Vana Grimoire: Wickers through the ages, 2007 - 2017

The Wicker Ritual is integrated into an important part of Castlefest. In our Vana Grimoire: What is the Wicker? we’ll tell more about it.

Since the first Ritual in 2007, the Wicker has taken many shapes. Each of them with their own strenght and meaning. Below you’ll find the Wickers of 2007 to 2017 and their accompanying text. These are Vana, Lugh, Beast, Phoenix, Boar, Gaia, Greenman, Owl, Love, Dragon and A New Dawn.
They are listed below from newest to oldest.

The Wickers of 2017 to now can be found in this blog.

2017: Wicker A New Dawn

Design by: Jeroen Overwijn

As 2016, the 9 year, a year of completion, change and transformation is now behind us, it is time for a new beginning.

This year the Wicker will appear as a Tree of Life with her seedlings. An anchor in Mother Earth, where protection, strength and fertility are of importance. Reaching for the sky, where our new ideas, wishes and future will be reflected in a powerful cycle. The male and female connected to the elements: the roots in the ground, water for grow, wind bristling through the branches and fire, given by the sun, for new energy.

To give the Ritual new energy and growth, the egg of the dragon, born from her power, will be intertwined with the Tree of Life. A conncection between the transistion of completion and a new beginning. Full of strengt and open to wonders, we are ready: A new Dawn.

2016: Wicker Dragon

Design by: Jeroen Overwijn

The year 2016 is a 9 universal year. Nine is a finishing number, and it prepresents the end of a cycle. It rounds up and ends that which holds us back an no longer has a place in this world and in our lives. A 9 year is a year of completion, change and transformation.

For those reasons, this year the Wicker appears as a powerful Dragon. The dragon represents change and transformation. As the dragon sheds its skin, we should get rid of our old ballast and masks, to transform ourselves as new beings. The dragon shows you a new path. Get on his back and travel to new beginnings. But before you embark on your journey, take a look inside. Did you let everything go that was standing in your way? Let it go with love. The dragon will give you wisdom and protection to do so, allowing you to grow.

2015: Wicker Love

Design by: Jeroen Overwijn

This year, the Wickerman will not be a mythical representation, but a image that symbolizes love.

In 2012, we had the Gaia to grant people some awareness for our Mother Earth. The year after that, the Greenman to honor our connection as humans to nature and to exclaim our gratefulness for the yearly rebirth. Last year we celebrated the ritual with the Owl to address everybody’s wisdom and give us light in the darkness of the big picture.

This year, it is time for love. Love for nature, love for each other and love for yourself. Care for each other and try to make the world a better place together. Love connects and strengthens. Feel the energy, feek the love and feel loved.

2014: Wicker Owl

Design by: Jeroen Overwijn

The Saturday night is the moment it all comes together: all energy and love that we put into the event comes to a head. It blends together and forms a whole with the energy of everyone around the Wicker.

This year the Wicker symbolises an Owl. In many cultures this moon symbol stands for wisdom. Her energy gives you knowledge and wisdom to look critically at all that happens around you and make better choices for nature.

Witch her big eyes she is also a symbol for the Triple Goddess: clearvoyance and magic. The Owl is connected to hidden wisdom, just like the moon - the light in darkness. The Owl sees wat others don’t and has a better grasp on the bigger picture. With her wisdom and light she’ll show you the right path.

Will you join her?

2013: Wicker Greenman

Design by: Jeroen Overwijn

This year the Wickerman will be a Greenman. After the end of an era in 2012, this year embodies the start of a new one. An era in which nature will have an even bigger role in our lives and we, as humans, will have to drastically change our attitude towards her.

To many the Greenman is the companion of Gaia. He symbolizes the circle of life and the growth during spring. The Greenman is the spirit of the forests and the horned god. He is the connection between mankind and nature as well.
His appearance, a human face and body, shows this important connection. He moves with the seasons and is reborn time after timer. This cicrle of life gives us hope and strength to rebuild.

Let’s use this Ritual to empasize the strength of nature’s rebirth and think about what we can give in return to show nature our gratitude for all she gives us.

We do not own Mother Earth, we are guests.

2012: Wicker Gaia

Design by: Martin Jansen

The Wicker Ritual has become one of the highlights of Castlefest. An ancient ritual that symbolises unity and the connection with primal forces. This year, the Wicker will appear as a immensly strong shape: Gaia, the goddes of nature. The strength of this symbol can be found in the all-encompassing nature, it provides a unique place for each of us. Like a mother looking at her children. Her love for each child is just as strong, but like no other she is able to see their individuality.

This year, we celebrate that we live in a time in which we all have our own interests, we have at least one common interest. We need to treat Gaia with respect, as she gave us, and all that surrounds us, life. This does not mean we have to worship her, but to take responsibility for all she embodies.

