I'm home from Many Gods West, and completely exhausted. I spent the entire weekend completely focused on the ritual, and on the preparatory and finishing rituals our group did for ourselves. The only thing I caught was the last half of Rhyd Wildermuth's talk. No workshops, no anything. That's ok, that's all I meant to do. When I'm in a social situation that's scary for me, the best possible thing is to have Something To Do. At parties, I head for the kitchen and make something. The Chocolate Party Trick (melt chocolate in a double boiler, dip things in it, pop them in the freezer to set, and then distribute) is a favorite. For MGW, it was the ritual.
The ritual itself was awesome, in the old sense. Truly amazing. And on Sunday, when I got to do a bit of socializing, it made a great conversation topic. Everyone who went loved it and complimented us on it.
A few notes, largely for myself:
Most of my job during the ritual itself was simply to check in with people. I discovered that a really good way to do this was to walk around with a bunch of grapes, and offer to feed them individually to people, with the simple phrase "a gift from the god". I could check pupils, assess them, connect to them without necessarily touching them. It worked beautifully.
I discovered on Friday night, when we meant to make offerings to the Dead, that the Litany to the Many Dead converts well to call-and-response, simply by having them repeat the "We pray to the ____ Dead" lines after me.
Playing Satyr (explanatory post later this week) works really well not only to get someone into satyr headspace and into the ritual, it gets those who witness it further into it. It also works well to refocus someone deep in trance who needs to be distracted from an inappropriate direction (we had somebody try to follow the maenads on their chase, which would have been bad).
Ooof. I'm going to crash again now.