Rural Ramble by Trish York

Handfastings.org News and Views 
March 2012

In This Issue
Welcome New Officiants
Love Makes a Family
The Magic of Baseball
Family Update
Mission Statement
Quick Links



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Hello Friend, 

I am so thrilled to bring you this newsletter after a long hiatus, which seemed like forever.  After experiencing an unplanned homebirth, anything seems possible!  This newsletter ushers in a treasure trove of amazing handfasting officiants from all over the world, including one of volcanic proportions (see Spotlight)!  We herald the coming of good news in marriage equality, and I introduce our readers to a little baseball magic.  It's hard to believe that it will have been 8 years since the launch of Handfastings.org come this Beltane.  That's a home run, in my book.  Play ball! 


Blessed Be,  



Welcome New Officiants!     



Spotlight On...  


Heath Wyld

Aussie handfasting
Handfasting officiant Heath Wyld in Kona, Hawaii
Hailing from the Big Island of Hawaii, Heath performs handfastings and wedding ceremonies on all of the Hawaiian Islands.  He especially enjoys performing handfastings at Haleakala National Park on Maui, which he describes as "a spectacular location" for weddings.
Photo by Graham Chappell 

Heath tells Handfastings.org about the traditional Hawaiian people's version of the handfasting:  "In the Hawaiian version, the Hawaiian priest does not use rainbow-colored ribbons or red cords or Scottish tartans.  Instead, the officiant binds the couple's hand in two intertwined Maile leaf vines.  "It is really special," Heath remarks.  "The Maile leaf lei is also the lei that men usually wear when they get married [Heath is pictured above wearing the lei]."


Heath describes his colorful spiritual path: "When I was younger, I was a Pagan.  In late 1993, in Korea, I fasted for four-and-a-half days and four nights with no food or water, and fasted off-and-on for four months after that, breaking my fast with one meal every 2 - 4 days.  In 1999 and 2000, I apprenticed with a Peruvian shaman named Lauro in Mexico.  In 2000, I spent 4 months with Huichol indian shamans, in the mountains of Central Mexico.  I have done intensive research into historical and contemporary religions, Ancient Greek magical texts, etc., and I have treasured all 12 volumes of The Golden Bough [by James Frazer].  I have traveled to the Scottish Highlands and find them to be spectacularly beautiful.  But now I am a committed Humanist."  


Heath lives in a house built on top of the 1990 Kalapana Gardens lava flow.  That year, there was a volcanic eruption of the Kilauea volcano that destroyed a quiet residential neighborhood.  "About 50-70 feet under the house where I'm living, there used to be an entire subdivision," Heath says.  "The post office will not deliver out here; only UPS does."  Kilauea is a shield volcano, which means it is low and flattish.  Because of its angle, the lava flow is very slow.  Heath describes his distant back yard: "There is lava flowing over the hill right now.  In the daytime, all you can see is the smoke, where it is burning down trees and brush.  At night, you can see rivers of lava.  It is really very beautiful."


Wow!  I can only imagine having a handfasting in this area.  Welcome to Handfastings.org, Heath!

Here are some interesting pictures of the cooled lava flow: http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/kilauea/history/1990Kalapana/


Heath can be found at WildGreenCeremonies.com



In addition, we are very pleased to introduce our most recently listed officiants on Handfastings.org:


Rev. Steven House 

Reverend Steven House of Florida - Rev. Steven is a Legally Ordained Pantheistic Minister, "fully believing in the right of all to believe as they see fit, provided that they do not denigrate others' beliefs." Founder and Pastor of the Church of Natural Origins, he is a "hexagenarian" who perform ceremonies and weddings as desired by the participants, without constraints except those legally required (e.g., license, legal age), and provided that no living creature is harmed.  "My wife and I also rescue animals in need including horses, llamas, alpacas, goats, birds, and dogs."   



Tilly Webster  

Tilly Webster (a.k.a Rev. Marjorie A. Jones)  of Utah - Tilly's services are offered to the interfaith community at large.  She saw a need for this in her community and is especially pleased to offer combination services for interfaith families.  "I am a practitioner of witchcraft, but I have performed ceremonies for Christian and pagan couples, alike."    



Rev. Catherine Foy 

Reverend Catherine Foy of Iowa  - Performing handfastings and other rites of passage within a two-hour radius of the Quad Cities, Rev. Catherine is a writer, artist, photographer, and spiritual seeker.  She holds a Master's degree in English and is a candidate for an MFA in creative writing.  She is the author of Psycards - A New Alternative to Tarot.  As the head of Psycards USA, the only North American distributor for Psycards, Rev. Catherine is also a psychic investigator for Rock Island Shadow Chasers.  She is a "grandmother, organic gardener and pet lover."



Leslie Dawn Gardner of Ohio (not pictured) - A solitary practitioner of Wicca, Leslie has performed public rituals of various backgrounds.  She is studying the Druid Path and has completed an ACIM [A Course in Miracles].  She has also completed the ADF Druid Dedicant Program and has a B.S. in Sociology.



Rev. Harold J. Oxley 

Reverend Harold J. Oxley of Louisiana says, "I'm fair and will work with you on how you want your day to be."




