Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


Treestory: A Series for People Who Love Trees

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015
Sophie with a Redwood

Sophie with a Redwood

TreeStory has been created by writer and director Ward Serrill and Producer Sophie Jane Mortimer. Ward and Sophie filmed an interview with me some time ago and I am delighted that they have now launched their ‘online forest, a series of short documentaries for people who love trees.’ Ward explains what inspired TreeStory:

Every place I’ve every lived, as a boy in Alabama, as a young buck in Southeast Alaska or turning silver in the Pacific Northwest, I have gravitated towards one particular tree. Over time I developed a relationship with each of these trees, the maple in Alabama, the Cedar by the waterfall in Alaska or the Douglas Fir near my home in Port Townsend. For many years, I was afraid to admit that this relationship with a tree felt deep and personal. But when I began to tell people about it, I found I was not alone. Person after person confessed to me that they too had a special tree in their life and had a story to go along with it.

 It was then I remembered a vow I made to the Alaskan cedar tree by the waterfall. With my head pressed close to it and eyes closed I promised it that someday I would work for the trees. Twenty years later, that promise became the seed for TreeStory, a series devoted to people who love trees.

 Each month we will release a new episode on this Website for free and if you are inspired by the work we ask only that you help us produce the next episode with your contribution.  With your help, we will go around the world, bringing the best TreeStories to life. Perhaps it will become a movement and inspire tree stewardship everywhere.

If you would like to get involved or would like more information do visit the TreeStory Website. Here is the first film featuring Trees for Life’s Alan Watson Featherstone talking about reforesting the Highlands.

Save Some Trees Today!

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

450px-2012-10-17_P1010234_Lombardy_Poplar_along_Clubine_Road_in_Lamoille_ValleyA row of beautiful Lombardy poplars in Lewes, East Sussex, are due to be cut down for a housing development. Experts say there is no need for the trees to come down – the houses and the trees can live quite happily side by side. Please add your signature to THIS PETITION – we might be able to save these trees!

The Physics of the Quest

Monday, November 23rd, 2015
Iceland Landscape - Dirk Paessler

Iceland Landscape – Dirk Paessler

I’ve come to believe that there exists in the universe something I call ‘The Physics of The Quest’ — a force of nature governed by laws as real as the laws of gravity or momentum. And the rule of Quest Physics maybe goes like this: ‘If you are brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting (which can be anything from your house to your bitter old resentments) and set out on a truth-seeking journey (either externally or internally), and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared – most of all – to face (and forgive) some very difficult realities about yourself… then truth will not be withheld from you.’ Or so I’ve come to believe. 
Elizabeth GilbertEat, Pray, Love




TreeSisters – Women Seeding Change

Friday, November 20th, 2015

sun-rays-through-rainforest-trees-quincy-deinTreeSisters is a wonderful project that aims to nurture and build a positive, world-wide network of women who financially support charities and groups across the planet that are fighting deforestation.  They ask the question: ‘What becomes possible when millions of women remember who and what we really are – and then direct that collectively towards the greening of our world?’

Here is some information from their website and a short film about their work:

Our first major tree campaign will launch with the new web site in spring 2016 – but please give now so that we can keep getting trees into the ground. When you join TreeSisters, we will keep you up to date with all tree news in our monthly newsletters.

2072159062_a62067047e_oAs we are getting started, our first beneficiary partner is Project GreenHands in southern India. They are planting millions of trees to protect against fast spreading desertification and diminishing monsoons – 23,000 of them have been funded by TreeSisters over this last year.

We are supporting agro-forestry development to protect the land, to recharge the water tables, and reduce farmer suicides – protecting the wives and children, whilst increasing forest based income and reducing malnutrition.


