Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween | "Science and Meaning of Jack o' Lantern" and "Crossing the Veil: The Pre-Christian Origins of Halloween and Samhain"

This is a compilation post from two different websites containing three articles. Great data to reflect on for today I think.
- Justin
The Meaning of the Jack-o’-lantern
Source - Gnostic Warrior 
Enveloped in darkness, we find the spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, which is our soul in the darkness and represented in the symbolism and halloween pumpkin carving ideas 125 The Meaning of the Jack o lanternmyths of the Jack-o-lantern. This Gnostic story of a lost spirit is represented in Jack who roams about the dark countryside of Hades on All Hallow’s Eve (October 31) with his illuminated candle, in search is his soul that is  located somewhere between heaven and hell. His pumpkin represents the as without darkness of his body, that inside holds the light of his spirit as within. 
This time of year is known as Samhain, and it was said to be a time when evil spirits were said to have roamed about the countryside. The stories and actual use of carved pumpkins known as the Jack-o-Lantern, originate from the ancient Druids celebration of the festival of Samhain where they would light their sacred fires to the god of the forest on the advent of November. This was the great autumn festival that the Druids celebrated in thanksgiving for their harvest. Hence, this was their Thanksgiving.
These pagan festivals were later morphed into Irish, and the Scottish Highland tales. These pumpkins were “often carved with grotesque faces to represent spirits or goblins,” as an attempt to scare these wandering spirits and ghosts of long-ago.
Happy Halloween Jack O Lantern by GENZOMAN The Meaning of the Jack o lanternForever, the Jack- O-Lantern wanders as a lost spirit in Hades that could not find a place to rest. In other words, Jack could never find his soul that was located within him the whole time. Hence, he never found true gnosis.
The terms Jack o’ lantern, Jack a lantern, or Jack of the Lantern,  is also called will-o’-the-wisp, or Will of, or with, the Wisp. The term “will-o’-the-wisp” uses “wisp” (a bundle of sticks or paper sometimes used as a torch) and the proper name “Will“: thus, “Will-of-the-torch.” He is also known as Jack and ends with lantern, which mean ‘the little imp or goblin called Jack, who goes about in the twilight or the dark with a lantern to delude unwary travelers.’ He is also called Hob with a lantern, Jack of the wad, Kit with the candlestick, Kitty with the wisp, and Will with the wisp in many variations of these names.(1)

The Druids were descendants of the ancient Hebrews (Greek Hebraios) who are also known as the Iraelites. They were the children of Jacob’s whose real name is Ya’akov which we can see the similarity in the name of Jack. The Greek, io is pronounced as Ya, and in Syriac language Io, was the God of Wisdom or Knowledge. Ya or Yah is also the name of God in Judaism. The meaning of the word Ak is point or sharpness. The meaning of Ov is a seer or necromancer.
The earliest mention of Jack I have found is in the year 1663 where it is said;.
Evening – I am an Evening dark as Night, Jack-with-the Lantern bring a Light.
Jack – Whither, whither, whither? [ Within’}
Evening – Hither, hither, hither.
Jack – Thou art fome pratling Eccho, of my making.
Evening – Thou art a follish Fire, by thy mistaking:
I am the Evening that creates thee.
Enter Jack in a black Suit border’dwitM Glmv-ivortns, a Coronet of Shaded Beams on his head over it a Paper Lantern with a Candle in V.
Jack – My Lantern and my Candle waits thee.
Enter Jack in a black Suit border ‘d with Glow-worms, a Coronet of Shaded Beams on his head, oi’cr it a Paper Lantern with a Candle in 7.
Jack – My Lantern and my Candle waits thee. (2)
This is not all about fairy tales and pumpkins folks. Please don’t be tricked because I have treat for you where I will further explore the science of the Jack-o-lantern in a mysterious phenomenon that brings light to autumn’s deepening darkness.
1.Transactions and proceedings, Volumes 25-26By American Philological Association
2. 1663 Stapyi.ton, The Slighted Maid, act 3 (1663, p. 48) (in Arber’s reprint (1868) of The Rehearsal (1672), p. 42, 43).(2)

