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Handfastings.org News and Views  Aug. 2011

In This Issue
New Officiants
Mabon - The Second Harvest
Ritual of Thanks
Finding Handfasting Cords
Mission Statement
Quick Links



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Hello Friend, 

The Second Harvest is approaching as we prepare to celebrate it during the holiday of Mabon, the autumnal Sabbat of fruits and crops.  This celebration is sometimes known as the Witches' Thanksgiving, when Pagans give thanks for all good things that have come to fruition, whether it be crops, special events or people in our lives, and general health and happiness.  In this issue we discuss Mabon and offer a Ritual of Thanks to inspire you.


I, for one, am grateful for all of our wedding celebrants who make up our wonderfully diverse "family" of officiants on Handfastings.org.  This month we welcome five new officiants, one of whom (Rev. Eileen Maki-Gober) is the first ever person listed on our site to perform handfastings in the state of Idaho.  Considering our organization has been around for more than seven years, this is quite a feat!


And in this month's "Ask Shira", I point a seeker in the direction of finding handfasting cords for their ceremony.


I hope you enjoy reading this newsletter as much as I did writing it. 


Have a beautiful, richly colored Mabon!


Blessed Be,  


Welcome New Officiants!

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

Rev. Susan Gilbert of Iowa: "Now that Iowa has legalized same sex marriage, I gleefully perform same sex wedding ceremonies."  Rev. Susan is a historical re-enactor of the North American Fur Trade era, circa 1750's.  She practices several period skills such as spinning, weaving, hand sewing, beading and leather work.  An award winning actor and story-teller,  Rev. Susan is also a playwright and author of Catchin' the Babies, a one woman play about her 2x Great Grandmother Annie Nightborn, a half Cherokee, half Irish midwife and herbalist.


Rev. Jeffrey L. Mack of Illinois is a Wiccan High Priest who performs handfastings in both Iowa and Illinois. 

Jeffrey L. Mack 

Rev. Jeffrey L. Mack


Rev. Eileen Maki-Gober of Oregon is also available to perform handfastings in California, Washington, Idaho, and Nevada.  Furthermore, we are delighted to announce that she is the first officiant listed on Handfastings.org to offer her services in the state of Idaho!  Rev. Eileen loves her family, including two "very crafty boys," with whom she enjoys - what else - crafting. She also enjoys crochet, reading, music, friends and laughter.

Rev. Eileen Maki-Gober 

Rev. Eileen Maki-Gober


Rev. Erica Nash, D. D. of Florida is a non-denominational minister who works with Military and their families for counseling as well as offers pre-marital, marital and family counseling.

Rev. Erica Nash 

Rev. Erica Nash


Willow Rainbow Crone of Virginia also performs handfastings in West Virginia and Maryland.

Willow Rainbow Crone 

Willow Rainbow Crone

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


Welcome all! 

Mabon - The Second Harvest   



Cornucopia by ATP Synthase

As the Wheel turns to the dark half of the year, we greet the autumnal equinox with open arms and thankful hearts.  The weather is quickening and cooling off.  Animals find their food and get ready for the colder months.  People return from their summer vacations and prepare for more time at home.  Here begins the Sabbat of Mabon, the Pagan holiday of hearth and harvest.  This year the autumnal equinox falls approximately on September 22, 2011 in the Northern Hemisphere.  Mabon preparations are underway to celebrate this celestial event.


During the celebration of Mabon, the Second Harvest, we honor the Goddess and God by recognizing the fruit of the earth and its sweet bounty.  We reflect upon all for which we are thankful and begin to look inward, contemplating this past year, grateful for all that has been bestowed upon us.  


Personal Ritual of Thanks   

offering bowl  

Thanking the God and Goddess (or The Great Spirit or Universe) is a beautiful, magical way to show your gratitude for your gifts.  Here is a ritual you can do on your own, or with others (with modifications), during the Mabon harvest.


Set out a cornucopia of fruits, grains and nuts (or anything you associate with the harvest) on your altar (if you don't have an altar, your kitchen table will do).  Ritually wash and consecrate a special offering bowl set aside just for this ritual.  Place a piece of paper or parchment and pen/pencil on the table.

To focus on the positive, make a list of all those things for which you are thankful, especially those that came to fruition between this Mabon harvest and the last.  These may be gifts you received, accomplishments you've made, special life events, or anything else that comes to mind.

Once you have made your list, create an offering for the Gods by placing a grape, berry or nut in your offering bowl - one for each item on your list.  Bring your list and the offering bowl outside during the full moon closest to Mabon, or during Mabon itself, and set the bowl in the moonlight.  If you are able to memorize your list, hold the bowl up to the moonlight and address the Gods. Recite (or read) your list aloud, placing the fruits on the ground one by one while thanking the Gods for each item.  Once you are done, bury the fruits in the soil. 

If you live the city life, you can also take a pot with gardening soil and bury your fruit in there.  Then place the pot on a window sill, front stoop or somewhere near the light of the moon.

So mote it be. 
Ask Shira


Finding Handfasting Cords  

handfasting cords 

Handfasting cord by Carolyn Calhoun of Clandestine Art


Dear Shira,


Where can I purchase Handfasting cords?

- In A Bind 


Dear Bind,


Because Handfastings.org is an international organization, we do not have the ability to offer lists of the hundreds of local vendors from across the globe that provide handfasting cords and other ceremonial accessories.  However, there are a number of online sites where you can purchase some lovely cords.  Just Google "handfasting cords" and you'll see a number of links come up.  I have seen some lovely handmade cords on etsy.com by a number of different artisans.   


Alternatively, your local High Priestess or minister may be able to provide this service for you.  Some of the officiants on Handfastings.org are wonderfully creative and offer the service of creating one-of-a-kind handfasting cords for your special day.  All you have to do is ask!  


Another alternative is to create the cords yourself.  You can braid several colors (that are meaningful to you and your partner) of cords and ribbon together.  You can even add some symbolic charms to them, such as a pentacle, heart or special stone.  A handfasting cord should be approximately 9 feet in length (buy the ribbons longer, as braiding shortens them).  You can get the ribbon, cords, or yarn from craft or fabric stores, and then once it is made you can bless them on your altar if you have one, or have your handfasting officiant bless it for you.   


In addition, Handfastings.org itself will soon be offering handmade cords in order to help offset the costs of running the organization.  So if you purchase a cord from us, you will be supporting Handfastings.org and our community work!  An announcement will be made on our website as well as through our newsletter as to when the cords will be available for purchase.  Contact shira@handfastings.org for more information.   


Good luck, and congratulations!

Missed Last Month's Newsletter? 

Breaking News: First Gay Marriage in New York a Handfasting 


Click here.    


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