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..Marriage or mirage..



Legal marriage for many goths is not a prerequisite for happiness, and couple love does not necessarily lead down the aisle. Being goth is no more a prescription for a doomed relationship than being a CEO of a blue chip company. And it just might be that, while goths too will often undergo a starter marriage, by the second time around they usually know themselves fairly well, which increases the chance of a union's survival.
Goths value individualism, and when it comes to joining with another for the longer term, they often seek out alternatives to mainstream weddings, everything unusual, from clothing, to music, to the written nuptials themselves. The Neo-Pagan ceremony of handfasting is one popular alternative. Handfasting is a ritual joining, derived from the Medieval ceremonies around the world, particularly those of Ireland, Wales and Scotland. Historically, handfasting is not a wedding, but a ceremony celebrating
and affirming the intention to marry.
The eighteenth-centuy writer and poet Sir Walter Scott wrote this about handfasting: "When we are handfasted, as we term it, we are man and wife for a year and a day; that space gone by, each may choose another mate, or, at their pleasure, may call the priest to marry them for life; and this we call handfasting."
In Neo-Paganism and Wicca, handfasting can be a substitute for marriage, an alternative that is especially attractive to same-sex couples and those in multipartnered relationships, where legal marriage is prohibited. The ceremony can embrace a theme, for example, Celtic, Teutonic, Druidic, goddess, Norse, winter solstice. One ceremony, called the blood binding wedding ceremony, involves the bride and groom each holding a sword. They fill a goblet with wine, then each pricks a finger and lets a drop of blood
fall into the goblet. When the wine is drunk, the blood bond is secured.
Handfasting involves rituals that allow the old gods to bless the union of two or more people. It also employs traditional practices, recipes for foods and party favours designed to be in tune with nature and to bring good fortune to the couple.

From a Blood-Binding Handfasting ceremony-
__________
'Like a stone should your love be firm.
Be close, yet not too close.
Possess one another, yet be understanding.
Have patience with each other for storms will come, but they will go quickly.
Be free in giving affection and warmth.
Have no fear, and let not the ways or words of strangers give you unease, for the Gods are with you, now and always.



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