There is nothing so wonderful as walking the hound around ‘ our back garden’ as dusk falls.
The sound of drumming, a city’s heartbeat, travels across the valley as a Sharrow Lantern Festival winds it’s ways though the narrow terraced streets.**
We make our way through the encroaching shadows and slowly climb the hill; the naked Dryads and Oreiades whisper as they dance in the breeze. Their buds still tight.
At the top of the hill are The Gates.
Entry into this forgiving oasis amidst an Urban landscape
The keys I hold so dear, twist in the padlock, the barrier closed for another day, a nod to Aiakos and I depart into the falling darkness
We take a different road back, and wander down the Oak Avenue; watched by the myriad of Alsêïdes, Holêôroi, Aulôniades, and Napaiai.
I hear their whispers and smile.
Suddenly a family of Foxes cross our path.
The hound and I come to a sudden halt.
We watch as they run across the shadow lit field; the mother calling urgently to her young to follow.
Awaken from this spectacle by the blackbirds’ evening chorus as Helios magnificently disappears over the western skyline, Once more the decent.
Stopping at the Guardian to offer a silent prayer, then as we descend, more solemnly we halt to pay our respect at the ‘crossroads’.
A small sacrifice left.
A head of Garlic.
Continuing down, through the Lindens‘ cathedral like arches, the Tilias branches shielding, protecting and embraces us, as they gloriously sit between and betwix.***
We see the opalescent glow of the porch light.
Two travellers on their way home.
We feel the welcome of those spirits.
Of Sanctuary, Antiquity and Love
Footnotes and Links
*** The Lindun [Lime ]tree in Scandinavian folk law is a tree believed to be sacred to Freya, as well as believed to be the home of Elves, Fairies and such. It was considered an unsafe place to be when the sun goes down as those beings of the between and betwix are known to come out.
Swedish Guardian Trees
In Slavic cultures women asked and made sacrifices under it when asking for help with fertility and even for help with arguments within the household. Even today in Poland you often see see roadside shrines under a linden trees. The trees are seen to be connected to the Virgin Mary, she is believed to have hid herself in the leaves and the shown herself to children. Prayers offered there are believed to have good chance of being answered.
In Medieval poetry, it was seen as a symbol for romance and lovers
Under der linden
an der heide,
dâ unser zweier bette was,
dâ muget ir vinden
gebrochen bluomen unde gras.
Vor dem walde in einem tal,
schône sanc diu nahtegal.
Under the Tilia tree
on the open field,
where we two had our bed,
you still can see
broken flowers and grass.
On the edge of the woods in a vale,
sweetly sang the nightingale.
Walther von der Vogelweide (c. 1170–c. 1230)
In Germanic cultures it is seen as a hallowed tree since pre-Christian times. Again a place of in-between- a liminal space – where one can cross, and the veil is thin. It is also a place which inspired fairness and justice. Judicial cases were often tried under it’s cathedral like branches as it was said to inspire fairness and justice. A 900-year-old lime tree that was planted by Empress Cunigundi, wife of Henry II of Germany, the Holy Roman Emperor stands at the Imperial Castle in Nuremberg.
By the fountain, near the gate,
There stands a linden tree;
I have dreamt in its shadows
so many sweet dreams.
I carved on its bark
so many loving words;
I was always drawn to it,
whether in joy or in sorrow.
Today again I had to pass it
in the dead of night.
And even in the darkness
I had to close my eyes.
Its branches rustled
as if calling to me:
“Come here, to me, friend,
Here you will find your peace!”
The frigid wind blew
straight in my face,
my hat flew from my head,
I did not turn back.
Now I am many hours
away from that spot
and still I hear the rustling:
“There you would have found peace!”
In Greek mythology the Linden and the Oak are the old couple Philemon and Baucis, who after offering Zeus and Hermes hospitality are rewarded by being changed into the Linden and the Oak, in order that they could always be together, their branches forever intwined and twisted together.
“… that I may never see my wife’s tomb, nor be buried by her.” (Ovid, Metamorphoses 8.710).
[ as you can see I get carried away… when looking at the mythology behind things we take so much for granted, and feel inspired to share…hope you enjoy it as much as I do! ]