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Chinese Traditions

A Handfasting Synopsis
Handfasting for the Celts was not just the binding together of the wrists it was more the binding together of their souls.
handfasting single
Single Strand handfasting

While some historians argue handfasting was a betrothal ritual, the betrothal lasting a year and a day, others dispute this based on evidence of several kings taking handfasting wives, especially the father of William the Conqueror of Normandy. The children of those relationships inheriting the crown. These same kings also had church-wed wives, with these wives merely to cement political alliances. One must assume therefore that handfasting was something more than just a marriage ritual, that it was something above that, something based upon the spiritual level.

2 strand handfasting
2-strand handfasting

Importantly, the Scots retained handfasting as an act of Legal marriage until as recently as 1939 when the English Parliament banned it. During 1996, Scotland was granted devolution and the Scottish Free parliament was formed. Then, during 2009-2010, the SFP reintroduced handfasting as an act of Legal marriage provided it is performed by an authorised celebrant.

6 strand handfasting
6 strand handfasting with braided cord.

Today, many Australian couples look upon handfasting as the Act of Spiritual Marriage, the moment when, in their hearts & minds, their souls are merged as their wrists are bound. It is a truly wonderful ritual, which, for some, has more meaning than the legal vows. 

6 strand handfasting with ribbons

The tragedy of handfasting in Australia is that so very many celebrants who perform the ritual simply don't understand the Celtic belief system, nor believe in the concept of the soul as distinct from the physical body. To them, it's merely a "twee" ritual the client wants performed.

What is a pagan ceremony? Put simply, the term "pagan" was originally used by Romans to describe any culture from outside the Roman Empire as pagan. When the Roman Church inherited the Roman military empire, the term was corrupted to mean any one not of Roman Christianity.

As far as Rome was concerned, Gnostic Christians, Druids, Germans, Gauls, Jews, you name it, ALL were pagans, but the most hated and despised in the eyes of Rome were the Gnostic Christians; after all, they (and not Rome) were the keepers of the true secret. It should be no surprise that given the similarity between the Celtic & Gnostic churches, that it was inevitable that Rome would seek to crush every last vestige of the Celtic Church.

1a. Entry of the Druid
druid enters
You can have the Druid lead your procession in. The bride & groom can walk in together, with the bridal party following. Druid Philip has various options, all your choice.

2. The Bridal Entry
druid bridal entry
Rhys & Angel walked in hand in hand at their Pagan wedding in the Kangaroo Valley. Their entire bridal party followed, with 2 wee faerie's leading them in.

You can have the conventional bridal procession, walk in together, be led or not led by the Druid. It's your choice.

5. Cleansing outside of the Circle

celtic challenge
Then, Enter the circle
It was believed that the use of salted water sent away unwanted feelings and spirits from those sprinkled with the water. Many believe they need to be "cleansed" before they enter the consecration circle.

My attitude is simple: If the ground layout is not suited to a circle, the couple stand as they would in the usual wedding layout, the gatekeepers walking to the couple for their elemental challenges, rather than the couple walking around the circle themselves.

7. Calling down of the
Male & Female Divine

druid calling female divine
The Druid calls down the Female & Male Divine from the Creator (Universal Divine) into the couple.

9. The Consecration Circle & Elemental Challenges
circle narrow
walking the circle
Rhys & Angel walking around the Gatekeepers at their Pagan wedding in the Kangaroo Valley.

The Druid (Celebrant Philip) leads the couple around the consecration circle following the sun (anti-clockwise). As they reach each of the 4 gatekeepers aligned on a cardinal point, the gatekeeper challenges the couple as a test of their love in the face of the ravages of the elements.

Philip has up to 9 wireless microphones for use by the gatekeepers & others so that all the guests hear every word said.

No room for a circle?
You don't have enough room for a circle: what do you do? There are many locations where there is insufficient room so why not dispense with the circle and have the 4 gatekeepers walk to you in turn and issue their challenge to you? I have done this before in small chapels and it works brilliantly.

12. Anamchara - Optional
The Celebration of Soul Friends
From the pages of Gaedhelic history comes the deeply spiritual Anamchara. Couples who believe their relationship is more than the physical, rather a truly spiritual one, will thrive on this ritual.

14. Setting in Stone of Vows
setting in stone of vows
Along with Handfasting, The Stone is one of the oldest traditions from the British Isles & Ireland.

On completion of their vows, the couple touch the stone with their bound wrists, this setting in stone their vows, which are, therefore, unbreakable.

16. Sealing the Covenant of Marriage
covenant of marriage
The groom transfers his wife's engagement ring from her right hand to her left ring finger, thus sealing the covenant of Marriage.

