Hello Friend,

Wow, this just may be the hottest summer I can remember!  There have been such sweltering days for us here in the Northeast US, where normally you can beat the heat one way or another.  But Mother Nature had other plans.  Outdoor weddings were best when under a tent or in the shade.  Linen and cotton have been preferred over heavy duchess satin or woven crepe suits.  I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for Fall!

In this issue we welcome a number of new officiants to Handfastings.org, one of whom is a Llewellyn book author!  We then take a fantastic “trip” to Wales to witness a couple get married in front of  Penmyarth, a popular monolithic stone, which is thousands upon thousands (upon thousands) of years old.

We discuss the most recent ruling concerning Proposition 8, the very real and yet very symbolic law prohibiting same-sex marriage in the state of California.

And sadly, we say goodbye to one of the Pagan community’s most outspoken and revered leaders, Isaac Bonewits.

Soon Mabon will be approaching and our arms will be full with picked apples and mulled wine.  Looking forward to sharing the upcoming Autumn season with you.

Blessed be,
Shira

Welcome New Officiants!

Welcome Marie “Memie” Watson of Massachusetts, Tamara Lampard of Australia, Wendy Friedel of Virginia, Reverend Laura Ann Gallant of Ohio and High Priestess Simiramis of California.

Handfastings.org also welcomes Bronwynn Forrest Torgerson of Arizona, who is the author of Cookie Cutter Magic, a magical children’s fable, One Witch’s Way, a collection of seasonal rituals and biographical journeys, and the “All One Family” section of Llewellyn 2010 Sabbat Almanac.

Getting Married on Sacred Ground

While traditional weddings often involve a church or temple, unique earth-centered weddings may sometimes be celebrated outdoors –  sometimes brought into gardens, forest groves, on a beach or overlooking the ocean.  Lisa and Georg chose to recite their vows in front of one enormous rock.
Bishop Alistair Bate presiding over the handfasting of Lisa and Georg Bishop Alistair Bate handfasting in Wales
But not just any rock!  The stone behind the couple in the above picture is a very tall menhir, a large upright standing stone.  Menhirs may be found singly as monoliths (as opposed to megaliths, a group of upright stones, such as in the well-known Stonehenge).

Standing stones are defined as single, or occasionally paired, upright stones, generally assumed to belong to the Bronze Age.

This particular menhir is called Penmyarth, or the “Fish Stone” due to its shape.  The celebrant who officiated Lisa and Georg’s handfasting, Bishop Alistair, tells me that the stone “was erected by our ancestors several thousand years ago for ritual purposes.”

The Penmyarth menhir is 4.27 meters high, which is a little over 14 feet, making it the tallest of three menhirs in the Crickhowell area.  It is located on the private Glanusk Estate in Wales and permission must be sought from the estate to visit.

Congratulations to Lisa and Georg!  May your marriage be as strong and sustained as the ancient stone that witnessed the beginning of your lives together.

References:
http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=4125

http://www.cpat.org.uk/projects/longer/pfr/pfrbrec/pfrbre.htm

http://www.glanuskestate.com/

A special thanks to Bishop Alistair Bate and the couple for the lovely photos.
Proposition 8 Ruled Unconstitutional
But Marriage Equality Still Hangs in the Balance

On August 4, 2010, California’s ban on same-sex marriage was ruled unconstitutional under both the due-process and equal protection clauses.

While this was a victory for supporters of legally recognized same-sex marriages, the attorneys who defended the Prop 8 ban on gay marriage, which is still in legal effect as of this writing, pursued an appeal of the new decision.

The local Court of Appeals issued a stay on Monday, August 16, 2010: according to The San Francisco Chronicle, the stay puts “[same-sex] marriages on hold until the court decides whether Prop. 8 violated the constitutional right to marry one’s chosen partner.”

In the meantime, hundreds of couples in California have had to put their weddings on hold.  The saga continues…

References:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/08/21/BADI1F0CR6.DTL

http://www.baywindows.com/index.php?ch=news&sc=glbt&sc2=news&sc3=&id=108772
Isaac Bonewits
1949 – 2010
A Leader Remembered

Isaac Bonewits, Pagan leader and community pillar, passed onto the Summerlands on August 12, 2010.

My brief but heartfelt tribute to Isaac may be read at The Magical Buffet.

http://themagicalbuffet.com/blog1/2010/08/22/a-leader-remembered-isaac-bonewits-1949-%E2%80%93-2010/
September 2010 Almanac

Moon Phases (EST)
Last Quarter – September 1, 17:22
New Moon – September 8, 10:30
First Quarter – September 15, 05:50
Full Moon – September 23, 09:17

The 2010 Autumn Equinox (Mabon) falls on September 23 in the Northern Hemisphere, while our friends in the Southern Hemisphere will be celebrating the Spring Equinox (Ostara)!

Up here in the North, the September moon is known to many as the Harvest Moon.