Arkana of The Republic of Ireland - A trailblazer in the Pagan community in Western Europe, Arkana has a diverse and notable background: "Priest of the Old Religion since 1993, publisher of the famous German magazine WICCA-BRIEF (now discontinued because of me permanently living in Ireland - but some older issues still available) , publisher of the 'WICCAN TIMES', founder and leader of the European Pagan Network MYCEL, founder of the only 'Hexenstammtisch' (Witches Round Table) in Hamburg, Germany, and founder of the first 'Witches Round Table' in Dublin and County Cavan , founder of PEP (Pagan Emergency Phone), founder of PA.R.C. (Pagan Research Center), founder of PaCA (Pagan Charité Association), author of many articles, pamphlets and reports (published in different magazines), co-author of a herbal book published by PACKPAPIER-VERLAG, guest in several German TV and Radio talk shows and consultant of several German TV companies in esoteric topics, actor in a TV special for Bealtaine of the German TV ZDF, and occasional lecturer in the Ethnology-department in the Museum of Ethnology in Hamburg, Germany."



Melanie Murray

Melanie Murray of South Carolina has performed weddings for over five years, and enjoys not only bringing couples together but also watching them grow as a couple and seeing their lives enriched by their decision to join together.



Rev. David Terrell 

Reverend David Terrell of Florida - Aside from performing handfastings and weddings, Rev. David is an opera-trained lead singer in one of the most popular and booked bands in South Florida.  Rock on, Rev. David! 



Rev. David Abel 


Reverend David Abel of the United Kingdom performs weddings and handfastings in England, Wales, Ireland and most of Europe.



From Hawaii to Florida to the UK, we welcome all of our latest handfasting officiants to the Handfastings.org "family".  Welcome all!


...And don't forget to check out all of our other wonderful handfasting officiants on our officiant list



Love Makes a Family. 


"Love Makes a Family"

Marriage Equality for All!


Handfastings.org has always been a big supporter of marriage equality and gay rights.  We are pleased to report that there has been some headway on the marriage equality front.


I couldn't have stated it better than Purple Unions.com:

"Although we still have a long way to go, it would be hard not to draw the conclusion that February 2012 is the month that the walls came tumbling down and the march toward marriage equality in this country became unstoppable.

In less than three weeks, here's what has happened:

Feb. 7: Federal appellate court rules that California's Prop 8 is unconstitutional.

Feb. 13: Governor Gregoire signs marriage equality into law in Washington.

Feb. 16: New Jersey legislature votes in favor of marriage equality (later vetoed [by Governor Chris Christie], but with a vow by the head of the state senate to seek an override)."

Spring Training and the Magic of Baseball


***Warning: Shameless plug ahead***


It happens every spring: the first buds appear, the crocus flowers sprout from the ground, the birds begin to sing their sweet songs, and baseball season begins.


I must admit, while I'm not a very sporty person, I've always believed in the magic of baseball.  In springtime, we have awakened from slumber, ready to take on the world.  By the time baseball's spring training arrives, the first buds of the season are peeking their way out (here in the northeast, anyway) as players of the game are warming up their muscles and minds for the coming weeks ahead. 


Baseball, sometimes referred to as "America's Favorite Pastime," can be quite magical in its own way.  Unlike sports such as football or tennis, there are so many more variables involved that makeup the way each game is played, opening multiple paths to fate: anything could happen.  This is why baseball is sometimes also referred to as a "game of destiny." 


Experiencing a game in person can be exhilarating - the intermingling scents of beer and popcorn, the sound of amplified theatrics, the rumble of the crowd cheering.  The most moving component for some may be the memories evoked as a child, perhaps having attended games with a loved one so many years ago. 


Fans in the grandstands may have entered the ballpark as individuals, but in the stands, they become a unit - working together as one giant organism seamlessly communicating with all its parts in cheering on their favorite team.  The energy in the grandstand builds as it ebbs and flows with the highs and lows of the game.  It is baseball's version of the sacred circle.  Picture this - a wave of people stand up at once at one end of the stadium.  Others next to them do the same.  The wave of fans flows through the entire stadium until it reaches the other end of the grandstands.  I can't help but think this is the macrocosm version of the very essence of an organism - cells collaborating with one another to create energy.  And that energy propels their team to victory. 


Together, fans create this energy for their home team.  This is the very magic that supports teams playing on home turf.  Is it any wonder that teams almost always fare better at home than they do at an away game?  The home team has a built-in support system which creates energy, supplying mental, emotional, and dare I say, psychic strength to the players on the field.  Who can deny this?  The mystical Laurie Cabot, the "Official Witch of Salem (who gets a shout-out in my husband Allie's book, by the way)," dubbed so by then-Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, embodies this practice by creating spells of achievement for her home team, the Boston Red Sox.  I think all fans do this in their own way, even if they don't remotely consider themselves witches.


Which brings me to the issue at hand: some fans are so passionate that they help create a demigod out of their home team.  And when two demigods battle, the earth shakes.  Such is the storied rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees.  Not even Shakespeare's Capulet and Montague families have taken on such passionate competition.  I urge you to read about the infamous baseball rivals in my husband's new book, I Love the Red Sox/I Hate the Yankees, in stores now!  Read about the magic and the mayhem, in part fueled by the ever-passionate fans.


My husband Allie Tarantino (L) with co-authors Rich Tarantino and Jon Chattman at a book signing in Stamford, CT.  Aren't they cute?  


Allie is one of Handfastings.org's biggest supporters.  Thanks Allie! 



Tech Tock    


We are aware of our ongoing technical glitch that the site isn't scrolling all the way down on our officiant list.  I am working diligently to improve this by switching all information over to another server.  It has been taking some time to do this; please bear with us.  Thanks in advance for your patience and understanding.

Family Update


Mommy and baby are doing fine!  We are enjoying life together as an expanded family.  Thank you all so much for your well-wishes.


Coming up on our organization's eight year anniversary, I thank you all so much for making Handfastings.org what it is today.  I look forward to growing even more with all of our handfasting officiants.  In the near future we will be expanding into print media and other resources for the handfasting community.    

Missed Our Past Newsletters?   


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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


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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