Growing Up With Trees

Hello my fellow travellers of the old ways, it’s been a while since I’ve had time to just do nothing for a little while what with the ongoing pressures of work and all the other things that my journey along my Druid path is opening up to me. 


I started writing this blog last July not really knowing what was going to happen or even if it was going to be read by anyone else.  I started it as a way for me to share my progression as I walk the never ending path of my life as a Druid.  It is a path, for those that follow this, that started when I was very young, I didn’t know at the time I was a Druid, but too many years later I realised that was what I was, my path had been laid out for me by my ancestors, it was just down to me to discover this and begin working with it.


I have had this weekend to myself for the first time in so long, without anything thing else to do other than spend time with my wife and relax.  I get up early as you all know to do my daily rituals to welcome in the sun and thank Mother Earth and Father Sky for blessing me with another day to fulfil my destiny and share my path with the people I have grown with as a Druid. 


It was during my ritual on Saturday morning that I started to think more about where I am and what I am doing.  I thought back to last Sunday night, Beltaine Eve, when I sat alone up on the Hill at Pitstone doing my all night vigil ready to welcome in the rising sun that starts the celebration of Beltaine and the beginning of Summer.  I was thinking back on all the things that has happened through my life and I suddenly realised that through everything, growing up in a family that didn’t really want me, through my years as a teenager and into adult hood and getting married and having a wonderful son, the one thing that has always been a major part of my life was nature, and in particular trees.  I know I have talked many times about my affinity with trees, and being a Druid and walking this path they have become even more important to me.  I decided then that now was the time for me to share more about this and how growing up with trees has had that impact on my life. 

I have already written earlier about how to speak to trees, this was shared with me by a fellow Druid who I have never met our paths just crossed with the powers of the internet.  When I read this from him it all made sense, these wonderful sentient beings, yes I consider trees to be sentient as I know all Druids do and not just Druids but all who follow a nature based path.

I wrote in my very first blog how as a small child I took myself into the woods and sat with these wonderful tree people, talking to them and feeling no pressure to be something that I wasn’t, this has stayed with me all through my life, trees don’t expect anything from you other than your friendship and kindness, they do not judge you for who you are and as long as you respect them they will treat you likewise.

I sat and looked back on all the things that have happened to me growing up and the one thing that has been constant through all of this was that whenever I felt sad, angry, happy, or just needed to be on my own the first place I went to was the woods.  I don’t know how or why it happens I just know that when I am in the woods amongst these friends everything just seems to make sense.  It is hard to explain to those people who don’t get this feeling but I am sure you all know what I mean and probably feel the same way, I really do hope so otherwise I am the only one and those sirens will start ringing as they come to take me away wrapped in a cuddle coat to live out the rest of my life in a comfortable padded room.

Seriously though, I can walk into a wood and immediately get a feeling from all that’s around me, its not always a good feeling but it is a feeling all the same.  My birthday last year my wife asked me what I would like to do and I said I would like to go to the woods and spend some time with the trees, she is Pagan and knows what I mean.  We went to Ashridge, a large woodland in the Chiltern Hills where we have been to many times before, its not far from where I do my vigil, however, on this particular day we parked up and walked into the woods to spend some time and as we entered I had an overwhelming sense of sadness, it almost brought tears to my eyes, and the deeper we walked into the woods the stronger the feeling became, I looked around me and the trees were poorly, they were losing branches, covered in carbuncles and generally in a poor condition, they were mostly Silver Birch, one of my favourite trees.  I kept walking through my emotions weren’t what I was expecting them to be and I came across this big old Beech tree right in the middle of them all, she was big, her branches wide spread as if trying to reach out to all the others to offer them support and friendship.  I stood by her just under her canopy, I introduced myself using both my birth name and my Druid name and awaited her response, she let me approach her and I sat on her roots with my back against her firm and supportive trunk, she initially felt cold but as I closed my eyes sharing my time with her I felt the warmth radiating from her, it was almost as if I could feel her breathing against me, I sat with her for a while on my own meditating and feeling her presence, to say it was magical would be an understatement.  I eventually came away from there with a better understanding of what was happening.  It is hard to believe, but as with people, trees also have a limited lifetime, we just don’t see that as they are always there.  I left her an offering before I left and thanked her for sharing her time with me.  I will be going back there and doing a tree blessing to help them and give them something back.


I have had some sad times, but I have had far more happier times, it is hard to explain but no matter what happens going to the woods and spending time with trees nearly always puts a smile on my face.  I am lucky where I am as I am only really a five minute drive from the woods and we try to go as often as we can. 


I was out this weekend we went to a local nature reserve and spent time with nature it was so nice not to have to worry about anything, the route through to the reserve took us all through the countryside where we came across some amazing views as Mother Earth fills the land with colour.  The rape seed fields were the most amazing yellow and the bluebells gave a lovely blue hue to the ground, but with all of these wonderful colours I still can never get my head around the vast array of different shades of green produced by the trees.  The Hawthorn adding a spectacular white to the surrounding land as the summer brings out its glorious foliage.  The copper beech adding a hint of brownish red to the landscape.  What is not to like about trees.


A quick note and shout out, I have never done this before but it is for a good cause and I hope you don’t mind me doing this.

I recently spoke to a lovely young lady who has an absolutely amazing understanding of trees as well, I came across her on a group I am in, her name is Teila Verch Dywenys and she has started to run a campaign to stop people putting all sorts of non biodegradable items on Clootie trees.  For those that don’t know a Clootie tree was a where our ancestors and those that walked before us would hang offerings to commemorate the passing of a loved one, or to make a wish or an offering to the spirits of place.  Over the years people Pagan and non-Pagan alike continue this tradition, however, the items now being hung unwittingly pose a great risk to animals and the environment etc.  Her campaign is called “The Cleaner Clootie Campaign” and it is there to try to educate people into the traditions of the old ways and to give them understanding of the harm tying things to trees that are not biodegradable.  As a Druid and lover of trees and nature I fully support this campaign, the Clootie tree is a spectacular site if done properly so please look it up and support it.  We need to keep our sacred sites looked after and the best way to do this is by not leaving stuff behind that will never disappear. She also has a facebook group giving more information about this.  Please let us all look after our past and respect our ancestors and the old ways by not littering trees with all sorts of plastic rubbish, the ancestors won’t thank you and neither will the trees and animals.

I hope you all liked this one and the pictures.  As always, I will end on another of my poems.  It is not tree based funnily enough, but it is to do with another great love of mine and that is the honourable Corvids.  This one is called “Looking Through the Eyes of the Raven”



Sitting down beneath the tree

Barely breathing, eyes are closed.

When the vision comes to me

Of my black, majestic Raven.


Perched in the canopy so green.

Watchful eye, in skies above

Trying hard not to be seen

My guardian friend my Raven


Then swooping down he comes to me.

Silhouetted in the summer sky.

Until he’s there above my tree

I hear his call, my Raven


His feathers shining, black as coal.

Approaching fast, from high

I feel him now within my soul.

At one now with my Raven


I feel the wind rush through my hair.

Weightlessly I’m moving.

I want to look but hardly dare.

I’m flying with my Raven.


Our spirits joined, we are as one

Soaring through the sky

I should feel fear, but there is none.

Protected by my Raven.


Circling in the clear blue sky

Looking all around

Jet black wings that help me fly

Alone with just my Raven


Then flying low amongst the trees

We go to where I’m sat.

Riding on the summer breeze

I journey with my Raven.


Then from my dream state I awake.

I watch my friend depart.

It won’t be long before I make.

Another journey with my Raven


Blessed Be my friends /|\