Cornwall Celebrants

Melissa - A Ceremonial Assistant

hand fasting ceremony

You may have read the blog William wrote describing the hand fasting he had observed. I have to declare a personal interest in that it was my daughter, Becky, who performed the beautiful, cliff top ceremony. Becky (who lives in Cornwall) has been training as a Sacred Celebrant with The Goddess Temple in Glastonbury and graduates next month (watch this space for more proud Mum moments!). A Sacred Celebrant is someone who can hold an unscripted ceremony in sacred space- using the 4 elements of air, fire, water and earth as the framework for the ceremony.

However, every Sacred Celebrant needs a Ceremonial Assistant – otherwise known as a Melissa (from the Greek for honey bee). Becky asked if I would train as her Ceremonial Assistant (a job I felt I was well qualified for after a 26 year apprenticeship assisting her…). I spent a weekend in Glastonbury with some very special people, learning about the work a Sacred Celebrant does and just why they need an assistant!

When Becky had told me that the chosen venue for the hand fasting was the cliffs at Tintagel I thought she was using the term ‘cliff’ euphemistically – turns out she meant what she said! However, the dramatic setting of the cliffs in Tintagel couldn’t have given us a more perfect backdrop for such a special ceremony. The day was sunny with blue skies but more than a little windy – let’s just say it was a good job that my training as a Melissa had included the advice to take tent pegs whenever setting up the ivy ring on a Cornish cliff top!

setting up a pagan circle

Setting up the circle in which the ceremony is held involves aligning the 4 elements with the points of the compass and placing different objects at each point to represent the different elements. As we worked together to get everything in place (and tethered down) many walkers who were out on the coast path stopped to talk to us and find out what we were doing. Everyone we spoke to was interested, asking questions and wanting to understand more – it was a joy to find that some of them came back later to watch the couple (the lovely Jane and Simon) get hand fasted and were able to actually take part by tying their own good wishes to the hand fasting cord.

The Tintagel hand fasting was one of the most moving and meaningful ceremonies I have ever seen and being able to assist my daughter as she performed such a beautiful celebration of the couple’s very evident love for each other definitely ranks pretty highly in my list of ‘proud Mum moments’.

(PS Becky’s logo for Willow Ceremonies was actually painted by my Father – proud daughter moment!)

Willow Ceremonies Logo


April 2019

A Cornish sunset
A Cornish sunset
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