from this censer, may the air of communication forever fuel the flame in your heart.

Brian speaks his vows to Jerri -

I am from fire and sea
In the paradox of life embodied
I soothe and inflame
I am calm and loveing
My desire for you, the heat of the flame.

I give this to you
My heart and my hand,
That your dreams
Be enriched by their touch.

You are everything in my dreams
Your touch brings me alive
The tingle awakening from every nerve

Together we are partners and I ask of you this:
Listen to me when I need to be heard
Talk to me when I am weary of being alone
Comfort me when I am upset
Laugh with me when I am happy
Tell me when I am wrong
And apologize when you are.

This same I will do for you and
Everything I can give will be yours.
As I give my heart completely to you,
My partner, my love.
(places ring on Jerri's finger)

Jerri speaks her vows to Brian:

The fruit of the trees,
A shell smoothed by time,
A leaf blown by the breeze,
I am of the land, sea and sky.

You are the fire that lights the flame in my heart,
The water that quenches my thirst,
The earth that grounds me,
And the air I breathe.

We are a product of the gods and goddesses.
Together we balance our world,
Our lives blended together,
In union, stronger than apart.

You are a light in my soul, my anam cara
I ask that you love me and cherish me
And I promise the same for you.
(places ring on Brian's finger)
I give you myself, and ask my son to join us that we may be united.
(Brian and Jerri put neckchain on Tim)

HPS: Here before witnesses, Brian and Jerri have sworn vows to each other. With this cord, I bind them to the vows that they each have made. (May the Universe treat you, as you treat each other)

HPS to Brian: Will you cause her pain?
Brian: I may.
HPS: Is that your intent?
Brian: nay.
HPS to Jerri: Will you cause him pain?
Jerri: I may.
HPS: is that your intent?
Jerri: Nay.
HPS: Will you share each otherís pain and seek to ease it?
Couple: Aye
HPS: And so the binding is made. Join your hands (drape cord)
To Jerri: Will you share his laughter?
Jerri: Aye
HPS to Brian: will you share her laughter?
Brian: Aye
HPS: Will both of you look for the brightness in life and the positive in each other?
Couple: Yes.
HPS: And so the binding is made. (drape cord)
to Jerri: will you burden him?
Jerri: I may.
HPS: is that your intent?
Jerri: Nay.
HPS to Brian: Will you burden her?
Brian: I may.
HPS: Is that your intent?
Brian: Nay.
HPS: Will you share the burdens of each so that your sprits may grow in this union?
Couple: Yes.
HPS: And so the binding is made (drape cord)
to Jerri: will you honor him?
Jerri: I will
HPS To Brian: Will you honor her?
Brian: I will.
HPS: Will you seek never to give cause to break that honor?
couple: We shall never do so.
HPS: And so the binding is made. (drape cord)
HPS: The Knots of this binding are not made on this plane. Either of you may drop the cords, for as always, you hold in your own hands the making or breaking of this union.

Brian and Jerri :
Heart to thee
Soul to thee
Body to thee
Forever and always
So mote it be.

So mote it be

HPS: Then as the Goddess, the god, and the Old ones are witness to this rite I now proclaim you handfasted! Thus are thy hands fasted the two are one, the work of joy is done, And yet Begun.

(Unbind hands)

Consecration of Rings and Silver Chain