Spell in the Forest, A
The magic of trees. Guides to the wildwood, keepers of mysteries, tellers of tales.
Trees occupy a place of enormous significance, not only in our planet’s web of life but also in our psyche. A Spell in the Forest - Tongues in Trees is part love-song, part poetic guidebook, and part exploration of thirteen native sacred British tree species. Tongues in Trees is a multi-layered contribution to the current awareness of the importance and significance of trees and the resurgence of interest in their place on our planet and in our hearts.
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5 out of 5 stars I am on page 48 of this wonderful book and decided to write a short review prior to finishing the book. What a wonderful read; guiding our minds to the importance of our forests, especially as a way to again get in touch with our essential selves – who are we and how do we fit in to the grand scheme of the cosmos. The majority of us live in urban environments now, contrary to the past when most folks lived in rural communities much closer to the land. This modern way of life has us disconnected from nature, from forests, which in reality we are a part of - but have forgotten this. The huge rise in dissatisfaction evident in society today I believe is precipitated by our remoteness from nature, from walking in the forest, from listening to the birds and the wind rustling leaves; from just being still and listening and absorbing what nature, what the trees are telling us. "A Spell in the Forest" will help us reconnect with all nature and with our essential selves. Also Roselle's awesome book, "Riding the Dragon" will do the same. We need these books, these stories; and we are so fortunate that Roselle Angwin shares with us. ~ Walter Pump, Amazon (Canada)
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. A sound, detailed, thoroughly researched, and inspiring compendium of trees in Celtic mythology, beautifully written by an experienced writer and award-winning poet. And while the past is important and teaches us a lot, in-between the lines this book is even more about the present and the future, as humanity finds itself at the crossroads to self-annihilation or a truly sustainable new era in which we will celebrate our connections with all more-than-human life. Let us *be* with trees, and all their and our relations, in the present moment. ~ Fred Hageneder, Goodreads
Your beautifully written book [is] a valuable compendium of tree lore and tree wisdom brought into clear solution through the crucible of your deeply imaginative engagement with lived experience as the unique source of your knowledge and understanding. Not only do you put us intimately in touch with the life of trees, both as individuals and in community, but you do so in a way that draws us deep into the poetic basis of mind, which is where both human life and that of the surrounding world abide and share the gift of consciousness. Your capacity to articulate that finally inseparable relatedness is a vital service in these critical times. ~ Lindsay Clarke, Whitbread Prize-winning author, Personal correspondence
5* Rating. Important, timely and beautifully written. A Spell in the Forest is completely different from anything I've read before and I found it thoroughly engaging. I've always been a tree lover, but the whole Ogham tree calendar and alphabet was a complete eye-opener. Each of the thirteen sacred trees is explored in turn, covering its history and habits, its gifts, its mythology and symbolism - but there's so much more besides. This is a compelling book, rich in fact and folklore, science and ancient wisdom, and one which I'll need to return to many times before the wealth of information fully sinks in. ~ BLH, Amazon
5* Rating. A beautiful informative book. Anyone who loves trees will enjoy the way the author weaves the latest science with poetry and story. An absolute delight to read. ~ Floss, Amazon
5* Rating. I was compelled to write to Roselle to tell her how much I was enjoying her book. I know it might sound odd, but I really didn't expect to as much as I did. Roselle is so well-read and knowledgeable I thought it might be a little above my head - I don't mean this as a criticism to either of us - just one of those things. But I was interested enough in the book and Roselle made the subject so accessible and enjoyable that instead of being intimidated by what I don't know about the things she references; I find myself interested in finding out more. Her writing sounds like her (I was lucky enough to attend one of Roselle's truly beautiful writing retreats.) I feel like she's talking directly to me, it's really lovely. I particularly liked The Dark Forest I. I got completely lost in the image/feeling of being in a forest and was grateful for it, being that I'm in a place where I need a little bit of an. A really immersive, comforting and lovely read. Claire. ~ Claire Pearce, Amazon
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. This is a beautifully crafted book about the author's knowledge and (almost) love affair with trees and forests. Roselle absolutely knows what she is talking about and this really comes alive in her description of the importance and significance of trees. both to us as individuals and as mankind. This really comes alive in the section of the book about the 13 trees of the calendar year. There is so much wisdom to love and learn within these pages. Anyone with a fleeting interest in the history and folklore of forests and trees would appreciate this beautiful work too. ~ Samantha Brick (Media), NetGalley
