All Things Green Man & The Traditional Jack-in-the-Green

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Feral Fibres – Sylvan and Friends

Sylvan

If you would like your very own Green Lady then this wonderful work of textile art might be the perfect option. Created by Mistress Hulda Crowsigh of www.feralfibres.co.uk

Sylvan is a handcrafted rag doll with moveable arms. She has a removable cloak made from handmade felt and a dress made to measure from vintage sari silk. Her eyes are Swarowski crystals and her hair is adorned with wonderful hand crafted trinkets and a few gifts from nature. You can purchase Sylvan from www.feralfibres.co.uk

Fraggle

Mistress Crowsigh also creates some wonderful poppets including Fraggle (above) and Herne (below) They would make perfect alternatives to top your Christmas tree this year.

Herne

October Plenty 2020

The October Plenty happened! It took place online on Sunday October 25th 2020. It was proceeded by a week of wonderful events.

Videos of The Green Man in his Autumn guise and friends are available on The Lions Parts YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaOeeeEsDcPrKo2i_0Nvipw

And you can find more about October Plenty here:

http://www.thelionspart.co.uk/octoberplenty/index.html

Hopefully The Lions Part Twelfth Night Celebrations will still go ahead in some form in January 2021 (They have a cunning plan) I will keep you posted here on this blog.

Jack in the Green 2020 update and videos

It has of course been a very unusual year for The Traditional Jacks in the Green. It’s been sad that many of the Jacks could not go out but due to the wonders of technology some fantastic events have taken place online. So far this year at least four Jacks were sighted in the leaf:

  • The Hammersmith Jack in the Green
  • The Winchcome Jack in the Green
  • The Hastings Traditional Jack in the Green
  • The Deptford (Fowler’s Troop) Jack on the Green

Many new mini Jacks in the Green also appeared around Hastings and all over the country.

And the Cheltenham Jack in the Green sent his best wishes to everyone from isolation in the Hedgerow.

The Hastings Traditional Jack in the Green organisers presented a brilliant weekend of entertainment bringing all of the usual events online including the waking and slaying of the 2020 Jack in the Green. The main procession can still be viewed by searching for it on Facebook (unfortunately Facebook won’t allow it to be embedded here).

The Evercreech Jack of Jack’s original beast head with a smaller body decorated in flowers and foliage went on display in the Old Stores Studio in Evercreech as part of a fantastic window display that you can see in the video below.

The Bradford on Avon Jack in the Green didn’t appear but the organisers created a wonderful online festival instead showcasing nearly all their planned dancers, musicians and venues. They used existing videos previously recorded by their performers as well as several specially made lockdown clips and many photos from The Company of the Green Man.  There are over 90 separate clips and, as it lasts for over three hours. You can view the online festival below.

The Hammersmith Jack in the Green supported by The World Famous Hammersmith Morris Men brought tears to the eye with their beautiful video of the 2020 Jack that went live at dawn on 1st May.

The organisers of The Whitstable Jack in the Green put on a great show presented by the always wonderful Dixie Lee. As well as lots of dancing and music Jack’s route was still processed in isolation.

The slightly trimmer than usual Deptford Jack in the Green put in a great lock down appearance on May 1st as can be seen in the video below.

The Oxford Jack in the Green also appeared virtually from photos of Spring foliage sent in by members of Oxford University Morris Men from around the UK, and even from as far afield as Toronto and Pnom Penh.

I would also like to once again thank all those involved with Jack in the Green and Green Man events around the country and abroad this and every year. The organisers and participants put blood sweat and tears into keeping these wonderful traditions alive and The Company of the Green Man will always be here to support them. I will raise a pint of ale to you all and look forward to meeting up with you all again over the coming years. #jackwillbeback

And fingers crossed that the Carshalton Straw Jack might still parade in September.

