Early Mumming Experiences, Eugene Oregon, 2008-2012

Over the years I’ve done a number of small, private mumming processions. Unlike most traditional mumming, these were not aimed at an “audience” of other people, but meant for the gods and spirits.

Around the winter solstice (often on Christmas Day simply because the streets are empty), I have done Wild Hunt mumming with a few friends, where we walk the path through a nearby park in dark, monstrous costumes, howling and singing and chanting as the Hunt rides the skies.

For several years, a fellow Dionysian and I did the Kalogeroi type of mumming (still practiced on the island of Skyros in Greece), which involves a furry black costume with a mask of goatskin, large bells, and a staff. We would go out on New Year’s Eve and walk the desolate paths by the river, and then wind through the nearby neighborhood, the bells clanging loudly as people celebrated midnight. I never took any photos, but here is a sketch of a traditional geros:

I also made a mast animal for an autumn festival of Hermes Propulaios (Before the Gate). I took a ram skull (which I had cleaned myself from the discarded head of a farm animal), decorated it and mounted it to a staff. We walk in procession with this effigy to a nearby cemetery to leave offerings for Hermes. While not a traditional Hellenic polytheist rite, the Propulaios pole was meant to recall the historic herms built for the god, and it seemed to work well. I still do this ritual.

 

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