Protecting Sherwood Forest from Fracking

Time flies, and it’s almost 2 months since a group of us met at the Visitors’ Centre in Sherwood Forest to carry out a ritual of protection for the forest against seismic testing and possible fracking. The ritual has disappeared into the miasma of my busy life but the memory of it remains in my heart.

I was reminded by posts on Facebook that the threat to Sherwood Forest from the energy company, Ineos has not gone away: and here, finally, is my account of the ritual.

There were 17 of us who were lead to a stretch of open heath land in the middle of the forest. We had come from East, West, North and South, as well as from the local area. Varying beliefs were united in an absolute commitment to and love of, nature and, in particular, the forest, this forest, Sherwood Forest – a unique old organism made up of the company of trees whose root systems reached out and touched in a network under our feet.

Our guide was a local woman who had grown up in the area and, like a contemporary Maid Marion, was utterly at home there. She pointed out the ridges in the ground of the heath that showed where, in the past, people used to farm and have a settlement.

We chose to dress in green and we sang as we walked to the site of the ritual.

“She’s been waiting,

She’s been waiting so long,

She’s been waiting for her children to remember to come home.”


We carried flags bearing the protective Sigil of the Warriors’ Call. One man drummed. Daytrippers to the forest to glanced inquisitively at us, unsure what to make of it.

Once at the ritual site we formed a circle, called for peace in the name of air, sea and sky and rendered the space safe for us by casting a circle and consecrating it with fire and water.

Then we called on spirits of the four directions.  In the East I called to the air in the name of Robin Hood. In the South, the lady of the May called for the passion and warmth of the sun to inspire us. In the West we called upon the waters and the compassion of water in the name of Maid Marion.  In the North the Green Man, Spirit of the Wildwood, called powerfully upon the energies of earth that they be present with us and that Albion might be protected from fracking.

There were moving spontaneous contributions from local people as the sacred centre of the ritual opened. They talked of being with like-minded people and the importance of Sherwood and its old oaks to them, not as plants or things, but as living beings.

At the beginning of the ritual we had each been given a dead oak leaf from last year. Now we put our love and blessings into our leaves and each place them into a bowl of water from the rivers that run in Sherwood, the Erewash, the Idle and the Trent.

Each elemental power then stepped forward and blessed the water and leaves from their own being.  We were reminded that, like Robin Hood, who fought against injustice as an outlaw, and placing ourselves on the side of all sentient beings on this planet, we place ourselves outside of the laws that say property and profit are paramount even if they result in destruction. We, too, seek for justice.

Then a woman stepped forward and spoke the Guardians Prayer.

To all who have stood true

For the good of their communities,

To all who have held strong

Against overwhelming opposition,

To all who have remained vigilant,

Outside the fire’s warmth,

I give greatest thanks

And pray for your guidance

On this guardian path.

Grant my senses clarity

That I might see the peaceful way

Through dangerous times,

Hear the cries of those in need,

And smell woodsmoke before the fire catches.

Lead my hands as they shape a safer world,

And lead my feet to the places where I might do the greatest good.

Thank you sentinels, for all you’ve given.

Thank you for standing beside me,

before me

and behind me,

A circle complete as I step into place,

Here. Now. Standing.



She invited us, if we wished, to step into place at the end. Simultaneously the whole circle stepped forward at the appointed time – a moment of power.

We cannot live in the exalted moment for very long. We have to integrate  that experience into our lives and actions. A rousing chorus of Damh the Bard’s song ‘We are the sons and daughters of Robin Hood’ began that process.

Then the circle was unwound.

There was one last thing.  The  young woman who had grown up in the forest led us by a back route to the Major Oak. This enormous, imposing oak is reputedly where Robin Hood had his headquarters. It is fenced off from the public but on this day, this person went close up to the tree and, dwarfed by its mighty presence, gently and affectionately placed the blessed leaves and water  around it and into the crevices of its roots.

It was a remarkable day and a powerful ritual. It was disappointing that more people did not attend. There were, apparently, many other attractions that day including rugby matches and a Mind Body Spirit festival. But each person there gave the ceremony their full awareness and focus. There was a simple harmony to the ritual, and some of us sensed many other beings in attendance.

The apparent world and the invisible world are interlinked at every step. Who can calculate how the world may have been changed by that ritual?

A circle complete as I step into place,

Here. Now. Standing.

Ritual is Action: Action is Ritual.



One thought on “Protecting Sherwood Forest from Fracking

  1. Thank you so much for reminding​ me of the song I learnt decades ago from the donga . It was strange starting with the last lines and s!owly more of it coming. So, blessed be and blessed are the !overs of tbe lady…….

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