A Baltic Handfasting/Wedding in the Romuva Tradition   Leave a comment

“The handfasting/wedding of Dainius and Ineta”

I’m posting this update in part because one of the videos on my first post about Romuva is no longer available. The several hundred views that original post enjoys each year say you’re still interested. The video below celebrates a handfasting/wedding with image and music in the tradition of the revived ancient Romuva faith (Wikipedia link) and practiced in Lithuania.

From the outdoor ceremony on a wooded hilltop, to the symbolism of the rite and the lovely handcrafted objects and garments of attendees and participants, to the presence of the Romuva priestess officiating, this wedding video is both a smooth professional production and an illustration of the vibrancy and appeal of much Pagan practice. The first six minutes in particular capture the ritual. (The rest of the video continues the celebration with friends and family, dancing and cake.)

As with so much ritual, Pagan or otherwise, it’s useful to reflect from time to time on what still carries meaning, and what we may have retained simply “because it’s always been done this way”. The potency that ritual often celebrates may merge with elements of the ritual itself, and we can end up revering the elements over the original potency. At times we may find ourselves noticing that the ritual begins to feel flat, dim, empty. (It’s the same principle that underlies sympathetic magic, which we’re witnessing in weakened forms in vast swathes of current events, as influences bleed almost uncontrollably from one person and thing to another and another, like a pandemic or flash flood or wild fire. These are both metaphors and realities that have much to teach, if we could begin to listen.)

Regeneration so often occurs from the roots, so it’s good to examine what these are, and whether we’re caretaking the dead leaves of one season, or nourishing a vital root-stock that sends out green shoots and runners each spring.

For care-taking is a large part of what we’re called to do, less in the way the word gets used today, where we’re “merely” standing in for the “real owners”, and more in the literal sense: a taking-care, a cherishing and nurturing.

Give the fear and stress and suffering of much of planet, we might begin with taking care of ourselves, and as it grows, let that care flow outward. Like any valid spiritual practice, Druidry offers tools to do just that.

The commitment of the two people hand-fasting in the presence of the community assembled as witnesses, and with their love and support for the commitment the couple undertakes, and the acknowledgement of the mirth and reverence, the beauty and mystery that characterize the event, offer useful models for action. Which of those elements can I practice today in my life?

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