Meetings with Remarkable Trees by Thomas Pakenham

Meetings with Remarkable Trees by Thomas Pakenham

I’ve wanted to get this book for years, as I thought I’d missed out on something by not buying it when it came out and I was glad when it turned up in a National Trust gift shop. Unfortunately when I got it I found that it is just a coffee-table book with no real substance behind it. A lot of the trees are outside the British Isles and Ireland, which makes travelling to see them problematic.

The photos of the trees are fantastic, but I don’t think it’s worth paying for this book – it’s one to get from the library or get someone to buy you as a birthday present.

So Much for a Non-Pagan Wedding

I am to be married this September, and when I found out that handfasting only goes back 150 years, I thought there was no point in having a Pagan wedding. I wasn’t going to cause stress and unhappiness by telling my parents about my religion if handfasting wasn’t a tradition that my ancestors would have done.

However, it seems that the deities had other ideas for me. First, my betrothed chose The Temple of Apollo in Stourhead Gardens for us to get married in. Then when we were choosing a colour scheme my betrothed asked for gold and green, which he didn’t know are the colours of the Tuatha De Danaan.

At that point, I gave in. The deities had decided that I was having a Pagan wedding, so that was all there was to it.

I devised three rituals to be done before this wedding, which I have now carried out. The first was an offering of wine to Apollo. I chose a bottle of wine, which I consecrated to him. The wine was from Sicily, as Apollo was born on a Mediterranean island. Most importantly, the bottle had the symbol of a sun on it. I read an appropriate hymn to Apollo, my betrothed read the second part of the ritual and we both read what we were asking him for.

The second offering was to the deities in the Pantheon. The Pantheon is a temple with seven statues of deities there. The deities are : St Susanna, Diana, Flora, Hercules, Ceres, Maenestus and Isis. I hadn’t been able to find any offerings to St Susanna, so we gave her wine as an offering. We gave Diana honey, Flora beans, Hercules bread, Ceres poppy seeds and Isis apples. Maenestus was another whom I’d been unable to find what offering he would like, so I gave him honey as well. In retrospect, it would have been better if I had meditated and asked St Susanna and Maenestus what they liked as offerings.

Unfortunately my betrothed asked me as we were leaving “what about the statues of Venus and Bacchus?”. They are statues outside the Pantheon, while the others are statues inside the Pantheon. I apologised to them for having missed them out, but am going to have to do a small ritual for them both.

The last offering was to the waters of Stourhead Gardens for good weather for the wedding. In the traditional Celtic manner we threw three specially consecrated coins into the waters.

I have also bought a horseshoe charm for my charm bracelet to protect me during the wedding.

Celtic Religion by J MacCulloch

The information contained in this book is mainly about Irish and Welsh Celtic Religion, but there are some crumbs for Breton Celts.

This first half of the book has the usual information about Irish and Welsh deities, along with a chapter on Cuchullain.  It’s after you’ve got half way through when it gets really good.  The second half has chapters on worship of animals, worship of trees and worship of rivers, which in my opinion anyone who worships nature should be sat down and forced to read.  It also has chapters on druids and taboos.

It is the first book where I have thought “I’m going to have to read up some of the books referenced to see if they can expand upon this topic”.  It’s a text which I’ve read and thought that I can base a lot of my practice upon and am already making changes to because of this book.  It can be found at Sacred Texts.


Monday was Lughnasadh, a festival that the god Lugh set up to commemorate his foster mother Tailte, who died clearing the plain of Mag Mell.

I did a small ritual to commemorate Tailte and mark the harvest.  As most people reading this blog know, I write a new ritual each time.

However, I didn’t have time to do it and decided to make it up as I went along.  This is the first time I have done this with a festival, and I decided to do it to see how it would go.  The ritual went well, but I had the feeling that if I had planned it beforehand it would have been better.