It was shortly after the visit to Dinas Bran in Llangollen that an opportunity arose to visit the old Llangernyw Yew tree near Conwy. Of course the weather reports said “rain” so we planned for sun. It was sunny. The shadows were lengthening at the end of the day, but the temperature was still warm. Always handy if you’re walking through a graveyard because it keep the chill of the shades off you!
I was here to try to learn something more about my new yew staff which I had recently acquired in Glastonbury, and which had just been “initiated” (charged up) at Dinas Bran. Now I wanted to know about the energy that it now contained – was there a spirit form associated with it (as there had been for my previous staff – the ash staff)?
Straight away on our arrival I put up protection. Recent experience had made me more careful. Although I felt I knew this place, maybe there had been some recent new arrivals? Better safe than ill! Kal immediately went off dowsing and I headed up to the church area to see where I should be going first.
Kal was shown that he needed to work at the two portal stones at the back of the church building. I, on the other hand, was directed towards the large yew tree’s vicinity. As I dowsed for the exact position I was surprised to be taken through the yew, out the other side, and off towards a line of trees that were seemingly nothing in particular. On getting within a few feet of the trees I could see that actually I was being directed into a small opening between the trees. I stepped in to find out what was in this mysterious space…
Behind the tree branches was a covered space created by the drooping branches of the surrounding yew and conifer trees. In the centre of the space was a pile of leaf and grass clippings which had been left to rot down. This was obviously the place where the groundskeeper piled his waste after maintaining the churchyard. There was the distinctive smell of rotting grass mixing with the already humid aromas carried by the summer air. A line of slanted gravestones completed the atmosphere of death and decay. Yet, there was also something “lively ” about the space, and the dowsing rods crossed over the top of the leaf pile. I sat down, expectant…
The GreenMan’s Cloak
I did my usual connection routine, encompassing the yew trees around me too. What I wasn’t prepared for was the up-swell of energy coming from the pile of leaves. I could feel the energy they were giving off in their decay – I could feel the life force flowing from the pile as each leaf released its subtle energies back into the atmosphere. As the subtle energy from the leaves arose it began to stick to me. Soon I was covered in a ‘cloak’ of green leaves and I saw myself from somewhere outside my body. looking back at myself I could see that I was like a Green man – leaves stuck to me like a wild cloak. They were stuck all over – I could feel them on my face too. I became The Green Man with that realisation.
I revelled in the experience for a while, then began to turn my thoughts elsewhere as my brain began to ask questions: “What was this for? What was I being shown?“. The answers did not arise. I was being shown an experience, not being given knowledge. The feeling and the connection quickly subsided. I felt the energies of the cloak dismantle and with that my own “worldly” energy – the energy we all accumulate daily – sloughed off to fall on to the pile of decaying leaves, to be eventually passed down into the earth as the leaves rotted to earth themselves.
I moved off to a nearby yew tree, where I sat with my back against its trunk and settled into the atmosphere of the place again.
I felt a connection with the yew tree (or was it the larger yew nearby, or are all yews in the area aware of each other and act as one?). I took the opportunity of connecting with a sentient entity to ask a question to which I hoped it coul reflect an answer. I asked about the forthcoming meeting with Faery that I had been tasked with arranging.
Q. “What is the nature of the ‘banquet’ that I have been told to arrange?”
The response came back that at Lammas I will host a greenwood Faery banquet with fruits of the land as my gift to the Faery who I will invite. Importantly, I must FIND every item for the banquet.
That response seemed to clarify several things I had been unsure about – like what the “gift” should be, and why Cailleach had told Kal that I “must find the banquet“. Now that instruction seemed a little clearer – I must find all the fruits of the land – the year’s bounty of flowers and fruits – and then offer them as a gift to the Faery that I would meet at the beginning of August. The location was still unknown, but some pieces of the jigsaw were coming into place.
From Yew to Yew – Herne’s Arrival
I sat beneath the old yew tree, directed by the dowsing rods to pass underneath one of its low branches in order to sit on the ready-made seat provided by another low branch. Such a suitable tree for meditation!
In a light trance I connected to the tree and offered it the story of my switch of staves (which can be read here). I told how it was left behind at the land’s end. How it was in a more worthy place, and had been replaced almost immediately by an eminently more suitable wood, one which I had desired for a while. The new staff was suited to my cause this year – to emerge from beneath the stone of anonymity. My new staff had huge horns!
I told the tree of my mere slight remorse at the loss of the ash staff, but lamented that it had been a good piece of wood, and much cared for in its prime. The yew tree stood listening, and then did what it does best – it grounded my sadness! I instantly felt lighter and less burdened. This is why yew trees are planted in places of burial.
I showed the new staff to the old yew tree. I placed the yew staff against the yew branch and asked the tree what was the energetic composition of the staff now that it had been primed by Bran. The tree told me that the yew staff is linked to Herne and that my new totem animal is now the stag – no longer only the hawk. The stag would be a new addition, and more meaningful for me now. I was surprised, and delighted at the same time. Mind you – when am I likely to see a stag?
Finally I asked how I might find out more information for myself about the staff and its powers. Thoughts of tarot cards came to mind, and I made a note to make sure that I did such a reading, having been specifically guided to that thought.
Having finished the exchange of knowledge I thanked the tree heartily for its advice and wisdom. You really can’t beat an old yew for being a huge store of knowledge. The tree’s over 3000 years old. Imagine what it has seen and heard in its time! As I left I saw an insignia drawn in ground near the yew on the opposite side of same branch. Kal had been here before me – in the same spot! I drew one too, but was immediately told to wipe it out and leave no trace! What’s good for the goose turns out to be bad for the gander!
We left to head back home, both with glorious tales of new beginnings, riddles and forks in the path that we wander through this mysterious forest of ancient yews and sacred sites.