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A Tale of the Woods

 

By Bran th' Blessed

Once I went looking for the oldest creature in the wood. I asked my father, the woodsman, "Are you the oldest person in the wood?"  

"Oh no," he said, "There are beings much older than myself in these woods. Yes..." and he wrinkled his brow as he mulled the question over. Then he looked at me waiting for his answer. "Ah, yes, the old mother elk who lives in the Holly grove, for example. Why, she must be almost 80 years old, much older than most of her kind," and he nodded his head in affirmation of his words.  

So I went, of course, to ask the old mother elk if she were the oldest person in the wood. "Indeed," said she, "I am older than any other of my kind, and some days I know I must feel every year of my long life. But I am not nearly the oldest one in these woods. Oh no, my dear. My grandmother told me long ago that the first being she befriended in these woods was an ancient bed of moss that had grown upon a fallen tree in the shadowy ash thicket at the center of the wood. I have seen that moss bed myself. It still flourishes in the heart of the woods."  

I thanked the old mother elk for her information and wished her happiness in all her remaining years. Then I journeyed to the old ash thicket at the heart of the woods where I found the old bed of moss on the rotted remains of the old fallen tree. "Tell me, old one, if you will, are you the oldest creature in these woods?" I waited as patiently as I could for the moss to respond, and after a long silence, a chorus of small voices answered me.  

"We have been here a long, long time as it is recorded in our lore. We have rested long years upon this fallen tree and indeed we clung to its side from the days it first peeked its shallow tendrils above the ground. And you know, it was one of the first trees in the wood, an ancient boughard, grey and grizzled when he fell." And the voices repeated it with venerable grief in their tone, "Grey and grizzled when he fell."  

I started to offer them condolences for their loss, but I could not quite find the right words. As I paused awkwardly, the voices continued. "But you know, there are older ones in our lore. It was told in the lore of the trees themselves that there was one who was here before them, before this sacred land became the wood it is today you see. Perhaps that old one remains today in her home north of the lake to the west.  

"Go and see," they urged me. "And when you have found her or not, return and tell us so that we may add this tale to our lore."  

"So shall I surely do," I affirmed to them, to the ancient colony of the moss. And turning toward the west I walked to the lake some half a league beyond the thicket I had entered from the east of south. When I reached the lake I circled the long way, deocil, to the north banks, chanting to myself as I strode lightly through the grasses and the reeds. "Grant, Mother Goddess, that I may have eyes to see and wisdom to know."  

Her feet were shorn with dirt and grasses, and a vine entangled bush embraced her from behind, but the windworn face of the ancient boulder remained resolute against time and age. There was no doubt that this stone was the embodiment of the old one of whom the ancient lore of the trees had alluded. I knelt before the stone and lowered my head in homage.  

"Blessed be you, ancient one, of the Earth who gave you birth and the sky that shelters you from above." She made no sound, but I felt her gaze settle upon me. "I have set myself upon a quest, venerable grandmother, to find the oldest being in these woods, and I know that surely you must be that oldest of old ones who stood here before anything but the Earth herself that now stands in these woods."  

"I and the Earth," she said in a voice that was a whisper echoing from a cavern, "are one. So I am the mother of all that lives in these woods as I am the mother of all else that flourishes between the hidden Earth and the clear and open Sky."  

"I am thy child, great Goddess," I declared as we all may, "flesh of thy flesh and blood of thy blood."  

"But tell me why you seek the oldest one in these woods," she spoke with an understanding that there was more to my quest. "What would you gain from this old scarred stone that you could not elsewhere gain?"  

"Can you tell me, O face of the Goddess, where there is one than which no elder can be known?" It was the question I had cultivated so carefully and cherished as a secret until I thought I had found one who might answer it.  

She was silent, but I felt the serenity of her silence. She spoke. "Look to the sky above you, to the stars of the firmament, many of whom are older than myself and the sun and moon and planets. Their very lights shine upon us from ages long forgotten. Before I could become the mother of all life, some stars lived whose lights no longer shine, but in their lives and in their deaths they labored to bring forth the very fabric of my being. I am star stuff, my child, and therefore you too are made of star stuff.  

"And here is another secret. The light is born of darkness. No star could be born except the clouds of darkness had gathered into swirling spheres that slowly shrank and began to glow with the birth of elemental fire. Remember this secret that I tell you. *The Sun is but a mortal light surrounded by immortal Night.* For all stars are born from the clouds of darkness that are the oldest beings in all the very sky except for Night herself, who is not born and cannot die.  

"Look, child, to the darkness of the night. She was there before the emptiness of space itself, before the dawn of time she was and shall remain when time is done. We call her night because the light cannot touch upon her, but she is the mother of light and the very stars from which it shines. Call her not by what she seems, but by what she is. Call her Spirit, the ageless and endless mother of the ten thousand worlds."

