One of the nicest energies in Ireland was around trees……
They have wishing trees in Ireland, certain sacred trees, respected and cherished. The black hawthorn is considered one, and wishing hawthorns are adorned with beribboned presents and possessions. These hawthorns are given tokens of respect, promises of wishes to be granted, bestowed on their sacred boughs in the Irish woods.
I saw a couple of wishing trees on my trip. On the way to Leap Castle, we saw one. We were supposed to stop and visit the next morning, so I wondered what gift I could leave behind. We were told fairy snacks were quite acceptable.
I had a package of Welch’s fruit snacks in my suitcase. That evening, I took the identifying ribbon off my luggage and tied it through a hole in my snack pack.
The bus driver took a wrong turn the following day. We never made it to the wishing tree.
On another bus tour, we drove past St. Bridget’s shrine. There was a sacred well where pilgrims quenched both thirst and faith, and a sacred tree, with tiny snippets of brightly colored cloth blowing in the wind.
The legend is told that Saint Bridget was an extraordinary beauty. Her focus in life, was not on attracting the opposite sex, but helping her own….. especially young, unwed or impoverished mothers and their babies. But Bridget was smart; she used her beauty to garner funds. She would visit the wealthy men of the area, tell them that she would remove one piece of clothing in return for a donation to her charity. Lustful eyes could not refuse. They donated, she then would tear a tiny snippet of cloth from her ample outfit…….cleverly fulfilling her promise.
Today, still as reverence for her work, pilgrims leave tiny snippets on her shrine’s tree.
Today, I believe the intention of wishes can travel across the ocean. Though not a Blackthorn, I will place a gift of food with twine on a backyard pine, perhaps scatter some fruit snacks on the ground. She will be my wishing tree, providing nourishment for the birds and squirrels, (and perhaps the fairies ) who face much more hardship than I when snow is laden on the ground.
Blessings on this February 1st, known as Imbolc or the Day of St. Bridget’s feast. It is now we celebrate our mid journey through winter towards spring. Let us hope for longer days of kindness and the warmth of spring…….for the shortness of winter anger and tempers must cease.