Sunday, 7 December 2014

The Oak Lore, Legend & Myth



The Usefulness of Oak For Humans Created  Its Place In Legend,  Folklore and Myths.



The Oak's huge structure and long life, provides timber which has been used in buildings, joinery, fencing, and boat building from early Celtic times into the present day.  A matures oak's crop of acorns provides food for both domestic and woodland creatures. While in Spring its bark is stripped and used in  the tanning high quality leather.   


Oak is extremely durable and strong. In East Anglia the Sutton Hoo memorial ship-burial made for a fallen King or Hero was made of oak about 1400 years ago. The wood had disintegrated but the the Oak left a imprint in the ground and enable a reconstruction of the ship. 

Oak houses and building before the 12th Century would perhaps only last  a generation as the wood post driven into the ground would eventually rot away. 
However in  the 13th Century it was discover that:
.... a stone plinth and timber sill along with the use of strong timber joints. The stone plinth consisted of a line of stones, perhaps partly below ground as well as above, laid along the foot of walls. On this was placed a sturdy wooden sill….  Green oak rectangular post were then inserted into the sill and secured by mortise and tenon joints and held together by oak pegs (http://www.today.plus.com)

This solved the problem of oak posts rotting and building exist in the twenty first Century that were built in the 13th and 14th centuries


Oak's use in Healing


Oak galls, made by the larva of  gall wasp induce the oak to produce chemical that form into abnormal growth or galls  to encloses the developing larv, these galls were ground and were used as a cure for problems with the liver.

The distilled water of the bud, before they break out into leaves is... to assuge inflammation and to stop the fluxes. (Culpeper -15th century)
The inner bark of the tree and the skin covering were used to stop the spitting of the blood and the flux or as we would called diarrhoea  The bark is used by modern herbalist as an astringent, as a gargle for a sore throat and to stop diarrhoea. 

Edward Bach 's remedies were based on finding a cure for physiological states and stress that depleted the immune system.  He also looked to Doctrine of Signatures a medieval system in which the appearance and habit of a plant was thought to indicate what it would cure. The Bach Oak remedy

... is used to help us remain strong in adversity, while at the same time we learn it is better sometimes to let go rather than crack under the strain. (The Bach  Center)
Tradition Folklore healing would advise a person  facing a difficult situation or who was unable to cope with life to go to the oak wood and walk three times round an oak. Then rest against it to restore their equilibrium and to be guide by the wisdom of the Oak.


 The Oak Folklore and legend and myths   


The oak is strong and endures.  Foresters traditionally used to pollard a living oak tree back to the trunk for timber, the tree will re- row into a dense canopy which may have been harvested again.  Most of the ancient and veteran oaks are pollard oaks they generally live longer than trees that have not been cut back. 

The oaks has become associate with fire in legends and folklore.  Oaks are taller than most other tree and are full of moisture which increases  its vulnerability to

being hit by lightening strikes.  The lightning’s  intense electrical charge travels into the  trunk and instantly vaporizes the sap and moisture into steam. The tree may then violently split or explode  and the sap from the heart wood may catch fire.  Yet the Oak lives on even though part of its trunk may be blackened and damaged.

The oak was used to kindle the fires at Celtic festivals Beltane, lammas  and Samhuinn.  The use of Oak of fires also had a sinister aspect in  history and folklore. In Scotland if a malevolent witch or someone accused of heresy was sentenced to death by burning at the stake, the fire was made of green oak which burns slowly and gives  off noxious fumes Traditional belief in oak’s protective power, it was believed, would prevented the shade of the  person escaping from the flames and haunting the community in revenge for their hideous death. 

Oaks were often planted by dwellings to protect it from a lightening strike:

It is not wise to shelter under an oak in a thunder storm!

Oak’s gives sanctuary and protection from enemies and evil spirits.  In Scotland a traveler sleeping in or near a wild wood drew a circle round him with a oak staff to protect him from the attentions of malicious fairies.  Oak baskets and cribs, it was believed, would stop the fairies stealing a child and leaving a changeling in its place

The word Oak in Irish and Welsh also mean Chief. and oak  is ranked as a Chieftain Tree in the Celtic Ogham.  Chiefs and Kings would plant an Oak grove around their residence or fort as symbol of Kingship  Strength and Fertility. In the crowed rural homes the Oak woods would allow privacy and sanctuary from prying eyes.  Many children would be conceived under the shelter of an Oak tree.


