Fall Jack of London, and the (re)birth of Mani!
(an amusing account of Pagan Pride Parade London 2019)
At first look, it brought everyone a laugh, and at 2nd look it made me feel a bit disappointed – that after all that dancing on Church steps, Jack of London was fine…but some dancing with ladies in the fountain ended in the fall of Jack.
And at 3rd look, as I sat in the garden sipping coffee, the whole magic of it finally sunk in…! It was no a fall ..but a watery birth..for me!! And Jack of London is now ehhh ..my `mother’ 🙂
A full week before Pagan Pride Parade London 2019, I started to make the `Jack of London’ (that’s the name I’ve given him..as he’s not quite a full Jack..nor a full horned god..both are seen in him). As any serious magicians would do, I did a quick tarot reading for the significance of this `Jack’. I drew 2 cards.. one his significance in my life, and one..his significance for people of London..as he is supposed to be heading the parade. got The Tower fr me, and Chariot for Londoners. And I was quite happy with it..though had no idea how it was going to unfold.
And I spent the next 6 days and nights making the Jack that can be lightweight and easy flat-pack to carry by me in trains/ tubes..but also had to be quick and easy to assemble …and must be good enough for both me and Ian to carry..as I had already asked him to help. (he is always partially carrying other Jacks in other festivals..so I wanted to give one with his name on it..and one designed magically with him in mind as much as me..).
On the day all went well.. (well..I finished Jack by 5.30am that morning…had 3 hrs sleep and was at Russell square by 11am to start assembling him. My Rochester Witchy friends came to visit. Reggie bought me coffee. Long missed friends Peter & Hannah came to say hi..and many others. It started to get crowdy..and i moved away to focus..
My partner Louisa arrived 10 minutes to spare.. after settling her 3 kids with babysitter. So no time for making her a beautiful crown.. or one for me.. it took 30 seconds to twist some ivy and willow from my garden and make us quick crown. Magic won more than magnificence or pageantry. Clock was ticking,.
Then came the parade.. Louisa & Rachel kept Jack’s sides from hitting things.. Ian led Jack…so through a small window..from inside Jack.. I could just about see his head..and had to trust him .. and follow…in the streets of London.
What a thrill and joy it was.. dancing freely, shagging trees and lamp-posts, Jack went on his merry ways of fun and frolic. (he is a symbol of fun and fertility and magic.. I had no control of him…he even went up on some church steps and danced..and tried getting in the road and smirk at buses and people).
For a third of the journey in the middle of the route, from Atlantis Bookshop to Treadwells bookshop, my (Hern’s Tribe) Tribal brother Ian carried the Jack in the streets.. and I had the honour of carrying his sacred Bridie doll.. (that has magical echoes in this tale too..as you’ll see). And my partner Louisa carried Ian’s special staff with a Hare on it.. (fertility anyone?!)
Then the return to fountain..and dancing..
And I was initially not going into the Fountain. I didn’t know if Jack was going to peel off his paper-mache face in the water But he did go in.. nudged and pushed by a bevy of pagan maidens wanting to frolic with him.. (disclaimer: any ensuing pregnancies are not the fault of Jack!!
Then from inside I could feel water gushing up all over me.. and pressures in different directions…and I could feel me slipping..(Jack is heavy and bulky.. and at best of conditions hard to carry / manage…,so imagine in a fountain with all those people pushing and pulling..and the water too..playing its forceful part).
I had a choice of resist and get hurt..or trust and let go.. I trusted and let go and fell.. Lucky no bamboo broke and pierced my legs or my heart (note t self: Health & safety assessment next year on carrying Jack!)
And David and others seem to have caught the fall of Jack in the fountain..
Looking at this photo and mulling over it.. a remarkable and amusing realisation came over me.
It was Jack of Green who fell.. and aided by a few ladies and gent, I was pulled out.. The whole thing happened in the Fountain… It was a magical watery birth..by any other name..and right out in the open, in front of all those Londoners. 🙂
Jack stood up and stayed in the fountain a bit longer.. then dried up in the Sun…recovering from all that birth pain no doubt.
As for the question of paternity… I created Jack with greens and Antlers..after my God Hern and Green man. and Jack rebirthed me.. I am father and the Son..and Jack is Son and mother. Yeah …bit complicated..right?
That’s paganism for you. 🙂
Join us to celebrate BELTANE 2018.. with ceremony & Maypole Dance. We’ll drum, dance and choose a May King & May Queen. And feast and frolic! (sensibly!)
You will not want to miss this.. ! This year it’s bound to be more festive, more frolics.. and more magic!!
