The Mythology of the Torchbearers

Hey Ho! As the darkness descends on Mabon–the Celtic name for the Autumn Equinox–Vinotok Mummers, Mood Makers and Festivarians call forth the balance between day and night, feminine and masculine, Summer and Fall, Equal Sun and Equal Moon.

All are being danced down the streets as neighbors gather, awaiting the mysterious and magical Procession of the Great Grump because Vinotok IS Today!  

In the distance you can hear the drums sounding the Earth’s heartbeat, as everything around grows quiet in anticipation. Then we see it–the Light streams forth as torches light up the night. In ranks of 2-by-2 the Torchbearers and guardians of the People are guiding the Embodied Beings of our healing, communal mythology in a stately cadence. See the Green Man, the Harvest Mother, the Maidens and Flagbearers as the fire lights up their powerful and enchanted faces and figures! Here is Sir Hapless the Knight and Lord Protector and his partner, the Primordial Earth Dragon.

This night is truly made of dreams, and fierce compassion and wild, ecstatic awareness.

For now, comes the Great Grump, as It is carried by the Executioners to Its sacrifice in the Harvest Bonfire. The torches remind us that the Spring and Summer must be consumed to make way for the Autumn Harvest and Winter Snows. Every year the Torchbearers conduct this stunning procession. And just so, the Great Grump must be consumed in fire at the Crossroads of the village, so that past grievances are banished, making room to beckon blessings for the coming year.

And each year before the Vinotok festivities the Torchbearers gather around a sacred Council Fire. As a dedicated brotherhood they draw the Viking Rune oracles for guidance and add these symbols to their torch staffs and regalia for devotion and protection. They commit their intentions to keep the village safe as the folk dance in the streets all along the Great Grump’s journey to the Funeral Pyre. It is also the sacred rite of the Torchbearers to light the Great Harvest Fire, whose flames fill the night, devouring the hand-written paper Grumps and Grievances as they consume the glowing effigy.

Generosity of Spirit encircles the People as we dance around the cleansing fire and share the harvest together in the last celebration before the first snows arrive over the Elk Mountains.

The Fire of Life has been lit and it is a pleasure to burn!

It is so.

By Marcie Telander, Vinotok Godmother and Founder

Torchbearers Activity: Accomplishments + Aptitudes
Finding Your Own Light Journaling Prompt

Finding your place: Take this opportunity to unplug from technology. Get a special notebook or journal to write in, and a pen to write with. Leave your cell phone at home. Reserve a chunk of time so you can be contemplative and slow. Walk out to a spot in nature in an easy saunter, as far as you can go in the time you’ve allotted. Find a tree to lean against, a rock to sit on, a stream to sit by, a meadow to sit in. Take a deep breath, settle in. 

Finding your voice: As you respond to the prompts following the meditation, don’t worry about grammar, punctuation or writing rules—just let it flow. Write thoughts as they come to you, without any editing or judgement Take time to stare at the clouds, the water moving by, the leaves in the breeze. Ponder. Consider. Contemplate. For these kinds of prompts, it is best to write until you have no more to say about the matter. 

Identifying Accomplishments: In this same time frame, what do you feel like you accomplished? Certainly this could include professional accomplishments, but think also of things you might have accomplished in your   personal life, with your relationships, in regards to your health, and in relation to your environment. Be proud of what you have done. Claim it. Honor it. 

Identifying Aptitudes: What are you good at? What are your talents? What comes easily to you? What is your light to offer to the world? How can you best make this light shine? How might the world be able to use your light for good?