Plant lore is the verdant heart of Scottish folk holidays and traditions. Nature’s gift and sacrifice is found in the burning heart of Yule – the Yule log of ash or birch.
Maypoles are often seen as a quintessentially English tradition, yet in Bavaria the raising of the Maibaum (or May Tree) is also an important event, and it is not the only time a tree is hefted aloft in celebration.
Derwen Ceubren yr Ellyll, which means “The Hollow Oak, Haunt of Demons” or “The Blasted Oak of Spirits” was a real tree. Its story is dark and terrifying.
The birch has a particularly graceful, flowing habit that always reminds me of a stream of water, extending right to the tips of its delicate black twigs in a shower of leafy droplets that tremble, suspended, in their fall.
When we stand beneath a tree and gaze up into its branches, perhaps running our fingers
over the textured bark and admiring the rich collage of mosses and lichens