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. I loved it. Descriptive and beautifully written, it's the ideal gift for a tree-lover. ~ Mellissa Bushby (Reviewer) , NetGalley
A Spell in the Forest is one of the best manuals I have seen for how to understand, appreciate and develop a relationship with these sacred plant life forms. Roselle's book has deepened my knowledge of and love for trees, and is perfect for a time in which there is an upsurge of interest in trees. Angwin's book is broken into three parts. The first part... is more academic, as the author draws on her knowledge of plant life, animals and stories that one might find in the forest, [and where] we learn interesting traits of trees, such as that they thrive in communities and have a way of communicating with and helping other trees. Intertwined with information about how our ancestors utilized and viewed trees is an exploration of the spiritual significance of trees and the myths and symbols associated with them. Angwin's talent for bringing the forest to life can be seen in many of her descriptions and poems which appear throughout the book. Part two provides more on the spiritual and mystical aspects of trees through in depth information on the Ogham Celtic alphabet calendar, which includes an immersion into the history, habits, gifts, mythology and symbolism of thirteen sacred Celtic trees in a month by month format. Part three provides something I have not seen in other books of this nature: a 13-month program which includes tangible hands-on ways to connect with and build a relationship with trees. These methods are varied, and include but are not limited to physical contact with trees, meditation, journaling and creating art. In addition to assessing the environmental crises in relation to trees, the author includes a long list of starting points for an individual to consider how s/he might help. A Spell in the Forest is informative and inspiring. The combination of scientific fact, poetry, myth, storytelling and suggestions for engagement with the subject matter is unique. [The book] is both comprehensive and beautifully written. It is a guide to which this tree lover will return again and again. ~ Robin Corak: Agora, Patheos Pagan: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/agora/2021/10/phoenix-rising-review-a-spell-in-the-forest-tongues-in-trees/?fbclid=IwAR2HC6g-bnL6Q7RnNq_6bLvLQJQNhKrkURfeZwlrRyFanH4lfZml7yQntgA
Poet Roselle Angwin has a deep love for forests and trees. This work is both a beautiful love letter to these and a great resource book for anyone interested in learning more about our forest kin... Following a largely Druidic and Celtic framework, the author uses the Ogham system of writing and the Ogham calendar. Each chapter in Part 11 combines the time of year with the characteristics and history of each tree, along with practical uses and symbolism. Interwoven are Angwin's enchanting poems, titbits of folklore, Celtic mythology and her extensive research. Angwin guides the reader into the practical aspects of working with trees and forests, including tree meditations specific to each tree. [She writes of] the sobering significance of reciprocity, and how we must become activists to protect our precious natural world. I wholeheartedly recommend A Spell in the Forest – an accomplished piece of work. ~ Thea Prothero, Indie Shaman #50
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. I requested a review copy of A Spell in the Forest as I am a member of an online tree appreciation and photography group and hoped to learn more about local native species. I didn’t expect to read the factual knowledge to come as part of a poetic love letter to trees. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. In particular, I was blown away by the author’s explanation within the introduction of how trees communicate with one another via a network of underground fungi. This made me look at groups of trees in a whole new light. I would have given an extra star if there had been some more tree illustrations within the book but overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book and have recommended it to several friends. I will be buying a couple of copies as Christmas presents. This book is a timely and crucial reminder of how critical trees are to the wellbeing of the planet and also to us as human beings. ~ Sophie Potter (Reviewer) , NetGalley
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. A beautifully written, highly informative book about the trees of the Ogham calendar and how to connect with them on a deeper, more spiritual level. The author goes into the history and mythology of each of the trees, and the gifts each tree has to offer. She also gives guidance on how to connect with each tree personally. Over all a wonderful introduction to anyone wanting a deeper spiritual connection to the forest and individual trees. ~ Suzanne VanderWiel (Reviewer), NetGalley
