Lughnasadh Proper

We celebrated Lughnasadh proper by visiting the farmer’s market with our friend Reba, excited to see its abundance. We tasted artisan goat cheese, pickled cabbage, and Lugaid bought a “champion” butter tart. We also bought sweet potatoes the size of my head, so we could make a sweet potato blueberry bread for potluck feast. Then, we went blueberry picking and picked a whole bucketful — some for ritual, some for eating, some to freeze for eating later.

The rest of Saturday was devoted to ritual prep. There is so much work that goes into preparing and presenting a High Day rite. It’s challenging not knowing if we’ll get 13 or 30 people; by now I’ve learned not to trust Facebook RSVPs. I plan for 30, because it’s better to have more of something than not enough.

I planned to do this entire ritual off-book. I’ve been writing and leading rituals for ten years with the Grove, and whereas I’m fairly confident with my skills, I’ve been hesitant to put the script down and just do it. So this time, I didn’t even write a script. Instead, I wrote an outline with some key points and directions, and learned two pieces — “A Praise-Hymn for the Storm God” by Ceisiwr Serith (from A Pagan Ritual Prayer Book), and “Lugh” by Kellianna, the latter to be performed by our Grove’s newly-formed Bardic Circle.

I’m quite pleased with how the rite on Sunday went. First-time attendees said I was “very well-spoken”, which is quite a compliment considering I was aiming for “didn’t mess up too badly.” Lugaid, as our tribe’s champion, consecrated a spear to Lugh, and then, with Lugh’s aid, slew the baleful eye of Balor to bring down the cooling rains… as the thunderstorm rolled in. It was amazingly powerful. And then, as we called to the Kindreds to grant us the waters of life, the skies opened and we were blessed with the heavenly waters, and the blessings of existing bounty and the promise of more to come. We finished the rite under the gazebo, with our Grove renewing our Unity Vows (as Lughnasadh is a time for pronouncement of laws and oaths), and we then announced our Warrior Games champions — myself and Lugaid.

Our games included:

  • footrace
  • javelin (men’s weight, 800g)
  • hammer throw (10lb sledge)
  • hunker down (singles tug-of-war on tilting platforms)
  • stone and peg (for accuracy, like horseshoes)
  • position hold (timed; crane pose)
  • sheep carry (teams; relay with 25L topsoil bags)
  • tug-of-war (teams)
  • riddles quiz
  • lifting stones (“The Toddler” ~40lbs, “The Original Recipe” ~80lbs, “The Full Potato” ~150lbs)

All field records were broken in our games, with Lugaid throwing an amazing 99′ 7″ in javelin and 81′ 11″ in hammer, the aforementioned Reba with 37′ 7″ in javelin, and myself in hammer with 43′ 6″. We also learned it takes 4 people to beat Lugaid in a tug of war, and last year’s champion can win the sheep carry all on his own against two full teams.

Today, we’re tired. I think we’ll nap.

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