April 2010
Mother Earth Blossoms
Handfastings.org News and Views

This month's newsletter is dedicated to the Monarch Butterfly.

Welcome New Officiants

Our Latest Listings

Stacy Everett (Lady SylverWolfe RavenClawe)  

stacy everett, handfasting officiant
Jason McClaren of Texas, Stacy Everett of California [pictured], Tina Gentry of Arkansas, Ruth Souther of Illinois and Elaine Cason, also of Illinois, have been added to our illustrious list of officiants.  Welcome to our Handfastings.org family! 
Teen Wedding - Shotgun Need Not Apply.

Australian Politician Threatens Teen Couple's Special Day

Spring embodies youth, and teens are especially inspired by the Spring Goddesses' young love and newly greening earth.  One such couple's plans to get handfasted, however, are being met with adversity from an Australian political leader (who also happens to be a Christian Reverend).
Australian Christian Democrat Party leader and anti-Pagan campaigner Reverend Fred Nile is out to destroy a teenage couple's plans to be joined in a Pagan handfasting ceremony.
He was quoted as saying: "[Handfasting] can't be in any way acknowledged by the state and should not be listed as a genuine wedding.  Our party will do what it can to stop Pagan weddings and witchcraft or Wicca activities."

Alex Stewart-Pole and Jenni Birch.  So cute!

Aussie handfasting
The ceremony, between two Queensland teenagers, Alex Stewart-Pole (19 year old design student) and Jenni Birch (16 y.o. HS student) is scheduled for this month (April 2010).  In it, the couple will vow to be faithful to each other for a year and a day, and have the option of renewing their vows or later formalising their union as a legally-binding marriage.  Jenni's mother and Pagan High Priestess Sue Birch will perform the ceremony.
Pagan Awareness Network (PAN Inc.) President David Garland hit back at Rev. Nile's comments, describing them as "thinly disguised hate speech."  Mr. Garland said: "We will hold him personally responsible for any disruption of our legally recognised ceremonies.  All these kids are doing is holding a ceremony to formally acknowledge their relationship in front of their family and loved ones.  Reverend Nile's attempt to threaten kids should be seen for what it is."
Mr. Garland added:  "The original article reporting this news [City South News, Australia] claims that Pagan marriages are not legally recognised in Australia. This is incorrect - anyone who wants to be legally married in a Pagan rite of handfasting needs simply to have a Pagan priest or priestess who is a licensed Marriage Celebrant officiate at their ceremony."
A list of Pagan Marriage Celebrants in Australia can be found by searching the country's Attorney General's website:  http://www.ag.gov.au/mclisting
According to the 2006 Australian Census as reported by PAN Inc., around 30,000 Australians follow a Pagan or nature-based religion.
Keep the conversation going:  What do you think of teens getting handfasted?  Send an email to shira@handfastings.org and your thoughts will be posted in an upcoming newsletter. 
A special thanks to David Garland.  For more information, contact:
David Garland , PAN Inc President: 0413 180 973
Gavin Andrew , PAN Inc Media Officer: 0402 587 219
Save the Monarch Butterflies!

"When we see a butterfly, it stirs the magic and wonder within, awakening and stirring our hearts and spirits."
- Maraleen Manos-Jones from The Spirit of Butterflies: Myth, Magic, and Art

Hundreds of millions of Monarchs will make the 3,000 mile trip across North America.


Native American legends say that if you have a secret wish, find a butterfly and whisper your wish to it. When you release the butterfly, it will carry your wish to the Great Spirit. By setting the butterfly free, you are helping to restore the balance of nature, and your wish will surely be granted.


The Monarch butterfly is one of the longest migrating creatures on Earth. Beginning in August, over 200 million eastern monarchs (those living from the Rockies to the Atlantic Ocean) migrate from their summer feeding and mating grounds in Mexico, where they spend the winter before returning to the United States in late February and March to begin the cycle of life again. In all the monarchs will travel over 3,000 miles as a group over several generations each year. While one Monarch will not make the 3,000 mile trip it will do its part to eat milkweed, mate and continue the cycle its children, grand children, great grand children and great great grandchildren will ultimately finish.
But Monarchs are not as plentiful as they were years ago.  The use of insecticides and herbicides has eliminated much of their habitat. The milkweed that the Monarch depends upon for survival is disappearing as meadows and prairie are developed. While the winter population in Mexico numbers 200 to 400 million, many feel the Monarch may not survive.
In 1991 about 70% of these wintering Monarchs in Mexico froze to death as a result of three days of rain and sub freezing conditions. This was an enormous tragedy for our friends the Monarch and they have not been seen again in many Northern regions. Habitat must be protected now, before we see the day when this miracle of nature is only a memory.
There are three major reasons why monarchs are dying off:
First is the degradation of the eastern monarch's wintering grounds around Michoacan, Mexico, because of continued deforestation of areas where the butterflies typically congregate.
Second is the loss of habitat in the United States.  Monarch caterpillars exclusively feed on milkweed, vital for their survival.  Milkweed grows wild in much of the country but is often removed or killed off with pesticides when wild lands are adapted for other uses. 
Third is climate change. California and much of the West has gotten warmer in recent years.  Sources of water that the butterflies rely upon are drying up.  And in the east, we've had a few colder-than-usual summers. 
So what can we do to save this beloved, magical creature?
1. Plant a tree!  Reforestation is being undertaken as part of a strategy to help secure the long term survival of Monarch butterflies.  La Cruz Habitat Protection Project is planting trees in and around the Monarch Butterfly overwintering areas in Michoacan, Mexico.  Funds are needed to support the nursery, tree distribution, monitoring, and educational efforts.  Donate to the La Cruz Habitat Protection Project (http://www.lchpp.org) to support Monarch Butterfly Habitats. 
2. Vacation in Mexico!  If you are thinking of a vacation, witness the phenomenon of millions of monarchs in Mexico yourself and help save the butterflies.  Part of the proceeds of the Spirit of Butterflies Tour is donated to LCHPP (see above link).  Contact the organization for more information. 
3. Plant milkweed!  You can get seeds or starter plants from LiveMonarch.org, a not-for-profit foundation dedicated to ensuring the survival of the Monarch butterfly by getting milkweed planted in every yard across America.  You can also adopt an "online" butterfly in support of the organization's efforts.  LiveMonarch.org will send you an email every few days with pictures of your butterfly in its different life stages.  Kids will love this!

