5th October 2013

Celebrating the hand-fasting (Druid Traditional Wedding) of Frank and Bex

Frank and Bex have known each other for 26 years now, and have been an item for 25. That is as long as some marriages last but somehow they knew that like the strongest of trees must mature slowly, so must their relationship grow stronger year by year and eventually the time would come to take this step.

Pagan hand-fasting whilst spiritually significant, is not yet recognised by law in England and Wales, So Frank and Bex would have to be joined in a registry office first in order to have recognition from the Kingdom, and then hand-fasted under the open sky to have recognition from the spirits of nature, their families, friends and Grove.

They chose Devizes registry office, and then Amesbury as the main location for the day: To be within their sacred landscape, and among the community into which our grove has been made so welcome. The Antrobus Arms Hotel, Amesbury Museum, Lady Antrobus House, and the very special sacred spring of Amesbury Abbey would be the setting for their romance.

Devizes Registry Office

Bex was accompanied by Maid of honour Margaret and Frank by his longest serving friend Zoey. Franks paternal sister Hazel guided him down the Isle whilst Bex had help from Margaret. The register was signed by Frank and Bex and witnessed by Bex’s Dad Fred, and Franks mum Sylvia.

They would like to thank Devizes registry office for a beautiful little ceremony.

Legal bit done!

If you would like to see more photos of this part

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Most of our photo’s kindly taken by Peter Horne, Amesbury Journalist, friend and photographer.

Back to Amesbury

Buffet snack and refreshments

Antrobus Arms Hotel

The half hour journey back to Amesbury it rained hard. The druid van got its windscreen wipers tangled with the wedding ribbons and it wasn’t looking good for a dry hand-fasting. At least Frank and Bex had warned guests to bring Wellington boots and umbrellas just in case. We ambushed Frank and Bex with party poppers and confetti :-)

Nobody was expecting the elegance or sumptuousness of the informal buffet which the Antrobus Arms Hotel provided for us.

If you would like to see more pictures of the buffet

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The Hand-fasting

Druid Style

John Corrin had very kindly accepted Frank and Bex’s request to officiate as lead Druid for their hand-fasting. Kate would lead the women's circle as lead priestess supported by the female grove members. Frank and Bex would like to extend their sincerest thanks to David and Amesbury Abbey for allowing this ceremony to take place at the sacred spring and grove on their private land, a very rare opportunity for all of us to experience the magic of this special place to which public access is not normally allowed. Else where on this site you will see that this is the place where our grove took our Aymara guests after summer solstice sunrise to unite the energies of our two peoples and to begin weaving the rainbow. The  Wiphala flag was carried proudly as we carry our Amauta brothers and sisters within our hearts.

Making our way towards the Abbey (above), then preparing to process to the sacred site (below)

John effortlessly led us to form circle around the grove Maypole which was chosen to be the centre piece of our ceremony because it represents the sacred union of god and goddess, the original love we celebrate every May 1st.

as it carries with it the fertility and joy of the spring union

Zoe and Bella help to cast the circle by skipping three times clockwise around us

The quarters are called, a traditional invitation to the gods, spirits of nature, ancestors and elements to be present with us if they wish.

All of the men are then instructed to leave the circle via a gateway maintained by Rosie and Jaz through which they may leave and return without breaking the protective sacred space. The women may now conduct a rite of passage for Bex, guiding her from maidenhood and initiating her in readiness for motherhood. This rite is strictly ladies only!

Meanwhile, the men folk keep their distance and await a summons by drum to return to the main circle. They do so only to find the access to the circle barred to them by the two gate keepers, until permission to enter is granted by the presiding priestess.

Left: Door closed

Below: Access granted

The Druid checks with first Bex and then Frank that they enter into this freely, and that there is no impediment to their being handfasted, and then the hand-fasting begins...


Mead: The sharing of cup

Druids stand in a circle because the circle is eternal and has no end, yet everyone in circle stands equal. Promises sworn in circle are meant to be lasting, and the rings a symbol and reminder of this promise.

The couple must each take a drink of the mead from one cup, then hold the cup for the other to drink, symbolising that from now onwards each must nourish the other.

The tying of hands together ‘tying the knot’ used to be for 24 hours so that a young couple would get to know each other. More important, the knot in the cord will be a symbol that the marriage stands. If it is untied then it must be seen as one party or both breaking off the relationship, the cord will be returned to circle untied for all to witness. Most couples keep the knotted cord above the bed at home.

Jill reads a celtic blessing, written by herself, encoded within which is a blessing from the elements

Hollie reads a native American blessing, representing our spiritual kin in south America

Married life formally begins after the happy couple jump over a broom stick and land on the other side...their new life together

Last one out, the Druid thanks the spirits present and closes the circle

If you would like to see more pictures of the hand-fasting, please

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With the setting of the sun, by our tradition, so begins a new day.

This sunset is the one with which Frank and Bex begin a new stage in their life together...

Above: Aes Dana Grove - Stonehenge & Amesbury Druids

Frank and Bex held their reception at Lady Antrobus house, with a Hog roast by Hognspit and Ceilidh by Threepennybit. A good time was had by all, the Antrobus house transformed into a wonderful venue (thanks team) and both the band and the catering were excellent.

Cutting the cake