Here's one of the reasons why I've been keeping a low profile: I've met my mate. He's not Pagan, but interested in "that spiritual stuff". Same as I: never ever wanted to be married again, but wanting to commit himself. Something simple, personal and meaningful, not the paperwork and outer display. So I tried to explain the flexible concept of handfasting.
Next day he told his mum he'd be having a Pagan marriage.. I think he didn't quite get that this isn't a textbook thing. So I'll be the one doing the larger part of planning and executing.
Make an inventory of our feelings, inner wants and needs AND outer preferences.
Find ways of expressing and reflecting this in our ceremony; in words, actions, objects, music etc
The "finding" being more opening up to inspiration, letting the answer come to the question.
Then materialising all the things that feel just right.
I thought about what kind of ceremony of course. Knowing that too much "Druid speak" would only be confusing to my mate, I decided to use the keep it simple method: translating all into something basic and easy to understand. Which actually is quite challenging, but in a good way!
We've set the date to when it's the right time. Trusting this will become more clear in time. As of now we thought of having a private joining, just the two of us, and a celebration of this, involving close family and friends, at a later time.
I would have been happy with any exchange of tokens. To him wearing a ring was an important symbol of our union... but he doesn't like wearing a ring. So I looked for a ring that isn't a ring... and found a wooden ring! Warm, comfy, living, meaningful and ecological. More a companion than a shackle. I've seen some beautiful works of art on the net, but a bit too pricey for our humble means. So I thought about it, talked about it and went out at night when the time was right, asking a gift from our local pussy willow.
Willow might seem an odd choice of wood: green, wet and soft. Not something to last eternity. But it made perfect sense to me.
The magical qualities of willow (or as I'd say the spirit of willow and her blessings) fit perfectly to what I wanted to give, fit perfectly to his needs and character as I perceived. I always find it horribly hard to describe the spirit of a tree as I perceive it. A bit like being asked what my daughter is like. But I'll give it a try in this context: gentle, loving, caring, taking away sorrow and grief, soothing, healing, watery, mystical, magical, enchanting, moonish, deep, flexible, pliable, binding, strengthening; a wise gentle loving mother to look over my dear.
The fact that it might not last for very long: it will last as long as it is needed! When the time comes I could make a new one, fit to the new situation.
The practical bit: I used a branch a bit over an inch in diameter. Cut a slice a bit less than an inch long. Used my modern time boline (Swiss army knife, camping model) for most of the work. Prodding through the centre, then scraping it with the small blade to enlarge the hole. Cut off the bark and got the outside into shape with small cuts, alternated with scraping the inside till it fit on my little finger. Giving the ring it's basic shape. Now I'm leaving it to dry and harden before I'll get to the finer work.. TO BE CONTINUED See if I'll come round to taking some pictures and posting them.
Any help or advice is welcome, as well as exchanging ideas!
My delusions are the guardians of my sanity.