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Handfasting; Handpar ting

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Wiccan rituals of marriage and divorce. At a Witchcraft wedding, known as a Handfasting, the couple are joined together for "so long as love shall last." When there is no longer love between them, they are free to go their separate ways, after the ceremony of Handparting. This does not encourage promiscuity, however, since Wiccans cherish their love for one another and seldom seem to part. In fact, most believe strongly in the concept of having found a "soul mate."

Handfasting takes place within a consecrated circle, usually in the waxing cycle of the Moon, and is usually witnessed by coven members and by any cowans (nonWiccans) that were invited. The ceremony is conducted by a Priest and/or Priestess. Often the couple exchanges rings, which may be inscribed with runic or other lettering. The marriage may or may not be legal in the "outside world," depending upon the standing of the Wiccan Priest in the local legal system. If he or she is legally ordained, then the marriage is recognized by the courts. The wedding's legality usually has little significance to the couple, who are more attuned to the spiritual bonding.

Ceremonies are very individual, with some couples incorporating the old custom of leaping over a broomstick and others including a binding of the hands. Some people even make small cuts in their wrists to mingle their blood with that of their partner. The couple—and the whole coven—may be skyclad (naked), robed, or in everyday clothes. Some couples include the Great Rite in their Handfasting ceremony. Although there are Handfasting and Handparting rituals included in most Books of Shadows, couples are encouraged to write their own ritual and include/exclude what they wish.

References in periodicals archive ?
After a civil ceremony, they travelled on to Bogbain, which overlooks the Moray Firth, for the handfasting and wedding meal.
The pair of Kerry ghostbusters were married in the old Celtic style of handfasting and exchanging of coats of arms.
After sharing a handfasting ceremony with Bob, things seemed to be on the up but she is quickly sucked into the love triangle between Debbie, Cameron and Chaz.
But his woodland handfasting ceremony with Brenda today will be difficult to top.
Their wedding was followed a week later by a pagan-rooted handfasting ceremony on Glastonbury Tor.
Before handfasting with Joan Capper in 1538, John Rainold went to her mistress, Anne Hassell, at her home in Cambridge to ask her good will.
We wanted a humanist ceremony and when we spoke to the celebrant about different options, we selected the lighting of candles and handfasting.
In the moving soap episode fans saw cancer-stricken Brenda, played by Lesley Dunlop, and Bob (Tony Audenshaw) exchange vows in what is known as a handfasting ceremony, surrounded by bunting and wild flowers.
Emmerdale STV Gennie's getaway ends in disaster One week kind-hearted Gennie is ensuring that her cancer-stricken mum Brenda enjoys the poignant handfasting service with Bob before she dies And the next, she is left fighting for her own life after a car crash.
She organises a handfasting ceremony - probably a first in Soapland, where you'd imagine every twist on a wedding had already been played out.
As well as exchanging rings, we also incorporated the Scottish/Celtic traditions of handfasting, where a cord in the wedding colours was draped over our clasped hands as we made each vow, and jumping the besom at the end.