Posted and shared with kind permission from the author Bran th’ Blessed

 15th February 2013  ©  Bran th' Blessed

All rights reserved.

Best Wishes and Blessed Be

 

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Wicca & Witchcraft

 

Wicca/Witchcraft /  What is Wicca What is Magick

 

Traditional Writings:

 

The Wiccan Rede Charge of the Goddess Charge of the God  /  The Three-Fold Law (includes The Law of Power and The Four Powers of the Magus) /  The Witches Chant The Witches Creed Descent of the Goddess Drawing Down the Moon The Great Rite Invocation Invocation of the Horned GodThe 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief /  The Witches Rede of Chivalry A Pledge to Pagan Spirituality

 

Correspondence Tables:

 

IncenseCandlesColours Magickal Days Stones and Gems Elements and Elementals

 

Traditions:

 

Traditions Part 1  -  Alexandrian Wicca /  Aquarian Tabernacle Church (ATC) /  Ár Ndraíocht Féin (ADF) /  Blue Star Wicca /  British Traditional (Druidic Witchcraft) /  Celtic Wicca /  Ceremonial Magic /  Chaos Magic /  Church and School of Wicca /  Circle Sanctuary /  Covenant of the Goddess (COG) /  Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS) /  Cyber Wicca /  Dianic Wicca /  Eclectic Wicca /  Feri Wicca /

 

Traditions Part 2 Gardnerian Wicca /  Georgian Tradition /  Henge of Keltria /  Hereditary Witchcraft /  Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (H.O.G.D.) /  Kitchen Witch (Hedge Witch) /  Minoan Brotherhood and Minoan Sisterhood Tradition /  Nordic Paganism /  Pagan Federation /  Pectic-Wita /  Seax-Wica /  Shamanism /  Solitary /  Strega /  Sylvan Tradition /  Vodoun or Voodoo /  Witches League of Public Awareness (WLPA) /

 

Other things of interest:

 

Gods and Goddesses (Greek Mythology) /  Esbats & Full Moons Links to Personal Friends & Resources Wicca/Witchcraft Resources What's a spell? Circle Casting and Sacred Space  Pentagram - Pentacle Marks of a Witch The Witches Power The Witches Hat An esoteric guide to visiting London SatanismPow-wowThe Unitarian Universalist Association /  Numerology:  Part 1  Part 2  /  Part 3A history of the Malleus Maleficarum:  includes:  Pope Innocent VIII  /  The papal Bull  /   The Malleus Maleficarum  /  An extract from the Malleus Maleficarum  /  The letter of approbation  /  Johann Nider’s Formicarius  /  Jacob Sprenger  /  Heinrich Kramer  /  Stefano Infessura  /  Montague Summers  /  The Waldenses  /  The Albigenses  /  The Hussites /  The Native American Sun DanceShielding (Occult and Psychic Protection)  The History of ThanksgivingAuras  - Part 1 and Part 2 /

 

Sabbats and Festivals:

 

The Sabbats in History and Mythology /  Samhain (October 31st)  /  Yule (December 21st)  /  Imbolc (February 2nd)  /  Ostara (March 21st)  /  Beltane (April 30th)  /  Litha (June 21st)  /  Lammas/Lughnasadh (August 1st)  /  Mabon (September 21st)

 

Rituals contributed by Crone:

 

Samhain / Yule Imbolc Ostara /  Beltane Litha Lammas Mabon

 

Tools:

 

Tools of a Witch  /  The Besom (Broom) /  Poppets and DollsPendulums / Cauldron Magick Mirror Gazing

 

Animals:

 

Animals in Witchcraft (The Witches Familiar) /  AntelopeBatsCrow Fox Frog and Toads Goat / HoneybeeKangarooLion OwlPhoenix Rabbits and HaresRaven Robin RedbreastSheep Spider SquirrelSwansWild Boar Wolf /  Serpent /  Pig /  Stag /  Horse /  Mouse /  Cat

 

Trees:

 

In Worship of Trees - Myths, Lore and the Celtic Tree Calendar.  For descriptions and correspondences of the thirteen sacred trees of Wicca/Witchcraft see the following:  Birch /  Rowan / Ash /  Alder /  Willow Hawthorn /  Oak /  Holly /  Hazel /  Vine /  Ivy /  Reed /  Elder

 

Sacred Sites:

 

Mystical Sacred Sites  -  Stonehenge /  Glastonbury Tor /  Malta - The Hypogeum of Hal Saflieni /  Avebury /  Cerne Abbas - The Chalk Giant /  Ireland - Newgrange /

 

Rocks and Stones:

 

Stones - History, Myths and Lore

 

Articles contributed by Patricia Jean Martin:

 

