Its Spring (Well almost)! With May Day fast approaching, many Wiccans are probably preparing for their Wedding or Handfasting Ceremony. I’ve decided that it would be a good time to post a Marriage Ritual and also a Wiccaning (for the babies to follow) that I’ve adapted from “A Book of Pagan Rituals”, the book lists Herman Slater as Editor of the Rituals. I have used it quite a bit over the years to adapt my different rituals because I think it is quite accurate as well as being easily read. The Rituals are also easily altered for your personal purposes.
Many Wiccans still think that it is necessary to use the year and a day rule when it comes to relationships. This would mean that on the first day of May you would have a handfasting ceremony to live together as a married couple for 1 full year. At the end of that year (the day after); provided everything is okay, you would hold your marriage ceremony. If all is not as it should be, the couple goes there own ways and everybody is happy. I don’t think that’s something you have to do these days; since most of us live with our partner prior to marriage, we have that “Year and a Day” period anyway. This ritual can be used for either ceremony though; so if you still prefer the handfasting, you can use the ceremony for that purpose.
(In many states of the US; including OH, it is very easy for anyone to obtain a license to marry. If you can’t locate a minister or Justice of the Peace that will attend a Wiccan/Pagan ceremony; consider asking a special family member or a friend to do it for you, by getting their license from your state. If you do choose this option; make certain you do the search on how to do so early, I’ve heard some states can take as long as 6 month to get the license issued. Or marry privately at the courthouse and then have a private ceremony for family and friends with a reception later on. I’m sorry I don’t know about any other countries.)
Prior to guests arrival, the entire wedding ceremony area and alter should have been purified with salt water, purification oils and incense. Decorate with flowers of your choice and a flower scented incense such as cherry or apple blossom. Choose your music and have it ready (whether live music or a mixed CD you made yourself and timed for the ceremony. Set up alter in the usual manner on the Eastern edge of the circle. Then add two small white candles and one large white candle in the center (Unity Candles). In front, lay a willow wand; that was located and anointed by the bride and groom together on an outing, with the rings on it.
(Priestess should Open the Circle, lighting candles and incense just prior to guests being led to seats. You can have pre-ceremony meet and greet or drinks to keep them busy during this time.)
(Priestess should be standing in front of alter facing bride and groom who are waiting outside of circle.)
PRIESTESS/PRIEST: May the place of this Rite be consecrated before the Gods of Old. For we gather here in a ritual of love with two who would be wed.
__________ and _________ come forward to stand before us, and before the Gods of Nature.
(Priestess opens Eastern gateway to allow bride and groom to enter.)
(Close the Eastern gateway.)
PRIESTESS: Be with us in this sacred place; Great Sylphs, O beings of the Air. With your clever fingers, tie closely the bonds between these two.
Be with us here; Loving Salamanders, O beings of the Fire. Give their love and passion Your own all-consuming ardor.
Be with us here; Friendly Undines, O beings of the Water. Give them the deepest of love and richness of body, of soul and of spirit.
Be with us here; Playful Gnomes, O beings of the Earth. Let your strength and constancy be theirs for so long as they desire to remain together.
Blessed Goddess and Exalted God, give to these before us, we do ask, Your love and protection. Blessed Be!
ALL: Blessed Be!!
(Have Bride take one small white candle and the Groom take the other small white candle to prepare to light the large center candle together.)
PRIESTESS: __________ and __________ each take one of these candles and light the Unity Candle to symbolize two now becoming one.
(Hold wand on both ends so rings are exposed in the middle.)
PRIESTESS: _________ and ________, place your right hands over this wand and your rings with his strong hand over hers.
Above you are the stars,
Below you the stones.
As time does pass, remember…
Like the stars should your love be constant.
Like the stones should your love be firm.
Be Close, yet not too close.
Possess one another, yet be understanding,
Have patience each with the other,
For storms will come, but they will go quickly.
Be free in giving of affection and warmth.
Make love often and be sensuous to one another.
Have no fear and let not the ways and words of the unenlightened give you unease.
For the Goddess and the God are with you,
Now and always.
ALL: Blessed Be!
(Remove Groom’s ring from the wand as Bride is asked)
PRIESTESS: Is it your wish, __________, to become one with this man?
BRIDE: Give answer of Yes. (If the answer is No then the wedding is over!)
PRIESTESS: Then place this circle of eternity on his hand as a symbol of your undying love for all lifetimes.
(Remove Bride’s ring from the wand as Groom is asked)
PRIESTESS: Is it your wish, __________, to become one with this woman?
GROOM: Give answer of Yes. (If the answer is No then there is gonna be a fight…lol!)
PRIESTESS: Then place this circle of eternity on her hand as a symbol of your undying love for all lifetimes.
Then as the Goddess, the God and the Old Ones are witness to this sacred rite, I now proclaim you Husband and Wife. Blessed Be!
ALL: Blessed Be!!
(Open Eastern Doorway while introducing Mr and Mrs)
PRIESTESS: Ladies and Gentleman, I give you Mr and Mrs ___________.
(Close the Circle)
(Break down the alter while guests are in receiving line.)
(Enjoy celebrations of reception.)