CategoriesFolklore Pagan

The Green Man

Last week at Quest, we celebrated the Spring Equinox; which for us up in the Northern Hemisphere, heralds the start of Spring. We are now blessed with longer days and shorter nights. Hooray! Isn’t it beautiful to look out of the windows and see the green returning to the trees and the splashes of colour as the flowers awaken from their slumber? We love Spring here at Quest. Spring itself is all about fertility, rebirth and growth. Many traditions around this time of year stem from Pagan or Celtic rituals from centuries ago. There are many myths, legends and tales about deities and mythical beings around Spring time. A firm customer favourite is the Green Man. So this week, we thought there was no better time to tell you a little bit more about him and his origin.

Who Is The Green Man?

Well, he is an ancient mythological figure often depicted as a face made entirely of foliage, representing the spirit of nature and the cycle of life. With his roots in various cultures, the Green Man symbolises the connection between humans and the natural world. He is a symbol of fertility, growth, and rebirth, embodying the vitality of the earth. The Green Man appears in folklore, art, and architecture, inspiring awe and admiration for nature’s power. His presence reminds us to respect and protect the environment, urging us to live in harmony with the Earth and appreciate the beauty and abundance it provides.

Where Did The Green Man Originate?

The Green Man has origins in ancient mythology and folklore, particularly in European cultures, and can be traced back thousands of years. The exact origins of are difficult to pinpoint, as the figure has evolved and been represented in various forms throughout history. However, it is believed that the earliest representations can be found in the ancient cultures of the Celts and the Romans.

In Celtic mythology, the Green Man is associated with nature, fertility, and rebirth. He is often depicted as a masculine figure with a face made up of or surrounded by leaves, vines, or other vegetation.

The Roman god Silvanus, associated with woodlands and forests, also bears similarities to the Green Man. Silvanus is often depicted with a crown of leaves or with a face emerging from foliage.

Overtime, the Green Man motif spread across Europe, appearing in various forms of art and architecture. It became particularly prevalent during the medieval period, adorning churches, cathedrals, and other religious structures. The figure’s association with nature and fertility was often linked to Christian symbolism, representing the cycle of life and the resurrection.

What Does The Green Man Symbolise?

As we’ve mentioned previously, one of the primary meanings attributed to the Green Man is the representation of growth, rebirth, and fertility. As a symbol of the lushness of nature, it signifies the regenerative powers of the earth, particularly during the spring season when plants and trees come back to life after the dormant winter period.

The Green Man is also associated with the cycle of life and death. He symbolises the continuous cycle of growth, decay, and renewal, reminding us of the impermanence of all things and the need for balance. He also embodies the spirit of the forest and the untamed wilderness. He represents the wild and primal forces of nature, highlighting the importance of respecting and living in harmony with the natural world.

Additionally, the Green Man symbolises the connection between humanity and nature, reminding us of our responsibility as stewards of the earth. It serves as a reminder to live in harmony with nature and to recognise our dependence on the planet’s resources.

Today, the Green Man continues to be a popular symbol in art, literature, and contemporary pagan and nature-based spiritual practices. He continues to reflect humanity’s deep connection to nature and the enduring symbolism of the natural world, which is why he’s so loved among you, our wonderful customers.

We’ve Got You Covered

We have so many wonderful depictions of the Green Man available for you to purchase. Below are just a few of the products we have available online. Come in store or give us a call for more wonderful items.

CategoriesEducational Folklore Pagan

Imbolc

Hello and welcome to this fortnight’s blog. On the 1st February we celebrated Imbolc here at Quest and we’ve been doing a little research on this fabulous festival and thought we’d share it with you. So let’s find out more.

What is Imbolc?

The word ‘Imbolc’ is derived from an old Irish word ‘Imbolg’, which translates to ‘in the navel’. It refers to the signs of life beginning to emerge from the womb of Mother Earth herself. Imbolc begins at sunset on the 1st of February and continues through to sunset on 2nd of February. It marks the half way point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. Quite literally we are 6 weeks through the winter, with just 6 weeks left until spring arrives. Rooted in ancient Celtic traditions, Imbolc, is a wonderful time to welcome the first signs of spring, honour the Goddess Brigid, and embrace the light returning.

Who is Goddess Brigid?

Brigid, often referred to as the Celtic Goddess Brigid, is a deity with deep roots in Celtic mythology and spirituality. She holds a prominent place in the folklore and religious practices of various Celtic cultures. Brigid is commonly associated with fire, poetry, healing, fertility, and craftsmanship. Although of Celtic origin, her influence can be seen in both pagan and modern spiritual practices. In fact, Imbolc itself, is sometimes referred to as Brigid’s Day or St Brigid’s Day in her honour. It serves as a time to honor and invoke her blessings for inspiration, creativity, and protection.

