Three wishes

The weekend has seen the creation of another Metasaga. This one was made with the help of Lesley Wilson for the delegates of
"Three wishes weekend". As part of the aftercare for the course and to further develop the reflection I am going to reproduce the Grandtully Metasaga here on the blog. Feel free to explore , comment and share.

The first part of the Metasaga was to share the ancient Celtic /Highland custom of placing a red thread in your coat for protection asyou travel. If you want to join us go and find a piece of red thread and keep it with you as you join in this Metasaga.

Travel well and in peace.


Red thread
Red thread
Make 3 wishes
One for you
One for your family
One for the world



The lady of the woods Silver Birch


external image 1571266700_e93d27ceb3_m.jpg Our first stop at the back of the village hall was the birch trees.

When the ice age retreated and the hills were left bare it was the Birch trees that first took root in the land. Norse mythology tells us the Birch is the first tree to come to life after the winter. In Celtic Mythology , the Birch , came to symbolise renewal and purification. "Beithe" , the Celtic Birch is the first Ogham (Celtic tree alphabet). The Birch is also in the Norse runic alphabet.At Whitsuntide Birch branches once decorated churches as a symbol of rebirth.
The Birch is an incredibly useful tree,every part of it has a use. Nearly every part is edible. The First Nation people of America valued the Birch.It made wonderful canoes. The bark was used as paper. The sap provided them with sugar and medicine. It was also seen as protection from evil.
We have all heard of criminals being birched in order to bring about some sort of repentance. The Birch is an ideal metaphor for Metanoia. It symbolises a change of heart. Not just one change of heart or new start but the ability to change and make a new start many times after each winter.
Are you emerging from a dark winter?Have you had a change of heart?Do you feel alive and growing into a new season?Are you using all your talents?

Stand Tall and Proud
Sink your roots deeply into the Earth
Reflect the light of a greater source
Think long term
Go out on a limb
Remember your place among all living beings
Embrace with joy the changing seasons
For each yields its own abundance
The Energy and Birth of Spring
The Growth and Contentment of Summer
The Wisdom to let go of leaves in the Fall
The Rest and Quiet Renewal of Winter

- Ilan Shamir, Advice From a Tree


Two together


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We moved through the birches and out into the old station area. Ahead of us a single tree or is it? Two trees so close together their branches are entwined as if they are embracing one another. Support , shelter and strength for one another. You can stand between their branches , a hand on each bark. Looking up it is hard to distinguish one tree from the other.

Here between the tress you are cacooned, safe, secure embraced by the trees. The greeness of their branches showing the depth of life and strength amid the naked birches.
Who supports you?
Where do you feel secure and sheltered?
How can you support someone else in this way?


They are beautiful in their peace, they are wise in their silence.
They will stand after we are dust. They teach us, and we tend them. - Galeain ip Altiem MacDunelmor



A green heart

Under the trees are the first sign of spring. Snowdrops. Look at them carefully discover their green heart.

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"Into a dark world
A snowdrop comes
A benisonOf hope and peace.
Carrying within it.
A green heart." - Kate Mcilhagga


What brings you hope?

Communication - The three Rs


external image 03510075.jpgWe climbed the small knowe behind the trees and surveyed the surrounding area. High in the hills are the old drovers' roads full of stories and customs. The modern road cuts through the valley on the river bank. The river itself carrying canoes and white water rafts.

Behind us the old railway line. Can you recognise it from this photo?
The valley , full of roads and pathways, some old , some new, some long forgotten. The railway and the drovers road are now a thing of the past. The drover and his tales and songs have been replaced by the tourist and the mountain biker.
Road , Rail & River.
What methods of communication have you abandoned or forgotten?What channels are you keeping open?What way is closed to you?


Into the wild wood - symbiosis


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We leave the station behind and enter the wood. Nature struggling to heal the scar made by the railway. The trees at first seem bare ,but their sharp lines are softened by wonderful lichens.

