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 rees 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?
Sycamore – acer pseudoplatanus
The largest and most common member of the European Maple family. The long stalked leaves are large, up to 18cm, the bark is smooth greyish green. The numerous flowers are popular with bees and the winged fruit descend with helicopter style blades.
The sycamore is not native to Britain, it was introduced from France in the Middle Ages. The tallest sycamore in Scotland was recorded at 40 metres with a 232cm girth The timber is smooth, pale cream and strong used for writing tables, ox yokes and ornamental carvings. Its odourless and colourless properties made it popular for kitchen utensils and table tops, rolling pins and butchers blocks.
The Latin Acer also means sharp- and acer was used for spears, spikes and lances. In the “Egyptian Book of the Dead” twin sycamores, a manifestation of the goddesses Nut, Isis and Hathor ( lady of the Sycamore) stand at the eastern gate of heaven from which the sun god Re appeared each morning. Sycamores were often planted near tombs, and burial in a sycamore coffin symbolised the return of the person to the tree Goddess.