Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Pathworking of the Enchanted Sherwood Forest
It is early autumn and the time is twilight. You are at the edge of Sherwood Forest and you can hear the strains of merry music coming from deep within the wood. You begin to walk along the well-trodden pathway, following the sounds of the music and laughter. As you walk, newly fallen leaves scrunch underfoot. You carry a candle lantern on a stick before you and feel quite safe walking alone on such a beautiful evening. The air is warm and the forest feels like a merry, welcoming place.
As you walk farther into the forest, the music and laughter gradually become louder. You feel that very soon you will be among the revellers. There is a sense of excitement in the forest, and you too feel excited at the thought of what you will find. You notice the nocturnal animals and birds of the forest beginning to emerge as the evening draws in. An owl hoots softly from a tree as you pass, and you see hedgehogs scurrying noisily and busily through the pathway of leaves.
All of a sudden the music stops and so does the laughter, just as you thought you were about to come to the woodland party. Instead you turn a corner, and before you is an enchanting sight to behold. You have come across a forest clearing, but it is illuminated with what must be a hundred lanterns suspended from branches, tucked in nooks of trees and forming a circle in the magickal glade. There is an air of mystery and enchantment, as if you have stumbled upon a faerie grotto. You also have the feeling that you are being watched, not in a sinister way but with curiosity and mischievousness.
In the center of the forest glade is the most enormous tree that you have ever seen. It is an oak. Its girth is huge and there is a cavernous entrance in the trunk, large enough for several men to enter at once. This entrance is lit by lanterns hanging on branches that are stuck in the earth. Suspended around it are little bells that tinkle in the breeze, acorns threaded on string and wooden wind chimes clanking gently in the autumn wind. This entrance sight seems to be a bewitching invitation to enter the tree.
You walk into the glade, illuminated by the lanterns, and all at once you feel as if you have entered another realm, a magickal place, not of this time or this Earth. As you walk into the tree, again you feel a shift in the atmosphere and now you are in a different realm entirely. The tree trunk is completely hollow and the woody walls are lit by torch flames. You feel safe in the tree, encircled and held by the earth and all its magick.
As you look around you, you see things that you feel could belong to Robin Hood in nooks and crannies in the tree trunk. In a knotty alcove lies a quiver of arrows, as if waiting to be used. Hanging from an inner branch is a green velveteen hat, almost moss-like, with a single feather in its side. In another woody nook is a goblet fashioned entirely from wood. You touch the goblet and it is exceptionally smooth, something only elfin hands could have created. On another wooden hook hangs a horse’s bridle made from the finest and softest leather and trimmed in moss-green velvet. You feel honoured to be in Robin’s realm and you feel that he could have just left the tree trunk hideout seconds before you arrived. You can almost touch his presence in the hideout, yet you instinctively feel that he and the rest of the forest revellers do not with to be seen.
You leave the tree hideout and walk back into the glade. It is totally night now and the tree lanterns sparkle and wink in the moonlight, swaying in the breeze.
As you leave the woodland clearing you hear music and laughter once again. Their revelling had been suspended for you to enter at least part of the forest magick. As you walk along the pathway, back to where you first began your journey, you feel something in your pocket. You reach in and pull out the feather that had been in Robin Hood’s moss-like cap. Taking this piece of magick home with you, finally you reach your destination, the edge of the forest.