Apophyllite  / Amber Amethyst Aquamarine Aragonite Aventurine Black Tourmaline Bloodstone Calcite Carnelian Celestite Citrine Chrysanthemum StoneDiamond  /  Emerald / Fluorite Garnet /  Hematite Herkimer Diamond Labradorite Lapis Lazuli Malachite Moonstone Obsidian Opal Pyrite Quartz (Rock Crystal) Rose Quartz Ruby Selenite Seraphinite  /  Silver and GoldSmoky QuartzSodalite Sunstone ThundereggTree AgateZebra Marble

 

Wisdom and Inspiration:

 

Knowledge vs Wisdom by Ardriana Cahill I Talk to the TreesAwakening The Witch in YouA Tale of the Woods I have a Dream by Martin Luther King /

 

Articles and Stories about Witchcraft:

 

Murdered by Witchcraft The Fairy Witch of Clonmel A Battleship, U-boat, and a Witch The Troll-Tear (A story for Children) /  Goody Hawkins - The Wise Goodwife /  The Story of Jack-O-Lantern The Murder of the Hammersmith Ghost Josephine Gray (The Infamous Black Widow) /  The Two Brothers - Light and Dark

 

Old Masters of Academia:

 

Pliny the ElderHesiodPythagoras

 

 

Biographies

 

Witches, Pagans and other associated People

(Ancient, Past and Present)

 

Remembered at Samhain

(Departed Pagan Pioneers, Founders, Elders and Others)

 

Abramelin the Mage /  Agrippa Aidan A KellyAlbertus Magnus - “Albert the Great” Aleister Crowley - “The Great Beast” /  Alex Sanders - “King of the Witches” /  Alison Harlow /  Amber KAnna FranklinAnodea JudithAnton Szandor LaVey /  Arnold CrowtherArthur Edward Waite /  Austin Osman Spare /  Biddy Early /  Bridget Cleary - The Fairy Witch of Clonmel /  Carl " Llewellyn" Weschcke Cecil Hugh WilliamsonCharles Godfrey Leland /   Charles WaltonChristina Oakley Harrington Damh the Bard - "Dave Smith" /  Dion Fortune /  Dolores Aschroft-Nowicki Doreen ValienteDorothy MorrisonDr. John Dee & Edward Kelly /  Dr. Leo Louis Martello /  Edward FitchEleanor Ray Bone - “Matriarch of British Witchcraft” Eliphas Levi /  Ernest Thompson Seton /  Ernest Westlake /  Fiona Horne Friedrich von Spee /  Francis Barrett /  Gavin and Yvonne Frost and the School and Church of Wicca /  Gerald B. Gardner - The father of contemporary Witchcraft /  Gwydion Pendderwen Hans HolzerHelen Duncan /   Herman Slater - Horrible Herman /  Isaac Bonewits Israel RegardieJames "Cunning" Murrell - The Master of Witches /  Janet Farrar and Gavin BoneJessie Wicker Bell - “Lady Sheba” /  Johannes Junius - "The Burgomaster of Bamberg" /  John Belham-Payne John George Hohman - "Pow-wow" /  John Gerard /  John Gordon Hargrave and the Kibbo Kith Kindred /  John Michael Greer /  John ScoreJoseph John Campbell /  Karl von Eckartshausen /  Laurie Cabot  - "the Official Witch of Salem" /  Lewis SpenceMargaret Alice MurrayMargot AdlerMarie Laveau - " the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans" /  Marion WeinsteinMatthew Hopkins - “The Witch-Finder General” /   Max Ehrmann and the "Desiderata" /  Monique WilsonMontague Summers /  Nicholas CulpeperNicholas RemyM. R. SellarsMrs. Maud Grieve - "A Modern Herbal" /  Oberon Zell-Ravenheart and Morning GloryOld Dorothy Clutterbuck /  Old George PickingillPaddy SladePamela Colman-SmithParacelsus /  Patricia CrowtherPatricia Monaghan /  Patricia “Trish” TelescoPhilip HeseltonRaymond Buckland /  Reginald Scot /  Robert CochraneRobert ‘von Ranke’ Graves and the "The White Goddess" /  Rosaleen Norton - “The Witch of Kings Cross” /  Ross Nichols and the " Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids" (OBOD) /  Rudolf SteinerSabrina Underwood - "The Ink Witch" /  Scott CunninghamSelena Fox - founder of "Circle Sanctuary" /  Silver RavenwolfSir Francis Dashwood /  Sir James George Frazer and the " The Golden Bough"S.L. MacGregor Mathers and the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” /  Starhawk /  Stewart Farrar /  Sybil LeekTed Andrews The Mather Family - (includes:  Richard Mather, Increase Mather and Cotton Mather ) /   Thomas AdyT. Thorn CoyleVera ChapmanVictor & Cora Anderson and the " Feri Tradition" /  Vivianne CrowleyWalter Brown GibsonWilliam Butler YeatsZsuzsanna Budapest /  

 

 

Many of the above biographies are briefs and far from complete.  If you know about any of these individuals and can help with additional information, please contact me privately at my email address below.  Many thanks for reading  :-)

 

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