Just what do cryptocurrencies, gin, art and folklore have in common? Not much, you might well think. Yet #FolkloreThursday was recently invited to a curious event that blended these seamlessly, conjuring images of the apothecaries of old.
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.