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Robin, The Hooded Man


CelticGypsy

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In her classic study, The God of the Witches, Margaret Murray notes that head coverings were very important among the faery folk. " The most characteristic article of attire.. for all ranks [of faeries] was the hat, cap, or hood. Faeries were know to risk their lives to reclaim lost or stolen caps because, Like Siberian shamans, faery folk needed the hoods for magic and power. Typical colors were red or green, and many were conical or pointed, a style associated with Witches and Wizards. Legendary wisdom notes that the faeries' ability to disappear or render themselves invisible resided in the cap. Some folktales and children's stories retain this motif of the magical cap that makes the wearer invisible. The origins of the name for the famous outlaw of Sherwood Forest, Robin Hood, are wrapped in mystery. He was also called " Robin in the Hood ", " Robin the Hood ", and Robin, the Hooded Man. " Whatever the original intent, Robin's hood was an important key in defining who he was.

 

Woven through his legendary exploits is the ability to disappear into the forest when pursued by the local authorities. Was it the hood that made him invisible ? Tradition tells us that Robin and his men wore green, the color of the forest, which undoubtedly helped to camouflage them, and of course Robin's disappearing act was also enhanced by a superb knowledge of the woodland trails with their secret hiding places. But natural survival skills aside, an older theme in the Robin Hood legends, one that occasionally surfaces even in modern retellings, is Robin's skill as a worker of magic. In this light, his hood takes on special significance, paralleling its role in both Fenian mythology and Siberian shamanic lore.

 

From a shamanic perspective the hood, it's green color, and the wearer's ability to become one with the forest make perfect sense. Any hood can conceal one's identity when pulled partly down over the face, but a magical hood could give the wearer and entirely new shape. Robin's hood may have had shapeshifting power like Finn MacCool. As the tales were stripped of their magical qualities, Robin and his men became mearly " masters of disguise, " capable of passing through the gates of Nottingham undetected by the evil sheriff and his dimwitted thugs. But perhaps what became an ordinary skill of disguise was once a supernatural ability?

 

An old tradition suggests that Robin was the son of Herne, the Horned God and Leader of the Wild Hunt. Thus Robin, like Finn, had the shamanic heritage of man and spirit. Indeed, Robin was known by some as the "witch of Sherwood Forest" whose band of followers engaged in pagan rites deep in their forest hideout. ( the hard-drinking Friar Tuck notwithstanding). His reputation as a sorcerer and magicworker may have grown out of shamanic practices, including the shamanic journey that may have been the source for episodic material that later became part of his legend. Friar Tuck ( formerly Friar Michael ) is an outcast from Fountains Abbey, an institution with possible older goddess associations if one takes the term "fountains " to imply sacred waters. Back in the world, Tuck builds his hermitage by a river where he makes a modest living by ferrying travelers across the water, echoing the widespread tradition of the supernatural boatman who ferries the recently deceased into the Land of the Dead.

 

Among the Fenians, the greatest virtue was generosity, both Robin Hood and Finn MacCool were popular heroes who gave away material goods. What appears to lie half-buried beneath the adventures of Robin and his hooded men is evidence strongly suggesting that, in addition to what ever else it may have been, the call of the greenwood was a mystical vocation. Although the mystical vocation of Robin's outlaw gang may have been long lost in the pages of folklore and faery tales, there seems to be a rich substratum of mystical purpose to the outlaws of Sherwood Forest.

 

Regards,

Gypsy

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Another take from Gardner's Witchcraft Today:

 

"The Robin Hood story was spread, the tale of the wonderful archer who never missed his aim. Robin

was a common French-English name for a spirit and Hood was a frequent variant for Wood, and has

further been derived from the Scandinavian Hod, a wind god, variant of Woden. Robin Hood,

therefore, though he probably had a historical existence also, was a mythical form into which a witchleader

could easily transform. He had his coven of twelve, including the High Priestess, Maid Marian,

all dressed in Lincoln green. It was perhaps rather more respectable to go to a foresters' than to a

witches' party. The bright young things among the Saxons went and strolling friars turned up.

Gradually these parties evolved into the May Games."

