MORE ABOUT MY “RELIGION” AND HANDFASTING

these are self portraits and portraits of my Husband that I did of us in our Wiccan robes, it was great fun but a COLD night, the ones I am wearing , the white ones are my summer robes, I added some lovely flowers and butterflies to the bottom and round the hood, the robe was actually a fabulous bargain, only £1.50 from ebay !! I think the universe allowed me to have that because it knew I could not afford an expensive robe

the flowers and butterflies altogether cost about £20 ( I used LOADS of them) but it was still cheaper than most of the robes out there

my adopted “Mum” in America has kindly offered to make my winter robe which will be black and I will add moons to the bottom and hood

I will have yet another one when my Husband and I have our “handfasting” we decided that instead of renewing our vows on our 20th wedding anniversary (in three years) we would like a handfasting instead

so my Husband will need a special robe for that

you do not NEED robes to be Pagan or Wiccan but it somehow helps with the energy by including getting dressed up as part of your rituals

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click here for full album

I also did some of SOME of my altar items, ours is a very confusing “religion” I have hundreds of altar items that I have collected or made over the years, certain ones are used for certain “festivals” etc
it can take years of study to get your head round the whole lot !

they make for nice still life shots though

click  here for full album

Handfasting is an ancient European ceremony of (temporary or permanent) betrothal or wedding that dates back to pre-Medieval times and usually involves the tying or binding of the hands of the bride and groom with a cord or ribbon. Such ceremonies are widely practised in the Wiccan religion.[1]

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[edit]Etymology

The term is derived from the verb to handfast, used in Middle to Early Modern English for the making of a contract of marriage.[2] The term is originally from Old Norsehand-festa “to strike a bargain by joining hands”.[2]

[edit]History

The Fourth Lateran Council (1215) forbade clandestine marriage, and required marriages to be publicly announced in churches by priests. In the sixteenth century, theCouncil of Trent legislated more specific requirements, such as the presence of a priest and two witnesses, as well as promulgation of the marriage announcement thirty days prior to the ceremony. These laws did not extend to the regions affected by the Protestant Reformation. In England, clergy performed many clandestine marriages, such as so-called Fleet Marriage, which were held legally valid;[3] and in Scotland, unsolemnized common-law marriage was still valid.

[edit]Scotland

The Scottish Hebrides, particularly in the Isle of Skye, show some records of a ‘Handfast” or “left-handed” marriage taking place as recently as the late 1600s [4] where the Gaelic scholar, Martin Martin, notes “It was an ancient custom in the Isles that a man take a maid as his wife and keep her for the space of a year without marrying her; and if she pleased him all the while, he married her at the end of the year and legitimatised her children; but if he did not love her, he returned her to her parents.”

Oral tradition and Gaelic scholars who have preserved these traditions from the Hebrides also reference the most disastrous war fought between the MacLeods and MacDonalds of Skye, culminating in the Battle of Coire Na Creiche, “when Donald Gorm Mor who handfasted [for a year and a day] with Margaret MacLeod, a sister of Rory Mor of Dunvegan, expelled his mistress so ignominiously from Duntulm. It is, indeed, not improbable that it was as a result of this war that Lord Ochiltree’s Committee [that formed the Statutes of Iona in 1609 and the Regulations for the Chiefs in 1616] was induced to insert a clause in the Statutes of Iona by which ‘marriages contracted for several years’ were prohibited; and any who might disregard this regulation were to be ‘punished as fornicators'”.[5][6]

By the 18th century, the Kirk of Scotland no longer recognized marriages formed by mutual consent and subsequent sexual intercourse, even though the Scottish civil authorities did.[7] To minimize any resulting legal actions, the ceremony was to be performed in public.[8] This situation persisted until 1939, when Scottish marriage laws were reformed by the Marriage (Scotland) Act 1939 and handfasting was no longer recognized.[9]

In the 18th century, well after the term handfasting had passed out of usage, there arose a popular myth that it referred to a sort of “trial marriage.” A. E. Anton, inHandfasting in Scotland (1958), finds that the first reference to such a “trial marriage” is by Thomas Pennant in his 1790 Tour in Scotland. This report had been taken at face value throughout the 19th century, and was perpetuated in Walter Scott‘s 1820 novel The Monastery.

