After posing the question of whether the Hawthorn is the third tree of those expected, I reflected on the fact that English was originally four related languages known as West Saxon, Kentish, Mercian and Northumbrian [ref]”Concise Compendium of the World’s Languages” p.143 Campbell, George p.143[/ref]These are called by various names but all are referred to as “Old English”. West Saxon is what was known as “King Alfred’s Englisc“. These are most likely the languages which ultimately melded to become English. This ‘English’ is not the same thing as Anglo-Saxon if my “Anglo-Saxon Dictionary”[ref]”A Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary”: by John R. Clark Hall, M.A. Ph.D. 3rd edition, 1931[/ref] is any indicator. After listening to English television, it soon becomes apparent that the English of England still do not all speak the same dialect any more than we do in the U.S.A.
Perhaps it is not necessary to fret over exactly which species of each of these three symbolic trees we recognize. Each is representative of one of Mankind’s traits and what is relevant is what those traits are and what they represent in our languages. How we visualize the information within ourselves is a personal matter and is unique to each of us. Our understanding of a word or idea is a personal matter in that we visualize, or otherwise see the message we want to convey to others. It is our responsibility to get our message understood. English is a classic and a classic does not have a solitary dialect, especially when it represents communication among many and varied tribes. ‘Many and varied tribes’ is another of those characteristics of trees which makes them symbolic of Man. Few people argue against the idea that Mankind is represented by many and varied tribes of peoples.
Some people, though, will take issue with the idea of English being a ‘classic’ as this word is usually applied to Latin and is considered to indicate some thing that is a level of superiority or inferiority among similar things. A teacher I once knew used to snap, “Just what is a classical sense?” This is one of the ways we abuse our languages’ faculty for question formation, make the question into a hostile challenge. Let’s break that habit, because this is a good and legitimate question. What a classic is: it is some thing that has been put together or assembled in an orderly manner by the ‘mind’ of Man. Declined- runically, the cl- determinative would refer to the fluid law of the head, the Mind. ‘As’ refers to the parallelism order of the Ash, with the second ‘s’ for spirit. The -ic suffix is for ‘like or resembling’. The -al pertains to all. Suffice it to say, English was not just swept up or cobbled together mindlessly. I submit that English language was carefully constructed with the
symbolism of nature, including the Green World. That makes it a classic. English was constructed during the First Millennium and is one of the Peoples’ Language. The alphabet used is an Irish version of the Latin alphabet.[ref]”The Story of English” by Robert Burchfield and “Campbell’s Compendium of Languages” by George L. Campbell[/ref]
The relationship of Mankind to trees neatly parallels when it comes to the topic of gender as we use this word to refer to the subject of reproductive or ‘sexual’ faculties. I’ve mentioned several times that sex and gender are not considered fundamental principles in our English language. That does NOT mean that they do not exist. They exist in the context of their purpose, that of reproduction. Gender, as it is used in many languages appears to be a way of giving a sense to ideas and things by associating them with a ‘masculine-feminine dichotomy’ of which I find no compelling evidence. I have striven to confine my remarks to such evidence only as it pertains to English. One matter about which I have written several postings is sex and gender, masculine and feminine, he, she and it, familial relationships: these topics cover nominal discussions of how or if sex and gender are discussed in the English language. I opine that all of the fundamental principles of English are also fundamental principles of nature. So far, all of the principles I have been able to identify, are fundamental principles of nature and pertain to personal and positional relationships irrespective of sexual reproduction. Masculine and feminine are terms used in English but they do not rise to the level of fundamental principles no matter how much we cling to the belief that our gender is a constant which is also an either-or trait. I have yet to find any trees which have a sexual life that is constant and either-or. There are some significant variants in all the trees I have read about so far. Some appear to be devoid of gender. I likely would have said little about this had I not encountered the thorn and -orn words: born, shorn, ornry, horny, pornographic and fornicate.
In the relatively short time that I have been aware of our intimate relationship to the trees, I have found characteristics within them which inform me about the varied natures of different tribes of Man. Just last month I saw a picture of a thorn tree which enlightened me about a fundamental principle of the idea -orn, which is a kind of supporting brace connecting two lines, as in corner. That -orn is also the shell covering of some sea creatures,the layers in horn and the head of birds. There is human trait we seldom speak of but can never ignore. It is that very reactive and impossible to ignore, part of our nervous system which reacts to all stimulants including hormones and allergens. That part of our nervous system is called the ‘involuntary’ or ‘Autonomic Nervous System’. Anyone who has allergies will recognize that insistent and persistent defense mechanism.