Lichen is a fungus , the solid structure, that contains an algae that makes the food for both of them. This is a symbiotic relationship. Although the lichen grows on the tree there is no evidence to say it harms the tree in any way. They are all existing together and providing for each other.
How and what do you provide for those around you?Are the relationships you are involved in symbiotic or parasitic?

The Oak


There are many Oak trees in Perthshire. Neil Gow's oak near Dunkeld that inspired his fiddle tune or the ancient Birnam Oak pictured here. You identified an Oak on the hillside for me.

external image images+2I am the acorn's hopefull fall I am the Oak's great enduranceI am root and branch, leaf and sap
Life embracing, Life releasing, Life returning.

The Oak provides a home to more species and life than any other British tree. It is a host to many.How do you provide life and shelter for those around you?
The mighty oak an emblem of strength and power. It has long been associated with the Druids but many early saints taught under the shade of the Oak tree. It is the clan badge of the Royal Stewarts . In Genisis the Israelites buried their idols in the roots of the Oaks at Shachem.
What would you bury in the roots of the Oak tree? What do you want to bury and leave?

It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanates from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit. - Robert Louis Stevenson

An ancient pointer


external image DSC00652.jpgThe group moved from the woods to meet at the standing stone in a nearby field .

A standing stone can be an ancient marker or guide stone. It may be a marker for a nearby stone circle or a further marker to the nearby Glen Lyon which is full of ancient stones.
There will be more of the stone below the surface than is shown above. It will have deep foundations.
What are you being guided to?What keeps you rooted and grounded.
The stone is a legacy. What is your legacy?


Platform 9 3/4


We returned to the old railway station along the wilderness path. We gathered at the edge of the platform.It is very strange , almost fantasy to be at a railway platform in the woods with no railway. Not far from here the writer J.K.Rowling has her Perthshire home. I wonder if she has visited this strange railway station. The platform in her Harry Potter novels is a magical place, where you move from one world to another.

If this was a magical platform that could transport you to another world, where would you go?
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A road less travelled


external image ra11.jpgAt the far end of the station yard the road bridge crosses the footpath. It forms a gateway, a place of transition from the known to the unknown. Are you willing to take a risk and enter the wild woods? Is it frightening or is it an adventure? Are you standing on the threshold, doubting the way ahead?

"Our doubts are traitors,And make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt." Shakespeare

The f0lk taking part in this Metasaga were given the option of returning here to walk once the tour was over. Watch out for the Gruffalo!


The River roars by

It is indeed, a fearful place. The torrent, swollen by the melting snow, plunges into a tremendous abyss, from which the spray rolls up like the smoke from a burning house. The shaft into which the river hurls itself is a immense chasm, lined by glistening coal-black rock, and narrowing into a creaming, boiling pit of incalculable depth, which brims over and shoots the stream onward over its jagged lip. The long sweep of green water roaring forever down, and the thick flickering curtain of spray hissing forever upward, turn a man giddy with their constant whirl and clamor. We stood near the edge peering down at the gleam of the breaking water far below us against the black rocks, and listening to the half-human shout which cam booming up with the spray out of the abyss. - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


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We crossed the road from the station yard and found ourselves on the banks of the very high river. Right on cue , a raft of teenagers came down the river. We could hear their excited shrieks above the noise of the river. WAW! The power of the river roaring over the rapids. The sheer excitement of the rafters. Both raw energy.

What does it for you? What excites you? How do you really let off steam?


sheer indulgence

IMG_4248.JPG.jpegLife is like a box of chocolates... you never know what you're gonna get.
Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks)
Although the day was dry and sunny there was a strong wind and the group were cold. ONly one way to finish off such a Metasaga was to head for the Highland Chocolatier.

Sheer Indulgence indeed!
How do you indulge yourself?
How do you treat your loved ones?
What brings sweetness to your life?


Before that we finished the walk off with a Celtic blessing.
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“May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.”