Rituals & Traditions

Imbolc is a time of purification and preparation for the coming spring. Pagans and Wiccans celebrate the festival with a variety of rituals and traditions, each highlighting the themes of renewal and light. Some common practices include:

  • Lamp Lighting – Fire plays a significant role in Imbolc celebrations. Lighting lamps or candles around the home at sunset symbolises the return of the sun and the growing strength of its light. Many choose to place candles in every room of their homes to banish winter’s darkness and welcome the increasing daylight.
  • Brigid’s Crosses – Creating Brigid’s crosses is a traditional craft associated with Imbolc. Crosses are made from rushes or other natural materials, and symbolise protection. They are often hung above doorways to ward off negativity and invite Brigid’s blessings into the home.
  • Feasting – Sharing a meal is a central aspect of Imbolc celebrations, fostering a sense of community and unity.
  • Nature Walks – Connecting with the natural world is essential during Imbolc. Taking nature walks to observe the first signs of spring – budding flowers, emerging shoots, and the returning song of birds – allows individuals to attune themselves to the cycles of the Earth and express gratitude for the coming season.

We love the idea of lamp lighting to welcome the return of the sun. Did anyone see the Sunset on 1st February 2024? It was stunning!

Winter Wisdom

Along with the rituals and traditions listed above, Imbolc is also a time of reflection for the soul. So why not spend a little time over the days surrounding Imbolc to reflect on your growth through the winter. Here are some suggested journalling prompts:

What have you learnt? How have you grown? Is there anything you wish to leave behind, as you emerge from your winter hibernation? Now, reflecting upon the lessons of winter, how do you see things changing for you in the weeks and months ahead? Do you see yourself doing things any differently? If so, why? What is it you want to achieve this year? What are your hopes and dreams?

Take time over the coming weeks, to nurture the spring seeds of hope you have planted for yourself. Create yourself a plan, and figure out how you are going to bring them to fruition when the time is right. Our beautiful Tree of Life box would make the perfect place for your spring wishes.

So as we begin to emerge from the depths of winter, Imbolc offers us the perfect opportunity to celebrate the returning light, honour the goddess Brigid, and embrace the promise of new beginnings. We hope it’s inspired you, and helped to lift the January fog. It’s certainly excited us here at Quest!

We’ve Got You Covered

As always, we’ve got plenty of amazing products available in store and online to help you on your spiritual journey. So if Imbolc, resonates with you, take a look at some of the products we have below.

CategoriesEducational Folklore Pagan

Wassailing Wonders

Hey, magical souls! 🌟✨ It’s that enchanting time of the year again when we gather around the hearth, mug in hand, ready to embrace the warmth of tradition and the chill of winter. Today, we’re delving into the heart of the pagan festivities with a cup of Wassail in hand, celebrating the age-old tradition of Wassailing!

What is Wassailing?

First things first, what in the cauldron is Wassailing? Well, buckle up, because we’re about to embark on a journey back in time, to a magical era where apple orchards were more than just a place for a Sunday stroll.

Wassailing, rooted in ancient Pagan and Saxon customs, is a lively celebration that marks the awakening of the fruit trees from their winter slumber. Think of it as a boozy, joyous pep talk for the apple trees, ensuring a fruitful harvest in the coming year. The word “Wassail” itself is a hearty medieval greeting meaning “be in good health” or “cheers,” which perfectly sets the tone for this festive occasion. 

The Recipe for Wassail Wonder

Now, onto the star of the show – the Wassail itself! Imagine a steaming cauldron filled with a delightful concoction of spiced ale, apple cider, and spirits. It’s the kind of brew that warms not just your body but your spirit too. 

If you want to create your own delicious brew, you can be as creative as you wish with your Wassail recipe – toss in cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg, and maybe a dash of honey for that extra touch of magic. You can almost smell delicious aroma now can’t you! 

Is it just us, or can you too, feel the ancient spirits of the orchard joining the celebration? Put simply, Wassail is a magical blend of tradition and taste, and the perfect excuse to dust off that quirky mug you’ve been saving for a special occasion.

Wassailing Rituals: Sing, Dance, and Be Merry!

Picture this: a moonlit orchard, trees standing like silent sentinels, and a lively group of Wassailers singing their hearts out. Wassailing involves a series of rituals, each as delightful as the next.

  1. The Apple Wassail Song: This is all about infusing the orchard with joyous energy. Tapping of tambourines, pots and pans, or Wassailers simply tapping their feet to the rhythm of the traditional Apple Wassail Song: “Apple tree, apple tree, bear us some fruit, And if your branches can’t, we’ll give them a toot!”
  2. Toasting the Trees: Mugs are raised high in the air and a toast made to the health of the apple trees. Wassailers feeling the energy of the earth beneath their feet as they connect with the cycle of nature. This toast is not just a symbolic act; it’s an exchange of gratitude with the land – how beautiful is that?
  3. Offering to the Spirits: A portion of the Wassail drink is poured onto the roots of the apple trees as an offering to the spirits of the orchard. It’s a gesture of goodwill, a way of saying, “Thanks for the bounty, and here’s to more in the coming year!”

Creating Your Own Wassailing Wonderland

Now that you’re buzzing with Wassail wisdom, why not bring this magical tradition into your own space? Gather your coven, invite some friends, and turn your backyard into a mini orchard of wonder.