The Oak has been associated with sacred places and In the Pagan era for ritual and ceremony.  This was also true of the early Christian church.  Holy wells had Oaks growing nearby with its male powerful energy of the universe combined with the female life giving trees, often the Hawthorn and Willow.

The Oaks were places where teaching and laws were given.  King Edward The Confessor in 1005 delivered The Charter of London  by the scared Oak on Parliament Hill. This Charter made London the oldest democratic City in the world. Over time, it became the first stepping stone to the emergence of the Parliamentary System for the UK.



The Crouch Oak in Adlestone marks the boundary of Windsor Park is said to have been planted in the 11th Century.  It was a gathering place, marriages would have taken place there until the Church stopped the practice. 
The people gathered at the Crouch  Oak to hear readings from John Wycliffe's translation of the Bible from Latin into into English (1382). Many hearing and understanding the Bible Texts for the first time in their own language. 



The 18th Century Preacher John Wesley who thrown out of Oxford and his preaching was dammed as blasphemous by the established church, preached to people under under the Crouch Oak. The oak's branches make a wonderful sounding board so  the huge crowds that gathered to to hear him speak could all hear him clearly. 



The Oak a symbol of courage & determination to overcome adversity.


Damage by caterpillars can strip a  Oak of its leaves and seriously deplete its energy. However round the time of The Celtic Festival of Lammas in August the Oak will grow a second growth of leaves which enables it to recover from this damage . The wood sculpture David Nash believes  the insect can smell an ailing tree and this result in insect infestation.  The insects burrow under loose bark  and into rotting patches on the tree. The Oak responds  by using its sap to form a callous which prevents the insects burrowing deeper into the wood.  The attack can leave huge burrs on the trunk and branches. But the Oak:

   ... has the courage to survive despite the injuries it endures, it has a determination to live and achieve its potential (David Nash)

  


The Celtic Tree Ogham Oracle


My knowledge of the Celtic Tree Ogham is gained from reading the works of Scholars, 
and three Wise Women who guide me in the realm of The Celtic Tree Ogham Oracle.  They are Liz Murray, Catlin Matthew, and Glennie Kindred.  I have absorbed their wisdom and combined it with my learning about trees and experience of being in forest and woods.


A Visualization and Meditation  on the Oak

Standing by a mature oak and looking upwards I can see the strong boughs reaching up to the sky and imagine the great roots that anchor it growing deep into the earth. One a sunny winter's day the light that filters through the open canopy of its branches is dappled and creates a magical space to stand or sit quietly and enjoy 


a wonderful moment
a perfect moment 
of interconnect with the oak,

The Oak Tree of Knowledge


The Gaelic and Sanskrit word for Oak is Duir , which means door. If you draw the Oak when casting the Ogham you should approach the Oak with respect and let your presence be known.  Touch the Oak gently, either with a hand or with the mind and wait and see if the doorway to inner knowledge opens. If it opens enter:


into the power of your imagination... we are taught that imagination only reveals what is imaginary that is not true Imagination is a faculty of the soul.  the same way sight is a faculty of the eyes. (Cailtin Matthews) 


There are many reason The Seeker are drawn to the Celtic Tree Ogham Oracle. 

Here are some of the reason to seek answers from the oracle.  

Needing reassurance whether it is the right time to go forward with an action or project to

... have faith in your vision of what your are working towards.           (Glennie Kindred)

  
The seeker may have issues from the past.  The oak can give an inner vision which will lead to a new understand the past. It may show the knots of bitterness which are blocking the way forward, and give the clarity, strength and protection needed to clear the negative energy and to move on to a positive path.

A seeker may feel lost, or maybe is procrastinate about an ambition, dream or hope. May be fearful of failure and be at a standstill, terrified of being expose ridicule or harm.  The Oak show how to have courage, and the strengthen of will to achieve a goal.

The seeker is blocked from going forward in  life.  The Oak bends and moves in the face of a storm. If it didn't branches would be break and be ripped off.  The Oak can show the Seeker that stubbornness is the cause of stagnation, or a desire always to be right or to win is destructive. Oak’s  healing light can take away the seekers fear of change. 

In the modern world stress caused by work, relationships, lack of money, or life events may overwhelms us,. The seeker may feel as if they are running in circles and getting nowhere.  The stately Oak can give a place to be quite and still and let the white noise of life, the chatter the mind, be still in meditation and rest.


