The Essentials of Witch Wood

There is a quote I read somewhere that says ‘a tree does not a forest make’. Well, I disagree with that statement. In this increasingly overpopulated world we live in it is becoming harder and harder to find what our ancestors would call a woods let alone what they would refer to as a forest. Deep within the heart of every tree there lives the potential for a forest. Each year as my single Norway Maple drops its leaves I am reminded of that. By the time it is finished they carpet the ground with the promise of a thousand trees. The promise of the Witch Wood.

I am on a spiritual journey with the trees. I have been talking to them since I was a child and for the past few years they have been talking back. It was a very large tree that showed me that she is indeed a forest in her own right. I have always had the extreme luxury of being able to enter the sanctuary of a large woods or forest but I realize that a lot of people don’t have that. And the trees also realize that. They want people to know that all it takes to enter the woods is to simply sit with a tree. Touch it, talk to it either out loud or in your head. It will hear you and if you listen with your heart you may hear it talk back. When you have experienced this connection you have entered the Witch Wood. It is a magical place where other worldly creatures dance and play with the earthly ones. It is a place where peace resides, a place you can go when life gets too hectic and you just need a little break from it.

All it takes is one tree and a few minutes of your time. The Witch Wood is calling. Will you answer?

Avenger of Trees

No Shadows

They were lost and alone with no shadows to guide their way, no sense of direction only the wind and rain. The sky had been grey for days on end and at night there was darkness so thick they huddled in a hollow tree with their eyes closed in order to glimpse a little light. They wandered in the rain seeking any glimmer of light; a candle flame, a little camp fire, a glow worm or firefly. But the rain was so steady it put out all the fires and the cold was so harsh the tiny light-bearers stayed underground. Without light there were no shadows, without shadows there was no direction and so they stumbled in circles from one hollow tree to the next.
The children listened to the stories of the elders who spoke of a time in the past when the sun and moon had grown tired of all the complaints of the people and so refused to guide them until they stopped their grumbling, fretting and whining and once again found their joy. The elders warned the people that this had come upon them for the same reason and encouraged them to be brave and find something to be joyful about else their days of wandering with no shadows would continue.
The people grew sad many succumbing to tears which only aided the task of the rain and the sobbing at night frightened the children to tears as well. All hope seemed lost as the people pressed close in a mass of anguish and despair within the damp void of a large tree.
Then one darkest empty night the people were awakened by the sound of a reed flute and the tapping of a small drum that pulled them all up from their fitful sleep. The darkness was so dense they had to rely on the sound of the music to guide them. And so holding onto each other they ventured out into the cold dark rain in search of the sweet sound. As they drew closer to it some of the people began to smile others to hum along with the notes that filled the night air. Some even found they had not forgotten how to dance, the soles of their feet itching to step to the beat of the tiny drum. By the time they reached the source of the music all their sobbing had ceased. Most of them had smiles on their faces and the tiniest glimmer of dawn lay flat against the rain soaked sky. They gathered around a piper and drummer who sat upon a wet mound of green moss playing the most joyous music any of the people had ever heard. Before long they were all dancing and singing, laughing in spite of the rain and dark grey that filled the sky above them.
The elders smiled at one another as one of them slipped a silver coin into each of the pockets of the musicians, then moved toward their people to join in the celebration as a tiny sliver of golden light could be seen on the eastern horizon.


tree 1


Seeds. Those wonderful tiny creatures that have the ability to pull my tired old bones up and out the door each spring to start life anew.

The Wheel of the Year has finally turned again and I bid the death of winter goodbye and welcome the rebirth of spring. Every year around this time I get into a manic state about growing things. I dig through containers that I’ve saved that seem ideal seed starting receptacles, fill them with soil and begin tenderly dropping all manor of seeds onto their surfaces. My house becomes a greenhouse and I become giddy with anticipation.

This year is a little different in that it is my first spring in a new place surrounded by woods instead of streets and houses. The fallow land encircling me calls me to fill it with herbs, flowers, vegetables and fruit. My mind is reeling with the possibilities around me! This little piece of earth I’ve been granted has become my new canvas, fresh, clean and empty, waiting to be filled. The seeds in those containers waiting to push their way up through the dark earth have become the paint that my hands, the brushes, will use to create a lush exhibition for the woodland spectators around me. New earthy faerie acquaintances have been slowly manifesting themselves to me and seem eager to discover what this mortal will help to give birth to on this land they have nurtured. In a way this is a new beginning for them as well as myself. I will introduce them to new plants with colors and textures they may never have seen before as well as the new faerie beings that most definitely will accompany the new residents. It will be a delicate state of affairs as the old native inhabitants strive to welcome the new teaching them the ways of the woodland as they are teaching me as well.