The Science of the Jack-o-lantern

In my last article on the mythology of the hidden meaning of the Jack-o-lantern, I explained how this was really an ancient gnostic story that was developed by the PhoenicianJack o lantern The Science of the Jack o lantern -Hebrew Druids who were known biblically as the children of Jacob (Jack). It is a tale of the as within, as without gnosis in which Jack roams the dark countryside with a lantern in search of his soul with the light of his spirit.
It was in Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales and other countries where the Druids had observed during the dark autumn nights a mysterious phenomenon of lights shooting from the swamps and marshes. These lights burned blue and gave the appearance of spirits rising from the swamps into the air where they would roam and disappear.
There is also a mysterious science behind these gnostic myths that may indicate to us today exactly why the Druids had developed this story of the Jack-o’-lantern. After all, the Druids were the sacred science keepers and priests of Europe who had valued knowledge and truth above all other worldly attributes.
To them knowledge was not just power, but a key to the underworld and their immortality.
The science of the Jack-o-lantern is centered around what is called swamp gas that is also known by several other names such as ignis fatuus, marsh gas,  will-o’-the-wisp, corpse candles, and a jack-o’-lantern. They are also called spook-lights, orbs and ghost-lights that can be seen in graveyards and are known as “ghost candles.”
The will-o’-the-wisp and graveyard ghost candles are the basis of the myth that brought us our holiday of All Hallows Eve, now known as Halloween, and the symbol of the  Jack-o-lantern.
Will o   the wisp The Science of the Jack o lantern
Could these mysterious lights actually be the science of souls in the form of light that are rising from the darkness of the earth to be reborn again? My research into this phenomenon and the myths surrounding these ancient stories seem to indicate that this may be exactly what we see when we witness these ghost candles, or Jack-o’-lanterns.
Below is an image of these alleged ghost candles and light orbs by an amateur photographer showing these lights hovering in the darkness above the tombstones of a Salem Cemetery.
Salem Cemetary Orbs3q The Science of the Jack o lantern
This version of the story is brought into spiritual perspective with a scientific spin by the American anthropologist John G. Owens in Folk-Lore from Buffalo Valley (1891). Little did he know that he may have been observing the cycle of life.
This is a name that is sometimes applied to a phenomenon perhaps more frequently called Jack-o’-the-lantern, or Will-o’-the-Wisp. It seems to be a ball of fire, varying in size from that of a candle-flame to that of a man’s head. It is generally observed in damp, marshy places, moving to and fro; but it has been known to stand perfectly still and send off scintillations. As you approach it, it will move on, keeping just beyond your reach; if you retire, it will follow you. That these fireballs do occur, and that they will repeat your motion, seems to be established, but no satisfactory explanation has yet been offered that I have heard. Those who are less superstitious say that it is the ignition of the gases rising from the marsh. But how a light produced from burning gas could have the form described and move as described, advancing as you advance, receding as you recede, and at other times remaining stationary, without having any visible connection with the earth, is not clear to me
Phosphorus cycle with peeing dude The Science of the Jack o lantern I have written about the cycle of life in many previous articles where I explain that the immortal chemical energy known by the Greek name phosphorus, and Latin Lucifer is the true alpha and omega of all nature. When any living plant or creature dies, including us humans, the only chemical energy that is left of us after decomposition is phosphorus and this chemical is then recycled into the earth where it is deposited. In the occult, it is known as Lucifer, the Philosopher’s Stoneand the Elixir of Life. In the bible it is called the morning star, and the Alpha and Omega. The image to the left I believe indicates this visually for you.
Phosphorus is commonly found in inorganic phosphate rocks and phosphate is the body’s source of chemical energy. The phosphorus atom is of the nitrogen family, but having that characteristic of firing. Phosphorus is the philosopher’s stone that is the central symbol of alchemy, symbolizing the light within our DNA and in nature, and it is the least abundant element cosmically relative to its presence in biology,” says Matthew Pasek of the University of South Florida.
Phosphorus (P) is an essential element for all life forms and is stored primarily in soil and sediment. Phosphorus is an essential component ofadenosine triphosphate (ATP) which transports chemical energy within cells for metabolism (i.e. uptake and transport of nutrients);deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) which is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms; and ribonucleic acid (RNA) which is important for protein synthesis in plants and animals.(1)
Phosphorus as a mineral is almost always present in its maximally oxidised state, as inorganic phosphate rocks. It is from these phosphate rocks, that all life truly evolves.
Phosphorus enters the environment from native rocks or possibly meteorites from space that landed upon earth many tens of thousands, and possibly millions of years ago. It is from these ancient life-giving rocks and mountains that deposit the phosphate sediment into the ocean and waters of the earth, in which science has stated all life comes from water. Then from this water the plants, fish, animals and mammals etc. are born and feed off this natural system of ecology; that places this phosphate rock that produces phosphorus, as the true alpha and omega of the planet earth.
