Handfasting Celebrants November 2018

Cassandra and I have been so busy of late with events and also work. Today we were asked to conduct a Handfasting at Boscawen-un stone circle. The couple decided to take this step on their 20th wedding anniversary. We became acquainted when they attended the All Hallows Dark Gathering in Boscastle and discovered that some aspects of our lives had synchronicity.

The weather was dry and cloudy with a slight chill of the forthcoming winter weather. Today was All Souls Day and the presence of the ancestors could be felt within the stillness of the air.

 

As Cassandra spoke of the ancestors and spirit loved ones witnessing the Handfasting rite, a murmuration of starlings flew over the circle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A special thank you to our lovely neighbours Jackie and Lottie for assisting us and capturing some wonderful images of Kim and Tony’s special day. We then joined the couple for a celebratory drink and a meal in our local St Buryan Inn.

Feedback:

“We simply cannot thank Laetitia and Cassandra enough for The Handfasting Ceremony they performed for us. We can honestly say that it was the most romantic, magical and memorable moment in our lives. Anyone who is considering “Tying The Knot”, look no further than Laetitia and Cassandra. From advice to reassurance, nothing is too much trouble. Thank you so much for everything that you have done for us. Wonderful, warm knowledgeable  Wise Women xxx” Kim and Tony

Advertisements

A Winter Handfasting 2018

We first met Karyl when she travelled from the U.S. with a group of friends to venture out on a Walk with Wisewomen two years ago.

This time she returned with her partner and requested we Handfast them both. January has had frequent stormy weather, gale force winds and heavy hail showers due to the icy temperatures.

Karyl requested that we conduct the ceremony in Cassandra’s wise woman cottage. This is only the 2nd occasion this has occurred as many years ago a couple from Denmark unexpectedly called on Cassandra requesting a ceremony. She asked them to return in an hour so that she could have time for preparation.

This time the ceremony was booked in advance. John Isaac our wonderful friend and photographer captured beautiful images of the occasion. The cottage is small so it was fortunate that the couple had only the presence of two good friends to support them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wise Woman Walk and Handfasting June 2017

After an energetic 3 days at our local Mazey festival we were booked for a ‘Wise Woman Walk’ by a couple who also requested to be Handfasted at the Men an Tol.

We took them to Madron Well and Baptistry first where they enjoyed a hedgerow walk.

We arrived at Madron Well and while discussing the clouties, two men arrived and asked Cassandra questions about the history of the site.

Madron Baptistry is wonderful at this time of year with all the lush greenery of summer.

 

We were pleased to find no cattle present at the Men an Tol as it would have caused a problem regarding the Handfasting ceremony. The weather was perfect for our adorable couple.

Setting a sacred space at Men an Tol is a wonderful experience.

 

The couple loved the heartfelt words of the ceremony and their vows were full of emotion.

I connected their hands with a Handfasting cord while explaining the procedure.

It was then time to partake of the special honeymoon brew we had made.

It was indeed a privilege to Handfast this adorable couple and spend time with the land’s wondrous grounding energy after an energetic but fabulous weekend.

 

Celebrants for a Handfasting May 2017

It was a wet and misty day at the Merry Maidens for this Handfasting ceremony. Cornish weather is unpredictable and in this type of work you carry on regardless. It is not always glamorous with perfectly posed photographs but extremely satisfying. The following photographs are by John Isaac.

This was the feedback we received:

“Can’t thank you enough for your amazing witchery, excellent crowd control, and the winning one liner of the day by Laetitia “tell them you’re a bit tied up at the moment” when the groom’s phone went off in his pocket during a crucial handfast situation. Cassandra said it would be memorable and it was, and you both played a very major part in making it so! To quote Lou Reed – just a perfect day! Thanks again. Will keep in touch.”

We enjoyed a wonderful day with a fabulous group of people…. and there is nothing better than praise from an experienced and wonderful wise woman on how impressed she is with my work.

15. 2001 The 50th Anniversary of Witchcraft Repeal

Our next visit to Cornwall was for our Handfasting ceremony on 12th June 2001. This date was also the 50th anniversary of the Witchcraft repeal. Our tutors had kindly agreed to be celebrants for the Handfasting and members of the Morris team also accompanied us as we had arranged with the Witchcraft Museum to perform there at Boscastle and also Tintagel. 

Image - Camper Van Hire Holidays

Image – Camper Van Hire Holidays

My husband purchased a Volkswagen camper van from the woman I met at the first Pagan moot. Unfortunately the van broke down soon shortly after our journey began and we returned home to collect our car.  We performed with the Morris team at a Devon folk festival that weekend and then continued our journey to Cornwall. As we had no tent at the festival my husband attached the camper van awning to the side of our car to provide shelter. Unfortunately the first night was extremely cold so I moved to the car for warmth. I heard that many Morris dancers could not sleep as they too felt the cold temperature. 

On our arrival in Cornwall, my husband hired a static caravan at a site opposite Bossiney camping park where the rest of the team were.

Image - Sacred Landscape

Image – Sacred Landscape

We were eager to show the Morris team St Nectan’s Waterfall so that the tutors could survey the area where the Handfasting would be. Our team members were fit and we quickly covered ground through the glen. My Welsh pen-friend who had travelled to Cornwall to meet me for the first time and attend the Handfasting accompanied us.  In my eagerness to reach the waterfall I did not realize she had difficulties keeping up and she sat on one of the rocks to rest, her face flushed and breathing heavily As one of the Morris men passed me he jokingly asked if I was trying to kill her off.  She then decided it was time to improve her level of fitness.

