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?
Horse Chestnut – aesculus hippocastanum
One of the best known British trees, growing to 35 metres, it was not indigenous to our country, instead it was imported from Greece and Albania in the early 17th Century as a spectacular flowering tree. Its flowers are white in Mya becoming spiky fruits and inedible conkers in the autumn, each leaf has a fan of five to seven leaflets.
The wood is soft so is unsuitable for construction, its greyish bark can produce a yellow dye, and boiled it purportedly has medicinal qualities for treating varicose veins. The game of conkers predates the horse chestnut, having previously used hazel and cob nuts, and even snail shells.
The horse chestnut name is reputedly named in honour of a similar sounding Taoist Priest, but if a branch is cut close to a joint, the image of a horse’s hock, foot, shoes and nails can be seen.