Below is an image of this process of nature, that shows the cycle of the Jack-o’-the-lantern, Will-o’-the-Wisp and ghost candles. This shows the immortal process of phosphorus from the phosphate rock to water life, and then plant and animal life.
Phosphorus Cycle 2 The Science of the Jack o lantern
The gas which rises from stagnant water is different from the lights that are said to inflame spontaneously. The gas is just decaying dead matter in the form of methane and sulfur dioxide from the result of anaerobic digestion and fermentation of any plant or animal material. This dead matter can include humans and as I mentioned above, phosphorus (P) is an essential element for all life forms and is stored primarily in soil and sediment and is the true alpha and omega of all nature.
This gas is a fuel, and not a light like what is described in these ancient Druid stories, and also by anthropologist John G. Owens. Gas is a fuel that ignites via spontaneous combustion. However as I stated before, phosphorus is a chemical energy that is like a light that burns bright, and has the tendency to fire like the descriptions of these will-o’-the-wisps. This thermal image below, shows the actual process of phosphorus in our blood and proves the firing action that happens within our bodies that produces this unique light.“God had said, let there be, and there was light,” or should I say, “Jack said let their be light, and there was light?”
Phosphorus DNA Photo 2 The Science of the Jack o lantern
Where does this light go when we die and our bodies decompose into the ground? Perhaps this light rises from the earth, marshes, wetlands and graveyards like lights hovering looking for a new body to inhabit kind of like the ancient stories of the Jack-o’-lantern. A fire, that is derived throughout the earth in the form of phosphorus.
No longer must you wander the countryside like Jack with a lantern searching for your soul. Let me please help light your own internal lantern so you can find your soul hidden deep within you.
“The water of the marsh is ferruginous, and covered with an iridescent crust. During the day bubbles of air were seen rising from it, and in the night blue flames were observed shooting from and playing over its surface. As I suspected that there was some connection between these flames and the bubbles of air, I marked during the day-time the place where the latter rose up most abundantly, and repaired thither during the night; to my great joy I actually observed bluish-purple flames, and did not hesitate to approach them. On reaching the spot they retired, and I pursued them in vain; all attempts to examine them closely were ineffectual.
On another day, in the twilight, I went to the place, where I waited the approach of night; the flames became gradually visible, but redder than formerly, thus showing that they burnt also during the day; I approached nearer and they retired. Convinced that they would return again to their place of origin, when the agitation of the air ceased, I remained stationary and motionless, and observed them again gradually approach. As I could easily reach them, it occurred to me to attempt to light paper by means of them, but for some time I did not succeed in this experiment, which I found was owing to my breathing.
I therefore held my face from the flame, and also interposed a piece of cloth as a screen; on doing which I was able to singe paper, which became brown-colored, and covered with a viscous moisture. I next used a narrow slip of paper, and enjoyed the pleasure of seeing it take fire. The gas was evidently flammable, and not a phosphorescent one, as some have maintained. But how do these lights originate?”(2)
The fabled will-o’-the-wisp and jack-o’-lantern are said to be manifestations of swamp gas. However, since methane does not ignite spontaneously, we suddenly find that this phenomenon of nature has become more phenomenal. Sounds redundant, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not nearly as redundant as using a mystery to explain away other mysteries. So, to account for the will-o’-the-wisp how does the gas ignite to provide the necessary flame? A misconception occasionally stated in chemistry texts and books dealing with these phenomena is that the spontaneous ignition of methane could result from the additional presence of phosphine (PH3) in the swamp gas. Phosphine (phosphorus trihydride), a highly poisonous gas also evolved from waterlogged soils, results from the decay of protein, bone, and other phosphate-bearing matter.
Interestingly, pure phosphine is not self-igniting either. In order for it to spontaneously inflame, it must be contaminated with a small amount of phosphorous tetrahydride (P2H4). Recently, however, some of these “given” operating conditions for swamp gas have been challenged in the laboratory. Demonstrations have shown that if the tetrahydride-bearing phosphine is injected into a stream of methane—and if self-ignition occurs—the resultant flame will be a bright green color, accompanied by copious smoke and a distinct odor. Nevertheless, despite these findings, it is generally agreed that jack-o’-lanterns do not produce stinking, green contrails.
Accordingly, laboratory experiments devoted to the synthesis of self-igniting swamp gas have, thus far, been unsuccessful. In fact, recent tests using soil/phosphate mixtures have evolved flammable, though not self-igniting gasses. Additionally, in the same series of experiments, vapor phase chromatography (a sensitive analysis technique) failed to detect even part-per-million traces of phosphine in the laboratory samples.
1. Chemistry for schools By Dionysius Lardner
2. This account took place in Newmark, Germany and was documented in an 1832 edition of the Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal and was recaptured for posterity by William R. Corliss in Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights and Related Luminous Phenomena , pp. 168, 175.
3. Chemistry in Britain, “Will-o’-the-Wisp,” A.A. Mills, 16: 69-71, February 1980.

