The Whispering Tree Portal
The Whispering Tree Portal Blog
As we approach the Summer season, we enter The Whispering Tree Portal to the Otherworld for this year’s Crone Goddess Conference.
I’m Annabel Du Boulay, Ceremonialist for the ‘Lady of the Otherworld’ in the West of the Wheel of the 2023 Conference, where we find Her elemental Earth portal.
With Midsummer and the Summer Solstice falling this month on 21 June, we are entering the magical realm of the Enchanted Forest, which was brought to life so beautifully by Shakespeare in his play ‘A Midsummer’s Night Dream’.
At Midsummer in Celtic Mythology, the new Holly King of the Forest (King of the Waning Year) returns to defeat the old Oak King (King of the Waxing Year), who has ruled since the Winter Solstice.
An extra day was set aside at Midsummer each year, which belonged to none of the lunar months. This day symbolised the sacred pause between Kings, when all of life was suspended. It was a day of high magic, when the veils between the earthly world and that of Spirit, parted, and anything was possible.
Like the pause between the in-breath and the out-breath, this extra day created the sacred space through which to journey with the deities and spirits of the Enchanted Forest.
The Celtic Druids honoured trees to such an extent that they created a Tree Alphabet to harness the wisdom of the trees and commune with them.
5 vowel trees sit, like the 5-pointed Star of Venus who they worshipped, within the 8-fold Celtic Festivals’ Wheel of the Year, with a 13-fold sequence of lunar months, interspersed by consonant trees on the outer ring.
The trees they honoured at the Summer Solstice, which lies in the South with the Water element on our Wheel of the Conference, were the Oak and the Holly.
The Oak Tree symbolised purification, love, light, the Fae, wisdom, courage and strength. The Holly Tree also symbolised wisdom and courage, as well as dream magic and a generous, trusting heart. You might like to connect with these two trees especially during this month of June and at the Summer Solstice.
The trees they honoured at the Autumn Equinox, which lies in the West with the Earth element on our Wheel of the Conference, where we find The Whispering Tree Portal, were the Aspen and Elder.
The Aspen symbolised psychic gifts from the wind, eloquence, protection from illness, and facilitated rebirth. The Elder was connected to Venus and symbolised regeneration through the Cauldron of Rebirth.
For me, it is this concept of The Whispering Tree Portal bringing “psychic gifts from the wind” that deeply resonates with me.
I was blessed to grow up living within a 5000 acre ancient beech and oak forest. Since I can remember, I have always felt the most at home and at one with Spirit when I am in a forest, climbing trees and listening to their wisdom, which comes to me as whispers on the wind rustling through their leaves.
During the isolation of the pandemic, I would climb Dundon Hill, near Glastonbury, sacred to the Celtic Goddess Don-Danu, and hug my favourite tree at the summit. I feel the energy of a tree as a veritable presence, a being, a spirit, a guardian.
For me, there is nothing more powerful than sitting on the earth, with my back resting against the old trunk of a tree, and listening to its whispers of wisdom.
In my monthly Rose Moon Membership, which guides people on the archetypal Soul Descent and Ascent following the Venus Cycle, we journey into the sacred forest of our Soul and Psyche, at the centre of which lies our Rose Moon Grove.
To enter our journey each lunation, we open the gateway into the trunk of our own Tree of Life, which symbolises our incarnation on this Earth walk.
This concept of the Tree of Life, with its roots reaching down into the Underworld, its trunk grounded on Earth and its branches reaching upwards to the Celestial World, uniting all three realms, can be found in all ancient spiritual traditions.
We see it in the Norse Cosmic Tree Yggdrasil; in the Germanic Saxon Great Pillar of Irminsul; in the Moon Tree of the Babylonian Goddess Asherah; the Kabbalah Tree of Life symbolising Adam Kadmon, the Cosmic Man; and the Maypole as the Axis Mundi of Sacred Union, around which all of life revolves.
The Sacral King, in the form of the dying God, is always hung or crucified on a tree, as we see with Odin, Osiris, Attis and Yeshua. The trunk of the Tree symbolises the Great Mother, who gives birth to him then reintegrates him in death. Retreating into the forest can therefore function as a symbolic Soul death before rebirth.
The Bleeding Yew symbolises this innate energetic power of birth, death and resurrection that the Tree, like the Crone of the Otherworld, embodies.
In this aspect, the Forest of the Whispering Tree Portal can be a place of testing and challenge, of initiation, but ultimately of Soul rebirth.
As a Portal to the Otherworld, The Whispering Tree is an invitation to journey through Her to the three realms she unites. Following her roots, we can descend to the Underworld Rivers and Caves of the Black Goddess. Through her trunk, we can enter the magical world of the Enchanted Forest. And as we climb her branches, we can journey into the supernatural realm of the Shining Ones, where the Celtic Tuatha de Danaan are believed to dwell.
Here in Avalon, which is the name for the Otherworld in Arthurian legend, also known as Annwn in Welsh myth and Emain Ablach in Irish myth, meaning ‘Isle of Apples’, we can journey into the Otherworld most powerfully through working with the Apple Tree.
Often in Celtic mythology, a Hero enters the Otherworld when a beautiful young woman offers him the bite of an apple. The Apple is the Fruit of Wisdom in the Western Mystery Tradition, as it contains the 5-pointed Star of Venus in its centre.
Archaeological evidence suggests that the ancient peoples of the Neolithic British Isles built some of their megalithic structures as ritual resurrection chambers, aligned to the heliacal rising of Venus and Sirius, as well as to the Solstices and Equinoxes.
It is from these shared ancestral roots of honouring Venus, her 5-pointed Star, her Celestial Rose and the Apple of Wisdom, that the Rose and Celtic Druidic Lineages blossomed in these sacred lands of Avalon, the Isle of Apples, from their singular Tree of Life, which I call The Avalon Rose Lineage.
During this coming month celebrating Midsummer, as you prepare to make your pilgrimage to the sacred Isle of Avalon, Isle of Apples, for the Goddess Conference, I invite you to spend time in the Forest of The Whispering Tree, listening to the wisdom of the Crone Goddess of the Otherworld.
Sit beneath an Apple Tree and take a bite from her sacred Fruit of Wisdom. This is the beginning of your initiation, of your journey into Her Otherworld. Harness your inner Warrior, your strength and courage. Then open, trust and surrender to all that She and your Soul desires you to experience and transform through her Otherworld energies. One thing is certain – you will return forever changed from your journey.
I so look forward to co-creating the sacred container for your journey into the Otherworld with my beloved sisters and brothers of The Goddess Conference 2023 – my 23rd Goddess Conference! I wouldn’t miss it for the world…or Otherworld!
Big love and blessings from Avalon
Annabel Du Boulay