Sunday, December 30, 2007
According to my grand parents, I’m a Hereditary ‘Brown’ Witch that ‘Walks the Chalk’.
One of my clients Terry Pratchett, bless him, wrote about us in his ‘Hat full of Sky’.
It is well worth reading… Click the Read More Link above... because he knows what he is talking about.
Today whilst the full moon watched me, I was walking the chalk, through part of our local forest.
This old forest is full of English Yew Trees with an average age of 2000 years.
There are hundreds of these ancient trees, forming what is probably the largest collection in the UK, if not Europe.
They are in, what the experts call a ‘Hanging Wood,’ on the Escarpment ( the steep slope ) of the North Downs in Kent.
The slope is about 70 degrees, with only 4 inches ( 9 cms ) of poor soil covering the chalk.
Not the best place to live, but English Yews love it and refuse to live anywhere else; as any green-fingered, or green-thumbed, gardener will tell you.
The Tree Spirits in this forest, tell me both it and they, has been there for well over 50,000 years, and my BackBrain family memory supports the last 9,000 years of this.
As far as we know, it is a small remnant of the huge natural forest that was here in the last ice age.
In those days, England was still part of Mainland Europe, and the forest stretched right across Southern Europe to the mouth of the Danube.
In fact, a squirrel could have climbed a tree where I live and travelled all the way through the tree-tops to the beaches of the Black Sea, without it’s feet needing to touch ground on the journey.
About 5,500 years ago, England became an Island; cutting us off from the mainland.
Since then, the Celts, and all the other invaders that followed them, have cut down almost all of the forest; apart from the little strip that nobody wanted of our steep hillsides in Kent.
Natural virgin forests like this are extremely rare and pure delight to explore.
Maybe, if I am spared, I’ll organise a few trips for next spring or the summer holidays, so that you can experience it for yourself.
I’ll announce it, in this Blog nearer the time; so stay tuned.
If you'd like to book a place, you could e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Picture above, shows an extremely ancient Multi-Trunked GrandMother Beech Tree in the same forest.
More to follow….
Sunday, December 09, 2007
The Truth About Trees… Part 4
But I should point out, that each Tree Group will be made up of trees of one particular type.
We call these Tree Families, as they don’t appear to have any national or geographical differences within the family.
For example: a Beech Tree ( Fagus Sylvatica ) here in the UK, is the same as a Buche in Germany or a Beuk in the Netherlands; whereas the people in these countries are very similar but different, and speak different languages.
These Tree Groups also have the ability to exist in the same place at the same time, without getting in one another’s way; a bit like the way, water, tea, sugar, and milk, can all be in the same cup at the same time.
This ‘Cuppa’ Tea, looks like a brownish liquid but you tongue can identify each component with ease, and also determine the temperature of the beverage.
Most Tree Families are easy to identify…. Like Ash ( Fraxinus Excelsior ) Gemeine Esche in German and Es in Dutch….
Or Pine ( Pinus Sylvestris ) Gemine Kiefer in German and Grove Den in Dutch.
However, some Tree Families are sub-divided by their different Latin names.
Oak for example, has a number of versions locally….. Common Oak ( Quercus Robur )…. Durmast Oak ( Quercus Petraea )…. Turkey Oak ( Quercus Cerris )…. Pin Oak ( Quercus Palustris )…. Red Oak ( Quercus Rubra )…. Etc.
But some Tree Groups have sub-divisions that the Scientists haven’t ‘cottoned onto’ yet.
English Yew and Common Yew for example. Both of which have very different characteristics, but the same Latin name of Taxus Baccata.
Our local is the English Yew which grows very slowly and seems to live forever, like the one in the picture, with a current 3,600+ year old body, and a 50,000+ year old mind.
More to come soon, so BookMark this Blog and stay tuned.
Saturday, December 01, 2007
Little known Words from our Pagan past… Part 3
Further thought on my previous comments on the ‘ Downs’ in Part 2.....
Normally here in Great Britain, we think of invaders coming from the South or South-East, as did both the Normans and the Romans, with their large expeditionary forces.
We tend to forget about the many smaller invasions, by the Anglo-Saxons, Jutes, and numerous other North Europeans and Scandinavians.
All of whom came ashore from the North Sea.
If you approach the North Downs from the sea, you will be climbing a long gentle hill, until you are between 500 and 600 feet ( 167 to 200 metres ) above sea level, before you realise it.
Then, suddenly, the ground falls away before you, giving you a fantastic panoramic view of the ‘Rift Valley’ now known as The Weald.
Lo and behold, you’ve reached the ‘ Downs.’
Maybe this is how they got their name?
More to come…