Sunday, 3 April 2011

Why Handfasting?

I have spent a good chunk of today, between lambing checks, writing our wedding ceremony. It is quite a difficult thing for me in some ways because my beliefs and spirituality have always been very private, and because I want the ceremony to be understood and enjoyed by everyone, without anyone feeling uncomfortable. I would never try to persuade another person to take on my beliefs because it doesn't matter what rules each person privately lives by so long as they are happy and good: define these as you see fit!
I suppose that my understanding of the world fits most closely with that of Druids. My soul has been deeply touched by the natural world that I spend so much time exploring and trying to understand; to me the stars speak their graceful silent poetry, the grasses and the deep woods are as cathedrals. I love to meditate and feel the energy that flows through all living things. For me there are no idols to worship so there are no mentions of gods or goddesses in the ceremony, just the ancient mysteries of nature itself. A church wedding would therefore have been inappropriate, even though I do find churches beautiful and peaceful places, and a registry office or hotel too impersonal.
We have chosen to have our ceremony at one of my favourite nature reserves, in a meadow beside an ancient hazel wood. This place has been special to me ever since I was a child and Chris has grown to love it too.
Handfasting is often described as being an agreement between two people for a year and a day. However, for us this will be as permanent as any other ceremony and the year and a day idea appears to have come from one reference: Sir Walter Scott's The Monastery. It is an ancient celtic tradition and the origin of the phrase "tying the knot".

During the ceremony our hands will be bound together with ribbon as we travel the circle to each compass point. Each point represents an element and has associated objects or qualities. North is Earth and stability, fertility, experience and inner wisdom; South is Fire and passion, power, change and energy; East is Air and communication, travel, new beginnings and music; West is Water and emotion, imagination, compassion and intuition.

After visiting each of the compass points, the ribbon will be removed with the knot intact ready to be put in some special place and kept safe.

6 comments:

Sharrie said...

Thanks for sharing. It sounds like it will be a very meaningful occasion.

Cynthia said...

We used a similar ceremony when each of my daughters cycled for the first time. I will be thinking of you that day. Many good wishes.

Laura said...

I agree with you completely. My dad once asked my why I didn't go to church anymore. I told him that riding my horse in the woods was the best church there was - He agreed! I'll be excited to see what else you have up your sleeve!

Carol said...

I have no such up bringing nor traditions...but it seems to me a wonderful way to join together..forever. I still think it would be a fun blog to see the two of you tied together for a year and a day...what with all the lambing and chores..

Jenny Holden said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, it is interesting to hear how others mark events and enjoy being out in the wild.

I think being tied together for a year and a day might result in the knot being removed, much as I love him!!

corinne said...

Brilliant!