Sometime in life any of us may feels exhausted and broken, seeing before us a mire of unhappiness and darkness .But the oak teaches: 

When all seems dark the stars still shine trust and endure. 

I hope the Stars Shine For you

With Reiki Blessings

MerryB


Thursday, 20 November 2014

Ramblings About Oak Trees

Childhood memories being with an Oak tree 


acorn fairy
I am in awe of Oak trees I feel them as a powerful and magical trees and like their strength and security..  As a child I discovered a huge oak tree in a boundary hedge of a farm.  It was balanced on  the edge of a steep bank where part of the land had slipped away and exposed some of the  roots.  The oak had been hit by a lightening strike and split open on one side and the cleft  was a perfect spot to sit and read, I would snuggle in to the heart of the tree with a book and my toys and happily stay for hours reading and using my imagination to create games. I would make bonnets and tea sets from the acorn cups as a gift to the fairies..

The mighty oak lives for hundreds of years and has provided a safe home for many generations of tree fairies; indeed, its leafy foliage makes an excellent shelter for a fairy house…Clever use of clothing and colour enables tree fairies to 'disappear' into the leafy backdrop. Fairy garments are sewn from leaves and the fairies make new costumes whenever the seasons change. (Cicely Mary Barker)))BARKER 

I  loved to clamber into the cavern of its exposed roots and journey into my imagination.

Down at the bottom  of the bank was a trout stream running with clear water and I would play in it for a while before laying  on the bank and and watch the shoals of  minnows and sticklebacks swimming  past, Other times I stood on the footbridge over the stream and look for river trout in the deep pools along the edge of the stream or hidden among the over hanging vegetation and rocks,  Sometimes I would see rings of water as a trout rose to the surface to feed on the mayflies, water shrimp, caddis flies and other invertebrates.  Other times just under the bridge a trout would lay still in the water with its nose pointing up stream waiting for insects to come floating by. Usually I would only catch a flash of silver as the trout darted away as it spotted me before I even knew it was there.  After playing by the stream I would climb back to the peace and security of my secret space away from my older brothers teasing.

Even today I love to sit along side a great oak or walk round it and gently touch its bark, and leaves enjoy the earthy smell of it.  I collect  a few acorns from a mature oak sometimes carry one or two to empty places in wild areas and gentle push them into the soil to germinate in spring.


Rambling among the Oaks of The New Forest National Park


Rambling in a ancient wood full of Oak trees is a joy at any time of the year but especially Autumn.  Each year  we ramble with Pops in the New Forest.  We delight in scrunching through the layers of gold and red leaves as we walk along the paths meandering though the tree. The path pass alongside the russet hues of patches of bracken   I am enchanted by the the changing moods of the forest created by the weather and season. In Autumn on a sunny day it is lovely to be out in the fresh air. I enjoy inhaling the smell of damp mosses and the earthy scent of leaf litter. It is  is very deep under the oaks as the soft leaves break down quickly in Autumn, creating habitats for stag beetles and other invertebrates.

Stag beetles are threatened species globally,  but here in the South of England they are surviving well, and they flourish in the New Forest.   When we have been walking in the forest on a sunny evening or early in the morning we have caught a brief glimpse of them flying past.


This year the mild and wet weather has provided the perfect conditions for fungi to flourish.  In October rambling  in the New Forest  we saw near an oak  tree a group oak cap and milk cap fungi as well as different fungi growing on the trees branches in cracks and splits in the trees.  Fungi are one of the oldest organism on earth and thrive on the leaf litter of oaks rotting wood and dead animals.
                                

I always feel privileged to see roe deer, fallow or red deer in the forest while wandering along the edges of the forest.  Roe deer tend to be solitary and will quickly disappear into the depths of the forest when disturbed.  Fallow deer stay together in groups they will draw away when they hear us, but then stop and watch us rambling along.  In mid October in certain places in New forest you can hear rutting stags barking and perhaps the clash of horns as two stags fight for dominance over a group of does. 

In the Autumn the squirrels are busy collecting and hiding food for winter, you see them quite often scurrying about on the ground and in the trees making the most of the rich food of seeds and nuts on the forest floor.  However they do not have them all to themselves, badgers, deer, cattle and pony’s feast  on them and they are joined by commoners pigs which allowed to roam in the forest to gorging themselves on the acorns, beech masts and chestnuts.  The commoners have the right to turn out pigs into  the forest between 25th September and 22nd November each year 

The pigs eat huge quantities of acorns and that help to stop the pony and cattle eating too many  acorns,  which can cause them to become ill and sometimes die.  I have heard pigs and boars in the forest but I am wary of disturbing them while they are eating.  Those guy are big and getting bigger.  All the acorns and nuts are just right for fattening the pigs up for Christmas.  

