Hawthorn, Sierra Club, Circle of Life

It is Thursday and I am reading more from “Evolutionary Witchcraft”.  So far a good read.  I am 3/4 finished with “Living a Magickal Life” and I keep looking through various other books, particularly ones like “Forest Primeval”, “Ecocriticism” and “Ecopsychology”.  There isn’t enough time in the day!  HA!

I am itching to get back into school.  I can’t wait. 

Yesterday I took my  book out for a two hour walk in the park across the street.  It is a good example of how man can live with the natural world, shape that world, and add to it.  The diversity of species in the park is great, and there are lots of different species of birds and animals one might find there.  Owls, hawks, herons, woodpeckers, ducks, geese, jays, corvids, and more are all there.

I was walking and I took notice of a small, thorny brush.  It reached about six feet in height.  Most of the leave had fallen off and there were red berries that looked, to me, like a cross between apples and tomatos.  I sketched the twig, berries, and leaves in my journal.  I continued my walk, reading and looking around, and I found more of the bushes.  At another part of the park they were larger and were ten feet in height and were like small trees.  Hmmm.  So I began to search for more of them… this time looking for full sized trees.  Soon I found one.  It was a twenty foot tree and its crown was a dense canopy of thorny branches.  I thought it a great spot for birds to nest in, or the two squirrels that were lazily walking around, as it offered defense from predators.  But what was the tree?

In some places it looked like a thorny vine, very similar to something like the brambleberry.  But at different stages, or in different spots, it looked more like a woody bush, or a small tree.  Hmm.

I went home and dug out my “Trees of the Pacific Northwest” book.  Nothing.  I dug out a small pocket guide to trees and it was no help.  Most of the leaves had fallen and the book relied on leaf groupings in some of it’s steps.  I picked up my trusty Cunningham’s book of Magical Herbalism.  The pictures are somewhat hard to interpret, for me at least, but I narrowed it down to a couple of possibilities.  Then I went to work.

After work I came back and did a keyword image lookup on Google.  Turns out the plant is the Hawthorn tree.  There are zillions of them in the park.  I also discovered that there are thousands of variations and are a nightmare to botanists. 

I also found that I have to re-evaluate my approach to Nature.  For when I was studying the plants out in the park, noting all of the characteristics that set it apart, to me, from the other trees… I caught my self uttering the phrase “there’s got to be something I can use this for.”  My thinking was along the lines of what I have been doing the past few weeks, and that is reading up more and more in the magickal and ritual aspects of The Craft as this is the weakest part of my own practice.  As such I’ve been looking at things around me as parts of one big jigsaw puzzle, or strands in an complex web.  Yet even though my first steps down this path were in looking for knowledge, it tied in all to easily with the very stubborn and ingranined Western mindset of looking at the world through a lens of domination and resources.  As soon as I uttered that phrase out in the park, I stopped and stared at myself (if such is possible) and wondered how could I say such a thing.  I know how, it is a manifestation of deep seated latent memes, not only within myself but in this culture.  It is an expression of that which I am most interested in challenging as a psychologist.

In reading about Hawthorn, I am reminded of my sister and her being visited by a spirit.  I must email her to see if she is still getting this visitor.

Earlier today, while reading from E.W. I was thinking of my problem child and the potential for growth that he has.  I will not see such growth any time soon, but it will take years.  Central to this is that he has no concept of personal responsibility.  I thought of this while reading about power in the book.  Without responsibility you cannot own the power that you have.  You cannot purposefully act, cannot adapt, cannot respond in better ways.  I thought of this kid, dressed for war, holding a loaded gun in a village somewhere in the world, a tense situation, a million things tugging at his attention, and his finger on the trigger of his weapon.  What state is his mind in at this time?  Can one with no responsibility, no sense of the power they have, truly act correctly in this situation? 

Many good things (and I’m sure a few bad) were said about me in Iraq by my peers.  But two things I hold dear, not because of the social recognition… I do not care… but for what it represents for my internal self.  One is that the guys I lead, who didn’t take BS very well, all felt a loyalty to me and would never hesitate in going with me onto patrol.  The other is that I was an even keel, that I calmed down the situation.  Can I bring some of these qualities out in my young privates?

I must now return to my reading.  I wanted to stop for a moment to write things down.  I set up an automatic monthly donation to Circle of Life as well as OPB (Oregon Public Broadcasting) and re-joined the Sierra Club.  It’s not much, but every little helps.

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