Posts Tagged With: Jack

Samhain Activities of Our Ancestors

Samhain Activities of Our Ancestors

On this day people would gather early in the day since there were so many things going on. In olden times the affair would last for two or three days. Crafting included brewing Mead for the day’s festivities as well as for the winter season to come. They carved Jack-o-Lanterns to discourage negative spirits from bothering the people at the gathering. Candles were blessed for use throughout the winter, as well as blending oils for magical uses. Simples were brewed to make sure each person had a good tonic to see them through the hard days of winter.
Anything that was braided was thought to be lucky since it was binding things together and by doing that bringing the community closer together. Quilts were gathered to be finished and ladies shared their recipes for simples and for dying cloth. The men of the clan hunted for days before the gathering to insure food for everyone. Children would be sent on “Nutting” parties and they would produce that bounty to be shared by everyone.
Games of strength and chance were played by young and old alike. This was also a great time for story telling and in this way the patterns of life were passed down from one generation to another year after year. At this time of the year we are reminded of the tribal beginnings that we have all come from and it is appropriate that we still use the basic instruments of drum and gourd, cymbal, and horns. We chant together into the night and recreate the spiral dances.
Bringing people together for singing and dancing is very important even if they are not the best of singers or dancers. The manner of performance is not important, the pleasure of the joining is!

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October Lore — Pumpkins

October Lore

Pumpkins

The sights and sounds and smells of October bring about in all of us subtle changes, and as our bodies begin to change metabolism, preparing us for shorter Winter days, our consciousness begins to shift from the more actively mental to the more physically receptive state appropriate to the dark half of the year.  As all of these changes are taking place we are busy preparing for the most magical night of the year, Halloween.

The outward manifestations of these internal changes begin to appear around the house.  On the back porch a pumpkin and gourds are the centrepiece of the picnic table, while the grapevine wreath on the door is adorned with a huge black (and orange) bow…. On the front porch pumpkins and colourful squash nestle against the old red butter churn, and sprays of bittersweet are added to the bunch of Indian corn that hangs by the front door.  Bundles of dried cornstalks flank the front steps, and as the month progresses grinning jack-o’-lanterns stare from the windows.  We carefully cut the eyeholes of each jack-o’-lantern so that they appear to be watching anyone that approaches the front porch. As night falls their flaming grins and fiery eyes stare from every window.

The origin of the jack-o’-lantern is obscure, but no doubt started in the New World.  The name used to apply to a natural phenomenon, a luminous glow in the eastern sky after sunset.  It may be that since the sunset in the west symbolized death, this glow in the east symbolized the spiritual survival of death.

Today in Ireland, candles are lit in cottage windows on Samhain night to welcome the spirits of the deceased.  In faraway Japan, on a night equivalent to Halloween, the spirits of the deceased are welcomed home by glowing paper lanterns hung by garden gates.  How the candle got inside the pumpkin may remain forever a mystery, but there can be little doubt that the jack-o’-lantern originated as a beacon light to welcome the spirits who roam freely among us on this night of Halloween.

I found the following in the World Book Encyclopedia:

… Many superstitions and symbols are connected with Halloween.  The Irish have a tale about the origin of jack-o’-lanterns.  They say that a man named Jack was unable to enter heaven because of his miserliness. he could not enter hell because he had played practical jokes on the devil.  So he had to walk the earth with his lantern until Judgment Day.

The Druids, an order of priests in ancient Gaul and Britain, believed that on Halloween, ghosts, spirits, fairies, witches, and elves came out to harm people.  They thought the cat was sacred and believed that cats had once been human beings but were changed as a punishment for evil deeds.  From these Druidic beliefs comes the present-day use of witches, ghosts, and cats in Halloween festivities.

The Druids had an autumn festival called *Samhain*, or *summer’s end*. It was an occasion for feasting on all kinds of food which had been grown during the summer.  The early peoples of Europe also had a festival similar to the Druid holiday.

In the 700’s, the Roman Catholic Church named November 1 as All Saints’ Day.  The old pagan customs and the Christian feast day were combined into the Halloween festival….

 

from: World Book Encyclopedia

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The Life of The Witch: A Green Man State of Mind

A Green Man State of Mind

One of the most well-known and widespread Pagan God images is the Green Man, also known as Jack-in-the-Green or The Man in the Oak. Let’s talk about ways to bring the spirit of Green Man into your life to help enhance growth, prosperity and abundance.