This was a gorgeously written book about how to connect spiritually with trees. It was divided into three parts: part 1 was about the forest and the author's connection to it, part 2 was about the ogham tree calendar and part 3 was a practical guide to working with the trees. It is clear from some of her personal stories that the author has had a connection to trees her entire life and has had some beautiful experiences with those trees. She lives near Dartmoor(a mystical forest) part of the year and in Brittany in another mystical forest. She actually does guided forest retreats for people so they, too, can find a deep connection to the trees. I enjoyed part 2 the most. The author gave a short background of ogham and the concept of the tree calendar, linking them to the ancient and powerful Song of Amergin and she recommends watching the video of the actor Gabriel Byrne reciting it in Irish and then English(from his own translation). I watched it and I also highly recommend it. This was a very comprehensive guide to the trees of the calendar, from their physical properties and uses, to their spiritual properties, associations, and mythology. Extremely informative. In part 3, the author gives a practical guide on how to work with each of the trees, including what to bring with you into the forest and what to do once you have found a tree willing to connect with you and which trees to work with according to what you currently need help with. It also included a lovely meditation. The end of the book talked about climate change and what we can do personally to help the trees we have found a spiritual connection to. Since this book was an arc, I am not sharing any quotes from the author herself, although some of them were just so incredible, I had to keep notes of them. ~ Suzanne, https://celticbdance.wixsite.com/booksandsympathy/post/a-spell-in-the-forest-tongues-in-trees-by-roselle-angwin
'This glorious new book by renowned poet, workshop leader, druid, Roselle Angwin, takes us deep into the forest, shares stories as well as a deeper knowledge of what may be found there, and entwines us among the tree-full "more-than-human". It really takes a reader into what a spell might feel like – physically and metaphorically, under the blackthorn hedge or through the avenue of oaks, led by incantations told on the tongue... This 'spell in the forest' is joyful, healing, full of necessary depth and insight at this time of great transformation... Roselle's enchanting book landed on my desk at the right time for me, and is deepening my connection to this isle's sacred oak [which] the author then goes on to connect with the fertile potent energy of the Green Man, a "truly ancient archetype of positive masculine earth energy"... This book is highly recommended to deepen and enrich our time on Earth.' ~ James Murray-White, Save The Oaks campaign, Permaculture magazine
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. A very well-written book. I think I will be purchasing a copy so that I can reference each tree and continue to learn on a more regular basis. ~ Cassandra Wengewicz (Reviewer) , NetGalley
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. Despite not living on the same continent as the trees that are described in the book, I was absolutely mesmerized by this book. It pulled me in and made me cherish deeper my connection with every tree in my life, whether in my yard or in the forest. The imagery is lovely and the poeticism is perfect! I'm so looking forward to future titles in this collection! ~ Rebecca Calfe (Librarian), NetGalley
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. Knowing a little of the online course related to this book, I could not wait to read it. It doesn't disappoint! It is readable, thought provoking and a lively marrying of ancient knowledge with evolving science, inviting us to examine gently our personal relationship with the natural world. It even has a series of exercises to help. This timely book is one to be read again and again as each reading reveals more connections between ourselves and the ecosystems we better need to understand and value. I bought it for myself and also as a lovely gift to add to the body of work encouraging ecological, personal and community development. Or you can try the course too! ~ CG Waring, Amazon US
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. Trees, nature, forests and woodlands are a part of the natural world and a part of the only connection we have left to that world due to the speed of man-kinds creations. This book separates itself into three parts and talks about thirteen different Celtic tree species and does so to a degree that you learn oh so much, including the mythological context, healing uses, and what they can represent. Now more than ever, we need to appreciate the nature that is around us and realise that the natural connection we once had with trees like the Ash tree is one we should be begging to have back. This book is an invigorating call to all those who hear the whispers from the trees or want to open their ears to them. Overall, a good GOOD book. ~ Ella-Mae Campling (Reviewer), NetGalley
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. A beautifully written book! I will be purchasing a copy to be able to refer back to it month-by-month in order to become more familiar with each tree and to re-read the beautiful prose about the importance of trees. ~ Melanie Knight (Educator) , NetGalley
'...a rich, encouraging exploration of tree-lore and mysticism, underpinned by the climate emergency, illustrated by Roselle’s poems - a book that’s going to be a companion.' ~ Jay Whittaker, poet, 'An illustrated guide to the ruins'
