A FORMER marriage registrar from Rye has found a new role uniting couples with the ancient ceremony of handfasting.
Glenda Proctor was a registrar for many years with East Sussex, conducting wedding ceremonies at venues such as Rye Town Hall, before becoming an Independent Celebrant.
Recently she found her services in demand at the Glastonbury Festival.
Glenda explained: “I had been invited to attend the festival earlier in the year to work as an energy healer in the Healing Fields with my twin sister Jayne Tovey.
“It then occurred to me that I could offer Handfastings as well.
“Being invited to attending the Glastonbury Festival was an opportunity not to be missed. I was unable to accept in previous years due to my summer working contract with East Sussex County Council during the usually busy wedding season.”
Glenda lived on the festival site in a yurt tent and took her own special arbor arch with her for the ceremonies.
Handfasting was originally practiced by the Greeks and Romans.
The Romans created a garland made of magnolia, elder and roses. It was then wrapped around the couple’s wrists to signify love and fidelity.
In ancient legends, lovers were united together as they “tied the knot” in the tradition of Celtic handfasting. The ceremony was especially common in Ireland and Scotland. It was commonly the way that couples were “officially” married before the church became involved in Wedding ceremonies.
Handfasting has seen a modern day resurgence owing in part to the movie Braveheart,in which a couple are joined together with a handfasting ceremony.
Glenda says Handfasting is neither pagan or Christian but has its roots in Celtic history.
She said: “It was a truly remarkable experience for me and I can honestly say it was the best week spent conducting so many lovely ceremonies.
“I have had years of experience conducting all types of ceremonies but these in the Healing Fields held their every own magic.
“The Handfastings were a delight. I always feel I have done a ‘good ‘job when tissues are needed!
“I created some warm and sentimental scripts prior to leaving, which I varied allowing all my couples the choice to make their ceremony personal to themselves.
“A Cake and Ale ceremony was chosen by all my couples, drinking from a loving cup to seal there union.
Several couples Jumped the Broom and were cheered on and were counted down by the often huge crowd that gathered to watch.
“The ceremonies offered a wonderful modern twist on an ancient ritual. Three couples were at Glastonbury for their honey moon, and three others celebrated their engagements. Other couples used the ‘Tying The Knot’ to renew their vows to each other.
“I offered the elemental spaces to all my couples but most opted for the arbour I had provided and taken with me.
“It is a truly huge accomplishment to offer this wonderful ceremony at Glastonbury.
“I look forward to many more years of conducting ceremonies at Glastonbury for couples seeking a more personal and poignant ceremony to declare their love.”