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Another take from Gardner's Witchcraft Today:

 

"The Robin Hood story was spread, the tale of the wonderful archer who never missed his aim. Robin

was a common French-English name for a spirit and Hood was a frequent variant for Wood, and has

further been derived from the Scandinavian Hod, a wind god, variant of Woden. Robin Hood,

therefore, though he probably had a historical existence also, was a mythical form into which a witchleader

could easily transform. He had his coven of twelve, including the High Priestess, Maid Marian,

all dressed in Lincoln green. It was perhaps rather more respectable to go to a foresters' than to a

witches' party. The bright young things among the Saxons went and strolling friars turned up.

Gradually these parties evolved into the May Games."

 

Thank you, this is interesting to say the least. I've not read much of Gardner, and I think you and I have visited privately about him on one occassion. I must of been ranting, knowing me. lol. When I read your insightful thread, it brings this to light, that pagan and xtian mysticism converge in Marian and Friar Tuck. Marian may have been a "Maid" as in the sense of "Maiden," a name to a specific coven officer. Her name however, has xtian significance in that it is a form of Mary, a name that dots the Celtic landscape, camouflaging sites sacred to older mother goddessess. When I think of Robin Hoods' companions they have names and characteristics that indicate they may have originally been deities, faeries or shamans. John Little, for example is.... renamed .... Little John, possibly to hide his ambiguous nature, since the man himself was taller than average, even described as a giant.

Was he a giant, or one of the " "Little" People " ? :thinking:

 

Regards,

Gypsy

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This is really interesting, Gypsy. I've never felt a connection to Robyn Hood probably because I couldn't relate to the forest in the story. I have now bought the book to read up further on the subject. Would Will Scarlet be a possible faery?

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This is really interesting, Gypsy. I've never felt a connection to Robyn Hood probably because I couldn't relate to the forest in the story. I have now bought the book to read up further on the subject. Would Will Scarlet be a possible faery?

 

 

Thank you. Will Scarlet may refer to his impetuous nature, his hotheaded temperament, but he was also fond of wearing red, the color most often associated with the faery folk. Alan-a- Dale means Alan of the Valley, he was a musician from " between the hills ", was he a faery piper ? :thinking:

 

Regards,

Gypsy

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Thank you. Will Scarlet may refer to his impetuous nature, his hotheaded temperament, but he was also fond of wearing red, the color most often associated with the faery folk. Alan-a- Dale means Alan of the Valley, he was a musician from " between the hills ", was he a faery piper ? :thinking:

 

Regards,

Gypsy

 

Besides its relation to blood, I wonder could the red have any relation to the "red cap" mushroom that the night travelers were so fond of?

 

M

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Besides its relation to blood, I wonder could the red have any relation to the "red cap" mushroom that the night travelers were so fond of?

 

M

 

 

This is an interesting tid-bit, thanks. I looked up some of the properties of this certain 'shroom, and it can be hallucinogenic. More than likely for " Soul Flight ". Shamans and mystics often use different herbal properties in their path. This is very plausible. Also I was thinking of M.Witch's reference as to the games of May. ( Beltane ), when the veil is thin. Much like your Crooked Man Rhyme, these old legends and myths, take on a new meaning for some. The Witch just needs to peel back some of the layers and layers of mundane, and pallatable for others, and find a truth hidden deep inside. Now how does one take the " facinating " and " plausible " and make it a reality of truth and experiance ? Being vigilant, purposeful, and creative, would be the start for me.

 

Regards,

Gypsy

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Guest Elfyd

All,

This is so fascinating and insightful, your input here is welcome and of merit. I personally am not convinced that Robyn was a living human. Of all the theories (from good people like yourselves AND mundane scholars) I have read the one that strikes me the most is that Robyn/Robin was directly derived from "Jack in the Green" "Green Man" "Green Mask(Masque)" "Green Hood" et al. This is the greenwood spirit of the pagan people made whole, a totem for all to fall behind in secret and turn into a human construct for unity. The Green Man is seen carved in stone from the British Isles through the Continent, into the Russian Steppes, through the Indian subcontinent and even as far as Borneo and it makes me wonder if these incarnations of "our" Green Man" have any connections to others' folk-heroes as I believe "ours" does?

A lot of information/theory/study can be found in "Experiencing the Green Man" by Rob Hardy & Teresa Moorey, which is where I found pointers in my own search for his origins.