Beautiful words, lovely presence and great wisdom, thanks so much dear Roselle. I think now that from your insights trees can walk us home, accompanying us through the dark. ~ Fiona Adamson, Launch event
So good to hear your poetic wisdoms and connective outlook Roselle. Your writings are essential listenings of the world. ~ Emily, Launch event
[A] really inspiring talk and the roughly quarter of the book I have read is fascinating. ~ Magdalena Williams , Launch event
This [talk] of yours now, is like the High Priestess of liturgy I was waiting for. Thanks so much for your gifts of words and spirit. ~ Lucy B, Launch event
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. I believe in awakening our connection to nature through intentional relationship, creativity, and mindfulness. A Spell in the Forest: Book 1 – Tongues in Trees by Roselle Angwin is a beautiful synthesis of all those things, drawing the reader into an ethos of tree wisdom and healing. Angwin also teaches the reader about the Ogham alphabet calendar and how to track the year through the wisdom of trees. Reading this book was a true pleasure that made me excited for my next trip to the forest......In the introduction, Angwin acknowledges the current crisis that has stemmed from viewing trees as a resource, fostered by the modern Western consciousness that is greatly disconnected from the natural world. She praises the trees, acknowledging their gifts to the environment, healing powers, and spiritual attributes.... “In the moment when we pay attention to the being of the tree, we are also opening a channel for a reciprocal relationship between human and tree. Our job is to be awake to all this: to practise the art of tuning-in to these general and specific qualities; to try and be aware of the exchange of prana and the interrelationship of consciousness.” I truly felt like I was walking through the woods of Britain as I read Angwin’s vivid description of her experiences. For every tree month, Angwin first provides the genus/species, dates, key words, and line of poetry. Then she delves into very thorough descriptions of the tree's history, habits, gifts it provides, mythology, symbolism, associations of the tree, Celtic mysteries of the tree, and honestly, so much more! As far as books about the Oghams go, this one provides the most background information, well-researched and thoroughly woven together by poetic creativity and detailed historical information. I appreciate this approach immensely because it blends the history, science, mythology, and spirituality of each tree to provide a holistic perspective. It’s a multi-layered approach that is really impactful in creating a connection with the trees. Angwin also puts out a call to save the trees, which are rapidly being depleted through foresting, impacting global climate temperatures, by becoming stewards for the trees... I immensely appreciate her dedication to preserving the natural woodlands, and it made me realize there’s more I could be doing within my own community. All in all, A Spell in the Forest, is a true gem filled with the essence of trees. This is almost embarrassing to admit, but even just holding the book seems to create an opening with my heart to the trees. I have hardly wanted to put the book down because it’s so grounding and packed with information. I will certainly be reading it time and time again, as I make my way through the year in accordance with the Ogham alphabet calendar. I highly recommend this book to those who are seeking more information on the Celtic tradition, particularly the Ogham, or those who simply value the wisdom and sacred nature of trees. I truly believe that by reuniting with nature, on all levels, as this book helps one to do, healing will begin to occur. In the meanwhile, I agree with Angwin that it is essential for us to protect the wildness of the forest, both physical and symbolically. A Spell in the Forest is a wonderful place to begin. I very much am looking forward to the next book in this series! ~ Alanna Kali, Musing Mystical https://musingmystical.com/a-spell-in-the-forest-by-roselle-angwin
“A Spell in the Forest - Tongues in Trees” by Roselle Angwin is a wonderful bringing together of poetry, inspiration, science, history and guidance about trees and forests. Roselle helps us to see the forest with new eyes, understanding the human’s deep and ancient connections with the wild woods, not just for survival and sustenance but for our magic, myths and poetry. She comments on the contemporary worldview that nature is separate from us, leading to destruction, displacement and suffering; and is anxious that we move to an ecocentric view recognising that we have to have reciprocal relationships with nature. This book beckons you into the forest to find re-enchantment and belonging. Full review available here: https://www.greenspirit.org.uk/bookreviews2/2021/07/01/a-spell-in-the-forest-tongues-in-trees-by-roselle-angwin/ ~ Hilary Norton (Green Spirit), Amazon (5 out of 5 stars)
