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Pagan Handfasting Ceremonies may be held at the Celtic Druid Temple in Castlerea or at a location of your choosing.
A Celtic Druids Blessing by Ard Druí from the Celtic Druid Temple.
The Ard Druí will hold the role of facilitator and master of ceremonies and on occasion; a second Ard Druí (man and/or woman) may assist – both will be dressed in traditional medieval Irish Costumes as these are our Celtic Druid robes.
Everyone is to meet before the appointed time for the ceremony for a rehearsal. This means the couple and men and the ladies who have responsibility in the ceremony. Professional musicians may arrive half an hour before the actual ceremony.
The ceremony of handfasting may take place at any safe outdoor location, and we advise couples to always book a room that is hired as a standby in case of inclement weather. A very simple altar will be made if the ceremony is to be indoors or outdoors. Here at Castlerea in Co Roscommon we can offer the use of our wooden roundhouse Celtic Druid Temple, our private outside ceremonial enclosure and our Hemp Hall in the main building giving you a choice of secure indoor weather proof locations for your ceremony. See the roundhouse below with Crom protecting the entrance.
Celtic Druid Temple of Crom
Entrance and calling
The Bride will have a Drinking Horn filled with mead / wine / beer / water (her choice) handed to her by an assistant. When everyone is settled - The Ard Druí will call the Bride into the circle and welcome her. After a few moments she may (if she so wishes) call her companion to join her by turning to the place where he stands by gentle gesturing with a hand. The Groom will raise the sword to point upwards and if he is willing he will enter the Altar and stand by the Bride. He will stand on Her right hand side (music stops). The triple candle fire is in the centre with the Bride in the west and the Groom in the east and the Ard Druí to the north.
Arrival for the actual ceremony
The Groom and attendant men will arrive first. The men form a ‘wall’ and the Groom stands behind them. A ceremonial Celtic sword will be handed to the Groom by the Ard Druí and held point down. The Ladies will arrive with the Bride last and form a second ‘wall’ between the Altar and the Groom as the Bride passes by. If there is someone able to play acoustic music then this person or persons arrives before the Bride and plays gentle music as the Bride arrives. The couple will already know where to stand and the family guests will now form a single line / circle around the Altar. The space clearing for this Celtic ceremony will have been done before the arrival of the women.
Handfasting in the Hemp Hall
Being at peace before the union
This is the time of quietness - of just being quiet for one minute. We will then listen to gentle acoustic music or if outdoors - the wind, river and the birds and small children as we enjoy the wonders of Nature. This shows that there is no hurry or duress. With a gesture from the Ard Druí – the Bride will lower the Horn and with a gesture from the Ard Druí the Groom will dip the Sword tip into the Horn for a moment symbolising the silent agreement of union. (Excellent photograph opportunity here) Then the Groom will hand the Sword to the Ard Druí who will place it in its scabbard. The Bride will hand the Drinking Horn to the assistant who will secure it.
Celtic Druids Cross of Light.
Now the Ard Druí will welcome everyone and lead the group in the 'Celtic Druids Cross of Light' as performed every month on the Full Moon at Tara. Speaking in Irish the Ard Druí will send a Blerssing to the Three Realms to be with us in our Circle. Now the smaller children are allowed inside the Circle onto blankets on the ground.
Beginning the Ceremony
The start of the actual ceremony will be announced and a call sent out for a member of the Bride's Ladies to enter the circle to say a few words about her. A member of the Groom’s circle entering the circle to say a few words about him may follow this.
If any member of the Bride or Grooms parties wishes to read a short story or poem this is the time set for it. Instrumental acoustic music can be played or a CD or Tape is OK but this needs to be organised by someone other than the Bride, Groom or Blessor. One song is probably enough but two or more (if short) is ok. The Ard Druí will ask us all to remember those who have passed on and to share a moment for those little ones who have just joined us. A member of the Bride or Grooms parties may give a short reading for special intentions or to recognise our blessings. (Music stops)
Preparing for the Vows
The Ard Druí will present some thoughts on being Pagan -
We honour the idea of Gods and Goddesses as the Source of all Creation.
We celebrate the Gaelic Pagan Festivals on the cycles of the Sun and Moon.
We acknowledge the inherent lifeforce in all things.
The Ard Druí will present some thoughts on the meaning of a Celtic Marriage / Pagan Handfasting as a partnership. The Ard Druí will then bless the Bride and the Groom individually. Both will hold the palms of their hands out towards the Ard Druí during this blessing. Now both are asked to hold hands. Her right hand is placed into his left hand. The entire group now hold hands (the children now stand) and we quieten the mind and relax our breathing as we try to synchronize our breath into one. With guidance - the group will use the magical breath to raise energy for the group blessing of approval. At the appointed time the circle will break and point open palms to the centre. The couple will now turn to face each other and hold both hands together. The assistant will place a cloth ribbon over the hands on the south side and the Ard Druí will place a cloth ribbon over the hands on the north side. (Excellent photograph opportunity here)
Handfasting in a Castle -a costumed gathering
Handfasting at Newgrange - Winter Solstice
The Pagan Handfasting Vow
The Ard Druí will speak and the Bride and Groom repeat the following together while looking into each others eyes:
You cannot possess me for I belong to myself.