Crossing the Veil: The Pre-Christian Origins of Halloween and Samhain

Halloween, or the ancient Samhain, is considered the time of year when the veil between our world and the spirit world is at its thinnest. As darkness falls and families light their pumpkin Jack-o'-lanterns, they are, perhaps unknowingly, repeating the ancient traditions of honoring the dead and marking the beginning of the ‘dark half’ of the year. 

Halloween is an annual celebration held largely in the western world on October 31st. Starting in the evening, children, and sometimes adults, dress in masks and costumes, traditionally as ghostly figures, witches, or the undead – vampires, zombies, skeletons. They go knocking door-to-door, requesting treats, or else threatening a mischievous trick upon the household. Typical activities of the modern observance can include costume parties, pumpkin carving, trick-or-treating, lighting bonfires, playing pranks and more. 

Hallowe’en, a shortened form of "All Hallows' Evening" is the echo of Celtic harvest festivals of pre-Christian Europe. Observed now in several countries around the world, it is the evening before ‘All Hallows Day’, when saints (hallows) and martyrs are remembered by people of many Christian denominations. This ritual, however, coincides with (and some scholars suggest co-opted) the ancient observance of Samhain. 

Samhain (pronounced sah-van or sow-in) is the traditional Gaelic festival marking the change of seasons and the approach of winter. Wikipedia describes this pre-Christian custom: “Many important events in Irish mythology happen or begin on Samhain. It was the time when cattle were brought back down from the summer pastures and when livestock were slaughtered for the winter. As at Beltane, special bonfires were lit. These were deemed to have protective and cleansing powers and there were rituals involving them. Samhain (like Beltane) was seen as a liminal time, when the spirits or fairies (the Aos Sí) could more easily come into our world.” Fires, and later candles, were lit to mimic the sun and hold back the dark of the oncoming winter.