(5 stars) I quickly fell under the spell of this lucid and captivating book. There is a dependency going on between trees and humans; an acknowledged as well as an unacknowledged relationship working between them. It can be experienced with a single tree, or in a woodland or forest. In A Spell in the Forest, Roselle Angwin surveys thirteen different sacred Celtic trees, each according to their place and month in the cycle of the Celtic Tree Alphabet/Calendar. The book is arranged in three parts with discussions about the trees’ healing powers, symbolism, their roles in mythology, their communities and spiritual presences. The third part offers guidance and practical exercises as a means to increase our awareness of trees and the parts they play in a twenty-first century world, where the gulf between the human and the land’s life continues to widen in alarming ways. Roselle Angwin also touches importantly on the idea of the forest as the mind’s place and how this site is viewed in terms of the path/s of human desire, perception and negotiation. A Spell in the Forest is a timely call for a more urgent awareness of trees and how much they define their neighbourliness, influence and reassurance in a world now desperate in need of thousands, if not millions more of them. This book is for writers, poets, artists, walkers and dreamers. In fact it’s for anyone who is willing to pay attention to the trees’ spells. The book is a powerful, provocative and deeply absorbing narrative/voice, challenging many 21st century misconceptions. ~ Julius Smit, writer, editor Eyeglass Zines, Amazon
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. I enjoyed this book. It’s full of information and an amazing read. Easy to read and a topic close to my heart. I will read it again. Well done! ~ Leanne Pawley (Educator), NetGalley
An addition for those working with trees or wanting to begin to connect. Overall a good book to have a look over. ~ Alexandra Roth (Reviewer), NetGalley
Roselle Angwin is a thinking as well as a feeling writer. Her new title, A SPELL IN THE FOREST, Book One: Tongues in Trees, is intelligent, informational, and thoroughly researched… There is a gentleness in the author’s voice which invites readers to travel through her pages, similar in its way to a quiet walk in the woods… It is both the lore and physical presence of trees, as life forms and as symbols, that is explored and experienced in A SPELL IN THE FOREST. From a plethora of subjects, there are three in particular I was drawn to. The first is in the chapter titled ‘The Wild Soul’. Here the author writes: ‘Story helps, poetry helps, music helps, and art, and access to dream, memory, association all help. They are all ways of re-enchanting our view of the world. But there is still nothing like actually wandering beneath great and ancient trees.’ Another subject that drew me to it is Angwin’s bringing together mythic strands on the Celtic sun god Ogma, from whom derives the Druidic blessings of tree-alphabet and calendar. A third subject of personal interest was found in the author’s interpretations of the ancient/founding poem of Amergin, legendary first poet of Ireland… I will leave it to readers of the A SPELL IN THE FOREST to independently open this and other findings in the volume’s treasury. Rather, I offer a practical suggestion. Next time you plan your own walk among the trees… take with you the quiet companionship of Roselle Angwin’s new book. Sit a spell beneath a favored bough, reading in the comforting shade. Do not be too surprised if in doing so you sense the aura of tree energy around you growing friendlier, brighter, and more embracingly intense. ~ David Sparenberg, eco-poet, shamanic storyteller, author of EARTH SPIRIT: Confronting the Crisis, Essays & Meditations on Eco-Spirituality
This book gently leads the reader into a new and deeper understanding of the forest and our ancient and intrinsic connection with the trees that has been largely forgotten in this modern age. If you wish to develop and nurture a true affinity and knowledge of trees, then 'A Spell in the Forest – Tongues in Trees' will most definitely help you to do that. ~ Luke Eastwood, author of The Druid Garden and The Druid's Primer, Personal communication
(5 stars) I am loving this book! If you have always felt yourself to be a friend to trees, and they have made you smile, you will discover so much more about them from this book...the discoveries will be magical and enchanting and may change your perceptions of Yourself, as well as your perceptions of Trees! ~ Teresa Wicksteed, Amazon
'I keep being amazed at the width and depth of your knowledge, and your ability [to create something] large and meaningful... I am looking forward to the sequel.' ~ , Beatrice Grundbacher
This book gently leads the reader into a new and deeper understanding of the forest and our ancient and intrinsic connection with the trees, that has been largely forgotten in this modern age. If you wish to develop and nurture a true affinity and knowledge of trees, then 'Tongues in Trees' will most definitely help you to do that. ~ Luke Eastwood, author of The Druid Garden and The Druid's Primer, personal communication
The poet who reignites within us passion and wonder for the living world does as much for the healing of the planet as any ecologist. Roselle Angwin is one such poet. ~ Fred Hageneder, author of 'The Spirit of Trees' and 'The Living Wisdom of Trees'
…a book in which to immerse yourself, letting go into the deep richness of the forest and its old tales. ~ Emma Restall-Orr Author on subjects such as pagan ethics and animism, one-time head of the British Druid Order, Personal endorsement of Spell.
