The varied traditions of mumming throughout Europe (and now here in North America as well) all use masks, costumes and theatre-in-motion to embody the spiritual forces and changes occurring in the land and the community at special, liminal times of year. As an artist and a polytheist/animist, I have long been interested in this unique way of expressing and inviting contact with the numinous through artistic means. We make magic this way.
I am especially drawn to the dark, frightening, unnerving and eerie creatures which populate so many of these rites. The man clad all in straw so he no longer resembles a man, the horse skull with jaws clacking, the horned monsters who growl and threaten. These are the spirits we fear, the ones we placate, and those we embody in order to ensure another good year ahead.
Posts on this blog will describe some of my own experiences participating in and/or leading masked processions of this sort, and will share any news or interesting information about mumming as I find it.