There is a tree that I have been hoping to visit since I first heard of its antiquity – The Fortingall Yew. It’s not every day that I get to visit Scotland, and so while I was “passing through” I made a slight detour in order to seek this tree out. Actually I made one hell of a detour to get to see it, but it was worth it.
Fortingall is a small village lying within a caber’s toss of Loch Tay. The flat valley floor hides a number of beautiful secrets bypassed by the major road nearby, and taking the scenic route was a real feast for the eyes in terms of scenery. Or it would have been if I hadn’t been trying to manoeuvre the motorhome though lanes that were only just wide enough for it. I won’t be doing that again, I can assure you. So when we arrived at Fortingall Church I was pleased to see that there was a hotel with a public bar next door to it.
As we approached the yew through the churchyard we found ourselves being transported back through time. Inlaid into the floor are highlights from history and at the end is the yew tree itself, demonstrating its incredible age (2,000 to 5,000 years old). Now we were within touching distance of the tree, and I was keen to find out what this tree was capable of.
In the face of such a historical timeline I really felt how young I was. I mean I’m not young exactly, but when you put it in context like that the human lifespan seems ridiculously short.
The tree itself was inaccessible when I visited – padlocked gates, walled off with stone and secured with iron spiked fencing. This seemed to “contain” the energies of the tree as there was nothing to be felt of its presence outside of the enclosure. However the yew could be touched via its overhanging branches, and so I connected with it that was – second best as it was to sitting with my back to its trunk.
A Hole In Time and Space
When I touched a branch I felt a tremendous downward pull, like a dark vortex. Initially I pulled out of the feeling, not wanting to let myself go into it, but then I realised who I was. If I, an experienced tree visitor and energy worker, couldn’t give myself up to such a feeling then what was the point of me visiting? My hand went back on to the branch.
I let myself be pulled down into the black hole and felt all my energy being dragged into its massive gravity. Letting myself go I flew down with it and soon I was in a void of nothingness with only the feeling of spiralling motion to distinguish anything at all. I felt the weight of age – the punt pittance that was my allotted time on earth – and how if I continued my aged soul might meet the soul of this tree. But I was merely a passing visitor, and I couldn’t do such work now.
Nevertheless, the promise of the tree’s power made me want to go back again and ride the vortex to its conclusion point! I will be back, and next time I will make sure I have both time and space for the encounter.
On the way out I ate a berry off a yew next to the main tree as a symbol of respect. So many fear the yew’s fruit, but I have learned to only eat the flesh not the pip. This is unfinished business! I felt the berry gave me a form of connection with the tree and the place. It was like I symbolically devoured the energetic signature of the tree. We then retired to the lovely and quaint Ewe pub in the hotel next door. I can highly recommend the food there, and they serve Landlord pale ale too. A perfect day?