Our local group Daoine dhen Tamais held its second High Day ritual Friday evening to celebrate the equinox. We had 16 attendees including three children which was a great turnout considering that a) we held it at my place, which is about a 40 minute drive from the city, and b) the weather was scheduled to suck, and in fact it did rain heavily all day. Fortunately the rain stopped and it actually started to clear up a bit prior to the start of the rite, so we were able to hold it outdoors afterall.
As I mentioned in my essay on the equinox, this is one of those High Days with very little attestation regarding traditions and therefore many Pagans have developed their own traditions. In this case I decided to do something a bit different and use a ritual drama to (very lightly) explore some of the themes around human aging and the Autumnal Equinox as a marker within a person’s life. I chose to use the boyhood deeds of Cú Chulainn, mostly because I could bring one of my Irish Wolfhounds into the drama!
So, during the rite I invoked Morrigan as the Diety of the Occasion and also invoked Cú Chulainn as a guest of honour from the ranks of the mighty ancestors. We then launched into the drama, with four people acting the various parts. As a play it went better than I ever expected it to considering we had very little time to rehearse as a group, and of course dogs can be very unpredictable; I was worried that Artemis, the wolfhound I selected to play the guard hound of Culainn, wouldn’t perform for the actor playing Setanta. But it all worked out, with Artemis being baited into a “down” to look like she was being duly slain.
We then read the omens, took the blessings, and thanked the beings as usual. With the closing of the rite we had a potluck followed by a bonfire.
One of the nicest things about the ritual was the attendance of two people who are very new to exploring Paganism. They just happened to find my event page for the ritual on Facebook and decided to attend without really knowing anything about me or the other members. This really deepened my belief in the vision of ADF as being an open, public venue for community worship.
As this was only our second High Day ritual (we did a Pagan Pride Day rite as well), we still have a long way to go as a group to gel together. I worry a bit that the group’s rituals won’t become really compelling until we have a good core group that is working together, but that people’s initial interest in the group will wane if the rituals aren’t really compelling. So, as the unelected and de facto grove organizer I have my work cut out for me in trying to get things gelling, so to speak, a task which I am not one hundred percent sure that I am up to.
Anyway, for those interested in the text of the ritual drama, click on the “Continue Reading” below. Feedback welcome!