Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Canadian 'Witches' Marry in Scotland

6:48pm (UK)
New Hats Abound at White Witch Wedding
By Hilary Duncanson, Scottish Press Association
Tue 21 Sep 2004

The first legal white witch wedding to take place in Scotland was held today
in the atmospheric heart of the country’s capital.

Canadians Paul Cameron Rickards, 37, and Laurie Schedler, 42, tied the knot
in a temple deep in the underground vaults of Edinburgh’s historic Old Town.

The event represents a significant step forward for followers of the belief
system of Wicca and has been hailed as the most important event to affect
their way of life since the repeal of the Witchcraft Act in 1951.

The happy couple themselves are not actually involved in the practice, but
chose to have a Wicca wedding because it appealed to their sensibilities and
general beliefs.

The ceremony was conducted at the Niddry Street Temple of the Source Coven
of the Blue Dragon by George Cameron, the coven’s High Priest, and Lady
Felina, the coven’s High Priestess.

The half-hour celebration took place within a small flower-lined circle in
the candle-lit temple.

Traditional Wiccan blessings, as well as some of the more conventional
wedding rituals, were incorporated into the proceedings.

A symbolic hand-binding ritual formed the centrepiece of the ceremony, which
was followed by the ritual sweeping away of evil and the cutting of the
wedding cake with a ceremonial sword.

Wiccans describe themselves as peaceful, harmonious people who share a deep
appreciation of the beauty of nature.

Their belief system and way of life is based upon the reconstruction of
pre-Christian traditions in Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

The Wiccan marriage was given the go-ahead by the General Register Office
for Scotland after it was recognised that the group met the definition of a
religious body as stated in the 1977 Marriage Act.

Speaking after the ceremony, the newly-weds said the whole experience was
“wonderful“.

Laurie, who will now adopt her husband’s surname, said the event lived up to
all her expectations: “It’s one of the oldest forms of marriage, tying the
knot. It’s just so old and romantic.

“It was fantastic being piped down the Royal Mile by the piper. It was
beautiful.”

Paul, who has Scottish heritage, said: “The wedding appealed to us. It
appealed to our sensibilities, it appealed to everything we believe in with
nature. It fitted perfectly.”

The couple will have their honeymoon in London and France.

Before conducting the proceedings, Mr Hamilton said: “This is the most
important event to have happened in the religion for over past 50 years,
since the repeal of the Witchcraft Act in 1951, the year of my birth.

“We’ve already been approached by a company who wish us to carry out
weddings for them and we expect to have hundreds of weddings in the future.”