Sunday, 28 April 2013


So yesterday we journeyed to find a tree.

I saw a little red sapling growing but I had no idea what it was.  Then a dog started howling and I howled with it and all my Wolves appeared and took me off to a tree.  I did not look up or see it's leaves.  It was growing in that very organic soil you get in coniferous woods and we wanted to dig and dig.  We also wanted to scratch at the tree.  It was red and it's bark was peely and there were patches that loked like we had scratched where the tree looked sort of stringy underneath.  The tree was not a straight tree and it bulged at the bottom so you could see where the roots were headed.

I asked for help and discovered red fungus used as warpaint and the the Dogwood which i more of a bush but then someone suggested the Arbutus and well, that is that...

This site has some lovely photos of the tree and this site has a traditional story about the tree.  This tree feeds hummingbirds and butterflies with it's flower, and birds and critters with it's berries.  It has deep roots which hold the soil and prevent erosion,  It is a tree that grows happily with others as long as it is not smothered and sometimes forms a very close relationship with other trees, it has even been known to act as a nursemaid to Douglas Fir trees.  The story makes it clear that it is a tree of abundance and generosity, a good tree.

Types of the Arbutus tree also grow elsewhere including Ireland and across Western Europe.  This is a traditional song from this site.

Our king, he has a daughter fair; Arbutus is her name
And he has gone a soldiering to the court of the king of Spain.

Where our harpers sang of her gentle grace, of her beauty and her face
And the Spanish king's declared his love, begged she might share his name

Our Irish king, he's hurried home with all speed he could command
And there he's told his daughter fair he's promised away her hand

Her lovely eyes were filled with tears and her cheeks were scarlet red
"Oh Father, dear, I can't marry him; I'd rather you see me dead."

"Oh but you shall do as I command, I swear it on my sword!
Go dress yourself in bright array; I'll hear not another word."

"But Father dear, I love a man, Will Winsboro is his name,
And I'd not leave my own true love for the hand of the king of Spain."

"But I swore you were a maiden fair, and my Chiefs did all agree!
I command you now, take off your gown that I may examine thee."

"Oh, Father dear, don't shame me so; I would rather you see me dead
Before I'd let your noble lords search for my maidenhead."

"Take off, take off your very brown gown and stand upon the stone,
For if you be a maiden or none, the truth it must be known."

So she's taken off her very brown gown, and she's let the gown fall free
But before its hem could touch the ground, she's turned into a tree

And her lover's turned to the gentle breeze; through her branches he does
And she has shed her soft brown bark 'till this very day.

And while this Mediterranean species is not the one from my journey because it would not tolerate living in the wild in cold Northern places, there is a relationship here.  So I will continue to look at European lore too.  It seems that this tree is part of the symbol for Madrid and these arms also show a Bear eating the fruit.  Bears like to eat the fruit when it has fermented slightly so the bears become drunk from eating it.

In addition, Hieronymous Bosch's famous paininting the Garden of Earthly Delights is also known as the Painting of the Strawberry Tree.  This is curious to me as I have always been fascinated with this painting, ever since childhood.  My parents had a classical album with this painting on it's cover and I would sit and look at this painting for hours....  I never had the feeling of evilness or sin from the central painting and in reading about Hieronymous Bosch I found that there is a theory that this painting was produced for the leader of a group called the Adamites and that Bosch too was a member.  In reading this I felt like my head had been knocked sideways, dizzy and out of myself.  I wonder at the draw of this painting on me.

Back to the tree though, in some places the leaves are used as an astringent and internally as a urinary tract disinfectant.  Externally it is used as a bath soak for hemorrhoids, perineal tears and post partum bleeding.  I wonder if there is a healing there for me, with my endless bleeding...

The wood is used for inlay work because of it's prettiness but it's charcoal is the best for making gunpowder.  Apparently this tree saved humanity from the great flood.


Saturday, 27 April 2013

Shark Relationships

So Shark is my totem for the Moon of Inter-relationships and I have been very remiss because we are now into the Moon of Surrender, so I should be writing about Horse.  But I didn't want to miss out Shark because Shark and I have issues....

I don't feel strongly connected to Shark an I don't think this Moon is fully functional at all.  Last year when I dreamt of my totem for this Moon I was hunting for Shark but did not actually find it.  My Years of Inter-relations have not been easy and bullying has been a feature.  But I can see parallels here to Shark - a few bad sharks and the rest get picked on...  They compete with man for fish and man tries to cull them hard.  Man likes to eat their fins and there is a huge market for them, no matter the age of the Shark.  I remember seeing a programme about the Oceans and in the Far East sharks are struggling, there was a n image of rows and rows of juvenile sharks laid on a beach with all their fins removed and the rest of the shark was just scrapped.

I wonder if my fortunes within inter-relationships are linked to those of the Shark...  Maybe Shark needs my help, just as much as I need it's...

I have watched a couple of programmes featuring Sharks this Moon.  The first was on swimming with the Great White and showed that they are intelligent and very hierarchical and that they understand we are not prey.  The second was on the changing behaviour of Black Tip Sharks off South Africa and how it also shows that they are hieararchical, highly intelligent and co-operative...  This seems to be a shock to science.

We have this image of Sharks as almost rabid creatures, lone, mad creatures attacking things not their food in a frenzy.  Not true.  Not at all.

I remember my first encounter with a Shark where I feel in love with them.  I went to see a high tech graphics simulator presentaiton nearly twenty years ago.  Every day tech is probably getting up to what I saw then.  They had programmed a Shark.  They had looked in detail at how Sharks move and watching this shark swim around this room made the sheer complicatedness of it's movement very clear.  It was beautiful.  They are amazing creatures...

And I find I  have run out of time because the drumming circle calls....  I shall have to come back to this tomorrow...