A Monarch catepillar feasts on milkweed.

milkweed monarch
4. Be good to Mother Earth.  Every little bit that you can reduce your carbon footprint counts towards making our planet healthier and safer for all to live.  It's not too late!




Spring is Fairy Time!
By Barbara Morris

A Recipe to See the Fae

Drawing by Cicely Mary Barker

The Fae (faires) can be found in Mushroom circles in Pine forests, in Hollows of Oak trees and amongst the Acorns, Pine cones and Autumn leaves.  Milkweed pods are sure to lead you to the wee ones.  Dew drops, primroses, running streams are regular homes for the Fae & Gnome.

On a Dawn morn or dusk eve, find a special bottle, a pretty one the Fae would like that is.

And pour into it:
1 cup gathered spring or rain water
1 teaspoon of Pink Rose petals
1/2 teaspoon Lavender flowers
Add 3 Quartz crystals
Add 3 Amethyst Chips
1 pinch of Faery sugar (see recipe below)
Nine inch piece of pink ribbon
Now hide this away in a dark cool place for three days. On the third day, again at dawn or dusk, in a place you think you might spot the Fae, like an Oak tree, backyard or mushroom patch in the forest. Even a potted plant, herb or Flower will do. Tie a nine inch piece of Pink ribbon arond bottle neck. Next, close your eyes and sprinkle 9 drops over each eyelid of your 'Faery Potion Water', careful not to get it IN your eyes! Next recite this Faery incantation and watch for the Fae.
'Ribbon of pink, I just might think.
I would like to see the Fae today.
Special sight of Faery's flight,
Send to me the way today.
A sprinkle here a sprinkle there,
A secret spell I say today.
Wispy wings and little things,
Are what I'd like to see today.' 

PLEASE note this may need to be repeated to see the Fae, as they are VERY cautious little creatures!
Faery Sugar
3 cups fine white sugar
1 tablespoon Vanilla extract (the good stuff)
1/8 teaspoon red food coloring
Glass container

pink fairy
Lay sugar on wax paper & sprinkle on the Vanilla; stir into the sugar till all mixed in. Next sprinkle on the red food coloring and also incorporate in till sugar turns 'Faery pink'. Save in glass container, you have labeled 'Faery Sugar';
you can now use this special treat in the recipe above & for Faery cookies, cakes and offerings to the Fae. You can eat some your self, but remember the recipe is a secret!
-Written by Barbara Morris
Happy B-Earth Day!
by Shira

Earth Day Turns 40
Twenty years ago I was a fresh, young college student with an optimistic outlook and a passion for the protection of my fragile planet, Mother Earth.  I  held office in the Earth Day Club at school and helped to organize security for an event at Central Park in NYC to celebrate Mother Earth and Her young holiday "Earth Day".
child smelling flowerAnother 20 years have passed, and I am just as passionate (maybe more) about preserving the sanctuary that is Nature.  Please join with me in celebrating by getting involved in the Earth Day Network's Global Days of Service on April 17 and 18. 
Earth Day Network's Campaign for Earth Day 2010:

Global Days of Service - April 17-18 - Join millions around the globe to make your community and the world cleaner and more sustainable.  Register individual, community or business service acts and take action for Earth Day.
Events on The National Mall in Washington, DC:
  • Earth Day 40th Anniversary Events - April 22
  • Change the Climate Rally - April 25
  • Exhibitions and Performances on The National Mall - April 17-25

The Earth Day Network has opportunities for artists to get involved in art that promotes environmental themes.
Song for the Earth Contest - Youths 18 or under who are passionate about music and the environment are invited to compose and submit a song to earthday.net. Winners will perform on The National Mall!
Athletes are also signing up to change the climate!  Go to the Earth Day website to learn how you can get involved.

tree shaking hands

Missed any past emails?  Visit our email archive here.

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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