A bonfire, ancient tradition at Samhain (Source)

Dead and departed relatives played a central role in the tradition, as the connection between the living and dead was believed stronger at Samhain, and there was a chance to communicate. Souls of the deceased were thought to return to their homes. Feasts were held and places were set at tables as a way to welcome them home. Food and drink was offered to the unpredictable spirits and fairies to ensure continued health and good fortune.   

The idea that souls return home on a certain day of the year is repeated across many cultures around the world. Día de Muertos, or the Day of the Dead is a similar holiday in Mexico celebrating and honoring family members who have died. Similarly, this falls on October 31st, and November 1st and 2nd. 

Samhain saw a metamorphosis due to the early church. In The History of Halloween or Samhain, Jack Santino writes, “As a result of their efforts to wipe out ‘pagan’ holidays, such as Samhain, the Christians succeeded in effecting major transformations in it. In 601 A.D. Pope Gregory the First issued a now famous edict to his missionaries concerning the native beliefs and customs of the peoples he hoped to convert. Rather than try to obliterate native peoples' customs and beliefs, the pope instructed his missionaries to use them: if a group of people worshipped a tree, rather than cut it down, he advised them to consecrate it to Christ and allow its continued worship.” 

In the 12th century, holy days of obligation across Europe involved town criers dressed all in black, ringing mournful bells and calling on Christians to remember the poor souls of the dead. Special ‘soul cakes’ would be baked and shared. This custom of “souling” was shared in England, Germany, Belgium, Austria and Italy, and is thought to be the early precursor of trick-or-treating. 

Eventually, mumming and guising (going door-to-door in disguise and performing in exchange for food) was taken up in a depiction of these ancient customs. Pranks were a way of confounding evil spirits. Pranks at Samhain date as far back as 1736 in Scotland and Ireland, and this led to Samhain being dubbed “Mischief Night”. 

Painting of a Halloween party in Ireland, 1832. By Daniel Maclise. (Wikipedia)

Many of the modern practices for Halloween date to 19th century England and North America. Fortune telling and divination played a part in celebrations. Games were played intending to divine one’s future. Nuts and fruit featured in the eating and drinking games, and soul cakes were prepared. 

For Halloween, pumpkins are hollowed out, and spooky faces are carved into them, creating Jack-o'-lanterns. Candles are then lit inside the pumpkins, creating eerie lanterns, and serving as signals that a household observes Halloween. Pumpkins are frequently used today as they’re easier to carve and a symbol of harvest, but the original lanterns in Ireland and Scotland were carved from turnips. These turnip lanterns were used to frighten off evil spirits by guisers, and were a motif of the Irish Christian folk tale of Jack, a wandering soul, who was denied entry into both heaven and hell.

A traditional Irish turnip Jack-o'-lantern from
the early 20th century. (Creative Commons)
A traditional Irish turnip Jack-o'-lantern from the early 20th century. (Creative Commons) Observing Halloween is not without controversy. Some religions discourage participation, suggesting that it trivializes Samhain, it has satanic associations, or it is inappropriate tribute to paganism or the occult. However, the modern practices heavily influenced by commercialization and popular culture differ appreciably from the ancient traditions of Samhain and All Hallows’ Eve. Still, the connection exists and the history is clear - when you light a Jack-o'-lantern and brighten the darkening season, you’re carrying on an age-old tradition that bridges cultures around the world and reaffirms our connection to our departed loved ones.

Featured image: Symbols of Samhain and Halloween – fire, the dead, lanterns, harvest (Image Source

By Liz Leafloor    


Halloween - Wikipedia 

Samhain - Wikipedia 

The History of Halloween or Samhain - About 

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