Other scholars of the Hebrides and inhabitants of the region do not consider this a myth, as there are sufficient records in both the oral tradition and the written compilation of those records that predate both Pennant and Anton by a century or more that preserve the history of this tradition. Contrary to Anton’s assertions, the Pennant claim in 1790 was not the first time this had been discussed or put to print, as the Martin Martin texts predate Pennant by almost 100 years. Additionally, the Statutes of Iona were promulgated in 1609 to force an end to the Clan warfare between the MacLeods of Dunvegan and the MacDonalds of Eigg and Sleat as well as to create a more receptive path for Reformation and Protestantism by forcing the Chiefs of the Clans to encourage its spread and to finance the provisioning of Protestant minsters in their lands.

Customs may vary widely between various non-Christian native Europeans but many handfastings were traditionally for a period of up to seven years. At the end of the designated period of time the participants choose to recommit to the relationship or are free to make other choices in their lives. The handfasting tradition is not based upon ownership or property, men and women both have the right to own property. There is no shame implied or applied to either party should a handfasting not be renewed.[citation needed]

[edit]England

From the 12th to the 17th century “handfasting” in England referred to a ceremony, usually about a month prior to a church wedding, at which the marrying couple formally declared that each accepted the other as spouse. Accounts of English handfasting ceremonies suggest that though invariably each person held the other’s right hand while making their vow,[10] cords or ribbons were not used.

Originally the word “handfast” came into English from Norse languages, and meant the act of sealing any bargain by taking hands.[11] The earliest cited English usage in connection with marital status is from a manuscript of c. 1200, when Mary (mother of Jesus) is described as “handfast (to) a good man called Joseph”.[12]

Handfasting was legally binding: as soon as the couple made their vows to each other they were validly married. It was not a temporary arrangement. Just as with church weddings of the period, the union which handfasting created could only be dissolved by death. English legal authorities held that, even if not followed by intercourse, handfasting was as binding as any vow taken in church before a priest.[10]

During handfasting the man and woman in turn would take the other by the right hand and declare aloud that they there and then accepted each other as man and wife. The words might vary but traditionally consisted of a simple formula such as “I (Name) take thee (Name) to my wedded husband/wife, till death us depart, and thereto I plight thee my troth”.[10] Because of this, handfasting was also known in England as “troth-plight”.[10] Gifts were often exchanged, especially rings:[13][14] a gold coin broken in half between the couple was also common. Other tokens recorded include gloves, a crimson ribbon tied in a knot, and even a silver toothpick.[10] Handfasting might take place anywhere, indoors or out.[10] It was frequently in the home of the bride, but according to records handfastings also took place in taverns, in an orchard and even on horseback . The presence of a credible witness or witnesses was usual.[10]

For much of the relevant period church courts dealt with marital matters. Ecclesiastical law recognised two forms of handfasting, sponsalia per verba de praesenti andsponsalia per verba de futuro. In sponsalia de praesenti, the most usual form, the couple declared they there and then accepted each other as man and wife. Thesponsalia de futuro form was less binding, as the couple took hands only to declare their intention to marry each other at some future date. The latter was closer to a modern engagement and could in theory be ended with the consent of both parties – but only providing intercourse had not occurred. If intercourse did take place, then thesponsalia de futuro “was automatically converted into de iure marriage”.[10]

Despite the validity of handfasting it was expected to be solemnized by a church wedding fairly soon afterwards. Penalties might follow for those who did not comply.[15]Ideally the couple were also supposed to refrain from intercourse until then.[10] Complaints by preachers suggest that they often did not wait,[10] but at least until the early 1600s the common attitude to this kind of anticipatory behaviour seems to have been lenient.[16]

