I have been back from our Lughnasadh campout and ritual for a few days now. I have had time to unpack and let the events settle. Lughnasadh for me started on Wednesday as I pulled up to the last available camping site along the river Po-Sun-Co-La at 8:00am. I unpacked and registered with the rangers when they finally came around many hours later. Why so many days early? Well there are no reservations at this site and if someone doesn’t take the spot by Wednesday, there won’t be any spots at all for the weekend ritual. As it was the entire 50 campsites were taken by Wednesday afternoon. I spent most of Wednesday studying Pharmacology, and watching dragonflies do their dance for me. On Thursday evening a new comer to our pagan community joined me, as well as one of my Grove mates. By this point of being alone for almost two days I was ready for some company. I really enjoyed getting to know the new member. He is friendly, open, honest, very energetic and always there to lend a hand. As part of the camp and celebrations I used a large extra tent I had and created a shrine and alter in it for a spear I made that was to represent the spear of Lugh, the Gae Assail. I placed cloth strips in a bowl and a pen on the altar so that people could write out prayers and tie them on to the spear. These were later placed in the fire during the main ritual.
On Friday evening I held a Sumbel. Not very many people attended this, but it was a lot of fun and very intimate for those of us who did show. We were given homemade mead from the husband of the kitchen-witch, and it was the best Mead I have ever tasted! We all loved it and it made the experience that much better.
Saturday was the main ritual. People started showing up at the camp site a little after noon. The ritual wasn’t until 7:00pm. We had games planned, but honestly it was so hot that most people just wanted to sit around in the shade and talk and eat, and drink tea or water. Right before I started ritual, I was told of a beloved member of the pagan community who had fallen very ill. With some quick discussion it was decided that a healing would be included in the ritual. The ritual went very well and everyone participated with the call and response and giving of offerings. I got to recite the story of the second battle and why we celebrate Lughnasadh. I feel that I did a pretty good job of it. Interestingly, as I was telling it, I found myself talking on a slight Irish accent. I wasn’t doing it on purpose, and then I found a style of speech coming out that wasn’t mine. I could help but wonder if I was channeling the way in which I was telling the story from some ancestor. It was a fun if peculiar sensation. As we did last year we make an offering to the River on which we live. We do this for several reasons. One as a way to say thanks, and to build a friendly relationship, another is the hope that if we do, she won’t take as many lives in the year. Last year the river claimed eleven lives. Just after the impromptu healing we did for the sick community member, she suddenly showed up! We were all overjoyed to see her, wheel chair and all.
After the main ritual, we held our first Bardic competition. Each contestant had to sing, or recite a poem or story. We had several of each and it was a lot of fun. I am sure this will happen again! All in all I think everyone had a great time this year. A few people went home with headaches from the heat and humidity. I can’t help but feel honored that so many people are willing to come to my rituals year after year and suffer the intense heat to do so. I guess I am doing something right.