Ssh don't tell them that!  Let them enjoy themselves for the time being!

Until the 12th Century there were Bison roaming freely in the New Forest   They have recently been re-introduced  but they are not allowed to roam free.  I am glad about that as the males are grumpy beast and can run at speeds of 35 mph.   Being Charged  by a herd male bison is not on my wish list to experience  before I die.

The open canopy of oak trees allows sunlight light to filter though to the floor and it providing In Spring perfect conditions for bluebells and primroses to grow but these are dormant now.



A Purple Streak Butterfly
Sheltering in the oak are the pupa of purple streak butterflies, whose life cycle begins on the oak tree.The oaks holes and crevices in the oak bark are favorite nesting spots for the pied flycatcher or marsh tit and woodpeckers whose old nest holes provide shelter for many creatures.  500 hundred different species of insects have been found on a single oak tree.  This food supply of insects encourages British bat species to roost in the oaks and to fed on the rich supply of insects in the tree's canopy. They use old woodpeckers holes or under loose bark for their roost.. It is easy to see if they are living in the tree because below the roost are stains of droppings and urine. Oaks are alive with myriad of creatures that live on it and in it.  If you walk quietly and at times when the forest is not busy with walkers, or foresters you may be privileged to catch a fleeting glance into their lives. 

The wild woods and forest is a wonderful place to ramble any season. I respect and admire all  trees and love to be among Ancient and Veteran oaks.

..
With Reiki blessing and gratitude to you and to the wild wood trees
and all its living creatures

Merryb


 A link to my Story:  Gog and Magog  - the famous Glastonbury Oaks












Thursday, 30 October 2014

Spinning Pops' Tale

The Big Bang in the night

Sunday night was a clear and dry as Pops I set off for our walk.  We wander around tree lined streets and were heading home. Pops was relaxed and her tail was wagging as we ambled along.. Boom there was thunderous bang followed by a circle of blue stars shot up over  our head. Another huge bangs followed and the night sky filled by green shards  creating a huge a ball overhead. Yet more loud  bangs rendered the peace of the evening.  Pops was terrified, and laid prone on the ground panting. Above us there was a chattering of starlings whirling and circling blindly in the dark.  They had been blasted out of their roost by explosion and garish light.  Their safe haven was shattered that evening..

I managed to get Pops home.  She crept along  along crouching low to the ground, while  every so often looking up at the sky fearful of more explosions .  Down the street doors had opened some people where peering out of windows.   A neighbour in that street must have called the police I heard the siren coming  nearer  as we went indoors

Next day I check on the internet for  firework and  found  lot of category 4 & 5 fireworks  to buy on-line. The description of one called The Big Ball, a category 4 firework, fitted exactly what I had seen. I could have bought one on the internet for £12.97.  Category 4 fireworks under UK  law can only be set off in by professionals.  This firework was launched in an urban garden in a terraced street.  Oh No!. I must not rant about fireworks as this a tale is about Pops dog.   But....No get on the story MerryB!

After Pops has been frightened next morning she wakes very anxious with her naughty button switched fully on.


The mystery of the missing socks had to be  solved.  
4 pairs of socks had been drying on the airer but now there was only two odd socks there. Who could have taken them?  Could it be?
 Yes, as I suspected it was Pops!  The evidence was clear. She was in the garden tossing an olive green sock and barking at it as flew up in the air.  Outside, I found three other socks, one had caught on a branch of the rambling rose one was trailing in her water bowl, one half buried in the back bed,  Other are still missing.  I had no choice but to put on odd  boot socks as we were going to the plot that morning. Oh sigh!
.
On the way to the plot I was dropping off some books at my friends Sue house for the Animals Asia Charity. Pops bounced out of the door full of energy ad launched herself blindly into the road. I hung onto her lead and dragged her back onto pavement and sat her down, until I knew it was safe to cross the over.  There was a look in her eyes that foretold she was ready to whirl and twirl her self into any mischief she could.  I sighed.


The incident of puddling pee.