King Arthurs Arms. Image - Tripadvisor

King Arthurs Arms. Image – Tripadvisor

The evening before our Handfasting we danced outside the King Arthur’s Arms in Tintagel. I bought my pen friend a ‘straight’ brandy and she drank it immediately which surprised me. The Morris team performed my favourite dance. Our female tutor usually stood in the centre of the space playing a haunting tune on her melodeon and the men danced around her. When the dance was performed on special occasions a person or something of significance would take the place of the musician in the centre. On this occasion my husband and I stood back to back in the centre and the men danced around us.  I heard the occasional squeal from my husband as the male dancers poked and playfully hit him as they passed. On our return to the camp-site, two of our new female members were given initiation tasks which they handled well considering the amount of alcohol that had been consumed.

31-grisel

We were due to perform outside the Witchcraft Museum at midday on the 12th June. The sun shone and it was a warm day. We were surprised no other events were arranged by the Museum for the 50th anniversary of the repeal. The Morris team were pleased they had the opportunity to perform for this important occasion. We gathered at the beautiful stone bridge and walked in procession to the solitary beat of a drum towards the Museum. The villagers observed us and the Museum owner heard our drumbeat and knew we were on our way. He was once a Morris dancer and he enjoyed the folk music too as he played a concertina.

92-photo-l-l-j

The spectators enjoyed our performance and my son danced well with the male team at only nine years of age. My pen friend thought it an emotional experience. We invited the owner to our Handfasting ceremony and he declined the invitation but presented us with two protection charm pendants as a Handfasting gift which was a thoughtful gesture.

whv28

The shop opposite the Museum opposed it and displayed anti witchcraft leaflets.  When my husband and I returned to the Museum a few days later, the owner was delighted with the reaction our performance had caused. Apparently, the following day the church choir were asked to sing hymns standing in the space where the team had performed!  

In the evening we prepared to visit St Nectan’s waterfall for our Handfasting ceremony. The owner of the site had offered to drive the celebrants, a male Morris member and I to the waterfall with the altar table and accoutrements.  I emerged from the car and as I walked towards the entrance gate, my friend from college accompanied by her son and mother were there waiting for me. They were in Cornwall for their vacation but I did not expect them as they were quite a distance from Tintagel. I entered the meditation room to change my attire while the celebrants took the altar and accoutrements down to the waterfall and set up the space. They purchased fresh flowers to construct a crown and also decorated our broomstick.

93a-photo-l-a

I stood at the altar of the shrine and thanked the Gods for their assisitance in making this possible. My friend from college stood beside me and we shared an emotional moment together. My husband walked through the glen with the rest of the Morris team and when he arrived we made our way to the bottom of the waterfall.

St Nectan's waterfall. Image - Marhum church

St Nectan’s waterfall. Image – Marhum church

As we descended carefully down the last slate steps the celebrants stood near the waterfall surrounded by candlelight with the altar in the centre. Two large fallen trees were either side of them and a row of ‘tea light’ candles created a pathway to the altar. The space was sublime and the work they had done was impressive.

St Nectans Waterfall. Image - Wikipedia

St Nectans Waterfall. Image – Wikipedia

The members of the Morris team stood outside the sacred space upon a higher ledge and observed the ceremony from above. My pen friend held my bouquet within the circle standing beside my friend from college and her mother. The ceremony was beautifully done and our tutors were warm, friendly and happy. I had memorised my words and did not need to read from the book. Before the ceremony began, a kingfisher flew across the circle and when the circle closed, two small birds flew around it in unison and then flew away. The female celebrant tied our wrists together with a short thin red cord and instructed we remain tied together for the rest of the evening. After the ceremony we returned to the top of the waterfall where the owners had prepared a sumptuous buffet. We purchased a plain iced cake and the ex boyfriend of our former Priestess used an icing pen to decorate it with Celtic symbols.  As the Morris team feasted, they sang  and played drums until late in the evening. Before we returned to the camp-site my husband removed his hand from the Handfasting cord as he needed to drive. An opportunity arose for me to speak to the male Morris member who assisted in our Handfasting as he was the remaining member off our former magical group.  Our ex Priestess no longer worked with him after moving away, but kept in contact and tried teaching him via email correspondence. He had enjoyed being with us in a magical circle again during the ceremony. I told him I was contemplating joining our tutor’s coven and he was supportive, expressing that he too was reviewing his own spiritual path. 

There were more celebrations at the campsite before we returned to the caravan.  invited my pen friend to stay overnight in our caravan as I had not spent time with her. On reflection it may not have been such a good idea on our wedding night, but we already had our son with us and had been married for 12 years. During her stay, we purchased drinks for my pen friend and I bought her a bracelet as a present. We let her stay in our caravan to save her paying for two nights at the bed and breakfast. She had little money and told us that she was unable to buy a present for our Handfasting, but she later showed me an expensive statue of Isis she purchased for herself in Boscastle. My pen friend seemed a strange person who said  little when I was with her, but she could write so much about her life in intimate detail. This visit to Cornwall was indeed memorable for so many reasons.