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Posts Tagged ‘Magic’

Come, follow me into the woods today…Come, follow me into the woods to play…

Some people are social creatures. What makes them happy is the company of other humans. Others are not. Inspector Morse described himself as « not a joining things sort of person ». I know the feeling.
As I child, I lived in the country, surrounded by woods. In those woods, I was euphorically happy – free to roam where I wanted, in a world unbounded by the strictures of humans with blinkered , monochrome vision. And they weren’t ‘just’ woods. They were fantastic lands, where fairytales and myths came alive…They were jungles, alien planets, coral reefs on the sea bed even. They were the past and the future, a timeless realm of magic and wonder.

My friends were the trees and nature, the spirits of the woods, characters from books and from the boundless universe of the imagination.

I was never bored in the woods. How could I possibly be bored? There weren’t enough hours in the day to fit in all the adventures, to ‘live’ all the stories jostling to be the one claiming today as its own.

Some days, though, were different…more ‘still’. The woods felt as though they were waiting for me to join them. It was no longer my imagination conjuring worlds…It was no longer me, the ‘creator god’ of my own reality. I would climb up into my favourite tree, a graceful, pollarded beech, and sit on the ‘floor’ formed by the pollarding, surrounded by branches reaching skywards, my back against the smooth bark, and breathe in the woods…the scents, the sounds, the colours…
I hear the deep, earthy, alto song of the beech, and close my eyes to listen…She sings of the Otherworld, of a time before time. She sings of the Spirits of the woods, of Mother Earth, of a profound, immanent, numinous magic.

Schoolfriends spent their teen years wanting to escape the countryside, longing for the excitement of the city. Life was about parties, friends, clubs…boyfriends. Not me. All I ever wanted to do was get out of the stygian prison of school and back into my woods.

Every tree holds a different tale within its memory. You can read about them in books, study their correspondences and attributes. But in the same way that you could never really know how it feels to be in love without having experienced it, or what a rose smells like, or how summer rain feels on your face, you can’t really know a tree without truly ‘knowing’ it…embracing it, becoming one with it…listening to its song.
And the song of the beech has a verse that I haven’t yet mentioned; a verse that sings of ancient wisdom passed on, a paean to Hermes and Thoth, gods of writing. The Anglo-Saxon word for beech was ‘boc’…What does that sound like?…Book!
It’s a tree of both the Air element and the Earth element, and a tree that is connected to the idea of bringing the airy inspiration of words into earthy, grounded manifestation as writing in books. But not just any books…Beech tree books touch a deep, ancient wisdom. They bring written form to archetypal truths.

There was a connection between those ‘different’ days in the woods and my normal wood days. The worlds of my imagination were not just fleeting phantasms. They were/are in many ways more ‘real’ than any of those parties or shopping trips, more ‘real’ than the food I ate or the clothes on my back.

All of those time-bound things were transitory. Most are now long forgotten…A few remain as memories, but filed away in the archives of my past. The experiences I had all contributed their part to me today, but one day, this me will be dead.
The realm of the mythical, however, that boundless universe into which I plunged in the woods, never dies. It’s there, just as real, vibrant and spellbinding today as it was when I was a child, and it will still be there a thousand years from now…
When I write, the alchemy of Mother Beech inspires me. Her branches reach up into that magical realm, and bring down to earth stories, as the pen touches the page and transforms imagination into books.

So…

Come, follow me into the woods today, In realms of magic and wonder to play…

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What do you think of when you hear the word magic? Spells, wands, potions, Harry Potter? Something worked by witches in secret rites, or that exists only in stories? Nothing to do with your own day to day life…
Really?

In my last post, I wrote of enchanted places; places where the line between the worlds of men and spirits is blurred and where the air shimmers with magic…Not a remote, dusty textbook magic, or a sparkly, frothy Disney magic, and not on-line magic-school magic! It’s not a magic that you ‘learn’. It’s a magic you already know…the most powerful magic there is…The magic of Gaia, Mother Earth.

Living in a forest, wrapped in the cloak of Nature, the magic infuses everything. You join in the dance of creation and destruction, death and rebirth, ride the ever turning wheel from Spring to Summer, Summer to Autumn, Autumn to Winter and back again to Spring.

Autumn… « The forest is aquiver with a wild, raw energy; the air heavy with the scent of over-ripe blackberries, early leaf mulch and the deep, potent tang of mushrooms. My goats are capering in the orchard with reckless abandon, drunk on fermenting cider apples…And the deer rut is about to begin. »

Winter…  « One of those jewel bright, sparkling days of winter, when the world emerges into the morning light in high definition; The sort of day where the air seems so extraordinarily pure and clear, that when you take a deep breath and fill your lungs, you feel as high as a kite! »

Spring… « Tiny wisps of cloud drifting dreamily in a sky of forget-me-not blue…Hawks wheeling over the hay meadow… The scent of lilac, honeysuckle and freshly cut grass…Shards of spring green light dappling the forest floor…Wood anemones, celandine and campion…a chorus of joyous mistle thrushes, golden orioles and wood pigeons… »

Summer… « A steamy, sultry 34° in the shade. The birds and crickets are singing sybaritic barcaroles, butterflies come with velvety kisses to drink from my skin, and the scent of roses hangs languidly in the air. » 

 

Stop awhile and listen to Nature, listen to her heart beating, her voice in the wind and in the songs of the birds…

 

The beauty of our Earth transcends words. Just trying to get my head around a fraction of it, I feel utterly overwhelmed…And then I look up at the sky, the stars and imagine the infinity of beauty in the Universe. Magic… The greatest magic of all. 

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Is there such a thing as an enchanted place?…A place touched by magic, where the veil between this world and the realm of the Spirits is gossamer thin? Have you ever been somewhere which feels different? Maybe you can’t put your finger on why this is, you just sense something…magical.
Or perhaps you’ve felt it not in a place, but in a time… the feeling you get as a small child on Christmas Eve, when the air is heavy with an almost tangible magic.
Or has it been in a book, in words which have transported you to a place that has felt more real than your mundane life?
Words, time, place… Three dimensions of magic.
This post is about the latter, the genius loci, the magic of the place. Stonehenge, Machu Picchu, the Pyramids, Glastonbury…Atlantis?…words that conjure up a frisson of memory, places where the veil is thin.
I live in one of these places. You may not have heard of it… It’s a place that shimmers with magic. In the coldest, greyest of days, the rain sweeps in across the rugged cliffs of Finistère, carrying the memories of the wild Atlantic reaches. In the balmy summer days, the forest shimmers beneath a haze of dragonflies and butterflies, the scent of rose and honeysuckle hangs lazily in the air.
My enchanted forest…

The Roman poet Lucan, writing in around 60AD, describes a numinous, magical forest, full of ominous happenings, in Gaul.

Armorica; a vast, primordial forest, in the far N/W of France; a land of enchantment, of magical fountains and mysterious lakes, standing stones and dolmens, of myths and legends, fairies, giants, sorcerors and druids. This is the home of Viviane, the enchantress, the Lady of the Lake, the realm of Merlin and Morgan le Fey…And of course, Asterix!

It is also my home.

Those of you of sceptical disposition will laugh…'”There is no such thing as dragons/fairies/spirits”…

I throw down the challenge! Follow this blog for one year and tell me at the end of that year whether you still think the same!

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