Advice From A Tree

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015
Image by Angus Clyne

Image by Angus Clyne


By Ilan Shamir

Dear Friend,
Stand Tall and Proud
Sink your roots deeply into the Earth
Reflect the light of a greater source
Think long term
Go out on a limb
Remember your place among all living beings
Embrace with joy the changing seasons
For each yields its own abundance
The Energy and Birth of Spring
The Growth and Contentment of Summer
The Wisdom to let go of leaves in the Fall
The Rest and Quiet Renewal of Winter
Feel the wind and the sun
And delight in their presence
Look up at the moon that shines down upon you
And the mystery of the stars at night.
Seek nourishment from the good things in life
Simple pleasures
Earth, fresh air, light
Be content with your natural beauty
Drink plenty of water
Let your limbs sway and dance in the breezes
Be flexible
Remember your roots
Enjoy the view!

The tides turn and light comes again

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015
Mistletoe in Brittany November 2015

Mistletoe in Brittany November 2015

I was in France when the recent terrorist attacks occurred in Paris, and have just returned. The darkest moments are the most testing of our humanity, it seems, and I was moved to read the message of Antoine Leiris, whose wife Helene was among those killed in the Bataclan concert hall attack on Friday evening. On Facebook he wrote a powerful message to her killers and promised to raise their 17-month-old son “happy and free”. He told them he would not grant them the gift of his hatred, and that responding to “hatred with anger is falling victim to the same ignorance that has made you what you are.”

I spent Saturday evening with friends in Brittany and two young women in their twenties about to return to Paris the next day. They were calm, though a little anxious about their return to the capital. Miraculously, I thought, they still had hope in their hearts. The countryside was filled with mistletoe. As we move towards the solstice the nights get longer until the tides turn and light comes again.

Wage Peace

Monday, November 16th, 2015

Honolulu, Hawaii: A lantern draped with a flower lei floats on the water

Wage peace with your breath.
Breathe in firemen and rubble,
breathe out whole buildings
and flocks of redwing blackbirds.

Breathe in terrorists and breathe out sleeping children
and freshly mown fields.
Breathe in confusion and breathe out maple trees.
Breathe in the fallen
and breathe out lifelong friendships intact.

Wage peace with your listening:
hearing sirens, pray loud.
Remember your tools:
flower seeds, clothes pins, clean rivers.

Make soup.
Play music, learn the word for thank you in three languages.
Learn to knit, and make a hat.
Think of chaos as dancing raspberries,
imagine grief as the outbreath of beauty
or the gesture of fish.
Swim for the other side.
Wage peace.

Never has the world seemed so fresh and precious.
have a cup of tea and rejoice.
Act as if armistice has already arrived.
Celebrate today.

~ Judyth Hill


Hare today…

Friday, November 13th, 2015


Leopold Kenzier

Leopold Kenzier

A lovely poem by Rowan Robert Wyatt – his website can be found here.

Hare today…  

Dancing above the tallest fronds of grass
The charcoal tips of ears, held aloft
The bobbing solitary giveaway of camouflaged brown.

Mad in March, boxing and chasing
Frolicking, mating rites in the sun
Seeing off stubborn suitors with a strong left hook.

Fooling around and chewing the grass
Few cares in the green meadow world
An eye on the ground and another firmly on the air.

Leverets little, brown bundles of fur
Born as the warm spring gives way
To summer, enticing, many chances for trouble and play.

The circle not to break as seasons pass
As spring, summer beget autumn, winter
And the hare plays on in the turning wheel of life.

© Rowan Robert Wyatt

Hare by David Tipling

Hare by David Tipling


Nature Mystics & This Ancient Heart

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

Here are a couple of excellent book reviews by the Chief of The British Druid Order Philip Shallcrass. The first is ‘Nature Mystics: The Literary Gateway to Modern Paganism’ by Rebecca Beattie from Moon Book’s Pagan Portals series and the second, another from Moon Books, ‘This Ancient Heart: Landscape, Ancestor, Self’. Both fantastic reads for those on the Druid path. Many thanks to Philip for allowing me to share them here.

Nature-Mysticsby Rebecca Beattie,
Moon Books
Winchester (UK) & Washington (US), 2015
£4.99 UK, $9.95 US
132 pages.