** Fee: £3 per person **
`The veil between the world of men and fairy (or spirit) is said to thin twice a year, at Beltane and at Samhain, which are on opposite points of the year wheel. At Beltane (May eve) the land is at it’s most lush and green, and fertile. If Spring Equinox is the time of fertility and mating in the animal kingdom, then Beltane is one of courting couples making commitment to one another- and Handfastings! In the God-Goddess myths, this is when the playful God is said to commit to the Goddess – which is symbolised by the Sacred Marriage! The Maypole dance that is traditional at this time symbolises the fertile powers of the masculine, penetrating the land, and the ribbons danced and woven around it lock that power! A ring of flower at the tip of the Maypole signifies the feminine. Magical working with the Fay (Fairies) is an important feature at this time, in contrast to the magical work with the departed spirits at Samhain, the opposite point’ (taken from http://www.WitchcraftandMagic.uk )
Out ritual *Team will conduct key aspects of the ceremony, with plenty of opportunities for everyone to get involved in the actual ritual – ie with elements calling, chants, magical work and so on.
****Fee: £3 per person***
RITUAL items to bring:
– Ritual cloths/ robes/ cloaks / ground sheets / blankets
– Staff / wands / antlers / tribal masks / flower crowns (No athame!! .. No swords!)
– Drums & musical instruments
– Lanterns / candles / lighter (all candles in lanterns only please, unless it’s large pillar-candles. Strictly No tea-lights on ground or trees!!)
– Crystals / runes / divination tools
– Poetry / invocations (learnt or to read)
Handfasting / confirming Pagan marriage vows:
In the past, couples have asked organiser about this. Handfasting is a big event in itself, and we do not wish it to be included in a public ceremony as a `side-event’. However, after Blessings of Cakes & Wine (and while still within our magical circle/ sacred space), we may consider couples who are already bonded, to declare their vows / re-affirm their vows by our altar.
**(please message Mani- Wiccan High Priest- in private in advance to arrange this – or simply to arrange your own separate day for handfasting!)**
Adult themes :
As this is a fertility festival, there is bound to be jokes, flirtatious behaviour, adult humour throughout the event.. You are asked to be open minded about these. However do note that we expect all to show respect to one another. Any unwanted advances/ harassment will not be tolerated. Check our policy on these matters. (link below)
We ask no children / babies in prams etc to be brought. This is strictly for ages 18+ only.
Behaviour / alcohol/ drugs policy
This is in a public woodland/ park. please BE on good behaviour. No drugs/ substances allowed.
Please do not take photos during set-up, run-through or ritual.. After ritual, with permission, you may take photos – for private use. If worries about your privacy / identity, please wear a ritual mask to safeguard your identity in photos. Check our policy (link below).
Woodland Witches Media Project:
We are starting to create our own features & documentaries about Paganism, wicca, ritual magic & related communities. This is a `not-for-profit’ project with strict educational purpose. We will film the ritual team during certain sections, and with permission, interview & film some of the willing attendees before & after event. *Unauthorised people are NOT permitted to film or record* (see below for link to our policies).
Meeting place (Woodman’s Pub):
Gather in the Woodman’s Pub from 2.00pm.. Get to `High Gate’ Tube station.. come up to main road. Turn right. Pub is just 30 seconds away.
Rage, Power and Freedom..! Those are qualities that the Incredible Hulk has in common with the Wildman within (applies to Wild-woman too). We are not talking about the behaviour of modern day city men and women (or even the thuggish Football hooligans) who go out in packs on an evening out, (or to a match) and act out their uninhibited self after consuming drugs or alcohol. We are (well I am) talking about the psychological functions of the Primal Man or Primal woman – the deeply buried sub-personality! (We all have an inner Wildman, inner Giant, inner Dwarf, inner wise-man/ woman, inner child and so on.. ).
The Incredible Hulk factor
I was watching The Incredible Hulk on Television a few nights ago (a movie that came out few years ago) – where Bruce Banner’s father talks about these qualities which his Son possesses (when he turns into the monstrous Hulk). It’s a comic book character of course – Scientist Bruce Banner accidentally gets overdosed on gamma radiation that affects his physiology for ever- and whenever Bruce gets angry or is physically violently hurt (attacked), he goes through a startling metamorphosis – and turns into a Green Giant, that seems to act on rage. It’s only when the anger subsides that the process reverses, and Bruce resurfaces .. unable to remember anything while his Hulk persona has taken over.
In this case, it’s anger that’s triggering the process- and it’s anger we need to look at here!
Anger – a Primal instinct of self preservation
Psychologists will tell you …..Anger stems from a Self-preservation instinct.!
