It was an honor to officiate Whitney and Jennifer’s Handfasting Ceremony last night! Here is my outline for those of you interested.
"Greetings sisters, brothers, family, friends and guests.
We gather here on this beautiful day in this magnificent place to celebrate the handfasting of Jennifer Wilson and Whitney Hutsell.
I’m sure you know it is an HONOR to be here as a witness to your handfasting ceremony. I am not alone when I say that you two are gifts to our lives, and you are the proof that this universe is divine.
For those of you who don't know, Handfasting is the traditional ceremony that lead to the expression “tying the knot” to mean marriage. It became popular in medieval Europe, when people wanted to get married but did not have access to a priest. For handfasting, all they needed was a witness, someone to tie the knots, and for a cosmic element they looked to the biblical truism found in Matthew 18:20, when the voice of the highest love and mystery says: “When 2 or 3 gather in my name, There I am in their midst.” Well. Here we are, 3 or more of us, and we are all gathered here in the name of Love. Shall we begin?
To get us in the mood, I will read a poem that you both chose for this occasion.
I love you not only for what you are,
But for what I am when I am with you.
I love you, Not only for what you have made of yourself,
But for what you are making of me.
I love you
For the part of me that you bring out;
I love you For putting your hand into my heaped-up heart
And passing over all the foolish, weak things
That you can't help dimly seeing there,
And for drawing out into the light
All the beautiful belongings that no one else had looked
Quite far enough to find
I love you Because you are helping me to make of the lumber of my life Not a tavern, but a temple.
Out of the works of my every day
Not a reproach, but a song.
I love you Because you have done
More than any creed could have done
To make me good. And more than any fate could have done
To make me happy. You have done it
Without a touch, Without a word, Without a sign.
You have done it by being yourself.
The large energizes the little as the atmosphere energizes the flame. Therefore, as one, large body, let us all rise. If you cannot rise with your body, rise with your mind. Open and relax your hands and face them towards the couple.
Now our bodies are synchronized. To sync up our minds, lets all think about Whitney and Jennifer. Just think about their kindness, their relationship to you, their love for each other and for their friends and family.
Now that we are all in love and our minds are in relative synchrony, as one voice, let’s repeat the sacred prayer three times and affirm our commitment to this couple.
Whitney and Jennifer,
We see you, we love you, we support you.
You may sit.
Together, our witnessing awareness will energize and consecrate your commitment to each other as we now listen to your vows and watch you exchange rings.
You have made your vows, one to the other, before your largest and highest selves. Now we are ready to complete the handfasting. Each family member will announce their hopes for your marriage and then tie their ribbon around your hands.
Imagine that woven into these cords, imbued into the fibers, are all the hopes of your friends and family, and of yourselves, for your new life together.
Now, kiss your first kiss as a married couple, and celebrate this union for the rest of your lives!