Introduction to Tribal Tree


I was going to write a ritual to introduce my son to our tribal tree, but yesterday my husband said “why don’t we go up to the woods? We can take the pram as it can cope with the bridle paths”.

At that point, I knew it was time. I took a bottle of rain water collected in our water butt and consecrated it as an offering and just introduced our son to the tree and the tree to our son.

I also got him to touch the trunk of the tree as an introductory gesture and he enjoyed touching it with his hands.

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Results of Blessing Trees


Since I hadn’t written a wassailing spell for the last year or so I’d been blessing trees I took fruits from.

The other week I took a walk in the forest and found that the trees had literally bore fruit, which was bigger than usual.

I’m pleased about this, but still want to finish my wassailing spell, which will be used at the Midwinter Solstice and keep the trees blessing for when I take fruit from the tree.
I have never found the need to take branches from a living tree, as my needs have been supplied from fallen wood.

Getting Out


While I don’t hold with only observing the natural world and not reading books, it’s good to get out and about in nature and be able to identify some of the species you read about.

It would be good to be able to identify all local species; but this takes time, practice and a lot of looking at books. Plus some seemingly “wild” plants are garden escapes like Honesty and Oregon Grape, which I spent a lot of time trying to find in books about wild plants.

A friend came round yesterday and we walked through the woods to the pub. He’s seriously sporty, so for him it was a pleasant stroll, whereas for us it was a bit more of a challenge.

Just going through the old wood and seeing all the different shapes of trees which you don’t get where woods have been managed (this one wasn’t for a long time) was beautiful and something you cannot observe in books, where they show the bog-standard shape of the tree.

There are quite a few wild cherry trees and I was going to come back and harvest the fruit but it’s really bitter this summer; possibly not enough sun or something at the moment, so I’ll try again next year.

Ash Key Pickle


Today I made Ash Key Pickle. I picked the ash keys from my tribal tree and will eat a bit of them at each festival, but especially at the Winter Solstice, which was the time when trees were traditionally wassailed.

I suspect it will strengthen the bond between us, but I don’t really know what will happen.

Worshipping Trees


It’s coming up to the Winter Solstice when trees are wassailed (it was when I originally wrote this, but unfortunately I have been ill) so I thought I’d write a piece on worshipping trees.

In the past the Irish tribes had a tree for their tribe, which I have. The tree represents the health and the strength of the tribe, so it’s important to choose a good tree. Traditional types of tree chosen include oak, ash and yew. Sometimes one tribe would cut another tribe’s tree down to insult them. The tribe would then choose a new tree.

Trees guard and look after areas of land or peoples. They are a long-lived plant which belongs to all the Celtic realms of earth, sea and sky.

Samhain


I carved the turnips as I do every year. My turnip carving is getting better and faster – I may try something more ambitious than carving triangles for eyes, nose and mouth next year. I did divination with the tarot, which did not turn out too badly, but did not have any results I really wanted. Unfortunately them’s the breaks.

I went for a walk to my tribal tree where my baby is buried and made an offering of water to the tree. I found this very emotional.

Afterwards I went home and started cooking, which I had to break off to do a ritual when it got dark. After it had got dark I put the turnip lanterns out and did a spell to make sure that nothing that would hurt or harm us would come into the house that night.

I put a lot of candles in the kitchen, as we were hiding from the trick–or-treaters and cooked by candlelight. I had to put the lights on for a few seconds as I thought the pastry felt greasy (it was – I had measured out the flour wrong) but got away with it.

I made Homity Pie and Apple Dappy for pudding – both foods my Mother’s ancestors would have eaten. I don’t know any Scottish recipes for my Father’s ancestors as my Mother was English. I was careful to make the food with the imperial measurements instead of metric, as my ancestors would have done.

We ate food and talked about the dead, telling stories with especial emphasis on those who had died the past year.

Beltane


Once again, the ritual was prepared at the last moment and unsatisfactory to me. It worked, but it could have been so much better.

I did search on the net for food and drink to have at Beltane, but I couldn’t find anything apart from nettle soup, which is traditionally made at springtime and other recipes which look invented. There were one or two books which came up on my search which I am going to have to get out of the library and see if they’re any good.

I did get a hawthorn branch in for Beltane, the only time it isn’t unlucky to have that particular tree in the house or cut branches from it. Hawthorn is one of the trees that’s traditionally a fairy tree and they don’t like humans interfering with what is theirs.

I usually do a spell to protect the cat against disease, but since she was in the cattery I will have to do that when she returns, but after I have put the flea treatment on her.

Tree Worship


A large part of my path is worshipping trees. I talk to them, give libations at the Winter Equinox and have a tribal tree.

Talking to trees is more difficult than it seems. First of all, the tree may not be in a receptive state. I would recommend trying to talk to a tree that you pass daily. That way, it gets to know you and you it. Whatever you do, do not try to get inside the tree and find out how it works. This is invasive and the tree doesn’t like it. Some trees can and will lie to you, so don’t accept everything they say.

The Winter Equinox is the traditional time that people wassailed. This was when they’d beat the tree and pour cider on it to make the tree (usually apple) provide more fruit. I haven’t heard of it being done in Ireland, but since I live on English soil (where it was done) I keep the practice up.

I have a tree for the tribe. This tree can be petitioned for family affairs via offerings and sacrifices. The usual method is to hang something on its branches – clothing or a strip of cloth.

Odds n Ends


It’s been a long time since I wrote anything for this blog. This is because I was going to write up what I did at the Winter Solstice, then I fell ill with a diarrhoea bug and wasn’t well enough to look at a computer until a couple of days ago.

The Winter Solstice passed well, with my husband and myself making a libation to all the guardian trees around our area and our tribal tree. The libation was the last of my sloe gin. We returned home and ate some spicy biscuits I’d cooked for the festival.

I also managed to make a place for Eochaid in our car. Eochaid is the Irish deity of horses, so it makes sense he’d want a place in our car. My husband found a drawing on the net of a horse which was rearing up because of lightning. I copied it out onto a card which we’ve put in the car.

Pruning


I spent an hour last Saturday pruning our butterfly bush and conversing with it. It seeded itself in our garden last year, and I was pleased as I want a garden that attracts birds and bees, which a butterfly bush does. I see this as a good sign that our land is pleased with our care of it, especially as the books say that butterfly bushes need lots of light and ours seeded itself next to a fence full of ivy, so the light was completely blocked on one side.

Butterfly bushes are not native to Britain. They were brought over from China in the 1930s and have naturalised themselves, which means that they grow wild without any help. To me, this means that the land itself has accepted them and they are now part of Britain.

During the conversation the bush gave me part of itself as a wand. I would have liked to take more, but it only allowed me one piece. I know you should give plants and trees an offering before taking, but I feel it’s unnecessary when the plant or tree itself offers the wood.

The elder tree in our garden has been asking me to prune it, probably because there are several branches crossing one another. According to the books, this can promote disease in a plant. I would not touch it otherwise, as folklore has many stories of people chopping elder trees and dying hours later.

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