It may seem unlikely that in modern day, we get angry for smallest or biggest triggers- many of which don’t have any semblance of a `personal attack or risk’. So why would be bring up a `self-preservation’ instinct? Well, in ancient times, if someone attacked you, or took away one of your few possessions, it may mean life or death (survival) for you! There were no possessions of luxury (ipods, computer games, coal drinks etc). Warm cloths, personal hunting tools, corner of a communal cave, section of a hut or a tribal village- each had a purpose of personal survival… So if someone took any of it, or intruded without being welcomed, it would have been met with an `angry’ (what we call angry now) reaction of violence! Defending one’s territory, hut, village, possessions.. etc
Thankfully, unless we are getting attacked by criminals (I’ve been there many times), we don;t have to retaliate so violently. But certain things do trigger anger or rage within us. Normal anger is …well..normal. We all feel it.. at times. But rage is different. It’s all consuming, and can be violent.
Am all too familiar with anger turning me into a `Hulk’ myself. Yes Anger does sometimes tear out the self-control and releases the inner-hulk. And no, I’ve never hut anyone.. but have tended to slam doors, throw household objects on the floor, and shout at anyone who’s interactions have triggered the whole process! Very close family or friends have seen this.. sadly. But it’s entirely another matter if it happens in public – usually because of some one else has been rowdy, abusive or even physically attacking me!
In those moments, I have watched myself transform within- fear leaves, mind becomes alert (and assesses possible exits, safety and dangers to myself)..and of course I am ready to not just defend myself..but willing to attack in return! Anger seems to give a kind of adrenalin rush, super confidence and even strength …that can last long enough (5 -10 minutes at the most).. Where as people who are drugged r drunk may feel similar `false confidence and bravado’ and attempt to take on challenges (but their body is weak and uncoordinated by the influence of substances), a normal human being ..in a state of anger ..will have the jolt of confidence and has the normal senses that become acute and heightened.. The adrenalin fuels, and hormones flood to block any physical pain, so the person can spontaneously take on physically incredible tasks…(and more likely succeed too!).
Moments of Rage – a primal response
I am sure we have all been in those moments – moments of pure rage??! (If you have not been in one, either you are suppressing a natural function, or lying to yourself that you don’t get angry!)
People are all too quick to catalogue a series of human emotions.. Love, hate, Joy, anger, envy, jealousy ..and a hundred more. What’s worse, anger is seen as a negative emotion to be handled, suppressed, to be shameful off, be embarrassed about.. ! We are clouded by modern day and heavily abstract thinking.. We need to go beyond.. to before…to primal times, to truly understand this.
Am sure most people know enough Psychology to jump up and say, `It’s a flight or fight response’.. and they will be right too. But there’s more to it.
Primal humans did not have language …not in the way we do now. Primal man didn’t have the complex cognitive understanding of a hundred emotions. In fact, am quite sure there were and still are not so many `emotions’. A large amount of it is abstract, result of our intelligence trying to give everything a label. Primal man would have felt a type of raw angry emotion, if he had been threatened or hurt. The emotions would have been also similar if something he considered his was forcefully taken from him (possession). That is unless of course he is a lowly tribesman and the one who took his possession (objects, house, cattle…or even his `mate’ ) was his Tribal Chief..in which case a sort of hierarchy comes into play (and submission!). If possible, he would attack or defend, and if not possible, he would run away to safety. This is common to any animal – then and now. And Primal man would have been no exception.. !
I haven’t read anything to known this – I merely put myself in a similar situation and remove modern day complex thoughts and system from my intellectual mind.
Primal man is a few steps removed from the Ape he evolved from. And we modern people are about 10,000 years ahead of primal man!
Meet the Wild One
We don’t need a Time to go back and…to meet the primal man! We also don’t need a burst of gamma rays to trigger some internal cellular transformation. The Wildman (or Wldwoman) is within us! The millions of years of evolution that gave rise to the Primal Man who acted out of animal reflects, base emotions, and primitive instincts …are still within each one of us.. It has only been a few thousand years since that point where we have become `civilised’ (not nearly long enough for very old and long term natural conditioning to have been weened out of our human psyche!)
It is in moments of crisis, or personal threats – for those who are in touch with their inner Wild Man or Wildwoman- that rage becomes a trigger for transformation! We may have a hundred modern thoughts and intellectual constructs flooding our minds, but certain triggers put us right back in the realm of the Primal Man and Woman!
