The Oathing Stone Ceremony
And now it’s solid, Solid as a rock, That’s what this love is, That’s what we’ve got,
The Oathing Stone Ceremony
The Oathing Stone Ceremony is an old Celtic Symbolic wedding Ritual. A Ritual that you might like to use in your ceremony.
The quote above about being solid as a rock sung by Ashford and Simpson sits well with me for this Symbolic Ritual.
Celtic History of The Oathing Stone
For those of you not familiar with this Scottish tradition, it is when the couple either hold or put their hands together on a stone as they repeat their wedding vows to each other.
A Scottish symbolic wedding ritual from way far back in history, before wedding rings came about. One that showed a couples commitment to each other.
Their ancestry was important to the Celts. They believed that the spirits of their ancestors lived on in the rocks, earth, sky, and water all of which surrounded their homeland.
As a result, an oath given on stone was also a way of involving their ancestors in the promises made.
They believed that the stone carried messages as a conduit from the ancestors to the couple and back again.
It was believed that holding the stone during the vows casts or sets the Vows in stone.
Pretty apt when you are pledging your strength and endurance to your loved one.
Could it be that’s where the expression “You are my rock”, or “Rock Solid relationship” comes from.
The Oathing Stone was part of the commitment couples gave to each other, often witnessed by the chieftain, and rooted their love in the land where they were born, and which also held their future.
The Oathing Stone is an ancient Celtic tradition, which was popular at Celtic weddings but had disappeared for a long time. It is a tradition being revived by couples today who want to instil ancient customs into their ceremonies.
As a Celebrant, that’s right up my street for these old rituals to be coming back into fashion.
There are many Celtic traditions that are rapidly coming back into fashion in weddings today. I must say some of them are beautiful, as is this one.
Choosing your Oathing Stone
Collecting your stones can be a personal and fun part of the lead up to your wedding, although you would need to have them before the actual ceremony.
You decide if you want one stone for you both to use or one stone each.
Where to collect your stones? It could be anywhere:-
- The beach
- A favourite park
Once you find suitable stones, then you have to consider what, if anything, do you want to put on them?
- Words or
- symbols, for example, the tree of life.
- What about the date of the wedding and your initials
Just imagine if you were to build your forever home together, you could include the stones in the building too, somewhere like a fire hearth that you could see them every day, wouldn’t that bring a smile to your face every day and bring back memories of your ceremony.
Including guests in the Oathing Stone Ceremony.
Like the Ring Warming ceremony, your guests can take part in The Oathing Stone Ritual too.
There are a couple of ways to include your friends and family in the Ritual.
Once the ceremony begins, the stone/s can travel amongst your guests for them to hold and fill with love and best wishes for you both.
The stone would then return to you at the front in time for your vows.
Or, what about asking your guests to bring a stone, or to choose a stone from around the area you are being married, and have them with them before the ceremony starts.
You could have an usher explain what to do as they arrive. Then all the guests would have a stone to take part in your ceremony to.
They could put their words or designs onto the stone before the wedding and put their details on the back. When you are reading them later you will know who wrote them.
They wouldn’t want them to miss out on any of the ceremony because they are considering what to write or draw.
At the end of the ceremony, the guests could drop them into a container.
Of course, this would depend on the number of guests you were having at the ceremony. Too many, and it wouldn’t be do-able this way.
You don’t want to hire a digger to get them all home.
The Oathing Stone Vows
There are a couple of ways that you can do the Vows part of the ceremony.
- The couple can either hold a stone each while they say their vows to each other.
- Or, if you have chosen to use one stone, then you could take turns holding the stone while you each say your vows.
- Or have both your hands on the stone whilst say your vows.
After it’s all over
At Celtic weddings, once the ceremony was over, the newly married couple released the stone back to the elements by whatever means felt appropriate to them.
Some tossed it into the sea or the loch or river.
The idea behind throwing the stones into the water symbolises how the wishes of the couple wherever they go are taken into the natural water cycle with the currents and tides.
Others may have laid them on a mountain or a stone cairn.
You may want to keep your stones and add them to your garden, or within your home so you can see them daily.
How about making the stone/stones into a paperweight, or using them decoratively around candles or flowers.
There are lots of creative ways to use your stone in and around you every day.
Like many of the Symbolic ceremony rituals used in weddings, The Oathing Stone can be changed in various ways to suit your ceremony.
If this is a Ritual that you would like to include in your ceremony then drop me a DM and we can discuss how to include it in your wedding.
A physical object, such as a stone or piece of wood, was used to help transfer the wedding oaths to the spirit energies present in a sacred location.
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