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tree silhouette against bright orange autumn leavesBirds on live webcam!

(Sorry if that link disappointed you… *snicker*)

Cut some wood from a Hawthorn today with the view to making a small protective charm or spell for Mikey.  I chose Hawthorn because it has traditionally been associated with protection due to being so spiky and therefore good for hedges and enclosures and keeping things out of places.

I’m currently reading a book called ‘Rune Magic’ by Nigel Pennick which is very interesting and informative – although I would dispute some of his brief summaries about some of the gods and goddesses, even with my limited knowledge; I think he is best when he sticks to his sphere of most knowledge, Northern Tradition magic, rather than taking forays into the realms of Celtic gods and goddesses.  I disagree with his brief summaries of both The Morrighan and Loki – I know Loki isn’t Celtic, but I feel that there’s a degree of conflation of Northern European and British Celtic beliefs going on.  Yes, they did intermingle and influence each other in Britain of course, but they are not the same traditions or religions…

Also, while I greatly admire the attention to detail of the information provided, I find a lot of it impractical.  It would be great to adhere to all these things if you were a full time magician, but I think for most people it would be almost impossible!  First of all you need to start with making your own knife for cutting wood… ok, much as I would love to do that, I can’t see myself being able to get hold of blade-quality metal and the tools to grind it to a super-sharp blade… plus fix it securely in the handle… particularly as Pennick recommends wood should be cut from the tree with a single stroke of the knife!  Unless you are only cutting twigs I don’t see how that’s possible.  Surely it would take more like a mini-axe to achieve that?!

Then you need to think about the time of year (ok, for the not-so-dedicated, like me, that can be set aside unless you happen to be very lucky with your timings), the day of the week and the hour of the day… which could mean collecting your wood in the middle of the night if you happen to need the most intense power of certain runes!  While I would be happy to do this, it’s not so easy when you share your life with someone else who might wonder what the hell you’re doing getting up at midnight!  Especially as I live in a city, so it’s not like nipping down to the garden or the road outside to cut wood…

It’s a relief to know I’m not the only person who thinks so, at any rate – this gentleman seems to feel the same.

Anyway, I cut my Hawthorn with an ordinary Swiss Army knife which just happened to have a handy saw blade.  It was a gift from my parents and I’ve had it for years, so even though it was bought from new, and, of course – shock horror – has a plastic handle, I very much doubt it has any “bad on-lays”.  I *did* ask permission from the tree and thank her afterwards, even though I didn’t go through the whole quite elaborate process recommended by Pennick.

The point of this rather rambling story is perhaps a bit of an anti-climax.  Today I was wearing a necklace which contains a little bell.  Normally it doesn’t ring unless I deliberately shake it, or sometimes if I move suddenly and sharply it makes a small noise.  While I was walking to find my tree, I didn’t hear the bell at all, but on the way back from cutting the wood, it was ringing audibly and constantly all the way back to my workplace (about 10 minutes away).  The position of the necklace hadn’t noticeably changed – it was sitting on my chest just under the neckline of my thick winter coat which I would have expected to muffle any sound (as it usually does).  It felt almost as if a spirit from the tree was happily accompanying me.  Just a flight of my fancy, but nice all the same.