Saying Hello

Mastering Witchcraft includes a ritual that amounts to summoning Vassago for purposes of “particularly complex” divination. There were token warnings about Vassago’s power, but I didn’t remember those until rereading the passage for this post. I do, however, remember (before rereading) that this was petty and thinking, “Doesn’t somebody just summon this guy just to say hello?”

I wasn’t the only one who thought this way. This post I found then, and after some work found again, describes the author’s own experience with the conjuration in Huson’s book. It reads like an episode of A Haunting, crazy demons terrorizing family members and all. I think we can safely assume his continuation with grimoiric methods is borne of the ignorance of the young who don’t know any better, but gradually, as we all do, he did learn better.

Grimoire rituals treat demons like the enemy, because they are rooted in a Christian framework.

If we aren’t Christian, why do we need to follow those rituals? And if they work in terms of manifesting but not in terms of results, then isn’t it time for a change of approach?

He thought so. And I did, too.

Now, I won’t say I’m the kind of lunatic to randomly strike up polite dinner conversation with a confirmed demon, but I’m definitely on that spectrum. I struck up a conversation with Jack Frost, possibly part-time Old Man Winter, and it’s worked out quite well for me so far. I also attempted to talk to Jesse James in the past. That was… less fortunate for me, and I’m grateful for the spirits who were with me at the time. But, on the whole, unless I am deliberately claimed (as if by a God), then I prefer to open with a ‘hello’.

Better than coercion, and I wonder how many others think about that.

Jack Frost

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.