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.
-Mani `McJack’ (Son of Jack)