spring bud

Handfastings.org News and Views  Feb. 2011

In This Issue
New Officiants
Same Sex Marriage Rights
Groundhog Divination
Aurora Borealis
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Hello Friend, 


Finally!  I almost didn't remember what a chirping bird sounded like, until just two days ago I heard the little tweety-tweet-tweets of a song sparrow outside my window.  Later on that day, I caught two mourning doves outside playing tag, a sure sign of mating (or at least frolicking). Spring is just around the corner!  Perhaps the groundhog was right - the cold will soon be gone and Spring will awaken from Her slumber.


This is an abbreviated issue due to a very busy winter had by my family - my brother came back to visit for a month from his home-away-from-home in Beijing, so we celebrated Chinese New Year: The Year of the Rabbit!  We endured cold and flu season, but now we're ready to spring back into action (pun absolutely intended).  


We have four wonderful new officiants to show off, and are honored to have them grace the celebrant list of Handfastings.org. 


I hope that you had a blessed Imbolc and promising Groundhog Day.  Looking forward to hearing from you!


Blessed be,


Welcome New Officiants

We are very pleased to introduce our latest officiants, newly listed on Handfastings.org.

Ron Heilner 
Rev. Ron Heilner


Rev. Ron Heilner of Michigan states, "I respect and perform the customs and rituals of many different faiths, and handfasting is one of my favorites!"





Crystal Blanton 
Crystal Blanton

Crystal Blanton, HPs of California: Crystal has recently published her first book, Bridging the Gap; Working within the Dynamics of Pagan Groups and Society.  While she has been performing weddings since 2003, for the past 14-plus years to the present she continues to work as a counselor.  Crystal is also a professional tarot reader and is the Pagan Family Dynamics columnist for The Pagan Household.


Reverend Tina Thompson of Indiana (not pictured): Rev. Tina performs handfasting ceremonies in South Bend, Indiana and the surrounding areas.  She has grief counseling experience with a background in psychology.  Regarding sacred unions, she says, "I believe that every relationship is a gift and is a blessing.  I feel I receive as much as I give to my people in getting to know them."   


Angela Spears of Georgia (not pictured) is a Wiccan celebrant from Athens who performs handfastings and weddings.  She also performs baby namings as well as commitment ceremonies.  


Welcome all! 


Defense of Marriage Act Determined "Indefensible" 

February 23, 2011, Washington DC - The law that bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages has been determined unconstitutional!  The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is indefensible, according to the U.S. Attorney General, Eric H. Holder, Jr.  Republicans will still attempt to defend DOMA in federal courts - but will they succeed?  Only time will tell.  That said, this is still a huge step to finally open the doors for full equality rights for lesbian and gay people across the U.S.   


Read more here:




Human Rights Campaign: 



Groundhog Divination 

Groundhog Day is rooted in the Pagan midwinter holiday of Imbolc.  The act of observing the animal's behavior is a form of weather divination, and takes on a special significance during this time of year.  Taking a thoughtful look at the animals with whom we share our earth helps us understand the weather and other natural phenomena.  As most of us are at our wits end by the middle of winter, we welcome any signs that spring is on its way.    


This February, Punxsutawney Phil, the officially unofficial weather groundhog, did not see his shadow, alerting us humans to a winter drawing to a close.  However, what Phil doesn't realize is that us humans show him off on Groundhog Day, which is actually held on, or close to, the mathematical middle of the winter: six more weeks until the Spring Equinox.   


Imbolc is the Pagan celebration held exactly six weeks prior to the Spring Equinox and ushers in the approaching spring.  At this time of the year, observing the animals around us and noting their behavior gives us a sense of winter's end, ushering in hope for all. 



Aurora Borealis Lights Up Scotland  

Article courtesy of BBC Newsaurora


17 February 2011


The possibility of seeing the Northern Lights in Scotland on Thursday and Friday night has increased after the sun unleashed a giant solar flare.


Scientists said the burst of radiation and magnetic energy could also disrupt communications equipment.


The phenomenon is caused by charged gas particles that flow away from the Sun as a "solar wind" interacting with the Earth's magnetic field.


The particles "excite" gases in the atmosphere and then make them glow.  The colours depend on the type of gas - a red or green glow is oxygen and the blue and purple colours are produced by nitrogen.


Dr. Martin Hendry, senior lecturer in astronomy at Glasgow University, told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme: "Sometimes the aurora can be a little bit indistinct but on other occasions it can be a very vivid colour.


"In fact the different colours reflect the different chemical elements in our atmosphere being affected and they then interact with the discharge from the sun.


He added: "So if it is a bright one, and the evidence suggests that this might be, it is a large solar flare. It really should be unmistakable."


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.
I hope you enjoyed this month's newsletter.  Handfastings.org is a labor of love, and I couldn't have made it this far without people like you.  Please consider supporting us and tell your friends about us!

Love and Light,

Artemisia Shira Tarantino
Joining Hearts in Perfect Love™ 

Contact Information 
email: shira@handfastings.org
website: www.handfastings.org


All content is copyright Handfastings Media unless otherwise noted.  All rights reserved.


Free Hugs! 
All Handfastings.org News and Views readers are entitled to One Hug by yours truly.  May you always be inspired by the wind that brings hope, the sun that brings transformation, the oceans that bring love, the earth that brings sustenance, and the Great Spirit(s) that brings the mystery of Life.  Blessed be! - Shira 
Offer Good Always