White Oak

As part of my Lughnasadh experience this year, I was fortunate to coincide a visit to my old and dear friend Ratnadeva – Rd for short.
He has been an ordained Buddhist monk for a few years now, and I still find that I sometimes call him by his ‘old’ (Irish) name of Sean – or indeed by his old Druidic name of ‘Barn Owl’. Like me, he straddles the paths of Buddhism and Druidry – though for him the emphasis is on Buddhism while for me it is Druidry.

Each of these paths has a lack of dogma, compassion for all beings, and a reverence for the land. So they overlap and fit together beautifully, each illuminating and informing the other; much as happens between us two friends when we get together.

So , on Thursday 2nd August, I drove over to the Buddhist centre near Ledbury in Herefordshire, where Ratnadeva is based at the moment. I was priviliged to enjoy a guided tour of the premises and gardens; all being lovingly restored and brought to fruition by members of the community.

Our intent and focus for the day, was a short pilgrimage across the fields and woods nearby, to seek out and honour an ancient tree called ‘The White leaved Oak’ as part of our marking this time of Lughnasadh: (Also known as Lammas) a time of gatherings, community, harvest and Summer )

The day was scorching hot, as has been the case for pretty much the whole of this remarkable and unusual, most ‘un-English’ Summer. The fields all sun scorched and more typical of Southern Summer France than the normally verdant green Western Shires of England.
It is small wonder that JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis walked these parts together, and were inspired to write their respective tributes in the form of Hobbiton and Narnia, due in no small measure to the fabulous field patterns and glorious oak trees of the area; representing what England at its best looks like as I see and feel it.

Weaving a labyrinthine path through the bracken, we emerged onto a field sloping away to the west, with what looked like an ancient tumulus at its head, commanding vast views over the parched surrounding countryside. Then at the other end of the field, stood the outline of a stark and oddly gnarled old tree – or rather the remains of what had clearly once been a most majestic oak: – As magnificent in death as much as I imagine it to have been in life.

Dramatic in its girth and arresting in its appearance. About its lower limbs were tied a variety of flags and ribbons, prayer offerings and blessings. In the native tradition of Britain, these are referred to as ‘clooties’ , and are more often to be found adorning ancient hawthorns next to half hidden springs; yet it seemed as we approached as if we might be at some high altitude pass in the Himalayas, with flags fluttering in the breeze on the multi-masted form of the tree. A vast ‘tree galleon’ afloat on the ocean of the land ; its hold full of hidden treasure.

What great presence awaited us with this singular tree of great grandeur; splendid and mesmerising in its form – a wizened wizard of the tree realm.
As we cautiously approached, our voices naturally stilled; first to whisper, then to silence.
Around two to three yards from the contorted bark of the tree, it seemed as though we crossed an invisible boundary into sacred space – a temple of sorts. A holy place.

Spontaneously, we lay face down on the earth and sang these words to a chant;
“Humble yourself in the arms of the Wild
You’ve got to lay down low
And humble yourself in the arms of the wild
You’ve got to ask her what she knows.
And we will lift each other up
Higher and Higher
We will lift each other up”.

Surely an anthem for our times and a sentiment crying out for expression.
So we had come – to ‘humble ourselves in the arms of the wild’.

Although well off the beaten track, others clearly shared our sense of pilgrimage and reverence; weather worn offerings of shredded rag and ribbon, all fluttering in the hot Summer breeze.
We each took a deep and mindful breath, before instinctively placing a primal hand on the trunk and ‘feeling in’ to the nature of the being: – In appearance long gone; in essence so very much ‘with us’.

We proceeded to make our peace and honour our connection with the spirit of place – the ‘Genius Loci’, embodied and personified in the beneficent and powerful, wise and yes, holy, tree before us.

In time we improvised and wove a touching and beauteous ritual together, intertwining and inter singing a Druid/Buddhist, Buddhist/Druid celebratory Lughnasadh offering in honour and respect, along with a good bit of humour , as we stumbled and shimmied barefoot on the spikey grass.

Tying shreds of an old and favourite t-shirt of Ratnadeva, (fittingly with an old and faded oak tree on its front) we added our blessings and prayers to the many already offered.
We made further offerings of apple and acorn – the nascent acorn oak sitting cradled in an old oak hand nestled into the trunk of the tree.