Now that the seeds are all nestled in their dark beds and I wait to see their tiny heads pop out of the earth I am reminded of the metaphor of the seed that speaks of the circle of life and new beginnings. Just as death is not the end of life so the seed that dropped off the dead plant was not its end. This tiny bit of life, the essence of the plant, holds the life force that now is pushing up through the darkness, going toward the light, knowing that when it reaches it a new life will begin.

One day I will be that seed…again.


faerie - For Her Wand - light



Forward eye

on the cursor

corner eye

on the window

yellow leaves falling

tiny suns drifting

leisurely to earth,

grey sky hovers

no shadows cast

just showers

of yellow dancers

caressed by autumn wind

drawing my eye

from screen

to window

watching the party



The Little Whistling Man

A hollow tree grows tall and crooked at the bottom of the hill just beyond the stone wall behind my house. Sometimes when the sun is just about to set I go walking past it and find a spot to sit in the tall grass. From there I can watch that hollow in that tall crooked tree without being seen. I have been doing this ever since the day I saw a little man all dressed in brown with horns coming out his fuzzy hair and glittery golden wings coming out his back. The sun had just set when I saw him come out of the hollow of the tree and stretch, raising his hands toward the tree tops. Then he started to whistle a strange little tune while he walked off into the woods.

Now I go down there as often as I can in hopes of seeing him again. I cannot get that tune he whistled out of my head nor the sight of the evening sky glistening off his wings as he walked out of sight.

I have never seen him since but sometimes in the evening, just after the birds have ceased their song and the last glow of day retreats behind the horizon, if I listen very intently, I can hear the sound of a strange little tune whistling in the trees…and then it is gone. Then I get up and walk past the hollow tree, up the hill and over the stone wall then back to my house. There I wait with a tune in my head and the memory of golden wings. There I wait till the sun is ready to set again.

Dunvegan tree

A Faerie Tree For Winter

img034 - Copy (2)

Living in the north takes a certain kind of vigor, one that won’t let you down during the long cold and dark months of winter. Some folks seem to revel in it finding pleasure in the snow and all its playful ways. Their bodies seem to know how to cope with the frigid temperatures as they carry on with their lives as if winter was just another side of summer. I can remember as a child being one of those people. My mother would have to bribe me to get me to come in the house after an afternoon of snowy delight. Winter for me back then was just another side of summer. But as I got older I noticed a melancholy settling in during the winter months. It became harder and harder to feel any kind of kinship with the cold and frozen earth. Instead of feeling like another side of summer it began to feel like the death of summer. I missed my flowers and the green. I missed warm nights lying on the soft earth under a starry sky. I felt like a flower faerie buried under the cold, unforgiving blanket of snow, shivering through an endless night of darkness.

One frigid winter day as I started to feel myself sinking down into that familiar dark, depressing pit of anxiety, my meditations were interrupted by a group of sprites appearing as tiny lights circling around me. They sounded like bees buzzing in a flowery garden patch. As I listened to their sounds I began to hear voices forming amidst the buzzing. “Come with us.” “We have something to show you.” It will help you.” It will bring you peace.”

So I followed them to a forest covered in knee deep snow where they began to dance around a huge tree that stood before me. Then I heard them all giggling as they disappeared through a hole in the side of the tree. I lost track of time as I stood there waiting, for what I didn’t know, and was about to give up on this whole meditation journey when I heard a distant voice calling from within the tree, “Aren’t you coming in?” Oh…that makes sense, I thought to myself. So I mustered up some shrinking power and slipped through the hole in the mighty tree.

At first all I saw was darkness and the thought occurred to me that I had been tricked by some pesky sprites looking for a good laugh. Then light began to seep into my vision and I blinked a few times thinking – this can’t be right. But as my surroundings became clearer I saw the little group of sprites dancing on my couch, and my table, and my bed, and all through my house. Inside the tree was a perfect replica of my own house! I stood there in awe. How nice it would be to live inside a tree for the winter!

As I was thinking that thought one of the sprites came up into my face.

“Silly…you are inside your house!” she giggled.

“No I’m not,” I replied.

“Oh but you are.”

“But this is the inside of a tree.”

“So – what is your house made of?” she asked.

“Wood,” I answered.

And then it hit me.

“The tree we entered is the spirit assemblage of all the trees it took to build your house.” she explained. “ When you are inside your house, you are inside this tree.”

All at once the sprites were in front of my face giggling, doing flips and pointing at what must have been a very funny (to them) look on my face. I was having one of those a-ha moments.

From that day on I haven’t had any more problems with winter depression. Whenever I start to feel it creep in I just close my eyes and see that giant tree in the snowy forest. I know where I am. I know where I live. I live inside a tree during the winter just like all the other summer faeries while we await the arrival of spring and the return of the Green.

