Monday, December 18, 2006

The NEVERN Bleeding Yew

Nevern, or Nanhyver as it was known in early Celtic times is an ancient church which stands in a wooded valley a few miles from Cardigan on the north coast of Pembrokeshire. As you enter the church gate, the path leads down an avenue of ancient yew trees said to date from about the 5th century AD. One of them bleeds.

Legends abound. One says that the tree will bleed until a Welshman sits on the throne in Nevern Castle; Another says a man was hung from the tree and it's been bleeding ever since; A third, a Christian legend about the tree says it bleeds every year in sympathy with Christ. Others say it is thought to be the fluids from the dead buried in Nevern churchyard, and the Pagans say that the tree is an embodiment of the Great Mother Goddess in Her Virgin aspect.

The tree we went to find is a young one (700 years old) for its species, and the recessed orifice looks like female genitalia. It exudes dark red / brown exudate that looks like menstrual blood.

“I feel the need of a bleeding yew” I said to the PHD as we walked back to the car. “Let’s go visit the one at Nevern.”

The stream bubbled vigorously as we walked into the churchyard. It sounded large and loud, more like a roaring river than the stream it really was. Walking down the path through the yew avenue I felt watched over and protected. Expecting to find a huge hollow tree, it took us some time to decide which one we should visit.

It was the one which definitely looked the oldest , but she also had roundness in her beautiful thick branches that invited me to hug her. Drawing close, I stroked her roundness and knew that I had to sit in her branches and that then I would be happy. The PHD gave me a leg up and soon we were setting up the alter upon one of her thick branches where I sat, legs dangling and at rest, like a contented small child.

The circle I cast was a gentle one, appealing to the softness of air, fire, water and earth. As I called, the tree shifted comfortably beneath me, lightly holding me for I was no Burdon to her. I leant my cheek against her rough bark and closed my eyes.

Soft amber light danced behind my eyelids. I was somewhere enclosed, in a chamber perhaps. It was dark, except for a softly glowing red orange fire in the hard to see hearth in front of me. There were shadows all round, but I felt safe.

I sat still, just being, not waiting for anything, and just enjoying what was. After a while, the shadows in front of the fire seemed to shift and move. Something was moving slowly and carefully towards me. The firelight behind it made it hard to know what it was but as it got close, it reached forward with what seemed to be a great old head and placed it heavily on my knee. My hand crept forward tenderly and touched its velvety bony head and as I stroked it, it let out an involuntary grunt of pleasure.


Here was my lady, the she-wolf, old and arthritic, yellow amber eyes dulled by the cataracts that had blinded them, her head on my lap, trusting, loving and protecting. I felt tears prick my eyes and my chest thicken and was filled with an overwhelming sense of being unconditionally loved, loved in perfect love and perfect truth and I was humbled.

Not daring to move, lest the spell be broken, we sat like that for a long time. Adoring and being adored, savoring the moment, yet knowing it would soon be over and wanting to feel this way for ever. I felt my heart would burst with the joy of it. I caressed the old head and she shifted and moved back.

Silently, I thanked her as she padded stiffly back to the fire. The crows cawed and the stream bubbled cheerfully beyond the church. The temperature was dropping and it was time to go.

I opened the circle and reluctantly climbed down. Stroking the old trees bark, I traced it to a place where it had started to hollow, a vulva shaped place of stickiness, a bit like soft peat and something else that my fingers did not recognized but which I did not fear. Dipping my finger into its moistness, I brought it close to my nose and sniffed softly. A tangy resiny timbre, laced with something else. Tenderly, I touch the tree in that spot again, whispered my thanks and turned to go.

In my dream, the voices of curious children and two adults had penetrated. They ran up and down the avenue asking each other, “Which one is the bleeding tree”, getting more an more insistent. They circled our tree and grew quiet, seeing that it was this tree and crept away till, a few yards on, they burst into merriment again as they scampered back down the avenue.

