April 2009 Every Day is Earth Day
Handfastings.org News and Views
Celebrant News


As always, we like to give a warm welcome to our latest officiant,  Celia Milton from New Jersey!
Same-Sex Marriage Update

Vermont & Iowa Same-Sex Marriage Laws Pass
ostara eggs

If you've been following our same-sex marriage updates at Handfastings.org, you'll know that we believe that marriage belongs to all people, no matter their sexual preference.  We are excited to report two more state rulings that allow couples of the same sex to join in matrimony.

Almost a decade ago, Vermont became the first state to legally recognize civil unions. On April 7, 2009, the state House and Senate voted to override the governor's veto of a same-sex marriage bill that was passed at the beginning of the month.  Vermont set yet another precedent by becoming the first state to legally recognize gay marriage through a legislative act rather than a court order.

And striking down a ban on gay marriage with assertion, Iowa Supreme Court's unanimous ruling on April 3 decided that a state law limiting marriage to a man and a woman violates the constitutional rights of equal protection.
Earth Day - April 22, 2009

Earth Day
ostara eggs

Founded in 1971 by John McConnell, Earth Day, a celebration of the harmony of nature and the health of the planet, is held on April 22.  

In Mr. McConnell's own words, he describes how Earth Day came about: "When I first conceived of Earth Day, a global holiday to celebrate the wonder of life on our planet, I thought long and hard about the day on which it should fall. It must be meaningful. One that might be accepted universally for all of humankind.

"When the Vernal Equinox dawned on me, I immediately knew it was right. The Earth tremor that shook our California dwelling at that moment seemed an omen of confirmation. What could be more appropriate than the first moment of Spring, when day and night are equal around the world and hearts and minds can join together with thoughts of harmony and Earth's rejuvenation. Just as a single prayer can be significant, how much more so when hundreds, thousands, millions of people throughout the world join in peaceful thoughts and prayers to nurture neighbor and nature (http://www.earthsite.org/day.htm)."

While today Earth Day is no longer celebrated on the exact day of the Vernal Equinox, it is symbolically held around the time of spring's first blooms.  The well-being of our planet is especially significant to Pagans.  Mother Nature is our Divinity, where we catch a glimpse of our Goddess(es) and God(s) in every blade of grass, Easterly wind, and raindrop.  While Earth Day was created as a secular celebration, Pagans at this time look upon spring to celebrate the very sacredness that Mother Earth has to offer.  For Pagans, the month of April usually carries us through the holy days of Ostara, the welcoming of Spring, to Beltane, the ritual union, or consummation, of the Goddess and the God.  In between these holidays we enjoy the earth sprouting and growing upwards to the light, and we work magic that corresponds with this movement in the Wheel of the Year.  

Shop Green and Support Handfastings.org

In celebration of Earth Day, Handfastings.org has partnered with Amazon.com through the Amazon Associates Program to bring our readers and supporters the best in Earth Day savings and Eco-friendly toys.  By purchasing anything from Amazon through the following links, you will be supporting our mission so that we may continue to bring you a quality network of handfasting officiants and the latest in handfasting news.shopping bag, handfastings

Earth Day Savings
Save on organic groceries, home products, compact fluorescent lights, and more. Additionally, learn how to go Extreme Green, Ease Into Green, or be Eco-Chic:

Eco-friendly Toys
Celebrate with recycled and repurposed wood and plastic toys.

Handfastings.org seeks to offer an accessible network of officiants and a wide range of free information about handfastings and Goddess- and Nature-inspired wedding ceremonies.  Save some green on green products while supporting Handfastings.org!
April Fools!

"Love is the wisdom of the fool and the folly of the wise."
- Samuel Johnson

There is much speculation as to the origins of April Fool's Day. Some say it began during a change in the Gregorian calendar in the 1500's.  And several ancient cultures celebrated the New Year on April 1st, such as in Rome and parts of India, rather than on January 1.  This may be because it follows the Vernal Equinox, once spring begins to bloom.

According to David Johnson and Shmuel Ross at Infoplease, "... many different cultures have had days of foolishness around the start of April, give or take a couple of weeks. The Romans had a festival named Hilaria on March 25, rejoicing in the resurrection of Attis. The Hindu calendar has Holi, and the Jewish calendar has Purim. Perhaps there's something about the time of year, with its turn from winter to spring, that lends itself to lighthearted celebrations."

But Pagans know that spring fever is indeed upon us, and we sometimes act as fools, especially when it comes to finding, or catching, a mate.  In some Pagan traditions, there is a chase, or hunt, generally played out on or before Beltane, where the future May King chases the future May Queen (or the other way around!) for affections.  The chase symbolizes the search for a mate and the fertility embraced by the spring season.  

Other cultures and religions hold similar chasing or hunting rituals, seemingly carried down from these Pagan practices, if not inspired by spring itself.  The Easter egg hunt is when children search for hidden eggs (a fertility symbol as we discussed in the last newsletter)... and during Passover, children hunt for the Afikomen, a symbol of sacrifice in some Jewish traditions - or the dessert in others!

Picture This

Share your photos with us*!  Send us photos of you, your married couples (with their permission) or your handfasting altars.  We'd love to add some eye candy to the newsletter and inspiration to all who receive it!  Let's celebrate together!

*Handfastings.org reserves the right to use any photos you may supply to us in any Handfastings.org medium (i.e., newsletters, website, periodicals, etc.).  It is our aim to be respectful of your work and likeness.

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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