Lament of a Summer Faerie


I’m longing for him now

longing in whispers spoken

low on crystalline snowflakes,

My love, my Jack

My Jack in the Green.

With arms empty and cold

and whiteness that suffocates

I listen, closely to the wind

for his voice

his voice, warm like honey

his voice soft and velvet

like the green of his moss

the green of his palms

resting on my back

as I lay in his emerald arms.

But all I hear is the harsh voice

of his dark brother

trying to sneak into my thoughts,

this other Jack

this Jack of the Frost

with his shrieking whistles

that blow down my shutters

and invade my cold bed

giving me dreams of ice

and white, cold glass

where his eyes appear

in the glacial spaces

between the frozen teardrops

of his hibernal hooded head.

Oh my Jack, my green love

why must you leave me so

to crawl beneath

this cruel white blanket

while you sleep

deeper than my poor little soul

can delve,

I miss your heat

the touch of your breath

on my tired wings

at the end of a day

filled with dancing in your glen

and rolling in your fields,

I miss the kiss of morning

on my dewy lips

as you waken me

to another Midsummer’s day.

But here in this hollow

where I huddle with the ivy

the only promise left

is the cold green of its fingers

wrapping themselves

around my naked antlers

shivering at the sound

of the frost one

curling his arms above

this tree of sanctuary.

My crying is not heard.

My weeping is in vain.

I am alone and wanting

waiting to smell

the first light of Spring,

his first breath of dawn

in the sedge of meadow

in the moss of woodland

in the tall ears

of my head,

The first sigh

of his awakening

will be the music of my life

the melody of my existence

the savior of my spirit,

I shall drink in

his air

as the tree drinks in

the sun

I shall sink my long toes

into his velvet hair

and caress the length

of his viridian expanse.

Oh Jack, my Jack

my green and lovely companion

when I finally squeeze through

the door of Beltane

into the gift of your summer

all these frigid, bitter plates of

soulless scraps

I have been fed

by the hoary hands

of Jack of the Frost

shall become so much mist

in the gleam of your

sun drenched eyes

and we shall glide as one again

along the lichen river banks

and fly above the heather

that dances to your pipes

and my life will be whole

as I sink into the yielding folds

Of my Jack

My Jack in the Green.

Mid Winter Dance

Night in the woods in winter, so different than night in the woods in summer. The clouds hang low, purple, indigo, and a stillness crawls through the bare branches above my head. Light snow has fallen, like glitter it covers the frozen forest floor, a shimmer of carpet beneath my fur clad feet. Like the lone wolf I step lightly on the path that leads to the circle surrounded by naked birch trees where I stand and welcome the darkness. I open my arms toward the bleak sky, whisper their names, ancient and powerful into the silence that cradles this place, the silence that is night and darkness and northern winter. Cold tries to seep through to my bones but the warmth I feel in their names is like a flame under my skin, a glow radiating out into the frigid night.

They see me before I see them, a tiny glimmer at the edge of vision. I know better than to turn my head and try to get a better look for I have been here before and know the only way to look at them, to truly see them, is to not look at them at all. So I nod my head slightly and speak their names again with reverence and awe. They drift closer, tiny blue-green lights growing larger as they approach casting a shadow of my waiting form upon the earth in front of me. Their voices are a whisper, an icy droning fluttering about my head like a song heard from a great distance or a lullaby in a dream.

The first touch sends a shiver down my body, the second touch envelops me in light and the third touch lifts my feet ever so slightly off the ground. I feel their smiles brush against my cheeks, their giggles tickle my ears, their cue that it is time for the dance to begin. Snow swirls, clouds of fluff spinning around my ankles. We whirl and dip and prance and skip to a song of the night. Its melody encloses the circle we glide through rendering it sacred and the song like vespers sung to gods. As I partake of this dance of winter I am reminded of the earth and moon, their silent cosmic waltz slipping through the dark of space, the music of the sun their constant guide. Then my dance partners pull me toward the outer edge of our circle where tree spirits reach out to join in our revelry as a myriad of shining eyes appear from beyond their boundary. All the forest is alive with the dance, ebbing and flowing to the hymn of this night. Time is suspended while we move our bodies both physical and ethereal about the sacred circle. We are light, we are dark, we are ancient and bound to each other, siblings of stars and ice floating within the orb of night.

Slowly, slowly the movement begins to cease and I find myself back at the center where it all began. A stillness descends upon the woods as I raise my hands toward the darkened sky speaking words of gratitude and reverence. Then with eyes closed I reach out feeling the caress of blue-green light brushing past my fingertips, a feathery touch upon my cheek, the kiss of faerie, bidding me farewell.

Night closes in around me, soft and tranquil, the path crunching beneath my fur clad feet as giant flakes of snow drift around the dark woods. Behind me there is a sound, perceived more than heard, a giggle in a minor note drifting on the wind.