imbolc, bud, springJanuary 2009 Happy New Year!
Handfastings.org News and Views
New Year, New Beginnings

Crossing the Symbolic Threshold

We at Handfastings.org hope you had a lovely New Year celebration and wish you much love and prosperity in 2009.  Handfastings.org is entering our fifth year of service to the community and will be celebrating our 5-year anniversary this coming May.  We are delighted that you are with us on this spectacular journey!

The Year of the Ox - Kung Hei Fat Choi! (Happy New Year!)

Year of the OxThe end of January brings us Chinese New Year.  The new moon rings in the Chinese New Year which begins January 26th, in the sign of the Ox, in the element of earth.

The Ox is a working animal and a valuable asset to a family that lives close to the land. It heralds a year of plodding, but steady progress, and the careful building of things meant to last. The Ox year is a conservative year, one of traditions and values. This year will bring stability and growth where patience and diligence pays off. The year of the Ox is a year of harvest - when we reap what we have sown.
An Ever-expanding Family

Newcomers welcome

Our latest officiant hails from Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  Please give a warm welcome to Rev. Lorie Habel!  If you know any wedding officiants who are well-versed in handfasting rituals, please pass on our website to them.  We are always looking for new officiants to add to our list.

Pregnancy update from the Founder

Well, I'm rounding the corner and getting closer and closer to giving birth!  By our next newsletter, I will have probably already had the baby.  So if I miss the February newsletter - have no fear!  We'll be back by March. 
Imbolc and Weddings

Imbolc - February 2, 2009

imbolc, bud, springNine months from the holiday Beltane (in May) is Imbolc (in February).  Imbolc is usually around February 1st or 2nd.  You may know this final Winter holiday disguised as Groundhog Day - the time when the groundhog comes out to check out the weather.  If he sees his shadow and gets scared, he'll run back into his little hole for another 6 weeks until winter is over.  The reality is, the groundhog probably got scared out of its wits of all the men in top hats surrounding him and ran for safety.  But seriously, February 1st marks the middle of the winter - only 6 more weeks until spring!  

Imbolc is a great day for weddings.  The holiday Imbolc is celebrated by Pagans around this time, when they commemorate rebirth and renewal, which is also associated with pregnant and lactating ewes.  The word "imbolc" comes from the Celtic word "oimlec", meaning mother's milk.  This marks the end of the gestation period: bears awaken from their winter slumber, seeds which lay dormant now begin to sprout, and pregnant moms will give birth.  This makes Imbolc the perfect holiday to celebrate new beginnings.  

This is truly a time of celebrating newness as we anticipate the first signs of Spring!  As we move from January to February, we watch as winter melts away, to find Spring just around the corner in the form of tiny buds and the earliest of new greenery.  This is a time for creativity to burst forth and come out and play.  

For a handfasting officiant, this may be a great time to create a wedding script that focuses on new beginnings and fresh starts.  References to planting magical seeds of love and prosperity are highly appropriate during this time of year.  

imbolc, bud, springCouples may wish to invoke their own creativity during the creation of their wedding by writing their own, unique vows to one another.  Or they may wish to make their own favors for guests, such as taking mini terracotta pots and placing a bit of potting soil in each and plant a couple of seeds; then they can attach a small note requesting the guests to just add water and sunlight and watch a beautiful plant emerge!   

Have a blessed Imbolc!
New Moon Magic
by Shira
In the Beginning...

imbolc, bud, springWhile it is popular to create magic during the full moon, the new moon is also a very powerful time for magic pertaining to inspiration and beginnings, such as new relationships, weddings, new enterprises, births, planting, creativity and anything that is in its first stages of development.

This year our new moon for January is on Monday the 26th (is it any wonder then that the Chinese New Year begins on the new moon?).  This is a great day to perform a new moon ritual, to create a magic spell with the intent of creating something new or to inspire a fresh start on an existing venture.

For instance, a New Years "resolution" could be supported with a little new moon magic to make your intent stick.  On the evening of the new moon, write your intent down on a piece of paper.  Use positive, present-tense words, such as "I am" instead of "I will" or "I want."  Read it aloud three times while visualizing your intent as already having come to fruition.  Then burn the paper and bury the ashes in soil outside under the new moon.  Then be patient.  Your intent will surely come into being!

tree shaking hands

Link back to Handfastings.org.  If we've added your website to our officiant list, or even if you just really dig our site, link back to Handfastings.org.  The more reciprocal links the better!

Handfastings.org wants to know what you think.  Please email me at shira@handfastings.org and let me know if you have any suggestions, ideas, or corrections.  I'm all ears.

As always, Handfastings.org remains a free service to all.  I look forward to hearing back from you.  

Mission Statement
The mission of Handfastings.org is to link people in the Pagan and Wiccan communities with ordained officiants who perform Handfastings, Wedding Ceremonies, Commitment Ceremonies, Sacred Unions and other Rites of Passage and celebrations.

Love and Light,
Shira's signature
Artemisia Shira Tarantino

Joining Hearts in Perfect Love™
Contact Information
email: shira@handfastings.org
website: www.handfastings.org

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