Handfasting remained an acceptable way of marrying in England throughout the Middle Ages but declined in the early modern period.[17] In some circumstances handfasting was open to abuse, with persons who had undergone “troth-plight” occasionally refusing to proceed to a church wedding, creating ambiguity about their former betrothed’s marital status.[10] After the beginning of the 17th century gradual changes in English law meant the presence of an officiating priest or magistrate became necessary for a marriage to be legal.[18] Finally the 1753 Marriage Act, aimed at suppressing clandestine marriages by introducing more stringent conditions for validity, effectively ended the handfasting custom in England.[19]

Shakespeare negotiated and witnessed a handfasting in 1604, and was called as a witness in a suit about the dowry in 1612.[10]

[edit]Modern usage

Neopagan handfasting ceremony

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article byadding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.(December 2009)

In the present day, some Neopagans practice this ritual. The marriage vows taken may be for “a year and a day,” “a lifetime”, “for all of eternity” or “for as long as love shall last.” Whether the ceremony is legal, or a private spiritual commitment, is up to the couple. Depending on the region or country where the handfasting is performed, and whether or not the officiant is a legally recognized minister, the ceremony itself may be legally binding, or couples may choose to make it legal by also having a civil ceremony. Modern handfastings are performed for same-sex or opposite-sex couples, as well as for multiple partners in the case of polyamorous relationships. As with many Neopagan rituals, some groups may use historically attested forms of the ceremony, striving to be as traditional as possible, while others may use only the basic idea of handfasting and largely create a new ceremony.[20]

As many different traditions of Neopaganism use some variation on the handfasting ceremony, there is no universal ritual form that is followed, and the elements included are generally up to the couple being handfasted. In cases where the couple belong to a specific religious or cultural tradition, there may be a specific form of the ritual used by all or most members of that particular tradition. The couple may conduct the ceremony themselves or may have an officiant perform the ceremony. In some traditions, the couple may jump over a broom at the end of the ceremony. Some may instead leap over a small fire together. Today, some couples opt for a handfasting ceremony in place of, or incorporated into, their public wedding. As summer is the traditional time for handfastings, they are often held outdoors.[citation needed]

As with more conventional marriage ceremonies, couples often exchange rings during a handfasting, symbolizing their commitment to each other. Many couples choose rings that reflect their spiritual and cultural traditions, while others choose plainer, more conventional wedding rings.[citation needed]

Couples may wear Medieval clothing or more modern wedding garb.[citation need

NOTE HOW IT MENTIONS THE SCOTTISH HEBRIDES, MY GRANDFATHER WAS FROM THE ISLE OF LEWIS IN THE HEBRIDES AND HIS ANCESTORS WERE NORSE / NORWEGIAN ( which I only discovered recently) THIS EXPLAINS MY INTEREST IN ALL THINGS PAGAN AND THE NORSE METHODS OF DIVINATION SUCH AS RUNES , I believe this things are in your blood whether you know about it or not, you will eventually be drawn to these things, my interest in Runes came out long before I discovered about my Norse heritage

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One Response to “MORE ABOUT MY “RELIGION” AND HANDFASTING”

  1. Hi there Eevee: I am so glad you were able to purchase a robe & decorate to your liking; you look fabulous as does hubby in his robe!!!!
    I LOVE all your ritual items….we have many items in aboriginal culture also. I have very specific ones that combine Judaism & Aboriginal beliefs. No one is allowed to touch any of those items or else I have to ‘cleanse’ them…..
    As I have mentioned before we also do handbinding ceremony in our culture….I have never done it; I would have had Kevin lived 😉
    Thank you so much for sharing your life with us…
    You ROCK!!!
    Love your Soul Sister, Sherri-Ellen.

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