Singing “I am the land that is all that I am” , we rounded off a most potent and healing ceremony, before weaving our way back across the fields, through a hedge into the wood, and out along a winding track:
Friendship’s familar cloak of nascent nourishment accompanying us all the way.

Share this post

Scroll to Top

European Union General Data Protection Regulations

The EU GDPR is designed to help all of us have more control over our personal data, and how is it used.

Who does the GDPR apply to?

Data subjects, being all visitors and users of any website who are members of the European Union who submit any personal data. JJ Middleway is the data processor and data controller of this site. You can find out more about this law here.

Privacy Policy

Effective from 25th May, 2018

This Privacy Policy sets out how I use and protect information that you may provide when you use this website. Your privacy is protected, and is important to me. If you provide identifiable personal information it will only be used to help me fulfil the services we provide.

JJ Middleway is the company or person who collects any personal data submitted through enchantingthevoid.co.uk

I may update this policy periodically, please check this page to ensure that you are in agreement with any changes.

What I Collect

Personal information, basically any data that can be used to identify or contact you is collected so I can communicate with you about your requirements. This could include your name, business name, address details, email, telephone numbers, or other information pertaining to the services I provide. You may also at times be asked to leave a message about your enquiry or project brief. Websites also collect your IP address through the use of Cookies (find out more about cookies below).

If you opted-in to my mailing list, you may receive occasional emails on important updates or service information. You have the right to opt-out or and have any personal details removed at any time, please email karen@kcgraphics.co.uk

What I Do With The Information I Collect

Information is saved until the enquiry is dealt with, and then archived with the project or on cloud based systems if you are an ongoing client. I also retain your contact details and information in the emails you have sent, but you can request to have your personal details deleted at any time.

I will not sell, distribute, or lease your personal information to third parties unless we have your express permission, or are required by law to do so. I may use your personal information to send you relevant information about services I offer, or information you need as part of the services I offer.

Data Security

In my commitment to ensuring that your information is secure and to prevent unauthorised access or disclosure, I have suitable physical, electronic and managerial procedures in place to safeguard and secure the information I collect online.

  • Data is stored on a secure cloud-based server or on a secure, password protected computer with limited user access.
  • Sending information over the internet is generally not completely secure, and I can’t guarantee the security of your data while it’s in transit. Any data you send is at your own risk.
  • I have procedures including passwords, restricted access and other security features in place to keep your data secure once I receive it.
  • I will NEVER pass on your personal data to third parties without first getting your explicit consent.

Controlling your personal information

You may choose to restrict the collection or use of your personal information in the following ways:

  • Whenever you are asked to fill in a form on the website, look for the box that you can click to indicate that you do not want the information to be used for direct marketing purposes
  • If you have previously opted-in to a mailing list, or provided other information, you can find out what information I hold, and ask me to remove or not to use any of it, by emailing me.
  • If you believe that any information I am holding about you is incorrect or incomplete, please email me as soon as possible: karen@kcgraphics.co.uk. I will correct any inaccurate information.

Google Analytics

User and Event Data Retention

We use Google Analytics to find out what content works best for our users. User-level and event-level data associated with Google Analytics cookies is retained for 14 months and then automatically deleted. Website visitors who don’t want their data used by Analytics can install the Analytics opt-out browser add-on.

IP Anonymization

We have implemented IP Anonymization, simply put, the last three digits of your IP address are set to zeros in memory shortly after being sent to the Analytics Collection Network. The full IP address is never written retained, or written to disk.


This site also uses cookies to improve your user experience, find out more or manage them here

Magic Imagination

This is the first volume of poetry by JJ reflecting his early work in the mid to late 1990’s.  It includes classics like  ‘Ode to Woman‘, ‘I am not a Christian‘ and ‘Come Dream the World Anew‘. JJ’s deep love of the Earth and of life, permeates these poems

£10.00 (+ £2.50 P&P)

Sovereign Earth

Live Sessions via Facebook – Tuesday’s 8pm 20 minutes of Song,  Silence & reflection.
I look forward to you all joining me.
Blessings JJ