Lughnasadh on the Mountain
Some years ago my Druid sister, RhosynTan and I combined our two training groups to celebrate a Lughnasadh camp out on the mountain. Our theme was the funerary games for Lugh’s foster mother.
We secured the site for the weekend and charged our grove members $25 per adult (14 and under Free). This covered the campsite, fees, munchies, dinner and dessert for Saturday night and breakfast, lunch, dinner and more munchies for Sunday.
RhosynTan and I worked on the “games” that the men would participate in for over a month. The fun part was taking some traditional games (boar hunt, axe throw, horserace) and modifying them fit the various ages within the group (20’s to 50+). We also wanted a couple of things for the kids to do. The best piece we created was the five-and-a-half foot tall Wickerman.
On Saturday, people were to arrive by 5:00pm to say hellos, set up their tents and go over last minute ritual preparations. Our opening ritual to honor Lugh and Rhosmerta, began just as the last light faded from the sky. For us dinner is part of ritual so there were lots of hearty eating and toasting to our Celtic god family. As part of the meal a loaf of homemade bread was passed around for everyone to tear off a chunk to see who would get the boon coin in his or her chunk of bread. They could use this coin to ask a special favor from Lugh & Rhosmerta.
Sunday morning, we greeted the sunrise with hollers and shouts and then made altar offerings and blessing followed by a huge hearty breakfast.
The kids games began mid-morning and consisted of whacking a Sun piñata and ‘feeding’ the Daghdha (a painted picture of the Daghdha on a cardboard box with his mouth cutout for the kids to toss plastic fruit into). They had a blast!
In the afternoon it was time for the ‘Manly Studly Games’ to begin for the men to show off their masculine prowess. For each man who won a game, they were awarded a colored ribbon tied around their bicep. The one with the most ribbons at the end of the games would be crowned as the Sun King. The women were encouraged to shout, clap and make catcalls to the men. The games went as follows:
The Foot Race (sorry but we didn’t have horses available to us) was up a hill where the men had to untie a ribbon from a tree and race back to the finish line.
Next was an Axe throw, closest to the center was the winner. Have to admit there were a few wild throws.
The Stone throw to see who could throw the heavy stone the farthest. This one got a little dangerous, coming to rest against someone’s ankle, but all was good.
The Bow & Arrow shoot. The men had to shoot an arrow though the Yoni of the Sheila-na-Gig.
The final contest was the Boar Shoot. Which consisted of a boar drawn on foam core board with the kill shots (heart & eye) drawn on the boar. Each man was given 3 darts. Winner was the one closest to the kill shots.
Before we announced and crowned our Sun King, we held one game for the ladies. We had a ring toss game where the ladies had to toss a ring around the Wickerman’s penis (a large red ear of Indian corn). Now it was time for all the men to hoot and holler and they did!
The winner of the manly games was crowned with a cornhusk crown. He was gifted with an ale tankard and a handmade leather pouch filled with symbolic items He was then given a floral chaplet and told he could choose from any of the women to be his Queen. After strutting around the area, checking out all the women, he opted to crown his girlfriend (in my opinion, a wise choice).
We, each in turn, approached the altar and asked blessings from Lugh & Rhosmerta before closing our ritual.
We had our final community meal together, cleaned up the camp, packed our tents and said farewells to each other. What an amazing time we all had.
Blessings of Lughnasadh to all of you.