  1. 1. Deck the Halls: Adorn your space with fairy lights, candles, and a touch of greenery. Create a cosy nook where Wassailers can gather and share stories of winter’s past.
  2. 2. DIY Wassail Station: Set up a DIY Wassail station – spiced ale, apple cider, and an array of spices. Encourage everyone to mix their own brew, infusing it with their unique energy.
  3. 3. Sacred Sips: As you sip your Wassail, take a moment to connect with the energies around you. Feel the earth beneath you, the crisp winter air, and the camaraderie of kindred spirits.

If you’d prefer not to host, but would like to experinece the buzz of Wassailing, a quick Google and you’ll find lots of Wassailing events happening in Surrey as well as up and down the country.

Wassailing Wisdom for the Soul

In this age-old tradition, we find not just a celebration of the earth’s bounty, but a reminder of our deep connection to nature and the cycles of life. So, fellow seekers of magic, embrace the spirit of Wassailing with open hearts, mugs of Wassail held high, and a song on your lips. May your orchards be abundant, your spirits be merry, and your Wassail be downright enchanting. Cheers to winter’s wonders, and may the magic of Wassailing linger in your hearts throughout the seasons this year! 🍎🌙✨

Team Quest

We’ve Got You Covered

We have plenty of wonderful Pagan items available in store. So if Wassailing sounds a bit of you, do take a look at the items we have listed below.

Courses and Workshops

2024 is jam packed full of fabulous workshops and courses. With both, in person and online to choose from, there is something for everyone. To book, pop in or give us a call on 01372 878606.

CategoriesPagan Spirituality Tips & Advice

Nurturing Your Sacred Space: Setting Up Your Altar

Hello seekers of serenity and spiritual growth! In this fortnights blog, we’re embarking on a journey to create a sacred space that will serve as your personal haven for reflection, meditation, and connection with the divine. We are going to guide you through the art of creating your own altar, by the end we hope it’ll have inspired you to create your own.

What is an Altar?

An altar is a physical representation of your spiritual connection and intention. It’s a space dedicated to your inner self, where you can connect with your higher self, spirit guides, or the universe. Creating an altar is a deeply personal and meaningful experience, and there are no strict rules. Selecting the right location for your altar is the first step. It could be a corner of your room, a special nook, or even a small table. Ensure that it’s a place where you feel comfortable, safe, and undisturbed. This spot will become your sanctuary, so remember to trust your instincts.

An altar is a reflection of your spiritual journey, so choose meaningful items that hold personal significance. These could include:

  1. Candles: They symbolise light, transformation, and the presence of the divine. You might choose colors based on their associated energies (e.g., white for purity, blue for peace).
  2. Crystals and Stones: Select crystals that resonate with your intentions and energy. For example, amethyst for calm, rose quartz for love, or clear quartz for clarity.
  3. Statues or Symbols: Representations of deities, spiritual figures, or symbols that hold deep meaning for you.
  4. Incense or Sage: Purify the space and invoke a sense of sacredness with cleansing smoke.
  5. Plants or Flowers: Bring a touch of nature to your altar, connecting you with the earth’s energies.
  6. Personal Mementos: Photographs, letters, or objects that hold sentimental value can be included to deepen the personal connection.

Setting Your Intention and Organising Your Altar

Before placing any item on your altar, take a moment to centre yourself. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and set your intention. What is the purpose of this sacred space? Is it for meditation, manifestation, gratitude, or something else entirely? Let your heart lead the way.

Arranging your altar is an intuitive process. You might choose to arrange items symmetrically or follow a more organic flow. Trust your instincts and let your heart guide you. Remember, there’s no right or wrong way to do this – it’s about what feels right for you.

You might consider incorporating the four elements – earth, air, fire, and water – into your altar:

  1. Earth: Represented by crystals, stones, or plants, earth energy grounds you and provides stability.
  2. Air: This element is associated with mental clarity and communication. Use feathers, incense, or a bell to symbolize air.
  3. Fire: Candles or a small cauldron with a lit charcoal disk and resin represent the transformative power of fire.
  4. Water: A small bowl of water, seashells, or a symbol of a water deity can represent the fluidity of emotions and intuition.

A sacred space is a living entity that requires care and attention. Regularly cleanse and purify the area using smudging, incense, or intention-setting. Dust off your items with gratitude, and refresh the energy whenever you feel it’s necessary.

Using Your Altar in Practice

Your altar is a versatile tool. It can be a place for prayer, meditation, intention-setting, or simply a spot for quiet contemplation. Take a few moments each day to connect with your sacred space, and allow it to become a source of inspiration and grounding. May it be a space of solace, inspiration, and connection with the divine. Trust your heart, follow your intuition, and let this space be a reflection of your beautiful soul.

If you’ve been inspired to create your own sacred space, or perhaps you’ve already got one, please feel free to share your pictures on Instagram . Just don’t forget to tag us, so we can take a look and maybe share a few of our favourites.

We’ve Got You Covered

If this blog has inspired you to create your own altar, we’ve got lots of amazing products to help you on your way to creating your own spiritual haven.

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