The Slaying of Jack 2020

It is as always with a mixture of joy and sadness that I announce the slaying of The Hastings Traditional Jack in the Green at approximately 15:45 today. The Jack was ritually killed in a secret location somewhere in Hastings and by magical means his leaves were distributed virtually by his Bogie attendants. Jack gave up his life to release the spirit of summer as he does selflessly every year. Congratulations to Heather, Keith and everyone involved with the first Virtual Hastings Traditional Jack in the Green which despite the occasional technological wobble was a resounding success. I was lucky to get connected via Zoom this morning and took great pleasure in watching the whole event.

It has of course been a very unusual year so far for The Traditional Jacks in the Green. But due to the wonders of technology some fantastic events have taken place online. So far this year at least four Jacks have been sighted in the leaf:

The Hammersmith Jack in the Green

The Winchcome Jack in the Green

The Hastings Traditional Jack in the Green

The Deptford (Fowler’s Troop) Jack on the Green

The Cheltenham Jack in the Green sent his best wishes to everyone from isolation in the Hedgerow.
Many new mini Jacks in the Green also appeared around Hastings and all over the country.

And to remind us what it’s going to be like again next year when May 1st falls on a Saturday here’s Justin Lycett’s wonderful Hastings 2018 video again.

I would also like to take the opportunity to thank all those involved with Jack in the Green and Green Man events around the country and abroad this and every year. The organisers and participants put blood sweat and tears into keeping these wonderful traditions alive and The Company of the Green Man will always be here to support them. I will raise a pint of ale to you all and look forward to meeting up with you all again over the coming years. #jackwillbeback

Jack is Alive

The Hastings 2020 Traditional Jack in the Green is alive! This grainy picture taken via the wonders of technology shows Jack waking up in a secret location somewhere in the Hastings area mere minutes ago. He appeared out of a mysterious green fog to virtual cries of joy from his Bogies.

Merry May Day!

My thanks to Rose Blakeley for the wonderful and extremely poignant picture and poem below that remind us that #jackwillbeback

You can find more of Rose’s wonderful work at www.roseblakeley.moonfruit.com

Jack is Alive!

Hammersmith Jack in the Green May dawn 2020

May morning can always bring surprises but this year despite what’s going on around us May Day is already putting a big smile on my face.

If you had told my last year that I would not only finally get back to Hastings for May Dawn but would be experiencing it from Keith Leech’s front room I would have assumed that you had imbibed too much Walpurgis Night mead. But there I was along with all the other early risers watching the sun rise over the rooftops of Hastings via Facebook along with Keith and Heather, some wonderful Morris Dancers a drummer and viewers from around the world. Jacks are springing up all over Hastings and further afield and I shall post pictures of as many as I can on our blog.

Then just after 6am The Smiffs, The World Famous Hammersmith Morris Men posted this brilliant video on YouTube of them all separately dancing Bampton Sidestep along with The Hammersmith Jack in the Green

Then a text message came through with the wonderful photograph below of The Winchcombe Jack in the Green seeing in dawn on his own this morning.

Winchcombe Jack in the Green May dawn 2020

This brilliant Jack saw dawn in from Usk in Wales and was brought to life by Marie Carter.

Usk Jack in the Green Mayday Dawn 2020

 

It’s a great start and I’ll post more pictures of any other Jacks as soon as I can.

 

Merry May Day!

 

It is 05:32 and the sun has just risen.

A Merry May Day to you all from The Company of the Green Man.

 

 

A Riddle – Phil Lister

I am born on May Morning by sticks, bells, and ribbons
I am the sap in the dark root
I am the dancer with his six fools
I am the tump behind the old church
I am the lost soul under the misericord
I am the oak against the stars
I am the face that peers through the leaves
I am the fear in a childs mind
I am the demon on the roof-boss
I am killed in October and laid on church altars
I am the guiser on the bright bonfire
I am the old grain sown with the seed
I am the flame in the pumpkins grin
I am the spirit in the kern-baby’s bosom

 

 

 

Green Man – William Anderson

Like antlers, like veins of the brain, the birches
Mark patterns of mind on the red winter sky;
‘I am thought of all plants’, says the Green Man,
‘I am thought of all plants’, says he.