FFFF

Elf

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All,

This is so fascinating and insightful, your input here is welcome and of merit. I personally am not convinced that Robyn was a living human. Of all the theories (from good people like yourselves AND mundane scholars) I have read the one that strikes me the most is that Robyn/Robin was directly derived from "Jack in the Green" "Green Man" "Green Mask(Masque)" "Green Hood" et al. This is the greenwood spirit of the pagan people made whole, a totem for all to fall behind in secret and turn into a human construct for unity. The Green Man is seen carved in stone from the British Isles through the Continent, into the Russian Steppes, through the Indian subcontinent and even as far as Borneo and it makes me wonder if these incarnations of "our" Green Man" have any connections to others' folk-heroes as I believe "ours" does?

A lot of information/theory/study can be found in "Experiencing the Green Man" by Rob Hardy & Teresa Moorey, which is where I found pointers in my own search for his origins.

FFFF

Elf

 

Very possible that Robin Hood, did not walk among the living. Or did Finn MacCool, or Arthur of Camelot. When I look at the symbolism of these stories and legends that were told for amusement back in day's of old. The stories had to originate somewhere, somehow. Although I'm not a scholar by any means, my mind doesn't think linear, my mind wants to be stretched beyond the box. Look how J.R.R. Tolkien in a need for British lore solely British, created LOTR. Out of his experiances, some very horrific, stretched his mind. A noted scholar yes, but he breathed the same air, walked the same roads, as any other person of his time did. I believe a Witch can do the same thing, stretch the mind. Take what is out there and look at it a different way, and bring it into one's reality for their path. A Symbol can resonate with anyone. One just has to exercise the possibility of it, as a part of growth.

 

Regards,

Gypsy

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Thank you for the link DreamWalker. I did find that interesting, and the sight looked interesting too. I've noticed a curious convergence of shamanic features in the Fenian tales of ancient Ireland, the Robin Hood legends of Britain, and the fact and folklore surrounding the so-called " witch cult " of the late Middle Ages and Renaissance. This magical hood or cap associated with all three groups could it be merely an emblem of something deeper embedded into these traditions ? It's a symbol of sorts, that I see, Sherwood outlaws, Witches, Fenians, were among the "hoods" perce of their day, social outcasts living outside the law with reputations for either "hoodlum" activities or "hoodwinking" unsuspecting travelers. These "shamanic outlaws" in some sense, represented a kind of secret brotherhood or sisterhood with an initiation requirement that has noteworthy similarities to shamanic initiation procedures found in other mystical societies. North American Indians, can fall into this category of initiation. The initiates symbolic death to his or her former life, the soul journeys into nonordinary reality, learning the group's secret mysteries, and so on. They had some kind of shamanic structure. Initiation can take place totally within the visionary imagination of the new shaman. The Fenians had elaborate procedures for membership, yet joining the Sherwood gang seems to have been much looser. Assessing from the tales, each newcommer had to prove himself in some way acceptable to Robin and his men.

 

Regards,

Gypsy

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Well it has finally happened, the lunatics have taken over the assylum

 

MARSHY!!!!!! Hey there, Handsome. Missed you terribly.

 

J

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Thank you for the link DreamWalker. I did find that interesting, and the sight looked interesting too. I've noticed a curious convergence of shamanic features in the Fenian tales of ancient Ireland, the Robin Hood legends of Britain, and the fact and folklore surrounding the so-called " witch cult " of the late Middle Ages and Renaissance.

Regards,

Gypsy

 

You might enjoy reading "Ecstacies" by Carlos Ginzberg - he traces witchcraft back to early shamanic roots. So does Emma Wilby (assuming I interpreted her book correctly, lol). Both books are pretty much chasing the Witches' Sabbat and seem to opine that it was a type of shamanic working and then back up that conclusion very well with research, not just personal opinions.

 

M

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You might enjoy reading "Ecstacies" by Carlos Ginzberg - he traces witchcraft back to early shamanic roots. So does Emma Wilby (assuming I interpreted her book correctly, lol). Both books are pretty much chasing the Witches' Sabbat and seem to opine that it was a type of shamanic working and then back up that conclusion very well with research, not just personal opinions.

 

M

 

Thank you, funny/odd, I just got Ginzbergs book, haven't had a chance to read it. lol. I'll jot down Emma Wilby also.

 

Regards,

Gypsy

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Well it has finally happened, the lunatics have taken over the assylum

 

PLEASE tell me you're back, Marshy! A major dose of reality is sorely needed, it seems.....

