“Great engines rush over the beautiful fields, their ways lie hard and terrible up and down the land.”
(from ‘The Prayer of the Flowers’ in Fifty One Tales. Lord Dunsany. London 1915)
Fracking was not an issue in 1915, but there were still many other threats to the land.
Readers of this blog will be no stranger to exhortations to love the land and, especially, to make relationships with trees. Recent pieces have looked at the meaning of the Spindle and the Oak – the latter in relation to the threat to Sherwood Forest posed by proposals to carry our seismic testing in the area.
A blog by the well-known Wiccan, Vivianne Crowley, from 2014, explored the importance of making relationships with trees. This was recently reprinted in Touchstone, the journal of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids and I felt it would be worth bringing to the attention of those who have heard the Warrior’s Call.
Here is the process she outlines:
A simple exercise we ask people to do when they start training in Wicca is to find a personal tree and to commune with it over a period of time. It does not have to be an ancient forest oak. It could be a tree in a city park that you can visit at lunchtime. How do you find the right tree? First you walk around your local area to find out what trees are there. Do you know how many different species grow in your neighborhood? Do you know the names of them? If not take some photographs and maybe a sample leaf, and use these to identify the species around you.
Once you find a tree you like, stand near it and observe the movement of its leaves in the wind, the sound of the wind among its branches, the song of the birds. If you feel drawn to it, approach it. If not, find another to observe until you find the right tree. Then touch the tree’s trunk. Place the palms of your hands against it. How does it feel? Close your eyes and sense the energy in the tree. Is it dormant, or is its sap pulsing with the life of spring? Notice what your body feels. Allow your psyche to merge a little with the tree. How does it feel to be rooted deep in the earth and drawing nourishment from sun and rain? If it feels right, draw energy from the tree. Feel its powerful energy flowing into you. Its time-span is longer than ours; its pace is slower. It has seen much, absorbed much, endured much. There is much we can learn from our tree. If we visit it for a seasonal cycle, we will see the messages of the sabbats in its seasonal changes, and this can be just as powerful as ritual practice.
This will not come as news to many of you, but it is something we can do quietly and unobtrusively if we are among non-Pagans, and is useful on Protection Camps and any piece of land threatened by extreme energy extraction (or anything else for that matter). The trees can help in ways we may not expect. After all, we know what happened to Saruman when the Ents got angry.