Now, last post, I mentioned witnessing a black lab running about town (I suspect; I saw another black lab this morning, being walked by someone, but I am also unsure whether that is here, there, or anywhere). It maybe spirits, omens, or other such things, and I can’t be sure. All I really know is I get vibes off encounters like this.
I also get vibes off of reading the encounters others have with the numinous. Most of the time, I think I can tell whether someone is telling the truth about a god or spirit, or making it up (in the former camp we have, off the top of my head, Mankey’s encounter with Santa Claus with which he opens his Little Book of Yule, and in the latter we have the infamous “Smarmy’s Set Interview”, which can be found here).
This is all a bunch of set up to talk about Jack Frost.
This year, I have been feeling the pull of the spirit world, especially around fall and winter. I’ve been seeking it out and it has been answering. Ancestors, nature spirits, and so on are putting in appearances while I dive deeper into the lore of the season. (I’ve also been watching Rise of the Guardians on repeat for the past week, and that movie is a cinematic masterpiece, but really the former led to the discovery of the latter.)
So I took the leap. I sat down today and instead of reaching for a quiet Goddess (and She has been quiet lately, but She isn’t the only one and it isn’t as though I’ve been abandoned), I reached for Jack Frost.
In preparation for the big moment I had done some research, trying to find out the average pagan experience of the figure. I stumbled onto the account Christopher Penczak offers in The Temple of Shamanic Witchcraft: Shadows, Spirits, and the Healing Journey. His theory of the God is that there are eight iterations, four Horned and four Jacks or Johns (so to speak). One of those four Jacks is Jack Frost (the other three being Green, Barleycorn, and O’Lantern). I’d read the excerpt, in which Penczak describes how he never quite liked winter, and when he tried to reach out to Mr. Frost, Jack had been hostile and short with him, and asked that, to make up for it (besides thanking the guy for keeping him safe each winter), Penczak was to offer a drop of his own blood.
I could not get a read off of this account, on whether it was true or not.
And so I decided this morning, when I visited the painter, I would ask. And I did.
To me, Jack Frost was excitable, animated, bouncing around everywhere as if he was finally happy to have someone to talk to him just for its own sake. He took to me well enough, recognizing me as someone who likes the peace winter brings to the world and feels the pull within me to sleep later and go to bed earlier (to, essentially, hibernate). But, he said the blood thing was true. He suggested it was one of those things that goes for people who don’t like winter, who try to resist its energy.
Now, this is just my first visit, my first impression of him. I like him, but he’s already shown signs of the complexities he embodies, being the personification of and/or bringer of winter weather. The thing about winter is that it’s harsh to the unprepared, and quite frankly, those who cannot, for whatever reason, afford to prepare. This is the importance of giving, and of being able to survive yourself. It requires forethought, and selflessness. It is, in short, complicated.
He is complicated.