A photo of the front of the Ranch in Sonoma, California – our museum, campus, kitchen, and so much more!
Red Thread Letter #918
Handfasting with Earth
I am called to bring ceremony as part of my Great Work. I opened the doors to The Cura Council recently, my vision for a 500 year circle. I say my vision, lol, but it feels like it is much more than mine, it belongs to the quantum commons and will go on long after I am no longer in this sack of stars.
The ceremony I innovate on is rooted in the ancient traditions of my ancestors, yet something new is called for. New is a funny word right, because what is ever really new?
New is now.
New is renewal. New is a lived experience in real time that none of us have had before. And also new is – that something NEW is needed by many of us spiritually. Many of us find ourselves in between cultures, traditions and spiritual paths. While I do not desire to re-invent the wheel, hence using the Wheel of the Year – I do desire a chosen relationship with time and place, and space – that feels like a renewal. A fresh commitment to creation and creativity and Creator. Can we find a ceremonial practice that all can come to regardless of the names they call the Divine or the Feasts they celebrate? To me, the seasonal changes made so by the sun are common ground, a commons.
Honoring the seasons and celestial cycles is one way to bring renewal to life that is sensitive to a sense of place, and space. Our relationship with Earth is a chosen love bond, will we choose it?
Today I want to share about an ancient tradition that Jonathan and I practiced in three ways with our marriage. We had an engagement ceremony with red thread a year before our wedding and we did a red thread circle with our community the day before our wedding presided over by the Mothers. Then at our wedding, our hands were wrapped with a white cloth embroidered with red threads from the Ancient Orthodox tradition, presided over by the Fathers.
If I am really honest with you, it started on our first date when I introduced him to the red thread. For us, it has been a journey of choosing one another over and over and over again. The red thread is more than symbolic for us – it is chosen renewal. He will be joining us today in the ceremony, as well as friends of ours will bring song.
Handfasting is an ancient tradition that appears in many forms in many different places in the world and comes by different names and ways of participating. Like all living cultures, it changes over time and responds to what is happening in the world.
Some of the most well-known ideas about handfasting are:
An un-officiated wedding with the intent to a more formal ceremony in the future, perhaps a year and a day in the future – yet still seen as a symbolic wedding
A symbolic binding of two lives together from that moment forward
A betrothal – the day a proposal was accepted and a ring is given, a promise
A marriage – a ritual in a marriage ceremony where the hands are connected
The ‘fast’ part refers to not needing anything else to happen other than the agreement, you join hands and that IS the promise. Handfast is actually a verb meaning to formally promise or to make a contract.
Today, May Day is a day that has been celebrated throughout the world. There are many different ceremonies and this is a popular day in the realm of love, desire, fire, fertility, commitment, and marriage. “Coming into more heat” is one way of thinking of it ;)
One of the May Day Ceremonies is connected with the Tree of Life and a rainbow of ribbons is wrapped around it. This is said to stand for fertility and masculine and feminine – depending on who you are talking to! Another is that bundles of flowers are gathered by children and given as gifts to people in your village. Oh, so many stories and traditions we have had as a people.
Today this is about honoring where we have been but also – where we are going together.
With great love,