Handfasting is the rite of marriage in neo-Pagan Witchcraft and neo-Paganism which is usually performed in the magic circle, officiated by a high priestess and/or high priest. The ceremony is usually written by the couple. The rite of handfasting intentionally lasts as long as the couple are in love, not until death.
Gold or silver rings inscribed with their Craft names in runes maybe exchanged by the couple. During some ceremonies the couple may jump over a broomstick for good luck. Symbolically, the high priestess uses the broomstick to sweep away evil. The ceremony may include the great rite which is performed symbolically or in actuality. As with all marriage ceremonies, handfasting concludes with great feasting and merriment.
Unless the high priest or high priestess is an ordained minister (which most are not) handfasting is preceded or followed by a legal marriage ceremony. Also, there are divorce rites performed in some covens, which are called «going of the ways’ or «handpartings.» As with most handfasting rites, they are symbolic and not recognized as legal.
Solitary Witches and other neo-Pagans not belonging to a coven may perform the rite of handfasting among themselves. Such ceremonies are usually accompanied by a legal marriage ceremony. A.G.H.