I think each progressive High Day has been better than the last.
I celebrated with Black Bear Grove again, and had a wonderful time. We honored Lugh and his foster mother, Tailtiu. The gatekeeper was the gatekeeper of Tara encountered by Lugh and the bardic inspiration the Dagda.
That sounds pretty basic for a Lughnasadh ritual, I realize. So what made this one special? Well, for one, the druid in charge completely flubbed the core order of ritual. He got so wrapped up the statement of purpose and the story of Lugh that he went directly into our group working, calling on Lugh to bless the various tools we’d all brought, and we skipped, well, everything else. We went on, of course, to establish the sacred center, call the Kindreds, and do our personal workings. I think the DIC was embarrassed to have forgotten so much, but as another grove member pointed out, we had gotten into such a great groove and raised such potent magic already that it didn’t matter that it was all out of order. The COoR is great, obviously, but I saw during that the ritual that the magic exists outside of the COoR, and when it takes over, it’s best to go where it takes you.
There were two guests (besides myself) who were new and had actually driven more than an hour to come to the ritual. They fit in well, I thought, and had actually brought offerings and tools for the working, which is rare in an out-of-town guest.
For my part of the ritual, I honored the Earth Mother and Tailtiu. I’m starting to feel more comfortable speaking in front of others. I also didn’t have time to memorize anything this time because of an illness in the family, but I’m starting to see the value of speaking in the moment. I’d done my research, planned more or less what I wanted to say, and I just let the energy of the ritual do the rest.
All of the spontaneity this time was really special and gave the ritual a relaxed, natural feeling. The grove member who called the gatekeeper had us do a visual exercise to imagine him, the grove attunement was more interactive than usual, and even I had everyone make an offering to the Earth Mother… We were all more involved, more invested, and I think a small part of that is because we were all flying by the seat of our pants, so to speak.
After the ritual, the grove held its fifth annual Lughnasadh games, which included spear-throwing (at a Fomorian target!), trying to strike Balor in his eye with a slingshot (which I actually did, and won that contest!), throwing of heavy things (at which I failed dismally), a blindfolded throwing contest, and “quest,” which was a race to build a fire of a certain height.
Very fun, and a wonderful experience.