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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.
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