top of page
Search

Our idea for a Handfasting Ceremony


Create an altar to the North (Fill 1st cup with Mead, 2nd cup, or bowl, with salt water, 2 sprigs of evergreen, red ribbon), members of the congregation gather in a circle before the bride and groom join


Officiant : Welcome one and all! We are gathered here today before the Gods to join [Bride] and [Groom] in marriage. The term hand-fasting means to betroth or marry by the joining of hands and I am truly honoured to be conducting this hand-fasting ceremony today. (A little about the bride and groom).


We call upon the Aesir, we call upon the Vanir. We call upon the Wights and the Ancestors. We ask that you join us, and witness this marriage between [Bride] and [Groom].


Pour an offering from the 1st cup and then using the groom’s Mjolnir, the salt water and the sprigs of evergreen, walk out into the middle of the circle


Following the cycle of the Sun as Sol rides through the sky, I will now call upon some of the principal Gods of our Northern traditions again asking that they join us here today. Firstly I call upon Loki and ask that these blessings given here today be received by those for whom they are intended.


Facing East: Hail Thor! Thunderer, strongest of all the Gods! Hallow and protect this sacred space! Offer your protection to [Bride] and [Groom] on this day and all the days that follow. Hail Thor!



Sprinkle the salt water using the sprigs of evergreen


Facing South: Hail Odin! Wise one! Cast your eye from the well of Mimir over us! Offer your wisdom to [Bride] and [Groom] on this day and all the days that follow. Hail Odin!


Sprinkle the salt water using the sprigs of evergreen


Facing West: Hail Freyja! Lady of Folkvangr and Goddess of Love! Ensure that [Bride] and [Groom] continue to love one another without fear and without regret on this day and all the days that follow. Hail Freyja!


Sprinkle the salt water using the sprigs of evergreen


Facing North: Hail Freyr! Bountiful one, peaceful one and he who values the oaths taken amongst your highest of principles. May [Bride] and [Groom] desire for one another be equal to yours for Gerd on this day and all the days that follow! Hail Freyr!


Sprinkle the salt water using the sprigs of evergreen






The officiant now returns to the altar and, if the couple wish, can now have a reading from the lore of their choosing. This could be a passage from the Havamal, the Eddas or any other reading the couple feel is significant to them. If the couple have any Gods or Goddesses that are particularly important to them, they may wish for prayers to those deities to be included here.


I will now read ……………….., chosen by [Bride] and [Groom]



After the reading, the officiant should face the couple, hold up the Oath ring, with the wedding rings attached, and invoke Var:


Hail to Var!

Honest Goddess, witness the oaths we swear here today.

Truthful Goddess, bless all those who keep their word.

Honourable Goddess, bring vengeance upon the untrustworthy.

Var, you listen carefully to all oaths spoken,

Remembering the details, ensuring they are upheld.

Friend to those who stand firmly by their pledge,

Punisher of the liar and the double crosser,

You guide us in upholding our honourable reputations.

Hail Var!



Pour an offering to Var.


The bride and groom will now swear oaths to one another, to seal their bonds, and recognise each other as their sworn partner, in the eyes of our Gods, and all those here today.


Bind the groom’s right hand and the bride’s right hand with the red ribbon and ask that they hold the oath ring with their left hands, still with their rings attached.


Ideally the oaths will be written by the couple themselves, but the following words can be used. Oaths are extremely important in Heathenry, and it is important not to swear anything you cannot keep. For this reason ‘til death do us part’ is much less likely to figure in a Heathen wedding oath, as whilst the end of a marriage is not something people want to think about at its beginning, oaths are binding, and so a line such as ‘for as long as our love shall last’ give the couple options in the future.



As the oaths are sworn, both partners should hold the oath ring, and look at each other as the words are spoken.


Groom : I [name], hereby swear to you [Bride’s name] in the presence of the Gods, the Wights, the Ancestors, and those gathered here today, to love you, to protect you, to be loyal to you, and to serve you as an equal partner, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health, for as long as our love shall last.


Bride : I [name] hereby swear to you [Groom’s name] in the presence of the Gods, the Wights, the Ancestors, and those gathered here today, to love you, to protect you, to be loyal to you, and to serve you as an equal partner, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health, for as long as our love shall last.



The officiant now takes the rings, holds them up and says:


The oaths have been sworn upon an oath ring. The oaths shall be forever bound in that oath ring. These rings, which the couple shall wear, not only act as a visible sign of their marriage, but also as a reminder of the oaths they have sworn this day.


The officiant hands the rings to the couple for them to exchange. On completion, the officiant should speak these words:


[Name] and [Name] have sworn oaths to each other, they have exchanged rings to symbolise these oaths. In the presence of the Gods, the Wights, the Ancestors, and those of you gathered here today, I pronounce them man and wife. You may now kiss the bride!


May this mead now be shared, to bless this union and to be sanctified in the eyes of the Aesir and the Vanir.



The officiant takes a sip from the mead


May your journey together always be a happy one!


The officiant hands the mead to the couple to each take a sip while both holding the cup at all times


Applause!


The couple depart and while they do:


In case of small gatherings: For this next part the couple may leave the circle should you wish to do so; however, it is now time for the traditional passing of the mead around the circle.



In case of larger gatherings: For this next part the couple may leave the circle should you wish to do so. It would normally be tradition to pass the mead around the circle; however, in the case of larger gatherings, our ancestors would be sprinkled with the mead. Please feel free to decline this as I pass around the circle


On completion of the ceremony a feast should be held in the couples honour. As the couple leave for this feast, it is traditional for them to be accompanied by a ‘guard of honour’ made up of trusted friends. If the couple wish to have children, it is traditional for Mjolnir to be laid in the bride’s lap at the feast, to symbolically ask Thor to bless them with fertility. The feast may also include the usual elements of a wedding reception such as speeches, a first dance, and cake cutting.




Some of this ceremony has been taken from 'The Gods Own County' by Dan Coultas and Heathens of Yorkshire (which you can purchase here) and was adapted to suit North West Heathens

24 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page