Merry, marvellous, magical month of May!
May Day, (also the anglicised derivative of venez m’aider, come and help me) or any day, wouldn’t be a day at all if I didn’t connect with Nature and trees. The beloved, ancient oak below is at the site of the Shrew Ash of Richmond Park, where people came for healing, with their children, by a Shrew Priestess or Witch who conducted magical Dawn rituals chanting at the same time as the appearance of the Sun’s first rays. The child would be passed under a “witch bar” wedged into the tree.
Nature has memory of events and I love sitting at this magnificent oak in a mutual energy merge. I find myself thinking of the many people in the past who gained relief from its previous neighbour, the Shrew Ash, that acted as a conduit for great healing. This was still practised into the late 1870s (albeit more secretly by that time), as it had been for hundreds of years. The remaining parts of the Shrew Ash were finally destroyed in the infamous storm that affected southern England and northern France, on the night of 15/16 October in 1987. It was the worst storm in England since 1703 which the Ash had clearly survived.
Both trees are/were located next to Adam Pond (just visible through the fence which provides a safe haven for smaller birds from dominant swans), at Sheen Gate, Richmond Park.
“Magic in the Park“, an article by Marilyn Mason appears in a 2009 edition of The Friends of Richmond Park (of which I am one, anyone is welcome to join); including one of the black and white photographs of The Shrew Ash (which appears in outline quite similar to my photo above) along with a woman in a hat and long dress. I wonder if she was a healing Shrew Ash Priestess. The article may be read here:
In 1898, Margaret C. Ffennell wrote about The Shrew Ash in Richmond Park in her book: “Folklore” Vol 9, No 4, pp 330-336. Published by Folklore Enterprises, Ltd, if you’d like to read more.