Trees

If you go down to the woods today…

…you may be in for a big surprise, (but more on that later!) This is one of my favourite times of year to spend in the woods. The hedgerows are bursting with colourful berries and ripening acorns adorn the Oaks. It is an in between time where the green leaves feel as though they are making the most of the last days before they fall and I am so grateful to still be enjoying them for a little longer…

In the spirit of balance (so apt for this time of year) we spent much of yesterday’s Autumn Equinox crafting Jewellery, packing up orders and filling in our tax return so today we headed out early to visit our new local woodland. It was a glorious, blue skied Autumn day, we filled our mouths with blackberries and our pockets with rosehips and hawthorn berries. I shall be drying them out over the next week to make an oxymel with them.

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Trees

The Magick of Ash

I had never much connected with Ash trees before this year and yet over recent months, they have become one of my strongest plant allies.

Before I talk more about the wonderful qualities of Ash trees, let me first explain a little more about the way I connect with plants and how this process has evolved over the years. My interest in plants grew upon discovering some of the medicinal and healing properties of the herbs that I was growing within my garden. I spent much time researching their qualities and experimenting using them in teas, bath soaks and other herbal remedies. It was a brilliant way to kindle my fascination with plants and open my mind to the healing held within so much of that which is found around us.

Over the years, the way I connect with plants has become more intuitive. It often begins with me noticing a certain plant whilst out on a walk. It seems to catch my attention and I feel pulled to get to know more about it. Often now, if the species is new to me, I find the name comes to me somehow too, a knowing of the plant arising from somewhere within.

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Trees

The Magick of Box

Box is one of our 5 native evergreen trees in the UK alongside Yew, Scots Pine, Juniper and Holly. It is now most commonly thought of as a neatly trimmed garden shrub however was once a more common feature in our woodlands.

Small pockets of ancient Box woodland remain in the UK. Most notably on Box Hill in Surrey with other patches found in the Chilterns and Cotswolds. They are truly magickal places to visit and provide stable, protective environments for rare lichens and insects amongst other wildlife.

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Foraging, Trees

Rowan Berry Garlands

There is a lot about this year that has been anything but ordinary, from record temperatures, severe lack of rainfall, and now the early arrival of many fruits including the beautiful berries of the Rowan tree.

The vibrant orangey-red berries always seem to call to me and for the last few years it has become a tradition to gather the ripe berries and string them into garlands that decorate our home and altar space.

Ancient Tradition

Making and hanging Rowan berry garlands around the home is an ancient tradition, believed to protect the space and invite good luck. Berries are gathered and garlands made as we head towards the Autumn months, crossing the threshold to the darker half of the year. Once dried, the garlands keep for years, bringing a rich pop of colour and magick to the home.

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Trees

The Magick of Beech

The majestic Beech tree is a joy to witness at any time of year. In Autumn she stands ablaze with her fiery orange crown, cloaking the forest floor beneath her with smooth, rusty leaves. Winter is a time to admire her smooth, grey bark before she unfurls her heart nurturing, protective green canopy in the Spring.

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Trees

The Magick of Elder

As I write this at the beginning of June, Elder trees are amass with creamy white blossoms that fill hedgerows and paths with their delicate scent and rich abundance. I love this time of year, gathering a couple of flower heads along my walks, returning to enjoy a daily Elderflower Brew.

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Trees

The Magick of Hawthorn

The Hawthorn is one of our most wild and magical native trees. Steeped in folklore they can live for up to 700 years. Once a custom to plant one in every garden for good luck, they are often found marking ancient sites and boundaries. They support a plethora of wildlife, including over 300 species of insects, doormice and other small mammals and many bird including migrating species over the winter.

Come May the hedgerows are an abundant mass of creamy Hawthorn blossom earning them the name ‘May tree’ they flower just in time for Beltane – the festival of Nature’s abundance and fertility.

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Trees

The Magick of Hazel

Hazel trees (Corylus avellana) are particularly striking at this time of year and along with Willow and Elder are associated with the festival of Imbolc, celebrated as the first signs of Spring appear at the beginning of February.

Both Hazel and Willow have similar properties that we can embrace as we transition out of the Winter season. Their branches are particularly flexible, and they grow quickly and with ease before other trees begin to stir, making them wonderful trees to work with to support new beginnings and when we need to connect with courage to overcome challenges.

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Trees

The Magick of Birch

Within a life span similar to our own (which is relatively short in the tree world), Birch trees can completely transform their environments. A pioneer species, they have the ability to move into a piece of open ground, and transform it into woodland. Their deep roots can draw a vast amount of nutrients up through the earth which they return to the soil in the Autumn when they lose their leaves. This creates favourable conditions for other tree species to move in. For this reason, Birch trees symbolise new beginnings, growth and rebirth.

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Trees

The Magick of Yew

A tree I really enjoy journeying with is the Yew tree, Taxus baccata. Typically associated with the Samhain season, I find myself really connecting with this tree in Spring too.

Like Willows, Yews are dioecious meaning that trees are either male or female. In the Spring the male trees produce an array of flowers covered with golden pollen. This pollen is carried by the wind to the smaller flowers of the female trees that will go on to produce the red berries in the Autumn.

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