Jumping the Besom
The Besom
Various ancient cultures, especially Wales & Cornwall, even into England, regarded jumping the broom as confirming the act of marriage. The couple left their current, unmarried life behind as they jumped the crossed brooms. When they landed on the other-side, they entered their new life as a married couple.
1b. Druid's Staff - Optional
druid's staff

Druid Philip has a staff with a golden ram's head affixed to its top. You can elect to have someone with the staff lead the celebrant leading the procession in.

3. The Celebrant's Challenge
with Parental or Group Blessing

Celebrant's challenge
The procession has arrived. The "Challenge" is where I observe the requirement to say your full names out aloud. I also ask either your parents of your friends to give their blessing to the marriage.

4. Blessing of the Celtic Holy Trinity
celtic holy trinity
"Mother, Father, Divine Spirit whose presence is felt in all things and at all times we ask your continued blessings upon this couple, upon their union and upon their family and friends who have gathered here to celebrate this joyous event with them. May they become one in truth and forever revel in the magic that is love."

6. Introduction &
Special Introduction
bridal party
Celebrant Philip has a range of excellent introductory readings for his Celtic/Pagan weddings.

He also introduces the bridal party, so everyone knows who they are, rather than stand there like and unknown amorphous mass.

8. Bell of Truce - Optional
bell of truce
The bell resides on the mantle piece and is rung whenever the couple are having "strong words." On ringing, they are both meant to stop, reflect upon their marriage vows, kiss and make-up.

10. Lighting the Cauldron - Optional
Druid's cauldron
The ancient cultures, especially the Druids and the Hindus held fire to be sacred and a representation of the sun god, who without, there could be no life. Once the flames have taken, the couple then throw incense and herbs onto the flames.

Subject to fire restrictions, Celebrant Philip has a portable cauldron ideally suited to the task.

11. Cleansing & Blessing
of the Rings
cleansing of rings
Celebrant Philip cleanses away from the rings, all worldly worries & fears to date, so they go to their wearers fresh with a new beginning. The Spirit of Love is invoked to bless the rings.

Then follows the unique combined asking & ring exchange.

13. Handfasting - "Tying the Knot"
Nothing says Scottish, Celtic or Pagan more than the Tying of The Knot

The ancient tradition of swearing vows or promises over the stone, hence they were set in stone and, therefore, unbreakable.

15. Blessing of The Hands
blessing of hands
Not Celtic, not even Pagan, this is one of Philip's proprietary rituals that sits across all cultures.

It is deeply spiritual & emotional - it not unusual the bride's father surrenders to a tear on his cheek.

17. The Amazing Declaration
of Marriage

druid declaration
The only celebrant who raises his sword during the Declaration of Marriage - spectacular!
And, when the day is at its end
The end
When the ceremony's complete, and the reception is at an end, there's only one thing left to do!
IMM Logo
Philip Greentree holds a doctorate in Metaphysical Science, and is a member of the International Metaphysical Ministry.

The fundamental principals of Paganism are deeply spiritual, in fact, very Metaphysical in their constructs. Celebrant Philip performs Pagan & Wicca weddings, so meet with him to discuss your options.

The Druid
druid philip
With Irish, Scottish, and Viking blood coursing through his veins, the Druid, Philip Greentree, will provide a wonderful wedding ceremony replete with ancient Celtic traditions. He swings his sword for the Declaration of Marriage. Yes, it's a real sword, even if deliberately blunted.
What MUST your celebrant ensure occurs during the ceremony?

The following are not negotiable.

  • The Celebrant's Monitum in which:.
    1. The celebrant must ID them self.

    2. Read aloud "The Definition of Marriage in Australia."

  • Identify the couple by saying aloud their full names at some stage preferably before the vows.

  • Ensure the required words are said within the vows.

  • Ensure the Marriage Register is signed by the 5 parties to the marriage, which include:
    The Couple, their 2 witnesses aged over 18-years, & the celebrant.

    Name Your Child?
    baby naming
    Philip has, on numerous occasions, named the couple's child as part of the ceremony. Most of those couples have remarked that it was far more meaningful than having a separate naming ceremony in the backyard at home.

    The Famous Stone
    stone in throne
    The World's most famous Stone - Ireland, then Scotland's Stone of Destiny, and, since AD1300, mounted in England's Coronation Throne.

    Pagan Wedding Table
    druid table
    Some of the props used during Lani and Drew's Pagan wedding at Peppers Creek Chapel, Pokolbin

    Get Your Hemispheres Correct.
    A significant error made by some is, they base their knowledge upon the Internet, which is, generally, Northern Hemisphere oriented. We live in the South, meaning our seasons are exactly 6-months out of synch.

      Site written by Philip for Philip, hosted by Dibiz.
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