Tag Archives: herne the hunter

Fall of Jack of London, and the (re)birth of Mani! (an amusing account of PPPL2019)

Fall Jack of London, and the (re)birth of Mani!
(an amusing account of Pagan Pride Parade London 2019)

Fall of jack birth of mani

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).

david pic.jpg
Pagan Pride Parade London 2019.  photo (c) David Weeden

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.  

-Mani `McJack’ (Son of Jack)

Deers of Richmond Park London (Photos & info)

As a Pagan and one who magically attunes with the `Horned God’ energies (of Hern the Hunter, Cernnunos Lord of the Beasts/ animals), I often find it enjoyable to visit Richmond park, and just wander through – and observe the Deer. Granted they are in a managed park (Richmond is one of the Royal parks of London), the deer are free to roam and do what they like!

Here are some hi-resolution photos of the Deers of London’s Richmond Park – taken about a month ago, a few hours before sunset.

to pose or not to pose
Deer in Richmond Park (photo~ Mani Navasothy)

Rutting stags

In early Autumn (September and October) they begin their rutting – where male deer (Stags) begin their courting behaviour – first eating a lot in the weeks leading to this period, putting on a lot of body mass, and then herding and rounding up a large number of female deer to mate with (his Harem).  During this time, the Stags do become highly agitated and can charge at people or animals (dogs) if they go anywhere near the herd. It’s a pure and simple territorial act!

Those other stags that do not have a harem of female deer do try to sneak into already rounded up female groups – when the Stag of that group is distracted or drifts out a few yards. But then the leading Stag will charge and antlers get locked.. and often the intruding stag(s) are chased out. During the rutting season, the leading Stags make a lot of growling sounds. They do not eat much, and expend their energy in mating and defending his herd.  (and by the end of the rutting season, his body mass goes down!)

Int the light
Into the Light? Deer in Richmond Park (Photo ~ Mani Navasothy)

Culling

In Richmond, towards the end of Autumn, planned and managed culling (killing) occurs – where Rangers and trained gunners select a percentage of deer to kill.. so that the park can continue to sustain the deer population. During the culling weeks, the park is closed early (culling takes place after hours!) People are not advised to be in the park lest they get shot by mistake!

How to get to Richmond Park

  • Richmond Park is in the South West part of London. There’s a main Railway station (Richmond) that has both british rail (from Clapham Junction take the trains towards Reading..)  and also the underground tube trains (District line going from London Victoria station)).
  • Once at Richmond station, come out, and within few steps, you’ll find bus stop (same side as station).
  • Take the Route Bus 371 from Stop: E  towards Kingston. (buses every 8-10 mins)
  • Travel  in bus for about 15 mins. Get out at `American University’ stop.
  • Walk forward on the same side for 3-5 minutes, and turn left at main junction (Land mark: Star & Garter nursing home)…and you’ll arrive at `Richmond Gate’ of the park. (The park has many `gates’ )

I’ll be adding more photos, video clips and sound clips soon ..  (ones I have been filming & recording for a number of years!)

-Mani Navasothy

links –

Hern’s Tribe – outdoor ritual group with Hern – Hunter-Horned God as main focus  All welcome to Hern’s Tribe seasonal rituals

Pagan God & Goddess – article in my Witchcraft & Magic website

Stag divisions
Stag Divisions! Deer in Richmond Park (Photo ~ Mani Navasothy)

Touching the life you take: Initiation rites for a Warrior-Hunter

Touching the life you take: Initiation rites for a Warrior-Hunter

The Hern-Oath (photo copyright Mani Navasothy.2010-2012)

The first  rule of being a Hunter is `Be within reach of your prey but out of reach of the prey!’ – which means that a Hunter must be able to get to his or her prey quickly, but the prey must never know that the hunter is anywhere nearby!  This is something  I learnt while reading Carlos Castenado’a books on Shamanism. He was of course referring to this same principle applying to anyone seeking other objectives in life. It is a Warrior principle that applies to almost anything that people want.

One other principle that I have come to appreciate, admire and even practise is this one – `Touching the Life you take…’

What does it mean?  Well, in older days (even as recent as…say 300 years ago), a hunter would have to go after his or her prey directly, and i person.   Even if it involved traps to catch an animal, it will still come down to the fact that the Hunter will have to gain direct sight, handle the animal caught, and strike the killing blow – with a knife, spear or a mace – to kill the animal, before taking it body for either food purposes, creating survival products (fur for clothing) and o on. Even a hunter using  a spear or bow & arrow to hunt will still need to have a line of sight.. on the target / prey, when the killing blow is delivered.