The objective in identifying these three species of tree within our language is to give us a greater sense of who we are as a People. The identification of our three primary Totem trees gives us greater definition of our human characteristics. For some time the Genus I was considering was EL, (the oil trees) as a possible ‘third tree’ which would give a more balanced picture of ourselves. I was basing this selection upon the persistence of this sense element in English; however, the sense wasn’t clear enough to warrant making it definitive of any thing within us. Moreover, I did not yet have a clue what trait or characteristic of Man was being presented by this third tree. Then, why three trees? It is about theprinciple of completion. This is not a fundamental principle, rather it is an ideal for which we strive. Three is the number of balance in a three dimensional world (as we see it). There is notation to describe completion but no symbol to represent it. ‘Pi’
is about completion, that indefinite measure which completes the whole; hence, pi which represents the birthing P of a charged particle I. The ideal of pi is also described numerically, with a continuous fraction. ‘Pi’ continues to hold the ideal of completion wherever it is.
I kept getting mental images whenever I thought of Thorn; however, until I thought of the thorn tree these were not the same images I’m now seeing. While I thought of various thorns in nature as ideas of ‘proportional force’ and ‘a setting of boundaries’, the metaphorical picture was clearly incomplete. The things lacking were ‘what force is being opposed?’ and ‘what is being bound?’ We needed a substantive as the object of the force. With the thorn tree, Man gets the third support and the thorn tree gets its opposing force. This tree form of Thorn in no way diminishes the importance of the thorn image in the rest of nature. I would say that it stresses and enhances the importance of thorn imagery and increases our awareness of the importance of thorn support in all of nature including Man’s. This applies to all uses of th, as well as orn.
When I see the image as a thorn tree, I can still see the image of a thorn as separate and distinct from the thorn tree. One encounter with a solitary and significant thorn can leave a memorable impress on a young mind. I had my encounter at age ten with the Pyracantha shrub, knocking off the red berries with my thumb and middle finger, just to see how far I could send them. It stopped me cold when the thorn went all the way through my middle finger, right behind the fingernail. The only visible sign of its presence was a faint shadow on each side of the finger. I tried to get help but no one would believe me, not even my father’s nurse. I read a couple of years ago that a single thorn can be fatal. After a few months of picking at the callous, the thorn popped out leaving a small tunnel through which I could see daylight. The thorn was unscathed. This was also a lesson about our body’s defense, as well as about the thorn’s defenses. They do not sneak up on us and attack, nor do they apply more force than we apply to them. I would say that both the thorn and the thorn tree constitute a fundamental principle about Mankind, the individual and the tribes or groups.
If one thorn from one “decorative” thorn shrub is this impressive -literally, consider the concept of thorn trees as metaphors for various tribes of Man. Even moreso, consider the possibility that these thorn trees, shrubs and vines are symbolic of something within Mankind. The thorn tree altered my mental imagery. After a short while it occurred to me that I had seen these images in some things I had read. The images were scrolled pictures like snakes or other elongated animals, things that looked a little like animals and a little like green growth. Two of the books were on ogham, one was on runes and another on ‘energy medicine’.
Some of the pictures were of animals, some were illustrations of hawthorn brambles and another was of something called ‘the Celtic weave’. The latter was one of three energy systems of the body: shakras, meridians and Celtic weave. These three systems were presented as ways or techniques of treatment for balancing the energy systems of our bodies. There are many ways of treating these various systems and I have been finding references to the systems since I first learned to read. The ‘weave’ was like repeated figure eights performed over the body, just above it, and was presented as a way of helping treat various traumata that one receives. It was like ‘laying on of hands’ without actually touching. When one superimposes the bramble pictures over the muscle illustrations of the human body, it suggests the way the body experiences an excited nervous system, an almost comic book depiction. This well may be why there are superstitions about the Hawthorns, involving fairies and witchcraft. Adding to this imagery, the facts that some ‘hawthorn’ is poisonous, some is medicinal and some of it is edible, could evoke strong responses and feelings from people. I can understand how a bout of neuralgia might be causatively connected in a person’s imagination. For that matter, if someone knew how to use those attributes of hawthorn(s), the connection just might not be imaginary. The Greenworld is a powerful world which contains medicines and poisons that have been known by Mankind for centuries. Were it not ingrained in our language, we could have lost the information centuries ago.
As I’ve been reading bits of information which has been coming my way, I’m discovering how some tribes have been connected for centuries by their business of trading in ancient herbs, spices and remedies -like frankincense, myrrh, sesame. There are references in “holy books” which gain a new wholeness by looking more deeply at their connections to our physical well-being. A case in point is that of the Acacia tree, of which wood the Ark of the Covenant was made. The Acacia is a Genus of Thorn Tree. This subject came up around the time I first began to grasp the significance of trees in the formation of our English language. I made a promise to keep track of the subject and to get back to our small group with whatever I find out about its’ connections to our religious denomination. I am finding out that Acacia has strong Semitic and Slavic connections which are demonstrated in the languages as well as in the religions.
