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Thursday, 27 August 2015

Olive Trees and Labyrinths


Beautiful, glowing photo by Bob Bush available from, and looking much more gorgeous, there. 

This week, on Druid Wednesday (every Wednesday is Druid Wednesday) I went to sit with one of the Olive trees up at our block.  It didn't have much to say, but it gave me a most tremendous sense of peace and ease, and was by far the most comfortable tree I've ever sat with and leaned on.

While it didn't say much, what it did do as I sat there is remind me just how long humans have been taking shelter and comfort under Olive trees.  Thousands of years.  I looked it up when I got home (thanks Wikipedia) and we have been cultivating Olive trees for six or seven thousand years.  Considering how hot it usually is in the types of climates that Olives love best, that makes for a lot of people seeking shade and a nap under Olive trees!  It has been a very successful relationship for us both: The trees have spread over much of the world with our help, and received much care, and we have enjoyed the health benefits and deliciousness of their oil and fruit, and their beautiful company and dense shade.

These are the sentinels; three olive trees that grow across the middle of our block.  I sat with the middle one.  This photo was taken six years ago.  I think they are quite bit bigger now. 

At maybe fifty years old, they have a long way to go to be as old as this venerable old Olive tree, who is said to be 4000.  Can you image what tales it could tell, what wisdom it could share?  If one sat quietly with it long enough, it would.

Image and story from here.

Speaking of old tales, while looking for a pic of the olive tree sentinels, I found a picture of the labyrinth that I made up at the block from small stones. Labyrinths may be as old as that old tree.  They have been used as meditation devices for millenia, both in nature and on the floors of churches.

The usual idea is to have a problem or question that you think of as you enter the labyrinth, and supposedly by the time you get to the very middle it is resolved for you. It's not a maze.  It's more of a pathway that goes back and forth, round and round, leading always to the centre.
The most famous one is this big one at Chartres Cathedral.  If you are lucky enough to go there one day when the pews are pushed back and can have a go, it can take a long time to walk it.  Plenty of time to enter a meditative state and have your question or prayer answered.  :)

Image from here.

Of course, as a Druid, an outdoor labyrinth is much more suitable.  This pic is of mine is from when it was not quite finished. There are a couple more big rings to go around it to complete it.  It took me about six half hour sessions of carrying and placing rocks to get it all done, using a ruler and a hand-drawn template to help me. Why did I do it?  Because I wanted to walk one and didn't know of one anywhere nearby, and because the land said it would like the blessing of having one built there.

It is just as well I took the pic, because I forgot to take any after I finished, and then I got a good lesson in the impermanence of nature, because the wild birds decided it was great fun to turn over all the rocks to find bugs under them.  For a while I repaired it each week, but when I didn't go up for a few weeks for some reason, I returned to find my beautiful labyrinth was now no more than a rather messy scatter of rocks!

I rather like the idea of this one made of flowers:

Ah well, next time! 




  1. i've got a labyrinth like that, but it was kangaroos who scattered the stones. it was great while it lasted. i might rebuild it one day.

    1. The latest OBOD newsletter was asking about experiences with building labyrinths. Perhaps we'd better warn them about birds AND kangaroos, Wy! :)

  2. I like the flower labyrinth as well... and the ancient Olive tree... and her young cousins, on your block... In fact, I really love this blog! Thanks, Tina - I feel refreshed...

    1. Awww, thanks Marigold! Reading that has made my day!


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