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  • Writer's pictureCrone

Hollow places

In the copse a while back, I closed my eyes and saw a hare. The large eye and then the image zoomed out and I saw the head. It was an image that felt as though it were telling me something. Because I am a crazy Crone, I asked the oak tree what the image meant and the tree said, clearly, in my mind, "Go to the hollow places."

I told my father this and he didn't say, "You mad cow." He said, "You have to go back to that hollow tree then."

So I did.

And I sat inside for a long time.

At one point, I had my eyes closed and heard wings doing a U-turn, I opened my eyes to catch a crow veering away. I think he had come to investigate then realised I was a person.

I listened to a blackbird for ten minutes, watching the calls on the sonogram of the Merlin app. The bird called in three second bursts made up of various sounds. He did not repeat a burst exactly at any stage. It was immensely varied. Sometimes he repeated part of a phrase, but differently, from one burst to the next. It was like infinity expressed in song. He also seemed often to deliver two notes simultaneously - I know some birds do that and suppose blackbirds must be among them.

I lay down. That was nice, until I was sure something was about to crawl in my ear.

I was trying to be open to the tree, who had expressed, in my mind, previously, the name "Aulus" and that it was a "Guardian", communicating something. All I got, and it might have been from me not the tree, was "Connect up the hollow places." WTF?

I looked out for more hollow trees and was gratified to find a lovely ash.

The main trunk was hollow, but the stool had several other stems.

Even so, this hardly amounted to an answer.

I went for Tarot. This was kind of interesting because the cards seemed to suggest the hollow might refer to my own Shadow (I drew the Major Arcana "Devils") and that I might have to go into darkness, accompanied by my kin - in my case, earthlings: trees and birds and hares and all - suffer greatly, persevere. So I asked, and for why? The card I drew was the Major Arcana "Strength".

My pack offers a special reading for exploring one's Shadow, so I did that. It suggested that I abhor my perceived laziness, but that letting go of thought could offer inspiration; that I resist my practical, organisational, controlling side, but that could help me work better; that I am afraid of moving away from what is familiar, but I might need to. Then you draw a last card, to see what will help you. The card I drew was the Major Arcana "Strength". Yup. Same card. From the fully shuffled pack.

This seems a Catch-22, though: the two spreads suggest that by working through the hollow places, I will gain strength, but that I need strength to work through the hollow places.

So that's not entirely helpful.

As part of this thing, I also bought the book Hollow Places by Christopher Hadley. Hollow trees are relevant here (a dragon lived in a hollow yew...) but it is as much about the relationship between myth and history. I have only just begun. But that idea... more and more knowledge (collection and organisation) does not really answer the question... James Bridle in New Dark Age says something powerful: maybe it's not about discovering more data, but about thinking differently. Think in systems, not binary, for a start. New connections rather than more collection. You don't have to know to understand; you don't have to label to care; you don't have to have to love.

Random thought, hollow trees are apparently stronger.

Not sure that helps. And this tree was not hollow.

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May 21, 2023

I am glad to meet up with Aulus again. I realize you went deliberately looking for hollow trees but there seem to be lots of hollow trees! Are oaks predisposed to hollows more than other trees? I read the blurb about the Hollow Tree book and Hadley stubbornly follow clues up, down and around wherever they take him even if it never becomes one straight line factual "history". So is it about not getting hung up on "just the facts" and that a story can still be of value. I read the review of New Dark Age and it greatly disheartened me, as coincidentally I'd just happened across this and listened to it. Also disheartening. So your quote fro…

May 22, 2023
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Yeah, the book isn't totally cheery. But it does encourage a different way of thinking. As for the oaks, the hollowness, I think it's about age and there are more old oaks that I find.

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