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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in trees

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Birch: The Tree of Midsummer

 

 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
In Praise of Catalpas

The catalpas are in bloom: thank Goddess.

Catalpa speciosa, the northern Catalpa. They're huge trees, catalpas: often the tallest on any given block. Heart-shaped leaves, bigger than your out-stretched hand, and those flowers: creamy with spotted tongues, like little orchids, really, if you can imagine tens of thousands of orchids all in one place. (Thus does superabundance render even the greatest beauty banal.) The city's catalpas are towering pyramids of white right now, that you can smell a block away: that sweet, spicy, nutmeg-y smell of Midsummer.

They're weedy kinds of trees, actually. Soft wood, not good for much of anything. They're also "dirty" trees: first the fallen flowers, which coat the sidewalks with slime, then the long, carob-like seedpods that litter the lawn by the thousands and (I swear) tens of thousands.

Oh, but they're in their glory now, and that means Midsummer can't be far away.

I grew up calling them (PI alert) "Indian tobies." Oddly enough (it took me a while to figure it out), "tobie" is short for "tobacco." Here's why. 

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
An Ogham Preserving Shrine

As I mentioned in my last post, I'm starting to study the Ogham, and Yuri Leitch's book, "The Ogham Grove," is setting up a very nice system for me to spend approximately two weeks at a time getting to know one of the letters in this alphabet and the tree it's associated with, as well as other associations, during the time the sun is in that part of his Ogham Year Wheel. I find information online and in the Ogham books I'm starting to collect (like Erynn Rowan Laurie's "Ogam: Weaving Word Wisdom"), as well as trying to find the tree in my local area so I can meet it in person. :)

b2ap3_thumbnail_Yuri-Leitch-Alder-Page.png

I'm also putting an image of the tree up as my computer wallpaper during those weeks, and putting its card from The Green Man Tree Oracle in a frame on my desk. I'm bathing in the essense of that tree and the energy of that Ogham few's associations, as it were.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Celebrating the buds

At this time of year in my corner of the UK, the tree buds change in a noticeable way, and for me this is something to celebrate.

Trees form their leaf buds during the winter. The idea that trees sleep through the winter is a misconception perpetrated by the Pagan community, depending entirely on never looking that closely at trees. If you only ever see trees from a distance then yes, those apparently bare branches may look like nothing is going on, but this isn’t so! Trees make their leaves, and their catkins during the winter months. In January here, the catkins start opening. Somewhere around Imbolc, buds fatten discernibly.

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  • Judith Shaw
    Judith Shaw says #
    Wise words - "New leaves on trees can seem like an event – a sudden arrival of bright new greenness to mark the beginning of the g

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Celebrating the catkins

The standard issue wheel of the year for the British isles has us celebrating the first flowers at Imbolc, when the snowdrops emerge. This is a bit awkward, because tree flowers – specifically catkins – emerge in January and open. They are also manifestly at odds with the standard issue notion that trees spend the winter sleeping. They don’t. Once the leaves are down, trees get busy making buds ready for the new year, and may also be making their catkins, which have been sat there hard and closed for some time now.

The thing about leaf buds and catkins is that they are small and you probably won’t see them if all you do is look at trees out of windows. Especially not if you are in motion and the windows are in a car. To spot buds and catkins, you have to be within a matter of feet of the trees and looking at them closely. When nature is an abstract concept that you celebrate from the safety of your living room, this is the kind of thing that gets overlooked.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
For the love of leaves

I’ve known years when the trees were bare of leaves by the end of September. In recent years I’ve seen leaves still on trees during my habitual Christmas day walk to my mother’s house. No two autumns ever have quite the same shape, and what turns when has a lot to do with the shape of the land, and where exactly your land is, as well.

This year, some trees started showing autumnal colours fairly early in September. I write this blog at the beginning of October, with an array of yellow, copper and happily photosynthesising greens outside my window. The story of leaves is not one that fits tidily into the wheel of the year, not least because during the part of the winter when the trees are supposedly sleeping, they make their buds, all ready for next year’s growth. the falling of leaves is a process that can start before the autumn equinox and go through to midwinter.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Celebrating the rowan flowers

It is of course the rowan berry that most Pagans will think of when considering this tree. The bright, orangey red berries of the rowan or mountain ash have a traditional use in protective magic. However, you don’t get berries without flowers, and the flowers are out now.

It’s a good opportunity not just to celebrate this moment in the life of a rowan, but to also consider the beginnings of things whose ends we engage with. Many trees are in flower - as I write this post the horse chestnut outside my window is resplendent with bright candles of white flowers.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Nimue Brown
    Nimue Brown says #
    Mmm, that's an evocative sort of smell. I'll add the musky smell of fox wee to my list of good-stinky things! I realise there's mo
  • Claudia Priori
    Claudia Priori says #
    Yes! Sometimes it's the stinky things that remind us of the wildness of this earth. I love to walk along the beach where the seawe

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