But while we both wish it, I give you that which is mine to give.
You cannot command me for I am a free person.
I pledge to you that it will be your eyes into which I smile every morning.
I pledge to you my living and my dying, each equally in your care.
I shall be a shield for your back, and you for mine.
I shall not slander you, nor you me.
I shall honour you above all others, and when we quarrel,
we shall do so in private and tell no strangers our grievances.
This is my wedding vow to you.
This is the marriage of equals.
The Ard Druí will then say to the couple -
These promises you make by the sun and the moon, by fire and water, by day and night, by land and sea and sky are made in truth. With these vows you swear, by the God and Goddess, to be full partners, each to the other.
If one drops the load, the other will pick it up. The union of one and one creates a new one. This is a couple, and each of you now pledges to work at making this couple happy and safe in the Light of Truth. You have taken guidance on how to clear grievances and you both have the bravery to do what is needed. You will both work to keep the oath you pledge today in the knowledge that you have the support of your many loved ones.
Securing the Vows
The Ard Druí and the assistant will now lightly tie the cloth ribbons over the pairs of joined hands to the sound of gentle acoustic music.
Handfasting at home - in Swords
A Celtic Druids Blessing
The Ard Druí now offers a triple blessing for this Relationship
1.Protection: Wearing the Sword, I sprinkle the water around you as a couple by walking around you three times. I hope that your relationship will be protected from any situation that would damage or endanger it.
2. Health and Wholeness: may your relationship remain healthy and grow and develop in a wholesome way throughout your lives together.
3. Family support: I call on all the Ladies present to say their names out loud to show their blessing on this union (The Ard Druí will gesture) starting in the west. When all the Ladies have said their names - the men will say their names starting in the south (The Ard Druí will gesture).
Closure (Music starts) (Excellent photograph opportunity here)
The Ard Druí and the assistant will now untie the joined hands and tie one ribbon onto the Bride’s right hand and one ribbon onto the Groom’s right hand. These ribbons will be kept on the hand until the morning sunrise and smile. The Ard Druí will say in closing that – this couple are now joined together in front of family and Nature. May their happiness continue to grow and overflow.
The Handfasting Knot is tied
Handfasting Knot s are tied and rings exchanged
The assistant will now give the blessed and consecrated Drinking Horn to the Bride and Groom to share a drink together from the same cup. (Excellent photograph opportunity here) Now the group will have the appointed person pop open the champagne / wine / mead / beer / water for a toast by the friends / family of the couple.
The Celtic Wedding / Pagan Handfasting Ceremonies we offer may be held indoors or outdoors. In summertime - an outdoor setting such as a private mature Oak Grove high in the Wicklow Mountains or at the mature Oak Grove at Tara or our purpose built wooden roundhouse in our ceremonial enclosure 'An Torc' here in north Co Roscommon may be considered. We always suggest getting the ‘insurance’ of an indoor backup venue in case of inclement weather. Here at Druidschool near Castlerea in Co Roscommon we can offer the use of 2 indoor venues, the Celtic Roundhouse (30 people max) and the Hemp Hall (12 people max) and many outdoor lovely secluded spots on our 16acre farm.
Fees are from -
E250 for one Druid Facilitator hosting your Pagan Handfasting on a weekday at our Torc / Hemp Hall in Castlerea, north Co Roscommon
E350 for one Druid Facilitator hosting your Pagan Handfasting during the weekend at our Torc / Hemp Hall in Castlerea, north Co Roscommon
E400 for one Druid Facilitator traveling to your Pagan Handfasting at your venue.
E750 for two Druid Facilitators traveling to your Pagan Handfasting at your venue.
Travel expenses will be extra when more than one hours driving each way is needed.
Each couple are unique and are assisted to adapt the ceremony to themselves and 'do' rehearsals before the actual ceremony. Adapting the ceremony and doing rehearsals followed by a short break and then the actual ceremony itself will take about 3 hours. To check on availability and to make a booking please inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org and write ‘Celtic Wedding’ OR 'Pagan Handfasting' in the subject box.
Detail of arrangements
1) Estimated duration of ceremony - 30 to 40 minutes.
2) Allow an extra 20 minutes for the celebration toast.
3) This Ceremony is considered complete when the couple leave the circle.
4) The Ard Druí will tidy the space we have used for this ceremony.
5) The above is only an outline of a proposed ceremony that works well.
6) However – it may be modified – sections may be added or removed.
7) Copyright Celtic Druid Temple © 2013. May not be used without permission.