We visited all the other old trees. Circling them, stroking them, saying our greetings to them. We peeked at the old and crooked gravestones lying under the trees and moved slowly back to the car and to the busy world outside. I felt sated. The NEVERN Bleeding Yew

Nevern, or Nanhyver as it was known in early Celtic times is an ancient church which stands in a wooded valley a few miles from Cardigan on the north coast of Pembrokeshire. As you enter the church gate, the path leads down an avenue of ancient yew trees said to date from about the 5th century AD. One of them bleeds.

Legends abound. One says that the tree will bleed until a Welshman sits on the throne in Nevern Castle; Another says a man was hung from the tree and it's been bleeding ever since; A third, a Christian legend about the tree says it bleeds every year in sympathy with Christ. Others say it is thought to be the fluids from the dead buried in Nevern churchyard, and the Pagans say that the tree is an embodiment of the Great Mother Goddess in Her Virgin aspect.

The tree we went to find is a young one (700 years old) for its species, and the recessed orifice looks like female genitalia. It exudes dark red / brown exudate that looks like menstrual blood.

“I feel the need of a bleeding yew” I said to the PHD as we walked back to the car. “Let’s go visit the one at Nevern.”

The stream bubbled vigorously as we walked into the churchyard. It sounded large and loud, more like a roaring river than the stream it really was. Walking down the path through the yew avenue I felt watched over and protected. Expecting to find a huge hollow tree, it took us some time to decide which one we should visit.

It was the one which definitely looked the oldest , but she also had roundness in her beautiful thick branches that invited me to hug her. Drawing close, I stroked her roundness and knew that I had to sit in her branches and that then I would be happy. The PHD gave me a leg up and soon we were setting up the alter upon one of her thick branches where I sat, legs dangling and at rest, like a contented small child.

The circle I cast was a gentle one, appealing to the softness of air, fire, water and earth. As I called, the tree shifted comfortably beneath me, lightly holding me for I was no Burdon to her. I leant my cheek against her rough bark and closed my eyes.

Soft amber light danced behind my eyelids. I was somewhere enclosed, in a chamber perhaps. It was dark, except for a softly glowing red orange fire in the hard to see hearth in front of me. There were shadows all round, but I felt safe.

I sat still, just being, not waiting for anything, and just enjoying what was. After a while, the shadows in front of the fire seemed to shift and move. Something was moving slowly and carefully towards me. The firelight behind it made it hard to know what it was but as it got close, it reached forward with what seemed to be a great old head and placed it heavily on my knee. My hand crept forward tenderly and touched its velvety bony head and as I stroked it, it let out an involuntary grunt of pleasure.


Here was my lady, the she-wolf, old and arthritic, yellow amber eyes dulled by the cataracts that had blinded them, her head on my lap, trusting, loving and protecting. I felt tears prick my eyes and my chest thicken and was filled with an overwhelming sense of being unconditionally loved, loved in perfect love and perfect truth and I was humbled.

Not daring to move, lest the spell be broken, we sat like that for a long time. Adoring and being adored, savoring the moment, yet knowing it would soon be over and wanting to feel this way for ever. I felt my heart would burst with the joy of it. I caressed the old head and she shifted and moved back.

Silently, I thanked her as she padded stiffly back to the fire. The crows cawed and the stream bubbled cheerfully beyond the church. The temperature was dropping and it was time to go.

I opened the circle and reluctantly climbed down. Stroking the old trees bark, I traced it to a place where it had started to hollow, a vulva shaped place of stickiness, a bit like soft peat and something else that my fingers did not recognized but which I did not fear. Dipping my finger into its moistness, I brought it close to my nose and sniffed softly. A tangy resiny timbre, laced with something else. Tenderly, I touch the tree in that spot again, whispered my thanks and turned to go.

In my dream, the voices of curious children and two adults had penetrated. They ran up and down the avenue asking each other, “Which one is the bleeding tree”, getting more an more insistent. They circled our tree and grew quiet, seeing that it was this tree and crept away till, a few yards on, they burst into merriment again as they scampered back down the avenue.

We visited all the other old trees. Circling them, stroking them, saying our greetings to them. We peeked at the old and crooked gravestones lying under the trees and moved slowly back to the car and to the busy world outside. I felt sated.

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