The Secrets of the Trees
We hold our Mystic Magic in the Forest weekend retreats at Rosliston, in Rosliston National Forest, near Burton upon Trent, just south of Derby in the Midlands. Our retreats are themed, but often include an appreciation of nature, walks, the significance of trees in Spiritual and Pagan history, and their myths and legends. This blog charts the story, in instalments, of those trees, and all of those to be found at Rosliston, around forty species. Each tree is to be found at Rosliston,but may also be found more widely around Great Britain, Europe, North America and beyond.
In these blogs I describe each tree, explain where they are found, what their history is and how they have related to our history. I also explore the myths and legends surrounding the trees in different countries and from different traditions as well as how herbalists have used them to treat human conditions and how products from the trees have been used throughout history. I hope that you enjoy reading these tree blogs as much as I have enjoyed writing them for you. If you would like to come and see them in their natural habitat why not join us for one of our retreats?
Field Maple – acer campestre
A native British member of the Acer (Sycamore) family. The leaves grow in pairs and have five lobes. They are dark green in bloom, a glorious rust in autumn, and produce distinctive winged seeds, known as “keys” which fall in helicopter fashion.
Maple is much heavier than sycamore, fine grained and brown, and is much prized by furniture, particularly cabinet, makers, as it takes a fine polish with a glorious veneer. Maple carvings can be seen in Cathedrals around Europe from around the 13th Century onwards. Its sap is sweet and in the spring can be extracted for syrup and wine, or boiled to produce sugar.
In Wales the wood was popular for fashioning drinking bowls, and it was believed that maple branches around a doorway prevented bats from entering (I suppose if you made a grill it would). But its most celebrated use is as the frame for harps, dating back to Saxon times, an example being found at Sutton Hoo.
The herbalist Culpeper recommended its leaves and bark to strengthen the liver.