This occurred, as I was poop scoping. I had put the two bags of books down by my feet. Pops was behind me as I scooped, I stood up and To my horror I saw a trickle of urine puddling round  the bags. Oh Pops!  I had to admit this was not entirely her fault she had peed behind me and the camber of the pavement made it run down and encircle the book.

We arrived  Sues house  without further incident but she invited us in for a cup of tea.  I was wearing my allotment boots so I was a bit wary about stepping onto her white carpets and even more wary about Pops entering in her current mood. Sue was insistent we should come in . Before we went in I explained The incident of the puddling pee and the bags of books. Sue just accepted in the casual way of a true dog lover.


The whirling dervish and the bitten leg
We sat in her conservatory which had a lovely pale pink Indian carpet on the floor.  Pops decided to yap and whirl in circles trying to catch her tail.  Pops' yap is ear piercing,  I know she uses this method of annoying people when she wants to get her own way. Pops  wanted to go to St James Green for a run and to the allotment.  she did not want to stay at Sue's while I drunk tea  and chatted!

Vintage Izzy dog had been woken up by Pops yapping and came grumping into the room. She sloped under my chair to sleep again.  Poppy pocked  her nose under the chair and yapped at Izzy. Izzy startled awake snapped at Pops and sunk her teeth into my leg instead of Pops nose.  I was by embarrassed Pops behaviour and Sue was mortified that Izzy had bitten me.Oh Pops! .

Chasing squirrels and woofing at helicopters and cats

Eventually Pops and I set off to the St James green, where she played with a very elegant and even tempered Saluki..   She and Pops played together a game called hunt the squirrel, they saw a squirrel and were off.  The squirrel darted up the tree and jumped from one tree to another before it drop to the ground in a different place   The two dogs  circled round and round the first tree sniffing frantically as they search  for  it. The squirrel seemed to wait to be spotted on the ground by the dogs.  Who eventually saw it and  ran in pursuit. The squirrel  promptly sprinted up into the tree' canopy.  The circling and sniffing would being again, and again, and again....

We were there for an hour before Pops always took herself off to the gate indicating that she wants to go immediately. So ever obedient I set off to the allotment with her bouncing along in front. Once she had her brunch, she woofed at the coastguard and navy helicopters flying to and fro from the harbour.  Whirled and twirled as passing cats came into  sight and yapped to  to get someone to play with her. Eventually she laid down bathed in dappled sunlight under the cherry tree.  I worked on the plot, for an hour before our lunch  Afterwards she lazed again, until it was time to set off for home. Tail  up she power walked home in a relaxed and happy mood. The naughty button switched off..

I hope you enjoyed The Spinning Pops' Tale



With Reiki golden light and blessings to you all

Merry b







Thursday, 16 October 2014

What Use Are Wasps?

Last Friday was a day of sunshine and showers here in Hampshire, fortunately while I was at the plot there was mostly sunshine.  I enjoyed being there with Pops, she was noisy at times because there where a number of navy and military helicopters flying overhead,  far more than usual.  However focusing on digging a bed ready to plant broad beans and sitting with Pops for lunch I  was happy.  I  harvested some vegetables, and cut the last of the sunflowers, then Pops and I started for home.

When I was walking through the allotments a man came up to me and asked were plot 141 was I showed him on the map and asked if he had been given that plot.  His reply was:

No I am a pest control officer from the council we have had a complaint, I have come to destroy a wasps nest."  

My mood plummeted  I felt  saddened, there is too much casual destruction of wildlife with a puff  or a splash of  chemicals. I asked him,
"Why?  All the wasps in the nest will be dead in couple of weeks when it gets colder."
his answer was

We had a complaint so we need to destroy them.   Anyway what use are wasps?  they are not like Bees!
I was stunned and tried tell him how useful wasps are..   He was not listening and two plot holder there agreed with him.  One echoed the question “What use are wasps?

I felt angry and worried for my girls, wasps, on my plot who have never caused myself or my neighbours any problem. when the Queen left the nest and the last brood of  new queens and drones flew away, I made the female workers a fruit pile semi buried in the soil.   Neighbours often give me windfalls from their fruit trees to give to the girls.( See post 1st August 2014 )
  
Willful and destruction of wildlife at the allotments is carried out not  just on wasps, some people poison rat and, though illegal, foxes. On other  plots caterpillars, and insects stand no chance.  These plot holders wage a chemical war on all creatures.  Often putting out double or triple the amount of poison  recommended by manufacturers.  

