I went this year with friends, and met up with other friends, the atmosphere was wonderful.
The Mercian is a pagan camp, a spiritual retreat with talks, workshops, and ritual to honour the old gods; in particular the death of the god (from the wheel of the year), and the harvest.
The opening ritual blesses the camp, invites the gods in and starts the hearth fire, which burns all weekend. There is much whooping, dancing and joy as folks traverse the labyrinth leading, in procession to the area where the hearth fire will be lit.
Rye was fabulous. He enjoyed the ritual drama, made us laugh when he loudly asked when one of the drummers was hitting his drum with a large marshmallow, and he just enjoyed it.
Such a difference from last year, where he was anxious, and for parts hysterical.
We wandered round the stalls, looked at beautiful pagany stuff, I manage to listen to a talk on talismans by a high magician, listened to some music, including a little Damh the Bard, or Yard as Rye kept insisting.
There was play for the children around our camp, and relaxing and natter for the adults.
Lol, here the kids are playing at being slugs, and the fella is protesting at them eating all the grass, then he will swoop in as a hungry bird and... Tickle them. They thought it hilarious.
The witch men, were fab, they are based in Rochester, here in Kent. Rye particularly enjoyed watching this lady belly dance in between the troop dancing.
Rye made a mask for the evening parade.
And we went and left offerings at the wicker man
And then we watched him burn
They light him with flaming arrows, they are the archers.
Once he has burned down a bit people the jump the fire.
We, creaky pagans wandered back to the tent, started our own fire and nattered, until the drama. I suddenly realised I could hear Rye crying, he was in the tent and was playing with glow sticks, unbeknown to me. The stick had split and Rye had got the liquid in his eye. Poor bugger. He was ok tho, I washed his eye with bottled water and Sarie gave Rye a couple rescue remedy pastels, and he calmed right down, and by the time the first aider came he was sat snuggled on my lap, in a blanket, dozing. Phew, scary moment though as Rye was initially screaming he had fire in his eye. He is all better now :-)
Next day he got to meet a dragon, eye all forgotten:
And a fox
And before wandering back to the tents, to leisurely start packing we had a final sit around the hearth fire, where a few ladies began impromptu dancing.
Bloody good weekend. It went by far too quickly!