As Mother Earth cares for us, we care for her.

2011: Wicker Boar

Design by: Martin Jansen

Saturday night is special in many ways. The organising and planning throughout the entire year lead up to this. We prepare ourselves and Omnia gets ready for their show of the year and when you are all in front of the stage, we will feel each others’ energy and excitment.

That is our experience of the Castlefest Saturday. Everyone has their own experience and that’s good: we are all different. But we all will be together to close chapters and start new stories. This year, we will be guided by the Boar.

The Boar is a go-getter: he never gives up, even if the opponent seems bigger and stronger. Know that when challenges come your way, you can handle it. The Boar helps you with courage and combativeness. It’s not strange the old Celts saw the Boar as a holy, mystical and mysterious creature: the reincarnation of a spiritual power. Feel the energie of the Wicker Ritual, experience the power of the Boar and feel strengthened for all that comes your way.

This moment is simply described as magical. Make an offering for what you want to leave behind or want to start and know that together we will give this moment strength and harness all power in the offerings.

Thank you for joining us!

2010: Wicker Phoenix

Design by: Martin Jansen

This year the Wicker will come to us as a Phoenix. As the ones who visit Castlefest every year will know, the Wicker Ritual is a symbol with which we celebrate togetherness despite our differences and feel connected to the bigger picture. Regardless our origin, race of beliefs: we all are one.

The ritual is derived from the Celts of the Iron Age that made fire offerings to express their connection to nature. This year, an enormous Phoenix will appear on the terrain, made from willow branches and wood.

Everyone is welcome to place an object in the hollow belly of the beast. It has to be flammable, not be alive and preferablly something that you personally would like to be dissolved in the Wicker energy. An offering can have a very personal meaning: that’s a beautiful way to express the Castlefest feeling.

The Wicker Ritual brings us all together and emphasises our connection to nature. Together for a greener world: together for a future.

2009: Wicker Beast

Design by: Steve Evans - van der Harten

With this third Wicker, you can already speak of tradition. The Castlefest Saturday is dubbed Pagan Night, during which the great Wickerman will be offered to the gods. After having gods for two years, now it is time for a Wicker Beast, in which primal force and features will be embraced.

The Wicker Beast is shaped like a stag. These stags are known for showing resistance as challenges appear. Their antlers fall of every year and grow back, which follows the cycle of rebrith that can be found everywhere in nature. With deer-like elegance, we follow nature’s rythms and let our primal instincts lead the way. Free you spirit and celebrate with us during the Wicker Ritual.

Unfortunately, we no longer have the Wicker Beast sketch.

2008: Wicker Lugh

Design by: Steve Evans - van der Harten

In 2008, the Wicker Ritual is dedicated to the sun god Lugh. Lugh is inseparable from Castlefest. Each year, Castlefest takes place in the first (full) weekend of August. At the start of August it is time for Lughnasadh, the first harvest festival of the Celtic Calender.

Lughnasadh marks the beginning of the harvest season. This festival helps us appreciate the abundance we may receive from Mother Earth and to reap what we sow. We don’t think about it often, but it’s a miracle how nature let’s everything grow. Lughnasadh also marks the end of summer: autumn is on its way.

This pagan festival is named after the Celtic god Lugh. Lugh is strong, young and master of all arts. He is young and resilient and reminds us that even though autumn and winter are on their way, we will rise again. Together we reminisce all the beauty life has to offer. By rooting ourselves we will arm ourselves against all that will come, after which we will return as reborn. We will stand strong together for all that will come.

2007: Wicker Vana

Design by: Steve Evans - van der Harten

2007 was the year of the very first Wicker Ritual. Based on a ritual that most people will know as the ‘Wicker Man’, ours was dubbed a Wicker Woman.

This Wicker Woman took the shape of Vana. This name may sound familiar: the organisation behind Castlefest was named after her, Vana Events. Steve ‘Sic’ Evant - van der Harten and his Paganfolk band Omnia had invented their own religion, filled with gods, goddesses and nature spirits. The goddess of spring was named Vana.

In the logo of Vana Events, you’ll find runes with their own unique meaning. The first and third one can be seen as cups: one is right side up, the other one upside down: one full and one empty. Sometimes everything goes smoothly, sometimes it won’t. It illustrates how life will always be a balance on both scales.

Next to that, Vana is symbol for creativity and with that it was the most logical choice for the Wicker Ritual: the celebration of creativity and being together. In 2007 our program booklet read the following:

Everyone who wants it can add an offering to the ‘Wicker Woman’ to offer Vana and the spirits during Castlefest. Only natural ‘flammable’ offerings (food, drinks, flowers, crafts etc.) will be accepted. Any living offerings (pets, children etc.) will not be offered this year.

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