Tying the Knot: how to conduct magical handfastings

NEW PRICE: £140 / 3 payments of £50

Would you like to learn more about the ancient tradition of handfasting and bring the inspiration and magic of the natural world to your ceremonies? 

Whatever your experience of celebrancy and nature-inspired spiritual practices, this course will equip you to conduct bespoke and authentic handfastings for people from all walks of life; drawing on the inspiration of the elements and directions to bring greater depth richness and magic to your ceremonies.


New Price: £140 / 3 payments of £50

Underpinning all our courses is an approach to celebrancy as service, in the context of nature based spiritual practices, and a focus on the creation of authentic ceremony.


Session 1: Setting the Scene

We’ll begin the course by exploring the historical origins of handfastings and the question of whether it is a specifically celtic or pagan rite. We’ll look at some of the other rites often included in contemporary handfastings, considering how they can be personalised for different ceremonies. 

You’ll be invited to reflect on your own aims as a celebrant as we explore what makes a handfasting ceremony truly meaningful.

Session 2: Making it Magical

We’ll consider what magic means in the context of nature inspired ceremony, and the role of the celebrant in conducting ceremonies that feel truly engaging and meaningful. We’ll discuss the language of ceremony; prayer and invocation; and explore different ways of invoking the directions and elements in handfasting ceremonies.  

You’ll be offered some examples, and prompted to write your own inclusive nature inspired welcoming words for a handfasting ceremony. 

Session 3: Crafting Ceremonies

We’ll complete the course with a mainly practically oriented session: looking at how to work with clients to plan and prepare for bespoke handfasting ceremonies; how to support them with vow writing; how to make / source handfasting cords, and different ways of actually tying the knot!

We’ll also explore the art of blessing and you’ll be encouraged to write your own words for tying the knot, and nature inspired closing blessings for your handfasting ceremonies.


No special software is required to access this course. It is delivered via three online lessons, which you can work through at your own pace. Course materials include video presentations; downloadable documents, and examples drawn from real-life ceremonies; resources and suggestions for your own research.. The course and all materials will remain accessible and free to review at any time.  

These self access sessions are supported by an interactive course platform where students can ask questions, participate in discussions, submit assignments and receive feedback on their course assignment, as a well as a rolling programme of drop-in webinars with the lead tutor. 



River Jones is a celebrant with over twenty years’ experience of delivering bespoke ceremonies for people from all walks of life. With a background in adult education and community outreach she worked for over fourteen years at the University of Sussex, where she taught and convened courses ranging from Creative Writing through to Shamanic Consciousness. She has been course director at School of Celebrancy since 2015, and is a sought after workshop leader and speaker, contributing to events and publications for the Celebrants Collective and the Association of Independent Celebrants.


The content was exactly what I was hoping for and more! Using the directions as the framework for each aspect of celebrancy was spot on. – Heather Pfeifer


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