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While it’s completely up to the people being handfasted as to what to use for a handfasting cord, I love the idea of making your own cord in sacred space as a spiritual and magical support for your union.  Here I’ll share two methods of creating a handfasting cord.  The first method is for a floss cord and the second involves braiding ribbons to make your cord.

 

Floss Cord:  Floss cords look elegant and formal if done correctly.  They allow for large color ranges and subtle artistic touches because you can add metallic flosses or many complimentary colors that twist together in interesting ways to make a cord that is like no other.  It’s more time consuming that braiding three ribbons, but the effect is stunning.

 

You will need:

 

  • At least 3 people, preferably those being handfasted and if that is less than three people, the other people should be folks who are involved with the marriage in some way (friends, family, minister, etc.)

 

  • Two long dowels or broom handles

 

  • Two chairs

 

  • At least 12 feet of floor to string the floss between the dowels

 

  • 9 large skeins of floss in colors that represent meaningful things for your union or if you cannot find large skeins, small skeins with a 3 to 1 ratio equaling 9 large skeins.  The reason for the number 9 is that it is 3 x 3, a holy number with great significance.  You can also choose another number if it makes spiritual sense to you.  For instance, if you have 5 people in your family, then you might choose 5 large skeins.  However, using fewer than 9 skeins will make for a pretty thin cord.

 

  • Two round handled wooden spoons

 

  • A shoe box made of sturdy cardboard and scissors to cut the cardboard to use as spools

 

  • Patience

 

Method:

Cast your sacred space, making certain that it is large enough to work within.  It is suggested that you take the time to spool each skein of floss on a 2 inch by 4 inch piece of cardboard before beginning.  I have found that by doing this step, I don’t deal with aggravating tangles and snags during the stringing process.  Unwrap the skein and have one person hold the looped floss on two hands held perpendicular to the floor while another person winds the floss onto the card.  You’ll get good at it after 2 or 3 skeins and you’ll be done in a few minutes.

 

Once the skeins are spooled, place your chairs about 12 feet apart, facing one another.  Have a person sit in each chair, holding a dowel straight up on the floor (resting on floor, perpendicular to floor).  Now a third person can tie one of the floss skeins to one of the dowels and pull on the card as she/he walks between the dowels, wrapping the floss around the dowels making sure that the number of strands on each side are equal.  Tie off and repeat with each skein until all are strung.  Keep the tension even and taut so that no strands sag overmuch.

 

When all your skeins of floss are strung, go to the dowel that contains no tied knots and grab both sides of the floss firmly while another person cuts the floss off of the dowel evenly.  Tie a knot in each side of the floss and insert a wooden spoon roughly in the middle of each side.  Have one person for each of the wooden spoons.  Now you will begin to wind your cord.  With the person on the other end still holding the dowel firmly, each person holding a spoon begins to spin in the same direction.  A good way to do this is to place the floss between the middle and ring fingers of the left hand and spin the spoon with the index finger of the right hand, tracing circles on the palm of the left hand.  Spin your floss until it begins to kink.

 

When you have spun your floss, place the ends of the wooden spoons together and carefully transfer the floss from the top spoon onto the bottom spoon so that both sides are on the same spoon.  One person uses the same technique as before, spinning the floss in the opposite direction as before.  Spin until the cord begins to kink.  Cut the floss from the spoon holding it tightly to prevent unraveling.  Tie a knot about 2 inches from the end and continue to hold firmly.

 

Have someone cut the floss from the dowel on the other end, holding firmly.  Tie a knot in the floss and release the cord, allowing it to relax.  Your cord is done!  Release your circle in whatever manner you normally use.

 

Ribbon Cord:  Ribbon handfasting cords are easier to make than floss cords but look more “rustic” than floss.  One nice thing about these cords is that you can add decorative beads and other charms as you braid it.  These can be enchanted with blessings for the union.  You can use satin ribbons, lengths of leather cording, silk cords, or anything that is “braidable.”

 

You Will Need:

  • 2 or 3 people
  • 3 ribbons that are twice the desired length of the finished cord.  I make my cords to finish at 9 feet
  • If you have only 2 people to work on the cord, you will need something sturdy to tie the cord to such as a stairway railing. If you have 3 people, one will hold the ribbons, one will braid, and one will untangle the other ends as you go
  • If you will use decorations in the braiding process, have those handy.  These can be beautiful beads that have symbolic meaning, charms on jump hoops, or anything that you wish as long as it can be secured to the ribbons

 

Method: 

Cast sacred space in your usual manner, making certain that the space is large enough to work within.  If you have 3 people, have one hold the ends of the ribbons while another braids and the 3rd person untangles the ends of the ribbons.  If you have two people, line up the ends of your ribbons and six inches into the ribbon lengths, one person holds the ribbons while the other braids the six inches toward the ends.  When you have the braid completed from the end, tie the braided end off and then tie it to a banister or other sturdy object.  You can then braid from the other direction.  Tie off at the end. Release your circle in your usual manner.

 

Once your cord is made, you can store it in a black or red silk or muslin bag to protect it from random energies.  After your handfasting, tie the cord to the bed post to bless your union. 

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