I have very few pests on my plot thanks to the wasps and lady birds, other predators and birds..  However, before I being rambling or rant back to the questions- What use are wasps?


Bees, wasps and ants are among the most important animals on the planet and are essential for the health and survival of countless other species - ourselves included."   BWARS' patron George McGavin 
The usefulness of wasps is something people often wonder about.  Wasps play an important role as early pollinators in the UK,’ However, wasps eat caterpillars and aphids. Gardeners should welcome them with open arms!  Matt Brierley, RSPB
We should celebrate wasps and all creatures if we wish to conserve our plant.  If we believe in the importance of conservation of the living World, we must recognize that all creatures matter.

I was  taught to love the natural world by my parents. When I learnt  Reiki one the Ideals was

Be grateful for all living creatures.
Later I explored Druidry and deepened my connection to nature. the wheel of the year and to our planet - Mother Earth.  I celebrate the World's diversity and care about conserving all living things.


   Chris Packham's answer to the question:"What are wasp for? "  is:

My reply is, "What are you for?" I'm a great fan of wasps. I have a nest of them in my stables and they're very happy; I'm very happy with them, too.
I am also a fan of wasps, I  feel privileged to have a nest on my plot.  I remember as a child we had a wasps nest in the roses that grew over the front of the house I did not get stung. Now Bee stings!  But that is a ramble for another time.



With Reiki Blessing 

MerryB

Pied Flycatcher's catch wasps
as do brave Dragon Flies





Thursday, 9 October 2014

Autumn meditation

This morning it was a misty, chilly dawn, I could hear the fog horn of ships coming and going to and from Portsmouth Harbour. The spiders webs were fringed with dew drops and I had to put on a jumper before I went outside.  Pops dog stayed in bed until the sun came out.

Now the sun has burnt  through the mist and it is a beautiful sunny day. The seedlings in the green house have needed to be misted over again as they dried out since early this morning.  It is a day to relish and enjoy being outdoors which is what we have been doing this afternoon. .I love to crunch through the fallen leaves and Pops plays and tumbles among them enjoying the scrunch of leaves beneath her feet..  The vintage trees in the park have leaves of  of green, yellow, orange and copper brown. The autumn display is beautiful, however  as I look at them I see how much we need rain the trees are so dry the leaves and branches hang listlessly.  Autumn's colours may  last longer this year, but that is not a good thing it brings the reality of climate change right to our doorsteps. In September, here in Hampshire, there has been only about an inch of rain altogether. The earth in my allotment and garden is dry and dusty. I love the sunny days but the trees need rain.




We are being eased into the Autumn by fine weather.   At first  there is equilibrium between day and night,   Eventually the dark evenings will edge into afternoon.the weather will become rainy, cold, windy The last of the Summer flowers will be caught by the frost and blacken and die.  The oaks, chestnuts, beech and silver birch will drop their last leaves. The seeds they dropped at the beginning of Autumn, will be covered in leaf litter, or wind. mice, squirrels or children will have  spread the seeds far away from the parent tree ready to germinate next Spring.  When the trees have prepared the fruit and leaf buds for the next year the sap will turn
inwards and they become dormant.   The bare outline of the trees will be will be seen stark against the  Autumn sky

Now and then I catch a myself feeling,a  hint a  regret, because this lovely  year's Summer and  the Indian Summer we have been enjoying is coming to an end.  As the wheel of the seasons circles round.  Each season is special brings has its own  purpose and delights.  Autumn and Winter are dreaded by many people.  The Dark nights are feared and associated with  ghost ghouls, and even danger.  But inside our homes we feel safe once the doors are closed and the windows shut and the curtains drawn.


My  Celtic ancestors saw the darkness differently:

 "as a place inside us where we touch and experience our spiritual roots and was known as the Mysteries." (Glennie Kindred) 
RSPB -  Christmas present 
I am blessed with a warm and cosy home, with those I love around me. I have books to read, I write and review my journals and practice Reiki and Mindfulness meditation. I love coming in after I have been outside on a cold wet day and relish the:


:... cup of tea in my two hands.
Mindfulness held perfectly 
My mind ad body dwells
In the very here and now
Thich  Nhat Hanh

I am outside a great deal in Winter as I garden, have an allotment and Pops dog to walk.  Many times I look outside and want to stay warm and cosy indoors.  . Autumn and Winter are important times in the garden preparing the earth for spring clearing and mulching beds for next years crops pruning  or planting spring bulbs.

