Tuesday 27 July 2021

Pagan Eye: The Historic Holm Oak at Fulham Palace

This photo of a 500-year-old holm oak was taken by Nathalie Andrews, a friend of mine who shares my love of interesting trees. This holm oak is one of the oldest of its kind in England. It stands in the grounds of Fulham Palace, in London, where it was probably planted by Bishop Grindal  at the time of Queen Elizabeth I. He was a keen horticulturalist and also grew grapes for the Queen. You can find out more on the Fulham Palace website.

Holm oaks are native to the eastern Mediterranean but have long been naturalised in England. They are unusual for oaks because they are evergreens and have holly-shaped leaves. The ancient Greeks used holm oak leaves for a form of divination called phyllomancy. This was particularly practiced at the a grove of oaks sacred to Zeus at a sanctuary at Dodona. Oracles would sit beneath the trees and listen to the rustling of the leaves for messages and answers to questions. I've written more about divination using trees in my book Pagan Portals - Scrying.

On each Pagan Eye post, I show a photo that I find interesting, with a few words about it. I'm not quite sure what I'll be including - it could be a seasonal image, a pagan site, an event, or just a pretty picture. If you want to send me a photo for a Pagan Eye post, please email it to badwitch1234@gmail.com Let me know what the photo shows and whether you want your name mentioned or not. For copyright reasons, the photo must be one you have taken yourself and you must confirm that you are submitting it for A Bad Witch's Blog. 

The photo is copyright Nathalie Andrews. 


Jane said...

Wow! What a tree! Looks like it saw some coppicing in its early days. I wonder if the artefacts made from its wood are still around. What stories they could tell .....

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