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Richard Downes - disability arts online
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Disability Arts Online

Ritual / 18 June 2012

Just wanted to write something quickly  about something i experienced last week. Our mate Ken mailed us inviting us to a ritual. Funny that.... our mate Ken.... only just started calling him that and it hits him with a frisson. On the one hand its nice, warm and means friendship. On the other hand its not a colloquialism he welcomes and demotes him from our teeacher - the maestro. For it was ken who took us through his course on Folkore, Mythology and Witchcraft. These interests are studied from a sociological perspective and Ken likes to be an insider. So it is we get field trips to ancient sites, do visualisation exercises, get turned on to folk music and dance, hear about rock n roll amongst the cunning folk and attend coven rituals.

 

Last weeks gig at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, a London home of the esoteric, fell to such an occasion.

 

Ken is a guest of the coven. Welcome when he wants to be there. He was excited to be given the role of Autumn Lord and wanted us to be there to experience and share it with him. This is one of his kindnesses which i tend to neglect. I treasure him for it here. And welcome the chance to reflect on the times he has asked me to either play Prince of Chaos (Halloween) or the internee of John Barclaycorn - deep in the woods at Lammas where no one can see him being murdered (not literally).

 

Anyway, a week early we found ourselves treated to a Summer Solstice Ritual. Later commenting on it and not being too pc, in the moment, i said it had all been a bit pouncey but i mean't thespy. Incredibly theatrical. Many players, many roles, Including the nobility designated to the quarters (hence, the Autumn Lord) welcoming in and saying farewell to the gods and elements of the compass points. A tableau is set before us from the circle. A crone becomes the earth mother goddess. Here isn't that sexist. Hopefully not in the context. The nobles vie for her hand. Autumn and Spring quickly lose out and Summer and Winter have a stand-off which given the time Summer wins. We dance a circle dance. The wheel spins on. We quaff ale and break bread before refusing the invite to dine as we prefer to go to the Dolphin for a quick half.

 

It was a good night. This week we have the solstice. Next week a barn dance. The old ways continue to call those who will listen. Me i can't be bothered. To join the gang i need to accept a divinity and get on a path and i'm too aetheist for that. Doesn't mean i can't play though

 

One thing it did remind of that fits here is the notion that only professionals can act as explored on DAO's facebook pages recently. The thing with this performance is some did it extremely well and some did it rather less well. Quality of performance did impact on the importance of it all.Still practice will make perfect.

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