The language connection is important to recognize since the AC of Acacia may well be represented in a variant linguistic connection. In English and many other languages, Ac represents the Oak. I must make a note of this since the Slavic and Semitic tribes were also making Peoples’ Languages during the same time period. When I came across the Slavic connection, I found that some Byzantine religious leaders were given the title of “Acacian”. Those who were directing the writing of the peoples’ languages were Saint Cyril and Methodius, known as the “Greek apostles of Moravia”.[ref]:”The Slavs in European History and Civilization” Dvornik, Francis[/ref]The book cited in this reference gives the story of the thirteenth century split of Eastern and Western Slavs between the spheres of Roman and Latin Culture and that of Byzantine culture. It also ties in the worldwide writing of peoples’ languages and some history of those peoples, the Slavic serfs.
This book has also given me a new slant on the Germanic peoples as “Franks” under Charlemagne (771-814) and “the new system of proprietary churches introduced in all Germanic lands”. -and its influence on other developing states. [ref]ibid op. cit.pp. 3-5[/ref] “They were Christianized completely only in the ninth century…Frankish, Roman, and Irish, as well as Byzantine, missionaries worked among the Slavs.” “…Moravian ruler Rastislav (846-870) concluded an alliance with Byzantium which helped to stop the Frankish expansion. The introduction of the vernacular into the liturgy promised a more rapid spread of the Christian faith. “Consolidation of Christianity in Moravia by Byzantine missionaries in the 9th century…easier access for the common man to the religious mysteries…” “…rapid rise of Old Slavonic literary activity…development of their vernacular literature…” All of these excerpts (and more) are spread across just a few pages. “…The Kievan state,
built with the help of Norseman, soon became a mighty power beyond the Carpathian mountains…Kiev became an important commercial center between Byzantium, the Arab world and western Europe, particularly Germany and Scandinavia…Kiev maintained lively contact with the Latin West…”
A hundred and forty pages later we are in the Thirteenth Century:[ref] ibid op.cit. p145[/ref] “…Latin Benedictine monasteries were on the coast…where most of the Roman Catholics lived…Greek cities preserved their municipal organization under Serbian rule- administered by a governor and judges “chosen from among prominent citizens”…”evolution of the Serbian peasantry followed same course as that of peasantry in the West(feudal with serfs Code of Duran). “…The democratic general assembly of all the citizens was transformed in the 14th century into a great council composed of the most prominent citizens, who formed the local nobility…”
Parts of this story of the peoples’ languages just fit together so seamlessly. Whether I pick them up by the tree, by the people or by the history book, the stories fit together. The Slavs had also been enslaved by Roman armies. The word ‘slave’ is believed to have entered English from the word ‘Slav’. We again have the Benedictines, the Irish, and that interesting transformation of ‘Romans’ into pious monks living studiously in monasteries. Quite frequently, the only thing Roman was the -us suffix on a Celtic name. This book on Slavic Civilization covers the same time period and includes the same peoples, ideas and issues. The formation of their ‘peoples language’ also takes place in the same century. There are 555 pages not counting notes, footnotes, bibliography, and I excerpted just a few references in the last four paragraphs to illustrate the fact of this worldwide Seachange to illustrate our connectedness with the common man across what we now refer to as countries and races. We the People are still We the People regardless of how we sing and write our languages. We obviously all coöperated at some point in order to share our particular gifts. I would call this ‘Brotherhood’. How soon we forget!
People really do forget history if we stop telling the truth about it. We even forget the truth about what crucifixion is. That comes to mind now because of that aspect of our tree imagery, the part of us that is depicted as the Thorn tree, is that inner awareness that we have, which alerts us to potential threats and possible dangers. It does not always signal outside dangers. This thing that gets our attention and puts us on alert and often causes us severe and persistent discomfort, pain, irritation and all manner of unrelenting attention-getting, is not in us to do damage. It often is present to save us from ourselves and to save others from our actions. This last observation about protecting others from us, is my judgement as well as my observation. I’m attributing the quality of conscience to a life-preserving reflex. Nevertheless, let the statement stand.