The hungry birds harry the last berries of rowan
But white is her bark in the darkness of rain;
‘I rise with the sap’, says the Green Man,
‘I rise with the sap’, says he.

The ashes are clashing their bows like sword-dancers
Their black buds are tracing wild faces in the clouds;
‘I come with the wind’, says the Green Man.
‘I come with the wind’, says he.

The alders are rattling as though ready for battle
Guarding the grove where she waits for her lover;
‘I burn with desire’, says the Green Man,
‘I burn with desire’, says he.

In and out of the yellowing wands of the willow
The pollen-bright bees are plundering the catkins;
‘I am honey of love’, says the Green Man,
‘I am honey of love’, says he.

The hedges of quick are thick with May blossom
As the dancers advance on the leaf-covered King;
‘It’s off with my head’, says the Green Man,
‘It’s off with my head’, says he.

Green Man becomes grown man in flames of the oak
As its crown forms its mask and its leafage his features;
‘I speak through the oak’, says the Green Man,
‘I speak through the oak’, says he.

The holly is flowering as hay fields are rolling
Their gleaming long grasses like waves of the sea;
‘I shine with the sun’, says the Green Man,
‘I shine with the sun’, says he.

The hazels are rocking the cups of their nuts
As the harvesters shout when the last sheaf is cut;
‘I swim with the salmon’, says the Green Man,
‘I swim with the salmon’, says he.

The globes of the grapes are robing with bloom
Like the hazes of autumn, like the Milky Way’s stardust;
‘I am crushed for your drink’, says the Green Man,
‘I am crushed for your drink’, says he.

The aspen drops silver of leaves on earth’s salver
And the poplars shed gold on the young ivy flower heads;
‘I have paid for your pleasure’, says the Green Man,
‘I have paid for your pleasure’, says he.

The reedbeds are flanking in silence the islands
Where meditates Wisdom as she waits and waits;
‘I have kept her secret’, says the Green Man,
‘I have kept her secret’, says he.

The bark of the elder makes whistles for children
To call to the deer as they rove over the snow;
‘I am born in the dark’, says the Green Man,
‘I am born in the dark’, says he.

 

 

MAYDAY online record of May rituals and customs

This is a call out for MAYDAY an online record of the May rituals and customs during lock down. Artists Dorothy and Stella are looking for people who take part in the customs of May, to have their photo taken via zoom/skype with an accompanied soundbite describing the custom of choice.

We would love to talk to someone before tomorrow who likes to take part in the May Dew custom of washing themselves with the 1st May morning dew. We are also interested in talking to people who take part in customs throughout May.

Please contact us at pervilion@gmail.com

Customs all over Britain celebrate May for ushering new life after the long winter, with rituals for good fortune and health. These powerful expressions of identity exist through repetition. What does this break in the calendar mean for communities?

As self-isolation continues through May 2020 MAYDAY asks how might people at home preserve an affinity with natural cycles and hold onto the customs that bind?

We look forward to hearing from you,

Dorothy and Stella

Jack in the Green Events May 2020o

I would usually be telling you about all of the Jacks that will be waking and parading over the coming days, but as we all know things are a bit different this year. It is hoped that some Jacks will still be seeing in dawn on May morning and I will report on them and post pictures as soon as I can.

There are also some wonderful virtual events taking place which are detailed below.

My thanks to Rose Blakeley for the wonderful Jack in the Green picture above.
www.roseblakeley.moonfruit.com

 

Hastings Virtual Traditional Jack in the Green

This year’s Jack in the Green will go ahead as a virtual event online. On Sunday 3 May, revellers are encouraged to dress up, decorate their houses with greenery, and join in the virtual parade via the Facebook page: 

https://www.facebook.com/HastingsTraditonalJackintheGreen/

“We are very pleased to say that during these difficult times we are looking to bring the town online and together to celebrate our beloved festival, Hastings Traditional Jack in the Green. We are working with local community facebook channel Isolation Station Hastings to run a series of events streamed live on our Facebook page and theirs including a sunrise ceremony at dawn on 1st May and morris dancing, drumming and music on Saturday May 2nd with the main procession taking place on Sunday 3rd via Zoom and Facebook.

