I’m getting married next month at the impossibly beautiful church at The Lost Village of Dode, which is possibly Kent’s best kept secret. Its current owner, Doug Chapman, restored it in the 90s and has furnished it with straw floors, sheepskin-covered pews, drapings and more candles than you can count, capturing how the church may have appeared in the 12th century. And now, its used for civil weddings – as well as handfastings, which are held by Doug himself. In fact, it was our decision to have a handfasting there which was the turning point for me to go from being someone merely interested in paganism to a fully-practising pagan.
On Father’s Day, Doug invited my husband-to-be James and myself to have rehearsal and run through the day (which was really generous of him). To make something of an occasion of it, my parents and my sister (and our photographer Blue Dan of Kent Street Photography who’s also a friend of the family). We’ll be having our handfasting after the legal registry process, outside the church in a ring of standing stones. I won’t write too much about what we plan to do, because in a month’s time I’ll hopefully be able to share photos 🙂 Doug was absolutely wonderful and really made me feel both relaxed and excited about the whole thing!
After this we all took my Dad out for a Father’s Day meal, and in the evening I decided to perform a short ritual to commemorate Father’s Day and honour my Dad, my ancestral fathers and all the fathers close to me. I made offerings to various incarnations of the Great God who I associate with fatherhood – Saturn (father of the gods), Odin (the All-Father) and Izanagi-no-Mikoto (father of creation in Shinto). I prayed to them to bless my father and the other fathers in my life with a long life, good health, strength and wisdom.