JACK: An Ancient Celtic Tradition

Written and Illustrated by Bryan Thomas Molloy

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JACK with his lantern head
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JACK with Whitey Bulger arrest plaquard
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Jack dragged to Hell
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JACK with book.

Artist Description

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Jack production began in Hampton, Virginia USA in about 2003, as a labor of love and exploration into personal history and ethnicity which has taken over a decade to reach full maturity. It began as a page in a sketchbook and developed into seven verses, twelve oil paintings and a professional audio recording.

All this has come together to result in the finished product I called JACK. I hope you enjoy it!

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AudioBook

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StadiumAnnouncer Andy Taylor (stadiumannouncer.com) and David Beckham, Qatar

"I have attempted to produce a high quality offering that might educate, provide the opportunity and need for discussion in combination with a strong, comforting fatherly presence and presentation. For this reason I've asked Sports Announcer Andy Taylor to be the voice of JACK."

ProTennis Sports personality, announcer and radio personality Andy Taylor reads JACK in a way you've never heard from a children's book. A sportscaster's unique style adds a fatherly sound to this ancient story!

Click to play sample!

Artist Description

"An exciting and scary story for Dad to read to the kids!"

JACK is an ancient story. It is one of the first stories told by the Celts around the world. Jack is always getting into trouble. Instead of prescribing him ADD medication or diagnosing him with Autism, the townspeople arrest him and sentence him to death on the chopping block. He arrives in Hell subsequently, and proceeds to torment the Devil so ferociously and relentlessly that the Devil makes a deal with God that if he'll take Jack away, the Devil will agree to remain in Hell for all eternity. God takes Jack to Heaven and Jack torments the Saints and even the Angels so badly that they too supplicate God to relieve Heaven of him. God, never having an issue with Jack, sets him on earth to roam for all eternity and patrol the night keeping daemons, banshee and lost souls from causing harm to the living. To prevent Jack from being further harmed by the humans, God keeps Jack's head with Him in the clouds and gives Jack the ability to see through the light of a lantern which he must carry with him at all times.

"All holiday traditions are adaptations of this theme, caring for the needy and less fortunate..."

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Artist Description

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"The story of JACK describes the Celtic personality and gives comfort to people from a matriarchal tradition as they live within a patriarchal-style culture that has come to dominate and conquer the earth in the recent few millennia."

In the middle ages, each village would have a night watchman, or town crier. This person would patrol the streets and announce the time and whether or not things were "all well". The night watchman would carry a hollow turnip with a candle in it to light his way. In the harvest season, when thieves were most tempted by the large stash of freshly harvested food, the night watchman would sequester volunteers to help on the patrol, who all would carry lanterns. The calls on the hour by the night watchman were answered by the townsfolk, who would then yell in response, "All Hollows well!" In those days the language was different but it is the same call used by pig farmers to call their hogs home when it inspired Buddy Holly to write the song 'Peggy Sue'. It sounded like, "SoooWeeee!" This meant that all other watchmen were accounted for, and that all souls, or people holding hollow lanterns, were well. The first night of this recruitment ceremony became known as All Hollows Eve, All Souls Day, Hallowed Eve, or Holy Night, the night that all souls were out and counted, watching together at the summer's end, called 'Samhain', the harvest feast. To bolster the courage of the watchers on that night a legend grew up around it that the souls of the dead fathers and mothers and grandfathers and grandmothers returned without lanterns or physical form to accompany the living on their patrols. The ancient words melded together and changed over time. This became Halloween. The candle represents the soul and spirit of a person, and the jack-o-lantern is the person scaring away evil with a scary face carved in it.

To add a deeper significance, I calculated a formula based on small ship transit times per nautical mile per hour from Celtic Isles to Peloponnesus, and rounded to an average sail of 40 days and 40 nights, oddly coincidentally. As a result, my Celtic knotwork pattern for the border around the poetry demonstrates a theory that ancient patterns were not decorative but actually a mathematical pictographic representation of a sea voyage. Ancient Illustrations were maps containing extremely condensed cartographical information displayed in a completely intuitive format. They are the method poorly imitated by more recent ancients of recorded history and archeological evidence as Egyptian 'hieroglyphs', Neanderthal pictographs, and calligraphic characters, such as most Asian languages are a derivative form of. This theory, lacking any supporting evidence to date, suggests an extremely advanced, trade-based, Matriarchal, non-warring, seafaring global 'Celtic Empire', at its peak in 30,000 BC. This is the subject of my upcoming novel as well. The primary international shipping trade route was between these previously mentioned islands. Each border is a custom graphic representation of this theory, containing 80 knots in pairs, each pair representing day and night together, as it is known in ScienceFiction- a 'cycle', to represent this route.

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"JACK"- 1st Verse

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Jack was a boy of Celtic type.
He loved to read and he loved to write.
Through elder hist'ry his family came;
From the Isle of Wight and the Isle of Man.
There they trained those ones of lore,
Those full of fight and wild as boar;
Knights of armour and Kings of all; People from 'Henge to the ends of the world.
Garden the poor,
And help the Earth.
Sometimes to sing,
And others to work.
Sometimes to build,
And others to fight.

Honor the round-
Our tradition of health:
To honor one's mother,
And help all of life;
So that none ever fear;
The day or the night.

We go from the center;
Like the rays of the light;
They shine from the sun;
All day and all night.
We run and we play;
All over the globe-
Telling the tales;
That never grow old.

Artist Description

The story of JACK describes the Celtic personality and gives comfort to people from a matriarchal tradition as they live within a patriarchal-style culture that has come to dominate and conquer the earth in the recent few millennia. The rogue troublemaker, seemingly without discipline or law has a tough, windy, winding road in a male-dominated society. JACK is forever getting into trouble, but is a good hearted and gentle soul, and more often than not- truly saves the day. JACK has become the archetype for the everyperson hero in the stories of American film and literature, and is evident in the Celtic traditions of European, British, and American peoples.

The Story of JACK comes from a harsher time, when consequences were severe for children out at night. Hungry animals hunting in the central square, starving handicapped people, diseased people, and all manner of the disenfranchised and uncared-for individuals threatened a small town lacking the resources to help those in need: all this presented a clear and present danger to any children out after dark. All holiday traditions are adaptations of this theme, caring for the needy and less fortunate; gifts under a lighted tree in the woods near town; children posing as beggers asking for candy; these are the oasis of charity for at least one night of the year. Modern society produces a wealth of supplies and systems and technologies to this very purpose.

In these harsher times of long ago, where resourses were horded and few, JACK was styled as a cautionary tale for parents to tell to children to keep them out of trouble. It is literally tyranny- an attempt to use fear to manipulate behavior. To keep the kids from going out at night, they were told that the nightwatchman's lantern they saw was a heinous apparition- a headless fright! I've presented my version as an historical origins story, the origin of Halloween. As modern methods of childrearing, education, and even our entire American governmental system are based on the ending of this abusive system of fear manipulation, or tyranny, as it was formerly known, I've done my best to present the illustrations as fine art portraiture and highest quality works. This is to contrast the modern convention of not scaring children by buying books specifically tailored to be non-frightening. Too often this convention leads to scattered, insane, cartoonish, derrivative creations of poor quality (obviously not all, Dr. Zeuss is one of my favorites!). I have attempted to produce a high quality offering that might educate, provide the opportunity and need for discussion in combination with a strong, comforting fatherly presence and presentation. For this reason I've asked Sports Announcer Andy Taylor to be the voice of JACK. It is an exciting and scary story for Dad to read to the kids.

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