I hope you are well.

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A major dose of reality is sorely needed, it seems.....

I hope you are well.

 

I don't get it - why is a dose of reality needed? I didn't know Robin Hood, the Green Man, or any other mtyho-symbolic or actual figure was an indication of insanity, lol????

 

M

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Plugging along in my thought process, I'm leaning towards this, that Fenians, Witches and the Sherwood band may have been viewed with suspicion by conventional members of society partly on the ground that they constituted in the popular mind secret societies with special, mystical privileges not shared by the population at large, or not shared to the same extent. Because they lived such maverick lifestyles, they paid a price for this freedom. They were aware that death could come to them at any time, or place. In their minds, their required dying was symbolically to regain their former lives. Death as the giver of new life, as the shaman maker. An archetype of the shaman is to court death. Since the shaman go on visionary journeys where they battle malevolent spirits. One could probably do well to allow a certain amount of room for exaggeration, since a shaman's power depends to some extend on his/her reputation. The death of the neophyte was alegorical, in shamanic initiations, but novices did return to the village after what seemed to be a scrape with death, if not the actual thing. They suffered memory loss, and inability to walk, eat, dress or talk in the normal way. They often returned with knowledge of another, secret language, and possibly with a new name. They were now different from the ordinary members of the tribe or village. They had died to their former way of being in the world.

 

Regards,

Gypsy

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The death of the neophyte was alegorical, in shamanic initiations, but novices did return to the village after what seemed to be a scrape with death, if not the actual thing. They suffered memory loss, and inability to walk, eat, dress or talk in the normal way. They often returned with knowledge of another, secret language, and possibly with a new name. They were now different from the ordinary members of the tribe or village. They had died to their former way of being in the world.

 

Regards,

Gypsy

 

That is what an initiation often is (not a "this world" initiation) and again, I tend to believe after reading some interesting books on the subject that the roots of witchcraft are shamanic (book opinion) and thereby (my opinion) initiatory. As such, the "otherworld initiation" would be a big part of certain paths. I'm not up enough on symbology, but the very fact that Robin lived in the woods, being seen only when he wanted to be seen, helping out the "poor" who followed him, I would think could be symbolic of a deific entity. I believe Maid Marian was too, but I can't point out her symbology. I know that the robin (bird) has deity associations, and the whole thing ties in with Puck, Robin Goodfellow, Lord of Misrule, etc. Someone better read (or rather with a better memory than mine, lol) could probably give better examples.

 

M

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That is what an initiation often is (not a "this world" initiation) Well yes, yet it starts from and within this world. It's the only one the initiate can relate too. Also the initate has to be deemed worthy of this sequence of events that brought them to this point of acceptance. It is such a life altering experiance for those who walk this way, they would not just pick just anyone, plus the initiate has to have the hunger and yearn, it becomes ' the quest '.

 

and again, I tend to believe after reading some interesting books on the subject that the roots of witchcraft are shamanic (book opinion) and thereby (my opinion) initiatory. As such, the "otherworld initiation" would be a big part of certain paths. Just certain ones ? I would readilly accept that those that hear the voices of plants and have a relationship with their life force, could they not walk in that world, as well as the one who walks and engaged dieties ?

 

I'm not up enough on symbology, but the very fact that Robin lived in the woods, being seen only when he wanted to be seen, helping out the "poor" who followed him, I would think could be symbolic of a deific entity. I believe Maid Marian was too, but I can't point out her symbology. I'm the first to admit I'm not knowledgable in Gardner, but what M.Witch added, made my eyebrow raise. Perhaps Marian, was the female balance within the goddess nature of these menfolk. ?

 

 

I know that the robin (bird) has deity associations I would personally LOVE to hear your thoughts on this, would you see your way clear to post this within the boundaries of the Ornithology Post ? :crossfingers: I'm sure our Peers would like this also. , and the whole thing ties in with Puck, Robin Goodfellow, Lord of Misrule, etc. Someone better read (or rather with a better memory than mine, lol) could probably give better examples.

 

Regards,

Gypsy

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I don't get it - why is a dose of reality needed? I didn't know Robin Hood, the Green Man, or any other mtyho-symbolic or actual figure was an indication of insanity, lol????

 

M

Apologies, the comment was not directed at this thread, in particular. I was just, jokingly, commiserating with Marshy. Carry on.

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