Gardening, Elder and Midsummer Magic
We have been helping Graham's mother by sorting out her garden for her, now that she is no longer able to get out and do stuff for herself.
This has largely been by making it low maintainance and removing some large, overgrown shrubs and trees. The last one we felled this weekend was a towering leylandii in the middle of the garden, which had three trunks to be hacked through with axe and bow saw - nope the chainsaw extension lead wouldn't reach.
Later that day when we were relaxing at home with a little game of World of Warcraft our son Mike popped in on his way home from visiting grandma to tell us that Grandma was really pleased to get rid of that tree, but there is another one she wants cutting down - the elder tree in the corner.
'Nope,' said ' Sorry but we aren't cutting an elder down, it's bad luck.'
Mike was amazed by my response, 'You won't cut it down 'cos it's 'bad luck'?'
'That's right,' I said, 'The last time we cut an elder down we had shed loads of bad luck, so I am not risking that again.'
I know this is an old fashioned superstition, and I also know that it won't affect everyone, and that 'bad luck' could be seen as a co-incidence. However I know that the last time I decided an elder tree had to go and cut it down, we went through one of the nastiest periods in our lives. So whether it was co-incidence, or bad luck, makes no difference, I will be very cautious before I cut down another elder tree.
Oh by the way as today is Midsummer's Eve you could try the magical collection of Fern Seed: Tonight at the midnight hour the magical fern will glow golden in the moonlight. It should be approached in silence and a pewter plate or a box held beneath the fern leaves. Be silent be patient and the fern seed will fall onto your plate - you must not touch the fern. This seed has magical properties: sprinkle it on yourself and you will become invisible; throw it into the air and it will fall to the earth like a star and where ever it lands you will find treasure; keep it in a pouch with your money and your money will never diminish. If you are careful and respectful the spirit of the fern may appear to you, a Fairy man who will offer you a pouch of gold. If you are disrespectful or careless, the spirits may take offence and strike blows at you, or make swishing and cracking sounds to make you frightened and run away.