Trees, Druidry and Me
By Fearn Licktfield
Druidry is an ancient and evolving spiritual path that originated in the British Isles. Druids align with the spirit of the earth below, the moon and stars above and the elements around and within us. Trees are our teachers and Nature is our church. We gather in groves as well as circles of standing stones to do our magic. Druid wisdom was passed from mouth to ear and much has been lost, but the spirit of Druidry is still alive and well and very much needed in these times.
Ogham is a system of lore, divination, magic and communication based primarily on the wisdom of the trees of the British Isles. Each tree acts as a gateway to extensive and deep teachings of Nature and mythology. Ogham was known and used by the learned Bards, Ovates and Druids in Ireland from about 600 BC until 700 AD. It is very old! Ogham gives a name to each tree and a significance which the ancients learned from the trees themselves.
The name “Fearn” came to me at a time when it felt like everything was falling apart.I was working as an herb gardener at Avena Botanicals in 1999 when everything started to change. It was my Saturn return. So much of what, where, and with whom I had been was dissolving. I knew I was undergoing a big transformation and so it felt appropriate to honor my process with a new name. Fearn was the name that came. What I didn’t realize at the time was that Fearn is the word for Alder Tree in the Druid Tree Ogham.
It is often the case that Druidry chooses us, rather than a person choosing to become a Druid. This was certainly true for me.
The old me was dying and I felt very raw and vulnerable. Gratefully, I was surrounded by the grace of healers and wise women as well as many new green friends. They held me, supported me, and witnessed me as I dove deep into the waters and fire of my soul. I cut off my long hair and dyed it red for a ritual where I invoked the Goddess in her aspect as destroyer of illusions and demons. I was beginning to find my voice, my rage, and my ability to say “No More” to the repeated betrayals of dysfunctional relationships.
So why Fearn? What did it mean? What is its medicine? And why did I need it? There are many books on Ogham with varying versions and interpretations of the trees and their meanings. Books are great, but even more important is direct perception, relationship, and partnership. Here is just a bit of what I have learned from Fearn- (pronounced Fayrn) about Alder’s meaning and medicine:
- Building a strong foundation, finding strength through conviction and belief, emotional protection, the gift of prophecy, willingness to sacrifice, resurrection, regeneration, learning from the past in order to move forward, starting anew.
- Known as the battle witch of all the woods, hottest in the fight, its fiery nature protects it from decay and rot when in water. Bleeds red when cut.
- Must be submerged for strength
- trial by fire, self sacrifice in order to obtain a new foundation.
There is an oft quoted phrase in our school and community relating to the many times that magic touches us in such a clear and strong way that we cannot deny it. “You just can't make this sh*t up!” Learning the meaning of “Fearn” was one of those moments for me.
I have learned so much from Fearn and from many of the trees of this land. It is thanks to them that we have not lost the original teachings of our Druid ancestors because their teachers, the Trees, are still here, teaching us.
I strive to embody Fearn's qualities of strength, foundation, regeneration, conviction and prophesy. As a Druid I see my role as a guide and opener of doors for my students. It is my greatest joy to help people re-member the rooted knowledge that we carry in our blood and bones, the knowledge of our true spiritual nature. The trees lead us back into rapport with the magical and regenerative energies of the Greenworld. When we partner with them we can change everything!
Blessed be the Trees.
Click here for a Climate Repair Meditation Video with Fern.
Fearn Lickfield heads the Green Mountain Druid Order, based in Vermont. Some of the practices she and the trees are developing, for present day druids are:
Bridging and breathing- meditation practices for alignment, centering and connection
Co creating the Climate Repair Meditation with Sycamore Tree (see video)
Co creating the Vermont Tree Ogham system with our local trees
Co creating the essences of the VT Ogham trees for healing work
Researching the tree essences for land healing using Earth Acupuncture
Developing a diversified tree curriculum for the Ovate Grade of Druid Training
Crafting and working with magical tools; wands, staves, acupuncture needles with tree woods
The Power of the Grove
To learn more about Fearn and the Green Mountain Druid Order go to: