Thursday, 23 July 2020

Wishing Trees

After I put my last post up, I had a look on the internet to see if there was anything about coins being hammered into trees, and to my astonishment there were several quite detailed articles about it.
     Apparently there is a growing revival of this tradition of making a wish and forcing a coin into the bark of a (usually) felled tree, or a tree stump. I found articles about it from Wales, Scotland and England, so it is a much wider known folk spell than I had realised.
     Up to now, I had only come across the traditions of hammering nails into trees, or tieing bits of cloth or ribbons to them. But in both those cases the trees would be living. Traditional Wishing trees are usually living hawthorn trees and usually overlook a natural spring. You make a wish then tie a piece of your own clothing, or a ribbon to the tree, as an offering. This relatively new phenomena of using coins utilises dead or felled trees, either the trunks of the trees, or sometimes just the remaining stumps.
     I haven't yet found out what makes a particular tree a candidate for becoming a Wishing Tree in this way, or whether any felled tree or tree stump can be used in the same way - I get the feeling that this might be the case.
      Having read some of the articles, it seems that this may be something that many people are doing just because they see that other people already have done it. In other words they are simply copying the behaviour. Sometimes this happens to trees on private land, or that owned by the National Trust, and one confused National Trust person was quoted as saying 'Why are people wasting their money like this, they could give the coins to the National Trust and we could do something with it!'
      The leaving of a votive offering in return for a wish is a very ancient behaviour, it goes way, way back into the mists of time, and seems to be something humans just can't help doing.
      In Hull, one of the shopping centres has an indoor pool with a fountain in it. If you look in the pool you will see that the floor of the pool is full of coins of all different denominations. This pool in a modern shopping centre has become a 'Wishing Well'. There are no signs up telling people to make a wish and throw a coin in (in fact sometimes signs are put us asking people to refrain from throwing coins into the fountain), and periodically the management order a clean up and the coins are removed and given to charity. But it is not long before coins are once more being thrown into this pool.
      People need magic in their lives.
      They need to be able to ask for help from some supernatural power.

       I find it very interesting and encouraging to note that even in these modern days of computers, when people seem to be getting further and further away from nature, new magics are still finding their way into the world.

Monday, 20 July 2020

Mystery Spell

Every morning Graham takes the dogs for a walk, and part of that walk is usually through a strip of managed woodland, known locally as 'The Plantation'.
      As the woodland is managed, from time to time trees are felled for one reason or another, usually because they appear dangerous, or have become uprooted and need making safe.
     Some months ago now a large beech was felled, its upper branches were removed and taken away, but a large piece of the main trunk was left behind. It has become a nice place to have a sit while passing through the woods. Graham often makes use of it in the morning and so it was he noticed a couple of months ago that some coins, copper 2p's and silver 20p's, had been hammered into the trunk of the tree, in the deep grooves of the bark.
      It seems as if these coins are hammered in maybe every few days. The numbers fluctuate, possibly children notice the coins and pull them out, not easy as some have been hit with such force that it has bent the coins, but they are all left proud of the bark, not hammered in fully.
      There are several old spells which usually call for nails to be hammered into a tree. These spells are also usually for getting rid of something. The tree takes the energy of whatever it is you are trying to get rid of - and as this tree is dead and will rot, I would think that this adds to the power of any banishing spell.
      Usually these spells are for getting rid of illness, or something such as warts, each nail hammered in represents one of the warts.
     As this spell is obviously being added to, and has been for at least a couple of months, then whatever is being got rid of is a big thing.
     Also as this seemed to start around the time of lockdown, perhaps this is a spell for getting rid of Covid 19. But it could be to get rid of bad luck, or of a long-term illness. There could also be more than one person doing the spell.
     The fact that coins are being used is another interesting feature. Coins represent payment, so the tree is being 'paid' to take away whatever it is. The fact that two different coins are being used is also another interesting fact, why 2 p's and 20 p's? Copper is the metal of Venus, goddess of love, and copper coins are usually used in love spells, but copper coins can also simply represent payment as I said before. Silver is the metal which represents the Moon, and the 20p coin has seven sides which could also be significant. It must be more awkward to hammer in the 20p's too as they are relatively small. Silver coins are also given in payment to the Fairies for their aid too.
      There does not seem to be a pattern to the positioning of the coins.
      So there we have the mystery of the tree and the coins.
      An interesting magical feature of our local woods.