Once I am out doors  I am at peace  and well being.. one of my joys is planting spring bulbs .  Each year  I buy more  bulbs for my allotment and garden and the wildlife area at the allotment.  I love choosing the bulbs and taking them home ready to plant.  When I go out to plant them I  place each one carefully and mindfully. My mind is filled  with  imagining the beautiful flowers that will greet us Spring.


Planting them can be shared as well with loved ones.  Children love doing being involved and the expression on their face when they see their bulbs flowering in Spring is wonderful.  These hardy early bulbs will come to flower through whatever the weather throws at them snow, gales relentless rain. They brighten the coldest wettest darkest grey day in late winter early spring



Mindful Meditation Planting Spring bulbs


 Takes a  Spring bulb and looks at it closely,
 the texture, The colour, is it firm or soft…
Imagine you can see the person who grew this bulb.
The person who packed it, the people who transported it to the supplier
The person who served you at the store or the delivery person
And be grateful to these people. 
And to the sun, rain and earth that nurtured it

Pause for a moment and examine your past year,
 What have you learnt, what was good, what things did not flourish?
What is a project or dream you want to achieve by next Spring?

 Place the bulb in the pot or into the earth 
And cover it with soil  
 See the bulb growing under ground sending down strong roots
To nourish it and anchor it firmly
To begin the work of growing
To allow the leaves and buds to push though the earth
to emerge safely into the light

Imagine yourself also putting down essential roots 
to grow your project  into a reality next spring

(This can be done as a group meditation where each person in the circle reflects on the past year and  tell the others of a project or dream they want to achieve by next Spring)






With Reiki's light and blessing to you all

Merry B













It



Sunday, 28 September 2014

September's Bounty

I love the month of September when all the intensity of the sun mellows and the activity of sowing and growing crops, and watering, become less hectic and there is time to reflect and enjoy the time spent at the plot harvesting apples, squashes, the last of the beans and tomatoes.  

My golden hop has flowered for the first time.  To begin with I thought it was a male plant but then the flowers grew and the back, sides and roof of my shed became smothered in golden flowers which I will harvest for garlands for the Winter Solstices and Christmas.  Soon it will have to be cut down, I will heap manure on the root to feed  it for its new growth in spring.

For now I just enjoy sitting with Pops dog and enjoying its abundance and beauty against the blue of the shed and sky on lovely September evenings.


Early in September Pops and I went for a wander to a lovely Park full of mature trees some of which must now be a hundred years or more old, there is an yew with branches reaching to the ground and rooted into the soil to renew itself, There are Horse Chestnut trees that drop chestnuts for the children to collect and to play the games of conkers .  In the early evening there are children chattering and whooping as they find them in the grass under the trees, even adults pick them up partly, I suspect, from nostalgia for childhood games of conker, but this is rationalized  as being to deterring spiders from coming indoors.  I also love to collect conkers, some to put into my winter bowls of potpourri, but also because of the sheer beauty of the gleaming brown fruits. Also to remind me of happy memories of collecting conkers as a child..

While walking Pops to the park we turned to the East and there before us was the Harvest full moon, which this year was a a Super Moon.  It was hanging low in the sky as it orbits the earth. The Moon glowed golden in a blue sky and as the sunset it became flushed with pink.  As usual my camera was in my rucksack at home so I did not get a picture of it. However, here is a picture of the Super moon  over Blackheath by Mike Meynell. What a beautiful  picture. 




The Equinox on the twenty third of September marked the end of Summer and the beginning of Autumn and the drawing in of the days and the dark nights leading up to the Winter Solstice on the twenty first of December when the light begins to return. . Already I can feel an urgency growing in me to get jobs down at the allotment and in the garden  before the bad weather  comes and  much shorter days set in.  

On Monday it is the feast of Michaelmas  a Christian feast to celebrate Michael the Archangel and all the other Archangels.  It is traditional seen as the day that God ordered Michael to throw Lucifer out of heaven.  It is said that the devil fell into the middle of a blackberry thicket and his angry fiery breathe set them on fire. Lucifer surround by a ring of fire stamped on the blackberries and spat on them to quench the fire, or as the Celts say pissed on them to put out the fire..  That is why we shouldn't eat blackberries after that date. People say we do not eat them in October  because the sun is not strong enough to ripen them and misty, dampness of autumn turns them mouldy.  Some of us know the real reason!


