Thursday 16 September 2021

Guided Visualisation: Messages from the Holm Oak Grove

This guided visualisation, or pathworking, takes you through a wood to a grove of ancient evergreen oak trees. Holm oaks, or holly oaks, were considered sacred by the Ancient Greeks. They would sit underneath them in sacred groves to hear messages from the gods.

I wrote the visualisation for my scrying workshop at the Sussex Faerie Festival, but I'm also sharing it here for others to enjoy. If you want to do this, make sure you’re in a safe and comfortable place, where you won’t be disturbed.  You can record the words then play it back to do, or you can read sections, then close your eyes to visualise your journey.

The Holm Oak Grove

Close your eyes and relax. Take three deep breaths in and out, in and out, in and out.

Picture in your mind a beautiful, quiet, safe place in nature that borders on the edge of a wood. It's somewhere you feel comfortable and at ease. It can be a place you are familiar with or somewhere completely imaginary. Visualise being in that safe, comfortable place, on the edge of the wood. Look around and see what's there. If at any time in this guided visualisation you feel uncomfortable and wish not to continue with the journey, know that you can quickly and easily return to this space where you will again be completely at ease. Spend a few moments familiarising yourself with this place that borders the wood.

Now look towards the wood that lies to the edge of your safe place. You have been told that at the very heart of the wood is a grove of ancient holm oaks, which always have leaves whatever the season. You have been told these trees are special for another reason – they can offer words of wisdom to those who seek them and are ready to listen.

You have decided to journey into the wood to find the trees and ask them a question. Think about what question you might like to ask. 

When you are ready, look towards where the wood starts. You see the beginning of a path that leads into the trees. Go towards the path and follow it into the wood. Visualise the path and the wood around you. Notice the sights, scents and sounds of the trees, the birds, and the animals that live here. Be aware of your own movement along the path. What is the path like? What are the trees around you like? What can you see? What can you hear? What can you smell as you journey deeper into the wood?

As you progress, you realise that further in, the trees are older, taller, and closer together. Be aware of the changes to the woodland around you, the path you are travelling on, and the sky that you glimpse through the canopy as you go.

After a while, you see that the path leads to a group of trees that seem different from all the others you have passed. They are ancient oaks, but unlike others you have seen before. They are all tall with broad branches and massive trunks. The branches spread out around and above you. They are covered with green leaves that you can hear rustling, whatever the season. The path leads you into the centre of this group of trees and, following it, you realise that the ancient oaks are in a circle. This is where the path ends, and where it has led you. 

Look around at the trees, look at this circle, this grove in the heart of the forest. Each tree has a different personality. They seem to be whispering to you. Spend some time looking at each of these trees. One of them in particular seems to be calling to you. Go to that tree and stand or sit beneath it.

Ask the tree the question that is in your mind, and listen for the answer.

Spend some more time listening to what the ancient oak has to say, and converse with them if that seems appropriate.

After a while, you realise you have heard all that the ancient oak can tell you at this moment. Thank the tree and bid farewell.

It is time for you to return along the path through the wood. Find the place where the path leads from the grove back the way you arrived. Make your way back along the path, through the wood. You see the trees slowly thin around you. After a while you make it back to where the path began, at the edge of the wood. You pass the last trees and once again return to your safe, comfortable place in nature. The place from where you started your journey.

When you are ready to return to your normal space and time, take a deep breath, shake yourself a little and open your eyes.

After you’ve done any magical work, divination, or a guided visualisation, you should ground to make sure you're fully back to reality. The best way is to have something to eat and drink, but if that’s not possible, stamp your feet on the ground or tap a hard surface a few times.

There are other guided visualisations in my book Pagan Portals: Guided Visualisations. If you want a copy you can order from Amazon or via publisher Moon Books’ website and you can buy from pagan shops including  Treadwell's bookshop in London. 

The picture of the holm oak at the top is copyright Nathalie Andrews. 

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