Handfastings.org News and Views  July 2011

In This Issue
New Officiants
Gay Marriage Legalized in NY
Lughnasadh and You
Knot Magic for Proposals
Special News!
Human Rights and Marriage Equality
Quick Links



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Hello Friend, 


So many exciting things are happening.  Same-sex marriage has been instituted in New York.  In fact, the first gay marriage performed there was a handfasting!  More on this exciting event below.


The First Harvest of Lughnasadh is almost here, and I can't wait to get my hands on a yummy just-out-of-the-oven loaf of bread.  I'm ready to reap. 


Knot magic is perfect for handfastings - but did you also know you can use it in your marriage proposal?  Our special column, "Ask Shira" answers this question.


We also have some very special news from the home front.  You'll just have to read the whole newsletter to find out what it is!  


May your harvest be bountiful. 


Blessed Be,  


Welcome New Officiants!

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

Reverend Camille M. DeLise of New York


Camille M. DeLise, handfasting officiant 

Camille M. DeLise


Rev. Edward A. Sawyer, Ph.D., Th.D. of Arizona.  Rev. Ed enjoys researching and studying ancient religions and the ancient sciences.

And don't forget to visit Handfastings.org to see who's on our officiants page! 


Welcome all! 

New York State Legalizes Same Sex Marriage   

NY Gov. Cuomo Signs Same-Sex Marriage Bill 

NY Gov. Cuomo Signs Same-Sex Marriage Bill


New York - On June 24, 2011, the New York State Legislature passed the Marriage Equality Act which was signed into law by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo the same day.  This new law took effect on July 24, 2011.  The New York City Clerk has begun issuing marriage licenses and providing civil marriage ceremonies to same-sex couples.  


Happy Couple Cheryle Rudd and Kitty Lambert 

Happy Couple Cheryle Rudd and Kitty Lambert


But even MORE exciting (for those of us who perform handfastings, anyway) the historic first gay marriage that took place in New York included a handfasting!  The lucky couple, Kitty Lambert and Cheryle Rudd (above), was married at Niagara Falls at midnight on July 25 and had Baptist, Jewish and Episcopalian clergy preside over their vows.  During their ceremony, a handfasting was performed, bonding the two together in matrimonial bliss.


cute couple 

I don't know who these other women (above) are, but I just thought this picture was so cute I had to share it





But Wait - What About DOMA?


While the State of New York is the sixth state in the US to institute gay marriage, the fight for equality isn't over yet!  Not only do we have 44 more states to go, but the federal DOMA law (theDefense of Marriage Act federally instituted in 1996) still blocks legal same-sex couples from receiving thousands of benefits, including joint federal tax returns, federal health plans for spouses, and access to spouses' federal pensions.


In February 2011, the Obama administration announced it would no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in legal cases challenging its constitutionality.


However, the Attorney General said that the government will continue to enforce DOMA until there is a definitive ruling from the courts that it is unconstitutional, or repeal of the law by Congress.  Until then, lawfully married same-sex couples will continue to be denied federal recognition and the associated rights, benefits and obligations. 


In the meantime, to combat the injustice that DOMA supports, in March of this year, The Respect for Marriage Act was filed in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate. The legislation would repeal DOMA and end federal discrimination against legally married same-sex couples.


Currently, the US States that have legalized same-sex marriage and presently issue marriage licenses to gay couples are: Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, and the District of Columbia.













Lughnasadh and You:

The Happy Reaper 

Lughnasadh altar 

Lughnasadh Altar

The Pagan sabbat of Lughnasadh falls at the astrological point between Summer Solstice & Autumnal Equinox, which is approximately August 1st, depending on your time zone.  This cross-quarter day is when we celebrate the First Harvest of the Wheel of the Year.  This is a special grain harvest, when we reap our first grains that we've sown throughout the year.  On Patrick McCleary's blog, PaganDad.com, Patrick wrote that during this first harvest, our Lughnasadh ritual intent can focus on personal substance, which consists of "the things that we need to cut away and the things that we need to sow and multiply."  I love this sentiment.  During the year we learn and grow, and now is the perfect time to take advantage of all of our hard work and put our wisdom to the test - and at the same time, shed what is no longer needed. 


Lughnasadh is named for the Celtic god Lugh, whose name means "light."  Lughnasadh, also called "Lammas," (which comes from Anglo-Saxon origin and means "loaf mass," a celebration of the bread made from the first harvest of grain,) is also a good time to give thanks and be grateful for what we have in abundance.  It is customary during a Lughnasadh ritual to place freshly cut grains and wildflowers on the altar, as well as have freshly baked bread during your cakes and ale libations. 


As we prepare for the upcoming winter (I know it's hot outside now, but bear with me here) this is also a great time of the year to do some canning or make preserves.  And before you close those cans, don't forget to put a little magic inside.  I'm hungry already!


Here is one of my favorite Lugh chants of all time:


Lughnasadh chant


Hoof and horn, hoof and horn

all that dies shall be reborn.

Corn and grain, corn and grain

all that falls shall rise again.


Link to a beautiful Lugh ritual:



Other references:




Dear Shira


Knot Magic for Proposals


Dear Shira,


My girlfriend would like to do a handfasting ceremony eventually. I was wondering if there are any rituals like proposing where an engagement ring is offered to a female for a knot tying ceremony. Or any other help in this regard. Thank you for your help in this matter.

- Josh



Dear Josh,

As far as I am aware, there are no known traditional proposals leading up to a handfasting.  But this does not mean you cannot create the perfect proposal that can complement your future handfasting.  


Since a handfasting is rooted in knot magic, why not incorporate some knot magic into your proposal?  For instance, you could take a long cord of a color that is special/symbolic to you or your loved one.  Tie it in nine knots (or other meaningful number) of equal distance to one another.  Tell her to untie the knots one by one.  With each knot she opens, you can say something that you love about her, all the while holding the last knot in your clasped hands.  The final knot will have her engagement ring attached, and once she has untied the other knots, you open your hand to reveal the ring!  Then ask your girlfriend to marry you.  


If you like, you can even save this cord for your handfasting.  If this is to be the case, then make sure that it's a long enough cord to fit the two of you for a handfasting ceremony - about nine feet (or three yards).  You can do a variant of this any way that suits your needs.  Good luck and congratulations!

News From the Home Front



Me, My Son, and the New One

Photo by Happy Caterpillar Photography 



Yup, that's right, folks, I'm excited to reveal that I have a bun in the oven (and I don't mean for Lughnasadh)!  We are so thrilled and are looking forward to the new addition to our family.  I love being a mommy.


Shameless plug

On a personal local note, because of the new NY law, I am pleased to announce that I can now legally perform same-sex marriages in New York as well as Connecticut.  Yipee!


Website Maintenance

Please excuse our website while we go through some maintenance and updates.  We are aware that there is a glitch in the loading of our officiants page for some visitors.  We are working to resolve this issue as quickly as possible.  Thanks in advance for your understanding!    



A very special thanks to Constanza Revelo of Happy Caterpillar Photography for capturing our special moments! 


Gay Rights as Human Rights  


Here at Handfastings.org, it is one of our main beliefs that everyone has a right to get married, whether you are gay, straight, or somewhere in between.      


On the heels of the most recent legislative vote in New York to legalize same-sex marriage, I thought it would be appropriate to highlight some of the work that our friends at HRC continue to do.  


The Human Rights Campaign is a non-profit organization that advocates for equal rights in all aspects of the lives of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered people.  They are the largest LGBT civil rights organization in the United States.


Please take a moment to visit their website and learn how you can take action:



Thank 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.
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