Not so in modern societies!   This is now a remote-control society, where

  • the Hunter or the Warrior is seated in a safe enclosed environment that is so far removed from the prey’s habitat or the hunting grounds.
  • The Hunter or Warrior is using modern remote control tools or devises to sight, hunt and kill his or her prey.

Modern warfare is  a fine example of this.  Soldiers, experts, commanders and experts all sit inside big ships, aeroplanes, tanks,  and in control rooms miles away from the war zone. They use radar and satellite imagery to pinpoint he target – which is now a town or a nation, with hundreds or thousands of people (on te target site).  And these modern warriors press a button ..and a missile or rocket launches… flies hundreds of miles ..and hits the target.

Even when the kill comes, there is no immediacy. Yes, people can `empathise’, `imagine’, and even fake al sorts of feelings, either  as part of self-delusions, or as part of some political marketing tactics to sway mass public opinions.

None of this gives the real feelings, the struggles, affinity, respect.. and the trauma that a Warrior- Hunter would feel..  if he or she were to approach the prey and strike the killing blow with his or her own hands into the heart of the animal, and take its life!

In a computer-generated reality such as remote viewing, or playing games, the difference between playing and really hurting someone else blurs beyond belief.

Years ago, when I was small (back in Sri Lanka), I had to get rid of a large number of Chameleons from our vegetable patch. My father & I had to stand still with sticks, and hunt down the lizards, and after delivering the killer-blows, we had to lift the dead Lizard  bodies one by one and dispose of them. This still haunts me.. It was a mass-killing of about 20 lizards    I also remember many decades ago, back in Sri Lankan, where I had to dig for earth worms…and then cut them up as tiny pieces..to feed my gold-fish. That still stays fresh in my mind.

Few months ago, when a mouse  pest problem re-surfaced, I set the traps, and caught one that was still alive.  And it presented me with a dilemma. I could not just release it as it would return (upto 2-3 miles!). So only way was to kill it. And I had not killed anything for a long time. Even the mercy-killing of a pet Angel fish that was so ill and beyond curing (years back) was a problem.

As a magician, I was also interested in a magical solution to the pest problem.  (yes, I had tried praying to Ganesh, and talking to the mouse spirits etc, tried all sorts of `tuning in/ communicating’).  In the end, I took the mouse to the garden, looked at it, and hit it with a small garden-tool , and in one strike killed it. I then gave it a respectful burial near my outdoor altar.

This may seem a big deal or practically nothing. But it illustrates the serious point- that in modern societies, many of us are so far removed from  the results of our own actions, that it ceases to have any kind of reality for us. It’s as if ordinary people are becoming those Soldiers who sit in rooms pushing buttons that kill hundreds elsewhere, and it all just seems like a Computer-game. How people respond online to matters that can give warped impressions (if one is already clouded by other personal feelings) can escalate matters ..and hurt others, and you won’t even know.

As a final thought, I will mention some magical / shamanic work I undertook over 2 years ago, as a Hern-worshipper and follower of the hunter/warrior principles.  It became obvious to me that as a pagan I was beginning to slide into the `remote control’ life style or worship . As part of Hern’s Tribe, I have been doing outdoor rituals at least 8 times a year for the past 8 years. ..in the rain and storm and sun-shines. But the warrior-hunter aspect gets lost.

So about 2 years ago, I did some magical work in Winsor great Park (Hern’s realm) – a new initiative for male mysteries..  to hone our tracking and hunting skills, making real tools, and setting about doing a ritual hunt – very much what tribal people would have done!   No sooner had our ritual been done, and we were walking to the car, we found 3 dead animals…and we had to take them home to clean and use. I could not even touch  a bird (Pheasant) that had been a road-kill.

But some months later, I was faced with something much much larger..  a stag!  And what I did with it became my personal rite of passage, in preparation for my own handfasting (pagan wedding).   In tribal societies, young men must undergo all sorts of coming of age rites of passage, aided by rest of the clan, before he can get married. What do we do in modern society, apart from stag-nights out that are nothing but foolish pranks (a pale reflection of those serious rites of passage!).  Well, that’s a big subject. I’ll write more on that in the future…and on `male mysteries’ in modern times!

Follow my blogs’ to read more as I publish them. 🙂

-Mani Navasothy

 Ps. These and other such magical empowerment concepts  appear in my forthcoming book `Book of Hern: Magical pathways for personal Empowerment’  – to be published in December 2012.