June 2009 Summer Solstice:
Fires Burning Bright

Handfastings.org News and Views
Welcome Officiants!

Lucky Seven

Wow - we've added seven officiants in one month - a record, I think!

Rev. Michele Jordan, handfasting officiantLet us give a warm welcome to newly listed Handfastings.org officiants: Kindra Phillips of North Carolina, Julienne C. Poteet of Missouri, Reverends Christine and Porter of California, Rev. Michele Jordan of Ohio (pictured), Leah Salters (AKA Edlyn Brigantis) of South Carolina, and finally we welcome Coyotesun of Austin, Texas to our Handfastings fold.

Rev. Michele Jordan
Gay Marriage Update

Prop 8 Upheld in California
On May 26, 2009, the Los Angeles Times wrote, "The California Supreme Court today upheld Proposition 8's ban on same-sex marriage but also ruled that gay couples who wed before the election will continue to be married under state law."

Now Californians will have to wait until November 2010 to repeal the law.

Eastern Seaboard Promotes Equality

In other same-sex marriage news, New Hampshire becomes the 6th state to legalize gay marriage. NH joins the equality pack alongside Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont.  Kudos to Iowa for sticking their neck out - take that, Midwest!

Marriage Equality USA (MEUSA), a non-profit organization whose mission is to secure legally recognized marriage equality for all, shows the same sex relationship laws across the U.S. with a colorful map:

For past news and essays from Handfastings.org on the subject of marriage equality, go to our newsletter archive here.

The Summer Solstice
by Shira

The Longest Day of the Year

During the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, we often pay tribute to the Goddess' magical male God-consort: The Horned One, Bacchus, Pan, The Green Man, Horus - He goes by many names.  The sun is often synonymous with masculinity, the Yang factor in Zen Buddhists' Yin/Yang principle, and the Sun-Father to his Earth-Mother counterpart.  It's no wonder that Fathers Day would fall on June 21st, the first day of summer.  Happy Father's Day!  

sunrise, litha, summer solsticeThe Summer Solstice, known as Litha, meaning "light," is also a time to honor the solar Goddess of your choice.  Some solar Goddesses include Amaterasu (Japan), Hestia (Greece), and Juno (Roman) - the latter for whom the month of June is named.

Marking the turn of the Sacred Wheel of the Year, it is during the Summer Solstice that the Oak King meets his fate, as the Holly King defeats him when Oak's rule over the light half of the year comes to an end.  It is now that we - believe it or not - welcome the dark half of the year, when the days become shorter.  So we gather all the light and fire energies we can in order to store them away and sustain us for the coming months ahead.

But for now, flowers are in full bloom and there is much dancing, singing, and celebrating.  We light the sacred fires and dance with the flames, we burn bright effigies made of wicker and corn husks, we dance until dawn.  Many festivals are held in the summer - such as Burning Man, Starwood, and other celebratory gatherings - where we awaken the fire within.  Summer may be lazy and hazy for some, but for others it can be dynamic, kinetic, and downright sexy!  

Have a blessed Litha!
By Patti Wigington

Litha Incense Recipe
incense, litha, summer solsticeThis recipe is for loose incense, but you can always adapt it for stick or cone recipes. As you mix and blend your incense, focus on the intent of your work. In this particular recipe, we're creating an incense to use during a Litha rite -- and since Litha is all about the sun and its strength, we're going to make this a fiery and powerful incense. You'll need:

    3 parts myrrh
    1 part apple blossoms
     part bay leaves
     part cinnamon bark
    1 part chamomile flowers
    1 part lavender flowers
    2 parts mugwort
     part rosemary

Add your ingredients to your mixing bowl one at a time. Measure carefully, and if the leaves or blossoms need to be crushed, use your mortar and pestle to do so. As you blend the herbs together, state your intent. You may find it helpful to charge your incense with an incantation, such as:

Balance of the heavens and earth below,
The power of the sun in this incense grows.
Cinnamon, mugwort, apple and bay,
Fire and water, on this longest day.
Herbs of power, blended by me,
As I will, so it shall be.

Store your incense in a tightly sealed jar. Make sure you label it with its intent and name, as well as the date you created it. Use within three months, so that it remains charged and fresh.

Read Patti's full incense article at:
I'm New at This...

Some Do's and Don'ts for Officiating at a Handfasting

I read this article by Bronwen Forbes in Witchvox.com, originally published May 24th, 2009.  Bronwen begins by telling us,"...if the bride and groom have asked you to be the Priest or Priestess for their handfasting and you've never officiated at a wedding before, it's unlikely anyone will think to offer you any words of wisdom."  Until now.

Directed at those who are new at officiating handfastings, Bronwen's entertaining do's-and-don'ts essay touches on a number of issues from appropriate officiant dress to rehearsal with the wedding participants and everything in between.  While lighthearted in its tone, I think it covers the basics very well.  Click the link below to read full the Witchvox article.


tree shaking hands

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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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