Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Festival of Festive Foliage

Archdruid's Note: the Yule gathering-in of evergreen leaves, a symbol of everlasting life and hope in the midst of a deciduous world, is of great antiquity. Some have claimed that it is Celtic or even pre-Celtic. While others might point out that the first record of this happening is about the 15th Century. Either way the Festival Of Festive Foliage is an important part of Community Life, as we prepare for the Solsticial Darkapocalypse by gathering reminders of life and growth. For without growth there is no life, and without life no growth. And without that Christmas-tree smell where would Greg Lake's "I believe in Father Christmas" have found a rhyme for "peal of a bell"?

The Festival of Festive Foliage is a word-free liturgyn. We carry out this liturgical act with a soundtrack of "Stop the Cavalry". You may like to re-create the awesome experience this engenders by playing the video below.

Act of Gathering

The Moot House is empty except for Eileen and Daphne Hnaef. In front of the Important People's Area, on the  floor of the Moot House is drawn a large round circle. Before the Ceremony started, there was a small "Making the Circle" ceremony, which was both incomprehensible and rather boring. 

Ardwulf enters, bearing a sprig of holly. He lays it in the circle and takes his accustomed place.

Drogo and Marston enter, dragging a small Yule Log. They position it in the circle and take their accustomed places.

Edith Weston enters, bearing an amaryllis in flower.  There is a disagreement over whether this strictly constitutes foliage. The Archdruid suggests it be removed, but Edith appears on the edge of tears. For the sake of a peaceable community, the Archdruid is persuaded to let it lie. Lip-readers could see that she is muttering "it's a bloody flower" under her breath.

Aelfrithe enters, bearing a poinsettia. Mrs Hnaef persuades the Archdruid that those red things aren't flowers, they're a special kind of leaf. The Archdruid agrees to let it lie.

Elrod enters, bearing a bough of pyracantha. In line with good Health and Safety practice he is wearing wicket-keeper's gloves and welder's goggles. Sadly the goggles make him completely blind, so he trips over the Yule Log and impales his ear on the holly. He removes the googles, leaves the pyracantha where he dropped it, and takes his place, dabbing his bleeding ear with a piece of tissue.

Mr Woodhouse enters, with his son Mansfield bearing an African Violet. The Archdruid requests that Daphne bring it to her "because it's so lovely and I'd like to look more closely at it". Receiving it, she pulls all the flowers off and then throws the pot at Mansfield. Mansfield ducks and it catches Elrod a glancing blow. Mr Woodhouse goes back off to the Great House, saying he knew it would be dangerous to go to a ceremony.

Eloise enters, bearing a pine bough. The Archdruid smiles and makes a sign of blessing. Eloise discovers that Elrod has stood in her accustomed place, and throws him out. Elrod isn't having a great time.

 Drayton, having been convinced there is nothing pagan at all about collecting great piles of evergreen boughs for Yule, enters, bearing one end of a piece of ivy. Ten yards behind him, Kylie holds up the other end.  They take their accustomed places.

Amelie enters, bearing a blade of grass. She sees the ivy and asks whether it's poison ivy, as she's allergic to it. Drayton tells her it's not, Amelie says how does he know? Eileen points out that poison ivy doesn't grow in the United Kingdom. Amelie says that foreign species are being introduced all the time - haven't we all heard about that manatee living in the Serpentine? Eileen tells her to sit down and shut up. Amelie takes her accustomed place.

Burton Dassett appears, dragging a 12 foot Christmas tree on a go-kart.  It gets stuck in the door. He pulls it a bit but nothing happens. Then a bit more, and it topples off the go-kart and lands on Burton. Staggering around with his head wrapped in tinsel and fairy lights (for reasons known only to himself he has pre-decorated it), Burton crashes into Elrod and they both fall to the ground. Elrod catches his hand on a broken bauble.

Hnaef, who having spent the last week in an airport terminal has joined in the seasonal spirit in more ways than one, enters. Or to be precise he hurtles into the Moot House on a tractor, pulling a decent-sized pine tree. He runs over Elrod's foot, then shoots back out through the North-East Sunrise Door, scattering Beaker Folk in all directions. In the couple of moments that it takes her to dive behind the Liturgical Focus Table, Eileen notes that Hnaef, unlike Elrod, is wearing safety trainers. He has done well.


The choir of little children break into the "choir" bit from The Darkness's "Christmas Time".

Act of Departure

Scared and dishevelled Beaker People climb back off the floor, and file off for a quick one before Filling Up of Beakers. At least the ceremony wasn't as bad or dangerous as last year. 

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