A game for Anthesteria

Bacchic Orphic hopscotch is played just like regular hopscotch:

To play hopscotch, a court is first laid out on the ground. Depending on the available surface, the court is either scratched out in dirt, or drawn with chalk on pavement. Courts may be permanently marked where playgrounds are commonly paved, as in elementary schools. Designs vary, but the court is usually composed of a series of linear squares interspersed with blocks of two lateral squares. Traditionally the court ends with a “safe” or “home” base in which the player may turn before completing the reverse trip. The home base may be a square, a rectangle, or a semicircle. The squares are then numbered in the sequence in which they are to be hopped. The first player tosses the marker (typically a stone, coin or bean bag) into the first square. The marker must land completely within the designated square and without touching a line or bouncing out. The player then hops through the course, skipping the square with the marker in it. Single squares must be hopped on one foot. For the first single square, either foot may be used. Side-by-side squares are straddled, with the left foot landing in the left square, and the right foot landing in the right square. Optional squares marked “Safe”, “Home”, or “Rest” are neutral squares, and may be hopped through in any manner without penalty. After hopping into “Safe”, “Home”, or “Rest”, the player must then turn around and return through the course (square 9, then squares 8 and 7, next square 6, and so forth) on one or two legs depending on the square until s/he reaches the square with her marker. S/he then must retrieve her marker and continue the course as stated without touching a line or stepping into a square with another player’s marker. Upon successfully completing the sequence, the player continues the turn by tossing the marker into square number two, and repeating the pattern. If, while hopping through the court in either direction, the player steps on a line, misses a square, or loses balance, the turn ends. Players begin their turns where they last left off. The first player to complete one course for every numbered square on the court wins the game.Although the marker is most often picked up during the game, historically, in the boy’s game, the marker was kicked sequentially back through the course on the return trip and then kicked out. (Description and rules from Wikipedia)

Except that the court consists of 10 squares with a larger half-circle at the top.

In descending order these spaces represent:

The Crown
10. The Way to the House of Vines
9. The Stream of Memory
8. The Lake of Forgetting
7. The Desert
6. The River of Fire
5. The Swamp of Despair
4. The Forest of Suicides
2. The River of Semen
2. The Kingdom of Dream
1. The Mirror

The goal is to make it all the way through and back without tripping or stepping on a line, resulting in the deliverance of a soul from the underworld; failure means that both of you are stuck there. This usually indicates an area the person needs to work on over the coming months.

One comment

  1. With all that has happened in recent days in the U.S., the image of dead children playing “Soul Hop-Scotch” while others swing on Anthesteria is…well…!?!


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