I still believe in magic

Glowing wand-like in a shaft of light that pierced through to the depths of a forgotten dingle in a Shropshire woodland, I caught sight of this solitary flower. Fooled by the false spring or climate change this pussy willow did its best to entice absent pollinator. In the depths of the dingle with a burbling brook glistening in contrast to the iridescent lime green of the mosses and lichen cling to all surfaces, stone and wood alike.

Here, I believe in magic with ease and listen to nature’s gift to cherish the living energy of the land.

Pussy willow or goat willow (Salix caprea)

Much maligned by gardeners the goat willow as called in Shropshire, makes haste to grow in any open ground producing a sturdy whip more than a foot high in a year.
But did you know? Pussy willow can grow into a beautiful specimen tree especially attractive if coppiced to produce multi-stems. It can live for over 300 years.

Value to wildlife
“Goat willow foliage is eaten by the caterpillars of several moths, including the sallow kitten, sallow clearwing, dusky clearwing and lunar hornet clearwing. It is also the main food plant for the purple emperor butterfly. Catkins provide an important early source of pollen and nectar for bees and other insects, and birds use goat willow to forage for caterpillars and insects.”

With thanks from the Woodland Trust.

Knock on wood
This old saying originated from the ancient belief of knocking on a willow tree to avert evil and bring good luck. I still practice this regularly as it makes me feel less assuming of assured success and keeps my ego in check!

Interestingly willows preferring to grow in moist conditions have long been known to protect from ailments of the damp like rheumatism. The tree contains salicylic acid, the source of aspirin, a well know painkiller. Travellers and gypsies have used the bark to make a tonic to ward off headaches and colds which I know to be very impressive but not to overdo!

A little gipsies tale I learned from Corinne Boyer’s, ‘Under The Witching Tree’, if a Romney girl is in love and can find the footprint of her intended, collecting some dirt from the imprint, burying it under the willow tree saying,

“Many earths on earth there be,
Whom I love my own shall be,
Grow, grow willow tree!
Sorrow none unto me!
He the axe, I the helve,
He the cock, I the hen,
This, this (be as) I will!”

More enchanting herblore by Corinne Boyer, a wonderfully knowledgable Folk herbalist, can be found here >

Enchanted Woods
A poem by Eve Estelle

The tales tell of the strangest things,
But I hear only the soothing sounds –
Bewitched by the songs the forest sings,
I’ve crossed onto its hallowed grounds.

Caressed by the whispers,
The rustling leaves;
The clinking cones among the pines,
The scent of the forest upon the breeze;
But pass the barrier of in-between,
And strange things happen –
A change of scene…(cont.)

Fireflies of gold – they hover and drift,
Creatures emerge, they shimmer and shift;
Resembling the old, but so different and bold,
The forest reveals its gift.

Distant pools of brilliant blue water
Glisten serenely under trees that glow;
Surrounded by greenery with food to offer,
Be welcome in the woods where magics flow.

More of Eve’s beautiful poems can be found here >

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