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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Yggdrasil is the World-Tree in heathen mythology. It grew by itself in the deeps of time, before the worlds came to be. The worlds are the fruit of its branches. Some art of the World-Tree depicts all nine worlds in the branches, while some depicts the worlds of fire and ice below the Tree with the Tree's roots going down into them. That image references the story of the birth of the universe in which the magically charged void divided into two main powers called fire (energy) and ice (patterns.) The dynamic combination of those two powers gave rise to matter and everything else, including the Tree, the Sacred Cow that woke up the gods and the giants, the Well at the root of the Tree, and all the raw materials from which our world was made.

Throughout most of the retellings in Some Say Fire of the stories collectively known as The Lore, the World-Tree is pretty much as described in the mythology. During the parts of the story that take place during Ragnarok, though, the main human character P sees Yggdrasil from the deck of the Naglfarr, the boat made of nails. She is basically in space, but also in a higher dimension, and the boat is not as it seems. It’s not literally a Viking longship despite how it appears. The view she has of the Tree is meant to be literal within the story, though. And the Tree is rotted in the heart-wood, hollow, and the Well below it is on fire. This shows how messed up everything is, and how much Ragnarok is needed by that point. At that point in the story, someone really needs to push the reset button on the universe and make a new one, because the old one is no longer sustainable.

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    It's interesting to see how the myths of my ancestors are interpreted in a different country. The Norse gods appear in Oh, my God

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Old Lady Hawthorn

Damn that old lady Hawthorn.

There she goes, knocking my hat off.

Again.

I don't know how old she is. Being a Siberian hawthorn, it could be hundreds of years. Judging by how gnarled and ornery she is, I'd say probably pretty old. Older than me, anyway.

And did I say attitudinous? Old lady Hawthorn is the undisputed ruler of this lawn, and you'd better not forget it.

Before you mow, you'd better tip your hat to her. You'd just better. Likes that, she does.

Otherwise, she'll knock it clean off your head.

Like she just did.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Embla

My practice of honoring the First Woman started with a weed. A weed is a plant growing where one doesn't want it. 

In June of 2016, I found a four foot tall plant in my tomato bed. Online friends on the Plant Identification group helped me positively identify it as a Siberian Elm, which is not the same species as the American Elm. Siberian Elm is an invasive non-native species, so it had to go. But, it was an elm. Elm is the tree the threefold Odin made the first woman from. Embla was her name, and was also the word for elm. I was unlikely to have an elm sapling again, so I had to make good use of it. I pulled it up roots and all and whittled it into an Embla doll with my pocket knife.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Trees as Teachers

The trees are almost in full leaf now, with only the ash and aspen yet to join in the greening. It's been an odd Spring, with the oak trees in leaf before the hawthorn has come into flower here in Suffolk.  Only now are the first blooms of the May tree coming out, and with it the signs that herald for me the coming season.  The warm days have certainly been a blessing, and the light rain that falls today is equally welcome after long hot days of full sunshine and cool sea breezes.

It's at this time of year that I am reminded of just how important trees are to me, not just in their life-giving properties but also in their spiritual presence.  The deciduous trees with their lush foliage always bring a smile to my face, and after a long winter of sleep to see the beech tree at the bottom of my garden joining in the party that the younger birch trees have started fills my heart with joy.  The grass is lush and green, and everything just feels so very much alive. I welcome the greening with all my heart and soul.

Trees are magnificent teachers. They are so much larger than we are, both spiritually and physically.  They remind us of what it means to live a life in service to the whole, to live a life filled with integration and harmony, sustainable and at peace. Trees teach us of communion and integration, both at the deep root levels of our soul and reaching out towards the heavens of our soul's awakening. They teach us of symmetry and asymmetry, of co-operation and anarchy.  They are a legion of souls across this land, swaying in the wind, living their intention and benefiting all those around them by doing so. There is no sense of "I" with a tree; rather, it can instigate a better sense of "You" (or "yew", pun intended).

When we develop a relationship with trees, we think about ourselves less, rather than think less of ourselves. We are reminded that we are a part of an ecosystem, that the ecology of our spirituality is all important to our everyday lives. This ecology is absolutely integral to who we are as a species, and part of a place and environment, as part of life on this planet. We cannot separate this ecology in any shape or form. It is in everything that we do.

We are not far removed from our cousins who still live in the trees. We're all just monkeys with car keys, after all.

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