This ‘thorny’ thing within us which is a supportive covering of some sort, is a real and palpable thing. I think this is, at least in part, the thing which we currently call our Autonomic Nervous System. I can only describe those parts of which I am personally aware. So far, this is the only thing which is compatible with all of the ideas, patterns, words and descriptions which are connected with and are within the concepts of thorn and -orn. So far I find nothing in the connectedness that is not plausible. There are some places where I do not know enough to describe the connection but,…. I will stop at ‘but’ as I have already listed most related words and the sense elements, either in a posting or in a foot note. I will just go through the body’s distribution as far as I know it. This is something we should all describe and consider since there are most likely many expressions of this natural trait that many of us are yet unaware of.
This thing is aligned within the body in a cross pattern, with a single perpendicular and two, possibly three, horizontals. The perpendicular is down the center of the body. There may be three perpendiculars also. There is something more there but I’m uncertain whether it is the same system. One horizontal is about the level of the navel and another is across the chest. I suspect another across the neck, right above the shoulders. As I write this and visualize this ‘system’, it occurs to me that the three systems I mentioned earlier may all be parts of the same system. That would make the following paragraph, about the heart, more coherent. The body has a quadrant distribution and I just realized over the last few months, how the quadrants are connected not just laterally but upper to lower, also upper left to lower right and upper right to lower left. And, they are also connected front to back on each of these levels. This is the only way that we could move as fluidly as we do and in as many directions. Without an awareness of these energy distributioms in our body, we would not be able to move so fluidly.
The heart itself also has a cross pattern; each cross pattern also has quadrants, each with an anterior and posterior division. The ancient practice of crucifying people as well as of putting them ‘on the Rack’ and of ‘drawing and quartering’ people by various methods were all about torturing people and controlling them by breaking the connections which allowed them to master their own bodies. Crucifixion was a slow process of torturing a person, not always to death, by hanging them by their hands with their arms spread outward and above the heart so they could actually suffocate from blood pooling in their chest. The pressure would interfere with breathing, swallowing and circulation, a death or near-death by strangulation of the energy core of our nervous system, from within. The ‘rack’ actively pulled people away from their center by using a machine that could be loosened then tightened again. I mention this to illustrate the significance of our energy core.
Damaging this part of our body is ‘pithing’ a human being, even if one does not actually completely kill the person. To ‘pith’ anything is to destroy the ‘-ith’ territory that contains the lifeforce. When that substance is stressed excessively it loses all resilience.
The monstrousness of this was somehow romanticized by association with the imagery of a ‘holy self-sacrifice’ story. in which the ‘sacrifice’ was raised from the dead. Now I’ve clarified the process of crucifixion while describing that system which I believe the Thorn Tree represents. To get a clearer image, think instead of Spartacus and the six thousand freedom fighters who were hung along the Appian Way for opposing forced gladiatorial combat and slavery. Strangling people from their insides is a slow, agonizing death from suffocation that shuts down all involuntary functions. To get to the truth of anything, we have to be willing to look at what is, not just at what it is comfortable to believe. That system of our body is there for the purpose of sustaining us and of stimulating our will to live. I still have yet to find anything in nature that was put here to hurt us. I do keep an eye open for anything deliberately harmfull.
All of those sticking, prickling, irritating, poking and even jumping sensations that we get when our body is warning us that we are in danger. Those are warning signs. It is not always intense pain either. A real danger sign is when we lose awareness of some of our parts like a tourniquet has shut off a part. All the sensations and lack of sensations are significant. The word ‘danger’ refers to a message. There are many ways that we can stress our core energy and there are also ways to balance our energies. We can stress the quadrants of our heart as well as the quadrants of the rest of our energy systems. Our body tells us when there is a problem. I always need to check my observations for supports so I went to the Natural Medicine[ref]Chinese Natural Cures, Lu, Henry C., pp. 413,446,462,Black Dog and Leventhal Publishers. In addition to this reference I found several online for both Hawthorn of several species and for Acacia[/ref] book and found multiple uses for Hawthorn in treating blood and heart disorders, hypertension, acute and chronic gastritis and enteritis, abdominal pain, excessive fatigue, coronary heart disease, expanding and contracting blood vessels. These Thorn Tree symptoms are coincidentally treated by fruit from Hawthorns (haws).
To relate the significance of the three trees which represent Man within our language. Each of us contains multitudes and, yet, each of us contains a complete person. This requires that we have various faces with which we present ourself to others. Some communities of Man have certain dominant traits which can be depicted in their language. I will stick with the subject of English but this lengthy digression is important to make the point that all tribes of man have differences. Some may well have a Thorn tree as their dominant totem tree. The Ac may not always be Oak. In some regions Ac may be Acacia, a thorn tree. 10-08-2016JOH
- Judith has written (and re-written) the pages below, initially for a book and now for this website. These files are still under revision, and should not be treated as stable documents.