Sunday, August 2, 2009

Chaotic Lughnasadh

Our local CUUPS group hosted a strange Lammas/Lughnasadh ritual last night. Members of the group take turns as High Priest and Priestess and this ritual was led by our local Discordians.

Now, it's not that I don't appreciate some of the points made. Even though it started (and often continues) as a joke, the Discordians have an interesting message. I like the emphasis on those un-looked-for blessings, the life changing moments that come out of nowhere. It is good to notice and appreciate those once in a while. It is good to remember that while harmony in a worthy goal, disorder always lurks beneath the suface of order and that is not always a bad thing. I believe there really is a time and place for last night's ritual.

I don't think Lughnasadh is it. Maybe it is just because the lessons of Lughnasadh have been speaking to me the last few days. Lugh is believed to be an analog of Hermes and I have always had tremendous affection for Hermes. It felt like I needed to hear the lessons about reaping the works of your labors and being multi-skilled. I was hoping for a ritual experience that would embed the ideas swirling in my head. Instead I got a quick thank you to Lugh, mixed for some reason with Gaia, but now let's really talk about Eris all night.

Since our CUUPS group only gathers on the Sabbats, I'm not sure when the right occasion would be to repeat something like last night. Maybe the disruption of the scheduled holiday is part of the point, but when people started quoting Monty Python as part of the ritual I knew my spiritual needs were not going to be met. I went home unsatisfied. The rest of the group seemed to really enjoy the frivolity so then I felt like I was being negative and worst of all, conservative. I guess part of celebrating with an eclectic pagan group is that sometimes you might not like the flavor of the month.

1 comment:

  1. You've just nailed the reason that, during my 20-some years as a very active Pagan, I avoided public (and eclectic... much as I have an appreciation for the potential value of eclecticism... it's a license for abuse that's snatched, waved, and worn like a toga...) rituals.

    I learned, practiced, and taught--and learned online that my attitude about things like ritual pissed some people off (which isn't a bad thing, I learned...). They wanted to do whatever they thought of. Whatever amused them. Whatever 'felt' right to them... never mind that their feelings were rooted in nothing save whim and ignorance.

    One friend of a friend commented that We (I and those I worked with) were paleo-pagan, not neo-pagan... (bad?) and were practically like Catholics (??!) in that we did more or less the same thing, year after year after year.

    Which is--mostly--true. And it came to be very, very, powerful and very comfortable. And quite profound.

    Which isn't to say that I don't get the idea of laughter or joking or being silly or sacred clowns (oh, we had our share of silliness). But it was icing, not the cake.

    And far, far, far too much of the neo-pagan world is all about saccharine, treacly sweetness and poly-fluff rainbows and what floats my boat. One of my students once came back from a semi-public gathering and commented that the ritual was nothing but performance; the circle casting cast nothing, the invocations were pro forma, and... there was no there there.

    And that, all too often--most of the time--is an accurate criticism.

    Which is too bad--because when there's real work done, it's tangible.

    Sympathies, Strange.