Dress up in green, decorate your homes and join us on Zoom!

For the main event on Sunday we are asking the whole town to get dressed up in green as they normally would and join us online on Zoom. Here we will all be able to celebrate together watching footage of previous years’ processions as well as live performances from across Hastings including Morris dancing, drum performances, a ceilidh, live music, the slaying of the Jack and all of the wonderful people and characters that make this event what it is. The exciting part is we will be able to see everyone dressed up and enjoying the virtual festival from their homes.

To apply for spaces for Sunday’s Main Procession on Zoom, details will be announced on www.hastingsjitg.co.uk in the coming days. It will be simultaneously broadcast on Facebook so nobody needs to miss out.

May Day ‘Bang your drum for the NHS at 3.30pm on Sunday 3rd May’

We will end the proceedings at 3.30pm by inviting the whole town to go to their doorsteps, windows and balconies and bang their drums in a special Hastings May Day applause for the NHS, before we conduct the famous ceremonial slaying of the Jack.

RAISING MONEY FOR OUR NHS

It’s no small undertaking – we estimate there will be over one hundred people working and performing at this event, which will include as much of the actual schedule as is technologically possible. We are a charity ourselves and are of course losing money this year, but we hope everyone will come together and we are inviting those who can to donate to two local charities providing PPE and other support for our NHS: ‘Hastings Supports Our NHS Staff’ and ‘Friends of the Conquest Hospital’. Normally tens of thousands attend our event, so if everybody donated a small amount we could make a big difference.

Donation link https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jack-in-the-green

Show us your decorations this week on social media

All details will be announced on our social media pages this week, but in the mean time we are asking everybody to start preparing their decorations and costumes and post photos & videos with the hashtag #hastingsvirtualjack2020

There will be a few hundred places available for the Zoom Procession, but it will be simultaneously broadcast to our own Facebook page and Isolation Station’s so nobody needs to miss out.

We believe this very special event belongs to our community, and we will work night and day to bring it online so that we can keep the spirit of Hastings alive during these difficult times.”

 

Whitstable Virtual Jack in the Green

This year’s Whitstable Jack in the Green will go ahead as a virtual event online on May the 1st – Go to the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Whitstable-Jack-in-the-Green-100375881612669 for a live stream from 12pm including a specially commissioned film compiling lots of lovely footage and photos of the procession over the years made by Dixie Lee’s grandson Josh, a live performance of the May Day Song by Cathy Lesurf and John Jones and an interview with Dixie, Cathy, John, Ian Telfer and Alan Prosser about the revival of this amazing tradition, the Whitstable Folk Club, music, morris and any questions you might have!

Evercreech Jack in the Green

Last year 🌿EVERCREECH JACK IN THE GREEN🌿 was dressed in his finery of flowers and foliage and although Jack cannot be processed by followers this year- to keep everyone safe- we are still honouring the turn of seasons this May with some exciting alternative plans that are afoot…

Evercreech Jack in the Green will be adorned in his greenery in a studio window display at The Old Stores Studio from this first weekend of May for people to enjoy as they go about their daily exercise past the studio and online. (If you have any spare flowers and foliage from your own gardens that you can offer to add to Jack please safely drop off outside the studio if you can. We can also arrange to collect safely from anyone locally if you can’t venture out- feel free to message us. All donations gratefully received! 🌿🌷)…

We are also really looking forward to teaming up with Garden Day UK and local florists, flower growers and community to celebrate Garden Day UK on Sunday 10 May and will be safely gifting 50 + beautiful free flower crowns to local people. If you know someone who deserves to be gifted a flower crown and relax in their garden (doesn’t everyone?!🌿💐👑) then please TAG them TO NOMINATE and tell us why they deserve to be crowned! 👑💐🌹🌼🌸🌺🌻🌷🌿(crowns will be safely delivered to doorsteps on Sunday 10 May).

STAY SAFE (stay home and enjoy your garden if you have one) AND SHARE THE LOVE! ❤️ 🌿

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