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  • Writer's pictureKristina McDonald

Oathing Stone: Symbolic Rituals You Can Include in Your Ceremony

Many symbolic rituals we see today are adaptations or call-backs to older traditions. The oathing stone is no exception. An old Scottish tradition, the oathing stone is when the couple either hold or put their hands together on a stone as they repeat their wedding vows. An oath given near a stone or water was considered to be more binding. Some believe that it is where the phrase 'set in stone' comes from, and it is a lovely way to symbolise the setting and keeping of wedding vows.

Storytellers and Co

What is an Oathing Stone?

An oathing stone was traditionally a way for a couple to make their vows and transfer their oaths to the spirit world. Often, oaths would be spoken in a spiritually significant place, such as a river or mountain.

The speaking of vows in a sacred place was believed to root the promises to the earth and make them more binding, and allow the couple’s deceased ancestors to bless their wedding. The couple would channel their promises into the oathing stone by holding it as they spoke their vows. Afterwards, the stone would be thrown into the river, or placed on a cairn, to symbolise the couple’s new journey into marriage.

Modern Oathing Stone Ritual

The oathing stone ritual hasn’t changed too much over time, as it is a simple, intimate act. It is easily customisable to suit your preferences, with a few options to include friends and family as well.

  • You take turns to hold the stone as you speak your vows, imbuing it with your intentions and promises as you make them.

  • You hold the stone together as you speak your vows, channelling your shared dreams and goals.

  • You incorporate a “stone warming” ritual, where the oathing stone is passed around the guests at the beginning of the ceremony, where they offer their own wishes or positive vibes as they hold it.

  • Guests each have their own stone, which they can either choose and bring to the ceremony or be given at the beginning. You could even have a bowl of stones pass around the guests as your celebrant speaks the opening remarks, and they can take their time to choose from stones you have selected.

The stone you choose can be something specially designed for the day – with your names and wedding date engraved – or a stone from your favourite hiking trail, beach or garden. Afterwards, you can send the stone on its journey by river or sea – to symbolise your own new adventure – or keep it as a meaningful keepsake.

However you choose to incorporate the oathing stone, it is a simple but emotive ritual that has a lot of impact.

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