Michaelmas is associate with eating certain foods just as there is a Traditional Christmas foods, At one time Michaelmas was a great feast day and the traditional meal was goose, with potatoes and carrots, and Blackberry pie or dumplings.  I will not be eating goose as I am a vegetarian. I have from my plot have some Picasso Potatoes and lovely rainbow carrots which I sowed at the end of July and are ready for harvesting now.  I will will also cook some blackberries and  James Grieve cooking apples and make some dumplings, These were also  harvested  from my allotment.


 In the last week Michaelmas daisies are beginning to flower on my plot and in my garden. They are actually an Aster first introduced into this country from America in 1633 by John Tradescant the  Younger a 17th Century plant hunter and gardener.  The plants became known as Michaelmas daisies because they bloom in late September at the time of the feast of Michaelmas.  I love their with vibrant colors which flower just as other flowers are fading. For a long while they seemed to go out of fashion, perhaps because they suffered badly from mildew but new breeding techniques seems to have overcome that problem.


Anyway I could write more but it is time for Pops walk so I will stop and take her out.  Look out for the full moon on the 8th of October it will be a blood moon. Those of you living in North America will get the best view of it  but you will have to get up early to see it.


With Reiki blessing to every one,
Merryb






Thursday, 14 August 2014

A Willow Fairy for Michael's mum


Yesterday morning there was a lovely dawn,the waning moon was slowly sinking on the horizon as the sun began to rise. The day turned out to a be happy day working  in harmony with a group of people who all love nature and care about wildlife.

 I went to my plot  and had planned out what I would do there.  Weeding and watering were a priority but like all best laid plans I actually got very little done except the watering.

My lack of progress on the plot was all because of a causal  comment to Jenny on the Community Plot, Growing under a Hazel hedge on their plot was a pine tree which had seeded itself and grown to about three foot tall.

 I said

"Why don't you put that pine on the wild life area",


"Great idea we could do that." Jenny said.


I looked round and i was the only person there I guessed I was part of the we. 


"Michael could help". I said 


"Good idea", she said

She pottered off and return with Michael who was eager to help

So began the battle to get the pine sapling out from within the hazel hedge,.  Michae, a giant of man plunged a long fork deep into the ground and levered it up all round the pine tree,  
Michael worked the fork, while  I, having fought may way into the hazel hedge held it back  so that he could see where to work  After a lot of effort we realized it had grown through the membrane and this need to be cut before we could get the tree out.  We also carefully scrabbled with our hands to get the tap roots out unbroken. Eventually  it was free and  we discovered there was not one tree but three small trees..

While the larger tree was soaking in my water butt we went to the wild life area and Michael dug a huge hole to accommodate the rootball, Chris got the compost and some manure from my plot and the tree was planted, watered and staked.

The lovely thing about was this is that Michael's Mother is in hospital and he had been very upset and worried. He cannot speak very well so it is difficult for him to express his feelings The week before  he came to the allotment on  the Wednesday but had not done anything  he just sat down, because  he was so worried and sad about his mum illness.  But yesterday digging out a Christmas tree appealed to him He want to help get the tree planted on the wild life area, which he loves working on.  


While he worked he told us he want to show the Christmas tree to his mum when she was out of hospital. The tree has now been named Michael's Mum's Christmas tree. Michael wants to put a fairy on the top at Christmas time. Jenny has already penciled in a Christmas Party for the groups and  I will help Michael make a fairy out of my willow twigs

.
Yesterday Michael left for home smiling and felt hopeful that his mum would come home from hospital soon,

It was well worth spending the morning helping to move the beautiful young pine (pinus nigra) tree.  It looks good on the wild life area, it has wonderful fragrance and will be a good habitat for birds and other critters there.  Best of  all planting it help Michael feel better.

Just as we were clearing up on the wild life area the Hampshire Gardens lorry came in with wood chippings for the plot holders and logs for us. Beautiful piece of cordyline palm and holly which Jenny and I built into a new stumpery as a habitat for lizard, newts,beetles and ....

Eventually I got back to my plot and watered it, Had Lunch and then there was a cloud burst  of torrential  rain!  Poppy and I went home and got very, very wet getting there.

The community plot works with adults with learning difficulties, schools young carers, older carers and other groups.






With Reiki Blessings to you all

MerryB