Dominus Ingui: games et al.

There’s more to worship than formal ceremonies and food offerings. Games, music and theatre are three of several things one can do and dedicate to the Gods as gifts to Them. The keyword here is dedicate: while daily actions of a devotee implicitly honour a deity, it’s a different thing if you state by words and gestures that something you do is meant as an offering. It becomes a sacred act, in the actual sense of becoming a god’s property. What follows are therefore ideas for activities that can be performed in honour of Ingui and suggestions on how to dedicate them.

How to do
Hallowed ground
An easy way of dedicating an action to a deity is to perform it in an area that has been hallowed. A sacred place is an obvious setting for sacred acts, so if a grove, temple or holy field are not an available option, the next best option it to hallow an area temporarily, marking it out with a rope tied to hazel poles. If the latter are hard to come by, a suitable alternative consists of using other poles and tie to them pouches with hazelnuts – which can be easily bought at a store. Offerings should be made to the gennii loci or landwights and a fire and incense carried around the hallowed area with prayers.

Hazel staff and bell
A referee or umpire can use a hazel staff and a bell to mark the beginning of the dedicated actions and maintain order. Again, if hazel is hard to come by, use a regular wooden staff and tie a pouch of hazelnuts to it.

If you watch a sumo match, you’ll notice the players cast a handful of salt at the beginning. The goal is to purify the ring, itself a highly ritualized area: it’s hovered by a wooden ceiling that resembles that of a Shinto shrine and there’s an opening ceremony full of religious elements (see here and here). Inspired by this, throwing a small handful of wheat can be a way of dedicating an action to Ingui.

What to do
Up on a stage
Theatrical plays, as well as musical and dance shows, can be offered to the god, especially if the theme is in some way linked to Ingui or features cross-dressed men. And yes, this includes a good drag show. The stage may be on hallowed ground – or be itself the hallowed area – and the knocks that traditionally open theatrical plays may be done using the hazel staff, followed or preceded by the ringing of a bell.

Games and Sports
If a race, the starting and finishing line can be on hallowed ground and the participants may throw a handful of wheat as an offering to Ingui before taking their positions. A bell can mark the beginning and the winner may be given a wreath which should then be offered to Ingui. If it’s a stationary competition, the whole area can be hallowed, participants can also throw wheat as a gift to the god – much like sumo players throw salt – and the referee may carry a hazel staff.

One extra
To go straight to the point, I love flags. Especially religious ones and most especially if they are flown on sacred ground. It lends to any hallowed area an ethereal feeling as a god’s symbols wave in the wind much like trees and leaves in a grove. Even when it’s done in a regular place, like a house balcony, porch or garden, it can be equally powerful. So here’s one final idea: flags in honour of Ingui! They can depict a boar, a ship, the Ing rune, a phallus, the image of the god Himself or any combination of these and other elements and have brass jingle bells attached to the ends. Use mainly fertility and solar colours – yellow, green, brown, golden. A version of the draco with a boar head instead of a dragon is also possible. Pray to the god as you make it and/or bless it and keep it in His shrine. And then display the flag during the ceremonies or let it fly during Ingui’s feast days as a gift to Him.

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