Seeking the stories beneath the stories, the poet Roselle Angwin explores the forest of Brocéliande and the hidden mysteries of Arthurian and Celtic myth in this delightful immersion at the forest’s heart, where its inhabitants, seen and unseen, have their own tales to tell. ~ Caitlín Matthews Author of 'Diary of a Soul Doctor' and 'Celtic Visions', Personal endorsement of Spell.
Tongues in Trees has been an immersive, transformative experience. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Roselle’s sense of wonder and depth of wisdom have transformed my relationship with the Ogham trees and made me more open to the natural world. ~ Gabrielle O'Donovan, Participant on 1st yearlong TONGUES IN TREES course
'Mindfulness' is a buzz word at the moment but this course has enabled so much more - a sort of mind-allthesenses-spiritfulness and an enriched awareness of trees as the wonderful, sentient, numinous, and giving entities that they are. Roselle's course modules are brilliant - full of information and suggestions while being open-ended, motivating and inspiring... This is an update of something that I wrote near the beginning of the course. Since then, the sentiment that it expresses has only become richer and deeper: I have never taken trees for granted. But this course has made me more aware of, as well as an aesthetic/spiritual connection with them, an almost visceral bond which I feel I have experienced before - either in this life or another, in this world or another. ~ Sheena Odle, Participant on 1st yearlong TONGUES IN TREES course
Taking part in this course has made 2019 extraordinary. I have always loved and felt connection with trees, but this is the year I have communicated with trees. I am deeply grateful to Roselle Angwin for her integrity, generosity and for sharing her fascinating writings. My internal and external landscapes have been profoundly enriched. ~ Leonie Charlton, Participant on 1st yearlong TONGUES IN TREES course; author
For the past eight months I have been following a rather wonderful online course, formulated and run by the remarkable poet, author and facilitator Roselle Angwin. The course is called ‘Tongues in Trees’ and invites us each month to observe a particular tree associated with the Celtic Ogham calendar. We are encouraged to relate in a creative way to the trees, through poetry, prose, folklore, land art and ritual. It is, in itself, a truly holistic introduction to each species…but I think the deeper knowledge and understanding of trees and their huge importance in the life of our planet will take me a lifetime. This course has been an absolute turning point for me... Roselle has brought to my attention the vast richness of the knowledge pertaining to both individual tree species but also the holistic understanding of the importance of trees in the ecosphere (which includes us!). ~ Roz Cawley, Participant on 1st yearlong TONGUES IN TREES course
I had thought I was reasonably switched on, but this course has taken me way beyond that - still much more switching on to do - but Roselle has gifted us a magnificent portal through which to dive deeper. I have individual trees I will engage with whenever I can and lots more to get to know - it has been truly marvellous and magical. ~ Ali Walters, Participant on 1st yearlong TONGUES IN TREES course
ROSELLE WRITES: Robin Taylor, current head of the Pagan Federation, says in his acceptance speech that my first book Riding the Dragon was what turned him on to paganism. There are, by the way, loads of endorsements from participants on last year's Tongues in Trees course on which the book is based, here: https://thewildways.co.uk/tongues-in-trees-a-yearlong-course/ ~