Saturday, 11 October 2008

Oak Magic

I was shown this Green Man today by the leader of the walking group I was out with in the Martinsell area of Wiltshire.
I have talked about the Green Man in a previous post under 'Enchantment in Nature' and this is the carving which inspired my interest. It was carved by a good friend of musician and writer Steve Marshall who posted a photo on the Avebury Forum at see 'The Green Man'. Steve protects the privacy of his friends vigorously - so the woodcarver's identity continues to remain a mystery.

This oak tree stands alone on an exposed hilltop field boundary, it seemed stark and stunted compared to the oak-wood trees which were tall and still green (I believe the oak is one of the last trees to shed its leaves in the autumn).

William Blake wrote:
The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see in Nature all ridicule and deformity, and others scarce see Nature at all. But to the eyes of a man of imagination, Nature is Imagination itself.
(Taken from Letters 1799)

There is so much to write about the oak that I am not going to attempt to cover it in this post. The oak is sacred in many cultures and certainly to pre-Christian pagans, particularly the Druids. In more recent history, oaks have been considered a royal tree - many pubs are called the Royal Oak, indeed I saw one today. The oak has always been a symbol of wisdom and strength

There is no crown to mark the forest's King, for in his leaves shines full the summer's bliss, as Sun, storm, rain and dew to him their tribute bring. (Anon)