In keeping with the ancient way of life that we hold so sacred we celebrate Hand Fastings which are often referred to as Pagan Weddings.

 

Whilst it has no legal significance - a Hand Fasting is a binding of a couples “ hearts and souls” publicly performed and enacted before their relatives and friends. The vows that they make express both individual frailties and united strengths in an ancient ceremony which far pre-dates marriage itself.

 

Whilst offering considerable guidance in a structured Hand Fasting format we encourage individual promises and vows to be written and made, each vow ( usually seven) being accompanied by the couples hands being tied together (hence Hand Fasting). It is usually concluded by the couple "jumping the broom stick" a symbol of their new life together.

 

Hand Fastings are full of ancient folk- law and meaning, spanning not just centuries but millennia. At Holly Henge we are more than happy to discuss and explain this ancient ceremony with all couples.

 

Hand fastings have no particular set form of words, although they do follow a format.  The form of words that we use at Dode most often can be viewed….(CLICK HERE)

 

The ceremonies are led by our own celebrant Paul or Dodes keeper, Doug.

 

Couples are welcome to bring their own celebrant if they wish.

 

 

 

 

Dode's Celebrant - Paul's Story

 

Proud to be a Man of Kent, I’ve spent the vast majority of my life living around the county and travelling in the UK, from Lands Ends to John O’Groats developing a love of the countryside & an appreciation of the numerous ancient places dotted in the landscape.

 

In 2013 I experienced my own Handfasting in Orkney; the ceremony taking place in the Sunken Gardens of Binscarth, just a few miles from the Standing Stones of Stenness & the Ring of Brodgar. That wonderful experience on Orkney & the subsequent days spent exploring the Neolithic treasures of the Island awoke a passion for the ancient natural world, further evoking my belief in the existence of individual spirits inhabiting natural objects and phenomena.

 

Fast forward to 2018 and a first visit to Dode, I felt the magic I’d experienced in Orkney & knew instinctively that this was a very special place to which I was drawn. It seemed that Dode was drawn to me and I was both surprised and honoured to be asked by Doug if I would be interested in celebrating Handfastings and Baby namings as this very special place. I am greatly looking forward to welcoming the many couples to join together and share the enchantment and wonder that is Dode.

 

 

  'About Our Celebrants'

Dode's Keeper - Doug's Story

 

Some six miles upstream of Stratford, the river Avon runs sinuously through enchanted parkland that has little changed since Shakespeare time and passes a little village with the pretty name of Hampton Lucy, it's slow journey and dark mysterious pools hold the light. It was here that my mother grew up, she named me Douglas a Gaelic name which means 'dark river' in a ceremony on it’s very banks in June of 1944.

 

She instilled in me a deep love of the countryside & it's ways- in later life she encouraged me and helped make it possible to become Dode's Keeper, I owe my Animistic beliefs to her, debts which I will never be able to repay.

 

The beautiful nature based ceremonies of Handfasting over which I have presided for many years now in our circle of stones at Dode perfectly encapsulate my spiritual beliefs and I know would make my mother proud.”

 

 

Please contact us Here if you would like to view or discuss having a ceremony at Holly Henge.

 © Holly Henge 2020 Great Buckland, Luddesdown, Kent, DA13 0XF

 © Holly Henge 2020 Great Buckland, Luddesdown, Kent, DA13 0XF

 © Holly Henge 2020 Great Buckland, Luddesdown, Kent, DA13 0XF

 © Holly Henge 2020 Great Buckland, Luddesdown, Kent, DA13 0XF

 © Holly Henge 2020 Great Buckland, Luddesdown, Kent, DA13 0XF

 © Holly Henge 2020 Great Buckland, Luddesdown, Kent, DA13 0XF