Handfasting Basket (Thirteen Blessings)

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Hooray for Handfastings!

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Put together a basket of goodies for friends who are being handfast. Image by Barry Winiker/Photodisc/Getty Images

Many Wiccan and Pagan couples choose to have a handfasting ceremony instead of a traditional wedding. There are a number of reasons for this -- for starters, even though some states still do not recognize same-sex relationships, Pagan clergy often are willing to perform a handfasting ceremony for gay or lesbian couples. Also, if a couple (whether hetero- or homosexual) has decided they do not want or need the government's blessing to be together, they may opt for a handfasting instead.

June is a popular month for handfasting (and weddings in general). No matter what time of year your happy couple is being handfast, you can make this simple gift basket easily with items you can find in just about any craft store.

You can make a handfasting basket as elaborate or as simple as you like. The easiest way to do it is to buy a commercially made basket, which you can usually find at thrift stores, and cover it in fabric. Choose something with romantic summer colors -- yellow, reds, flowers, etc. Fabric can be found inexpensively (as little as $1.49 a yard) at most discount stores or at craft supply shops.

Place the basket on a flat surface, and use the fabric to line the inside. Use a piece of fabric large enough that you'll have some overhang. For stability, you may wish to hot glue the underside of the fabric around the rim of the basket. Next, cut a piece of ribbon about three times the length of the basket's handle. Tie it in place at one end of the handle, and wrap it around until you reach the opposite side. Trim off any excess. If you're really crafty, use two different ribbons. Add a small dab of glue to the underside of the ribbon periodically, to keep it from slipping down the handle.

Finally, add some small silk flowers to the handle of the basket. You can find these in the wedding aisle at nearly any craft store. If the flowers don't have wires built into them, use some thin florist's wire to anchor the flowers in place.

Read ahead to see what to put in your basket! Handfasting Basket - Page 2

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Thirteen Blessings

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Choose items to place in the basket that represents the couple's love, their hopes, and their dreams. Image by Caroline von Tuempling/Iconica/Getty Images

Here's the really fun part. Think about the couple who is being handfast. Are they traditionalists? Are they silly, and willing to laugh at themselves? Consider what you know about them.

To fill the baskets, you'll need a variety of things, each symbolizing some aspect of the relationship. Try to find thirteen items that are meaningful to the couple. Small ornaments are perfect for this, so they can be hung up later, but use your imagination to find the symbols that are right for your couple. Use the following list to help get you started:

  • A sun, symbolizing the strength and sturdiness of the male partner
  • A moon, representing the woman, beautiful and mysterious*
  • A cat, to guard the hearth and home
  • A dog, to offer loyalty and protection
  • An owl, for wisdom
  • A star, for the dreams of the future
  • A clock, to remind them that time is valuable
  • An acorn, for strength and longevity
  • A butterfly, for all the summers they will be together
  • A car, for the journey they're about to embark on
  • A house, so they have a place to return
  • A pinecone, for prosperity and abundance
  • A heart, for the love that brought them together

* In the case of a same-sex couple, it would be appropriate to use two moons or two suns.

Make sure that while you're creating and filling your handfasting basket, that you're sending positive thoughts into it. If you like, turn this into a small ritual. You can charge the basket by focusing your intent into a simple couplet if you choose, such as:

This basket of gifts I give from the heart
with blessings for [name] and [name]'s handfasting.
With these treasures I offer you joy, and hope,
and happiness and love everlasting.

Include a note explaining to them what each item represents, so that they will always have these thirteen blessings with them in their relationship.