cover image A Romantic Guide to Handfasting: Rituals, Recipes & Lore

A Romantic Guide to Handfasting: Rituals, Recipes & Lore

Anna Franklin. Llewellyn Publications, $14.95 (240pp) ISBN 978-0-7387-0668-9

Franklin, author of Midsummer and The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Faeries, offers this entertaining overview of handfasting, the traditional marriage rite used by pagans, druids and Wiccans. Handfasting apparently originated in the seemingly modern idea of the ""trial marriage"" centuries ago, as couples bound themselves to each other for a year and a day with a handshake (the ""handfast"") before deciding whether to make a more permanent commitment. Franklin provides one-stop shopping for those planning a handfasting celebration, from the nitty-gritty details (the symbolism of different kinds of stones in a wedding ring or flowers in a bridal bouquet) to spiritual issues, such as choosing a goddess to invoke for fertility blessings, or finding a ritually auspicious site and date for the festivities. Franklin includes recipes for handfasting cake and homemade wine and beer, as well as craft ideas, poems and rituals. Particularly interesting is her chapter on handfasting customs (which include tying a literal knot around the couple's hands) from her native England and other parts of the world. This comprehensive guide will be of great use to many couples preparing to ""jump the cauldron.""