Deep down, I think humans understand that our personal abundance and prosperity depends on the fruitfulness of the earth. Even these days when we’ve covered half the earth with concrete, this truth still holds true. That must be why the foliate Green Man has been so prevalent through time as an ornament and even was carried over into church décor in medieval churches — because deep down, we know we need him, no matter what.

Green Man is a generous spirit. When working with him, showing generosity of your own will get his attention and bring his spirit into your life. Obviously, Green Man also is more likely to be joyous to share energy with people who care for the environment; he’s about growth, renewal and life. If you’re going to be working magick with Green Man, don’t be chucking your fast-food trash out your car window. Anything that you can do for the environment — even something small — will help to show the spirit of Green Man that you’re genuine and will help get your energies aligned with the energies of the green earth. Get a stainless steel water bottle to replaced your bottled water. How about offering your favorite tree some fertilizer? Respect for all living things is another great way to connect with this leafy spirit — catch a spider and release it outside instead of squashing it.

While at the garden center, if you see a potted plant knocked over, pick it up and scoop the soil back into the pot. Try donating your old clothese instead of throwing them away. You get the idea Generosity toward others and the environment are the kinds of things that Green Man smiles upon.

Now you are working in alignment with Green Man energy, and you’re ready to start working with him magickally to bring prosperity, abundance, and renewal into your life.

Reference:

Excerpt from

The Green Man: Spirit of Abundance

By Mickie Mueller

Llewellyn’s 2012 Magical Almanac

 

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The Green Man, Spirit of the Forest

The Green Man, Spirit of the Forest

The Green Man embodies the spirit of the fertile forest.

For our ancient ancestors, many spirits and deities were associated with nature, wildlife, and plant growth. After all, if you had just spent the winter starving and freezing, when spring arrived it was certainly time to give thanks to whatever spirits watched over your tribe. The spring season, particularly around Beltane, is typically tied to a number of pre-Christian nature spirits. Many of these are similar in origin and characteristics, but tend to vary based on region and language. In English folklore, few characters stand out — or are as recognizable — as the Green Man.

Strongly connected to Jack in the Green and the May King, as well as John Barleycorn during the fall harvest, the figure known as the Green Man is a god of vegetation and plant life. He symbolizes the life that is found in the natural plant world, and in the earth itself. Consider, for a moment, the forest. In the British Isles, the forests a thousand years ago were vast, spreading for miles and miles, farther than the eye could see. Because of the sheer size, the forest could be a dark and scary place.

However, it was also a place you had to enter, whether you wanted to or not, because it provided meat for hunting, plants for eating, and wood for burning and building. In the winter, the forest must have seemed quite dead and desolate… but in the spring, it returned to life. It would be logical for early peoples to have applied some sort of spiritual aspect to the cycle of life, death and rebirth.

Folklorist James Frazer associates the Green Man with May Day celebrations, and with the character of Jack in the Green, who is a more modern adaptation of the Green Man. Jack is a more specifically defined version of the nature spirit than the earlier Green Man archetype. Frazer speculates that while some form of the Green Man was probably present in a variety of separate early cultures, he developed independently into a variety of newer, more modern characters. This would explain why in some areas he is Jack, while in others he is Robin of the Hood, or Herne the Hunter in different parts of England. Likewise, other, non-British cultures seem to have similar nature deities.

The Green Man is typically portrayed as a human face surrounded by dense foliage. Such images appear as far back as the eleventh century, in church carvings. As Christianity spread, the Green Man went into hiding, with stonemasons leaving secret images of his face around cathedrals and churches. He enjoyed a revival during the Victorian era, when he became popular with architects, who used his visage as a decorative aspect in buildings.

Legends connected to the archetype of the Green Man are everywhere. In the Arthurian legend, the tale of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a prime example. The Green Knight represents the pre-Christian nature religion of the British Isles. Although he originally confronts Gawain as an enemy, the two later are able to work together – perhaps a metaphor for the assimilation of British Paganism with the new Christian theology. Many scholars also suggest that the tales of Robin Hood evolved from Green Man mythology. Allusions to the Green Man can even be found in J.M. Barrie’s classic Peter Pan – an eternally youthful boy, dressed in green and living in the forest with the wild animals. Today, some traditions of Wicca interpret the Green Man as an aspect of the Horned God, Cernunnos.

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