This little book is a joy to read, delving into the lives and works of some well-known, and many lesser-known, British and Irish literary figures in search of the origins of contemporary Paganisms. The writers, five men and five women, are selected because the philosophies that underpin their writings place them all in the category of Nature Mystics, defined by the author as “someone who has mystical experiences in nature, or connects to the divine through nature, and uses that connection as fuel for inspiration.” The familiar writers are John Keats, Thomas Hardy D. H. Lawrence,W. B. Yeats, J. R. R.  and E. Nesbit. The less familiar are Mary Webb, Sylvia Townsend Warner, Elizabeth von Arnim and Mary Butts.

Rebecca Beattie writes with admirable clarity about her chosen authors, her format being first to give a brief overview of them, followed by an account of their lives, their spirituality, and then their writings, quoting passages to show how their spirituality is expressed in their work. Within this format she offers many, often surprising, insights into both the authors and their works…to read the whole review click here.

AncientHeartThis Ancient Heart: Landscape, Ancestor, Self

eds. Paul Davies & Caitlin Matthews. Foreword by Graham Harvey. Afterword by Ronald Hutton Moon Books, Winchester (UK) & Washington (US), 2015. £8.99 UK, $14.95 US 198 pages

This book explores how we humans in the 21st century relate to the spirits of the lands in which we live, their other-than-human inhabitants, and our collective and individual ancestors. By a series of turns of fate, I’m writing my review in the ideal setting of a quiet garden, overlooked by an ancient oak tree that occasionally drops acorns around me as a pair of hunting Buzzards circle overhead, their piercing cries borne on a soft summer breeze. Ideal because it chimes so well with the subject matter of this hugely enjoyable, informative and thought-provoking book. Each of the thirteen writers brings a unique perspective, making it an absolute pleasure to read. Remarkable for its breadth and depth, this is the best-written, most refreshingly original anthology I’ve come across in years, and I’m not just saying that because I wrote one of its chapters. The book opens with a foreword by Graham Harvey (right), a Pagan academic who has done much to popularise the philosophy, or life-way, of Animism amongst modern Pagans and to enhance our understanding of it. The introduction by Paul Davies, known to his friends as Oddie, follows, setting out the parameters of the book and briefly running through each of its chapters and the areas they cover. The first chapter is by my friend, colleague and long-time companion, Emma Restall Orr. It is written in her unique style, combining poetry with precision, asking searching questions about dying, death, afterlives and how we, the living, interact with the dead. As a true visionary who genuinely does see dead people pretty much all the time, she is ideally suited to her task. My own chapter follows, detailing my personal relationship with Wolf spirits and with animals as ancestors, a concept that occurs in many archaic cultures, including those that comprise the British Isles…to read the full review click here.


Solvitur Ambulando – A Walk Around Britain

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015
Hayward and Parsons

Hayward and Parsons

A Walk Around Britain describe themselves as ‘ a movement of people rediscovering Britain through songs and journeys on foot’. Hayward & Parsons and Will & Ed are modern-day Pilgrims walking the landscape, singing their way along its paths and trackways. Ed and Will describe what walking means to them:

Humans are the upright strollers of the great monkey family. Walking is our species’ root technology, and great advantage. It defines our kind. Outside, walking, you’re instantly part of living Albion, the hedged and wild-flowered land of our ancestors. Each corner turned brings new conjunctions of history, land and self. Secret doors curl inward, inviting deep exploration. For the mind, soul and body, walking is an expansive act – it opens gates into the landscape, turning swift glassy images into smells, aches and wonders. The hedgerows bubble to glory as the birds sing the seasons. Fresh water flows from the ground, and song rises from our throats. 

A walker’s life is without central-heating, electricity, broadband, fridge, bathroom, mattress, carpets or television. Living without these daily boons, and believing you are still winning, is a trick that takes slow-learning. We walk, sing, meet and learn, encountering Britain’s multiple landscapes of history, culture, nature and dream. Wild food and medicinal plants become allies. Bushcraft becomes basic civilization, and people become experts of their realm. We want to share what we find. This land is not threatening, spoiled, dull, nor depressed. It is vibrant and beautiful; it is our best characteristic. And that’s why we go walking.

You can find their wonderful website here and I have included two short films about both Ed & Will and Hayward and Parsons. They will make you yearn to jump into a sturdy pair of boots, throw a pack on your back and stride out on your own adventure…