When that trigger occurs, the inner Wildman or Wildwoman is released. Or rather, we become strongly in touch with that primal self that is burried under all those layers. And in expressing that un-civilised state, which is otherwise curtailed by our everyday systems , social stigmas, conditioning and legal framework, and in becoming unanswerable at any one or reason for a brief flashing moment…. the chains of social conditioning, expectations and all that break and fall away! And we experience personal power..and our potential for doing anything we dare… true Freedom!
The Green Man imagery that pagans often worship, honour and talk about – has some deeper ideas behind it. He is often thought of as the Spirit of Nature, symbol of spring, symbol of Fertility. But am sure there are many who have experienced that wild energy in outdoor rituals wil tell you- The Green Man is also about raw Power and Force of nature. (Every time I’ve stripped off my normal cloths, got into a Greenman mask & outfit..I experience that transformation…of freedom and power! Am sure some of you have done that before!)
Running Wild in the Forests
Some 20 years ago, long before I was a western pagan interested in doing rituals, or shamanism or any of that, and long before I ever became interested in Psychology & Counselling, I was attracted to outdoor places.. woodlands and forests.. And sometimes, when the mood has taken me, I have taken off all my cloths, put then somewhere safe, and allowed myself to be a Human-animal. While fully aware, I have enjoyed the freedom that comes from ..not walking about naked in a forest…but crawling about on the forest floor through bushes and on rocks and gravel (yes there’s been the odd scratches). I have avoided people, and allowed myself to experience a strange sense of freedom. I have crawled in the Sun and even in the storms.. and I have growled, prowled, ran, crawled and explored the world from a low point of view.
And one thought has often occured (before or after those explorations). What if one day I go into the woods and never come back? What if I allow the Human animal full freedom.. and it forgets who it was? What if rationale and human intellect just peels away ..and the Human-animal that I am runs free? Yes, am sure psychologists would give it all sorts of explanations. Am aware of all that. They’d even give it all sorts of analysis and diagnosis…and I am aware of that too. Twenty years ago, I was unaware of Psychology or Spirituality, about trance, shamanism and western paganism. ..and about invoking Gods and Goddesses into Priests and Priestesses. (Now I do).
The feeling of Freedom and being immersed in my power- that has been tainted by so many years of social conditioning..
But more and more, I remember those old feelings of running Wild in the Forest in thunder storms .. ! The Primal Man is still within.. and breaking at the bones to come out!
Here’s a thing- you try it out, and then you’ll really know what I am talking about!! 🙂
Note about Hern’s Tribe: About 8 years ago, I started an outdoor shamanic ritual group called `Hern’s Tribe’ – which tends to meet 8 or more times a year alreays outdoors (rain or shine) to gather, socialise and do rituals. Tribal cultures, their systems and ways have always interested me.. for the hidden primal powers they posses. Read more about Hern’s Tribe.
Hi all, I just finished editing this video…of the clips filmed at last year’s Beltane Festival in Edinburgh. – warning> It has nudity in it. Don’t look if you get offended by such things.
Beltane is one of the 8 festivals celebrated by Pagans. It is also a fertility festival, where many pagan couples get married.
Visit www.GaianTimes.com, and opt-in to get more videos as we make them! Gaian Times Magazine explores the science & Magic of the earth, and features thought-provoking articles in science, psychology, ecology, environment, astrology and social trends. It is a not-for-profit company registered in England & Wales. No: 07515903.
Beltane Fire festival in Edinburgh takes place on the 30th April of each year, organised by Beltane Fire Society (registered charity in Scotland). Visit their website http://www.beltane.org for details. In 2012, they celebrate 25 yrs of running this festival.
In this original video (words,photos, graphics, animation – all by me – save for the music) – the process of growing horns, connection to star formations and energy, and a personal invocation to the Horned God are presented. I mean have we ever really wondered what it’s like if horns started growing on us? The weight, the itch, the pain.. the need for a scratch??!!! And really – where do those horns go..into space? where does the energy come from? (you know my interests in magic, astrology and science! Am fully aware of star formation, nuclear fusion of hydrogen etc).
I began working on the materials (taking photos) 2 weeks ago, but sudden ill-health (bleeding from the stomach for 2 days non-stop) stopped the process. After visits to Hospital Accidents & emergency, and through recovery time, this is what kept me occupied, and away from pain.
The invocation came to me in a moment of fire, and rage and power . It took me a day to edit the voice-over with effects. It took me a further few days to do the animations.. And about 8 hours to edit the video together. The Am better now, and the video is complete. It stands as probably my most personally rewarding piece of magical in-vocation of the past 15 years. I now cast it into the net for all to take what they wish from it,and use, and enjoy.