Ceremonies are special occasions and most are regarded as sacred to those who believe in them. Those who share in a Celtic, Wiccan or Pagan belief, acknowledge and generally pay respect to the beauty of life and powers - the forces or elements of nature. Celtic, Wiccan and Pagan Ceremonies are steeped in tradition - ancient tradition and ritual, dating back thousands of years.

Wedding Reception Dinner

Caroline Ghetes

The Celtic people roamed Europe and the British Isles, taking their traditions and rituals with them and teaching others in their paths as they travelled. They were strong, and loyal and brave, and indeed a very romantic people who had a very deep sense of passion and magic.

They prized liberty above security, but loyalty and beauty above all. The beauty of man, a landscape, or a fine object - and they celebrated in a myriad of ways.

As in most cultures and traditions, they believe a wedding is not just an agreement between two people but is effective on three planes:

  • The individual
  • The social
  • The spiritual
  • What are the Four Elements?

Celtic, Wiccan and Pagan Ceremonies of Marriage encompass the love and respect of nature - the four elements which includes Mother Earth who brings all things good.

These ceremonies pay respect to these individual elements and each element represents North, South, East or West.

NORTH: Fire

SOUTH: Air

EAST: Water

WEST: Earth

Symbols are used during the ceremony to represent the elements - for example a red candle is used to represent Fire, and incense or a fan represents the Air and your favourite piece of crystal or rock represents Earth.

What Are Some Of The Traditions Performed In These Ceremonies?

Family and friends stand in a circle around the bride and groom who kneel before an altar upon which the four elements are placed.

The bride wears a crown of flowers and the groom, ivy. The bride carries a bouquet of herbs to ward off evil spirits together with flowers which are a symbol of love. The wedding celebrant will bless the circle and invoke the Spirits or Goddesses.

Often the ritual of 'Hand Fasting' is performed, whereby the Bride and Groom's hands are bound by a natural woven thread, fibre or cloth, and just before the 'Giving of Rings' the binding is slipped off with the knot still intact, signifying the fact they will always be 'bound together in marriage'.

Many couples who have a civil ceremony today, just incorporate Hand Fasting into their ceremony without any of the other traditions.

Here is a Hand Fasting verse:

Now you are bound one to the other
With a tie not easy to break.
Take the time of binding
Before the final vows are made
To learn what you need to know -
To grow in wisdom and love.
That your marriage will be strong
That your love will last
In this life and beyond.

Dionysus is usually thought of as the god of wine, but he is also the god of faithful marriage. The bride and groom may partake of water, wine, milk and/or mead from a breakable shared goblet which is called 'The Invocation' and often the bride will raise her hands in the manner of the 'Cup and Dagger'.

A friend will also sweep away bad luck and impurities with a straw broom which later in the ceremony, the bride and groom jump over.

There are also some beautiful spiritual verses read during these ceremonies, here's one of them which is usually said during 'The Giving of Rings':

I take you my heart
At the rising of the moon
And the setting of the stars.
To love and to honour
Through all that may come.
Through all our lives together
In all our lives,
May we be reborn
That we may meet and know
And love again,
And remember

Can Any Of These Traditions Be Used In A Civil Ceremony?

Yes, any or all these ancient traditions and beliefs can be incorporated into your marriage ceremony if your wedding celebrant agrees but it must be remembered, that all legal marriage ceremonies MUST include the Civil Marriage Act and a legal marriage can only be performed by an authorise Civil Marriage Celebrant.

Family and friends are always welcome to take part in a ceremony but an authorised wedding celebrant must be in attendance and take an active role in the wedding ceremony and be there to sign the legal paperwork on the day.

How Can We Find Out More?

There are some excellent reference books so check out good book stores and New Age shops. Three very informative books to buy are:

The Celts by Aedeen Cremin

Rites Of Passage by Pauline Campanelli

The Pagan Family by Ceisiwr Serith

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