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A Modern Wiccan Handfasting Ceremony and Script

This Modern Wiccan Handfasting ceremony scripts is a great alternative to a traditional wedding. This ceremony includes detailed instructions on how to include pagan rituals in the handfasting ceremony. We encourage you to use this script as is or build on this script for a more personalized ceremony for the couple.

  1. Set up: In a meaningful place, on a meaningful day, make a circle with rope or stones around the place where the couple and minister/officiant (or priest/priestess) will stand during the ceremony. If an altar will be used, prepare this with the spiritual symbols the couple wishes to use. You may also include the wedding rings (unless they will be presented by a guest), handfasting cord, candles, incense, or flowers. If a ceremonial fire will be used for the offerings, this can be set up ahead of the ceremony, or stones can be arranged in its place.
  2. Using a compass or the sun/stars, mark each of the four directions with a symbolic item corresponding with each cardinal direction's element. For example, decorate the eastern point with elements of air (incense, feathers, windchimes), the southern point with fire (candles, lanterns, or a small ceremonial fire), the western point with water (bowls or cups of water), and the northern point with earth (stones, clay sculpture or pottery, flowers).
  3. The officiant may walk the circle with incense or sage as guests arrive, connecting with the spiritual purpose of the day and the space, and preparing and cleansing the circle for the sacred event. The couple and the officiant should take this time to ground themselves.
  4. Guests may gather around but should remain seated or standing outside of the circle. The officiant and couple enter the circle, along with any additional people helping to wrap the cord or present gifts.
  5. When everyone has arrived, the minister greets the guests and calls upon the gods/goddesses, spirits, beloved dead, or ancestors. If there are gods or goddesses of specific importance to the couple, these can be named. If a list of deceased loved ones has been provided by the couple (sometimes called the mighty or beloved dead), the officiant can read these names aloud, calling on their spirits by name to join in the celebration.

 

The Handfasting Script

officiant to the gathering

"Welcome, beloved friends and family. We've gathered here today beneath this open sky to celebrate and bless this union between these two souls. As we begin, let us call first upon the gods (specific deities can be named now if desired) and upon our ancestors. To the spirits of those who came before us and who gave us life, and those too who were once of this world and our family, our beloved dead. We ask that all those who wish to be here, join us."

  1. (If there are specific names to be read, they can be read now, "By name, we invite… Be with us here, today, if you wish to be.")
  2. Next, the officiant calls upon the spirits of the four directions, turning to each point in the circle, and asking for the blessings and promises offered by each. If a guest has offered to stand at each point, the officiant can speak to them.

officiant facing east

"To the East! I call upon the spirits of the East, the spirits of air, whose energy brings communication and clear connections between heart, mind, and body. Bless us with the promise of growth and fresh beginnings."officiant facing south
"To the South! I ask the spirits of the South, of fire, to bring the warmth of home and heat of passion, and a promise of light in darkness. Bless this union."officiant facing west
"To the West! I call upon the West, spirits of water, that love be deep, forgiving, exciting, and passionate. We ask for the blessing and promise of healing, flexibility, and change."officiant facing north
"To the North! I ask the spirits of the North, the spirits of earth, to bring blessings of steadiness and stability, and the promise of a true home."

  1. Guests are encouraged to hold hands with one another, to honor the energy of the occasion and to strengthen the circle.
  2. The officiant asks each of the couple their names, and then ensures they are present of their own will and desire.

officiant to partner a

"What is your name?"

  • partner a responds.

officiant to partner B

"What is your name?"

  • partner B responds.

officiant to partner a
"[PARTNER A], do you come here to be joined with [PARTNER B]?"partner a to officiant"I do, for they are the beloved of my heart."officiant to partner b
"[PARTNER B], do you come here to be joined with [PARTNER A]?"partner B to officiant"I do, for they are the beloved of my heart."

  • The officiant may ask the couple to kneel, or they may remain standing. Next, there may be a reading of poetry, a meaningful piece of writing, or a song, and the officiant will share a blessing for the couple.

officiant to the gathering

"Love like all things of this earth grows gradually, strengthening leaf by leaf and breath by breath with each new day. Bless this couple, that they may tend to their love as we tend to all things on this earth, with nurturing care and patience.

Help them to grow love as boundless as the sky, as steadfast as the mountain, as bountiful as the field, as passionate as the sea, and as assuring as the light. All spirits, all of the earth, and all of us here, bless this couple with company and hope in their darkest days, and laughter and joy in their brightest.

Bless them that their love may continue to grow, always, with each new day."

  1. If kneeling, the couple stands, facing the officiant.
  2. The officiant asks them each if they promise to cause no harm to the other, and they answer. This can be done individually or in unison.
  3. If there are rings, the officiant may hold them briefly above the candle or burning smudge sage in symbolic cleansing, but this is not necessary.
  4. Facing each other, the couple exchanges the rings. If there are other spiritually significant gifts the couple want to offer each other, these are exchanged now. Examples may be stones, gems, keepsakes, or other natural symbols.
  5. The couple share any words, special readings, or personal vows they wish to say to each other.
  6. The couple remain facing and clasp hands, left to right and right to left. (If it's more comfortable and they've decided on this beforehand, the couple can turn side to side, and clasp on one hand together, or any other comfortable combination.)
  7. The officiant lifts the cord or ribbon and wraps it around the wrists loosely, in a figure eight. It can be knotted or draped.
  8. Next an offering is made. An offering is the willing sacrifice of something valuable, you must lose access to the thing. An example is the pouring of honey, wine, and milk onto a fire. If a fire is not permitted, hearth stones or other materials may be used in its place, and later returned to a fire.
  9. When the offering and any final blessing have been made, the officiant announces the couple as either (previously agreed upon commitment) engaged, married for a set time if the marriage is intentionally temporary, married for as long as love lasts, married until death, or bound for eternity.

officiant to the gathering

"In this circle, joined by those you know, in front of gods and spirits, known and unknown, the welcome blessings of the four directions, and the ancestors, I announce you handfasted, united for as long as your love shall last."

It is important that a parting thank you and farewell is given to all gods, spirits, directions, and ancestors called to bless the union.

officiant to the gathering

"We thank the spirits of the earth, gods and goddesses, ancestors and our guests and family for joining us here today. We give our love and thanks to the East, to the South, to the West, and to the North. Thank you for blessing this day and union, and we wish you farewell."

  • The couple give their thanks for the blessings, and offer their own farewell to all gods, spirits, directions, and ancestors called.

couple to the gathering

"We thank the spirits of the earth, gods and goddesses, ancestors and our guests and family for joining us here today. We give our love and thanks to the East, to the South, to the West, and to the North. Thank you for blessing this day and union, and we wish you farewell."

  1. The officiant announces the conclusion of the ceremony.
  2. This ritual is ended, let's celebrate!
  3. The couple may be released from the cord (or remain bound until consummation, which is traditional for some Wiccans) and they leave the circle.
  4. A feast and celebration with guests may follow.


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