Hawthorns, Bluebells and Forsythia

<At the weekend we walked in the old wood where the forest floor is carpeted in bluebells. It’s a magnificent sight to behold, with the sweet scent of the bluebells rising off the forest floor. I also saw garlic mustard and ground ivy plants, speckled wood and orange tip butterflies in the forest. The sun was out, the birds were calling and it was a lovely walk.

The old part of the forest is still very unfriendly to people. I did talk to it, but it distrusts people so much now that it will take time and offerings before it trusts anyone again.

We also pruned most of the forsythia in the garden. There were some nice pieces I could have dried and made a wand out of, but it’s so inimical to humans I would not have dared to use the wand. Since I want the forsythia to remain part of the garden I will have to do something about this. Pruning is part of it, as the forsythia feels uncared for as it hasn’t been pruned for years. A lot of shrubs can do well without any pruning, but forsythia really needs to be pruned or it becomes straggly.

In the new part of the forest I gave an offering to our tribal tree and picked hawthorn blossom to make a hawthorn liqueur, with the hawthorn taking its usual offering of my blood. If I like the taste of the liqueur I’ll make a batch for ritual next year. I also tried to make hawthorn chutney from hawthorns I had frozen in the freezer, but that went badly and I ended up tipping the food in the bin. I’ll give it another try when the hawthorns are next out.

It’s that Time of the Year Again…

It’s that time of the year when I hit the books hard.  You’re probably thinking something like “eh? but it’s nice and sunny out there, what’s she doing reading books?”

It’s the time of the year when flowers start growing and trees are starting to put on leaves.  The ash trees haven’t come out yet, but the river birches are way ahead of them and the horse chestnuts are finishing putting on leaves.

This is the time of the year when I start cracking open my identification books.  Or if I can’t find the plant or tree or bird or animal or insect in my books, I look in the library’s books.

So many pagans are what I call “Commercial Pagans”.  If they can buy it, or go on courses about it, then they will do it.  What they will not do is do any actual work for it.  And then you get pagans who are unable to name more than two or three leaves of eighteen common trees in their area, plus one uncommon one.  I had this experience when I put up a drawing of nineteen different leaves on a British forum several years ago.  The only person who was able to name more than four was a druid, who got all of them except the poplar.

Knowing the land you live on and knowing the flora and fauna that grow on it and the animals, birds and insects that live off it is, in my opinion, one of the most important things a pagan can do.  And yet so many don’t want to bother with anything they can’t easily pick up and have now, which is why there are so many pagans and witches who don’t get beyond the basics because it’s too difficult for them, or they’re “too busy”, which means that they can’t be bothered.

Identification is only the first step.  Then there’s the lore of the land, what certain trees putting out leaves before other trees mean and knowing what plants and trees to use for what.  It’s a long process which I have only just started, and this is what I meant in the introduction to this blog that you cannot just read one book and become a pagan or a witch, it takes study and hard work.  But it’s really worth it.

Linslade Woods

Linslade woods are my local woods, located just five minutes away from my front door.  Most woods in Britain are either owned privately or owned by the Forestry Commission, which is funded by the government.  There was a bill going through Parliament to sell off the woods owned by the Forestry Commission, but thankfully pressure groups managed to get the government to do a u-turn.

Linslade woods are very unusual in that they are owned and administered by a charity.  In the 70’s the landowner of Linslade woods died and his son inherited the woods.  The son was going to sell them off for housing, whereupon some local people banded together to stop this, and as a result the woods are now owned by a charity.

There are two parts to the wood.  The old part, which the son was trying to sell off, is bluebell woods and it feels unfriendly to humans, which is no surprise.  The new part consists of fields bought and planted in the 70’s and are very friendly to humans, because there are rides which horses use and people toboggan down in winter.  Also dog walkers use the new part of the forest, so it gets a lot of contact with humans, whereas the old part doesn’t get much contact with humans.

I am a member of Linslade woods.  It costs £5 for membership, £3 if someone in your family is a member and £2 for unwaged people.  I get invited to Action Days and events that are on.

The last action day was two weekends ago.  I learnt the old art of coppicing hazel and the not-so old art of weaving the hazel into baskets to go around the coppiced stools so the muntjac deer, which are an invasive species won’t eat the new shoots.

Gods Giving Hints

A couple of years ago my normally very conscientious and careful boyfriend let the bath overflow and since we were on the second floor it flowed all the way down to the ground floor.  We had insurance to cover it and thankfully everyone was okay about it.

At that time I’d been renting for fifteen years, on a rough average moving once a year, and thinking back I realised that in every single one of those properties something had gone wrong with the water, usually shower trays leaking but in two cases the toilet had leaked.  No burst pipes, it was all leaking water.  So I came to the conclusion that there was something unnatural about this.

I asked advice but didn’t take any of it as I thought that the advice wasn’t any good, so I meditated instead.  And found that Sianon had been trying to contact me.  Sianon is an Irish goddess who was drowned when she broke the geis that was on the well of knowledge, hence the leaking water.

I was thinking about this in the bath on Saturday and also thinking about what the nurse had said at the doctor’s last Thursday, which was that I was someone who got a lot of joint problems.  I will always have back problems, because I have an exaggerated curve in my lower back and big tits, which puts a lot of pressure on my back.  But in the last few years I’ve had a trapped nerve in my left shoulder which won’t heal, trouble with my knees, sciatica in my left side (my left ankle still aches) and last Thursday I was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, which is an injury to the foot.

Now I am not good at taking hints at all, so I started to wonder if a deity was trying to get through to me.  So after I’d got out of the bath and dried myself I did a meditation.

And found that Dian Cecht, an Irish god of healing had been trying to get through to me.  He was unhappy that I hadn’t picked up on his hints earlier and I literally had to grovel before he was placated.  On the plus side, he said I would heal now if I kept taking the prescribed drugs.

The majority of my deities have turned up in meditation if they’ve wanted to contact me, but this makes me realise that not all deities just turn up and that some need us to contact them.  I am going to be introduced to all my deities in meditation, which is just as well as I don’t want something like this happening again.