Avebury ~ Arborglyphs and Offerings

In Avebury, there are a group of trees that have long enchanted me. They are cut into by visitors, but also dressed in coloured ribbons and also given small offerings.





Their stark beauty and strange, intricate rootwork, which has become visible from the natural soil erosion that arises from their location on a hillock, captivates the imagination...







...as does the small token items left at the trees as offerings and multiple coloured strands of cloth tied to its branches. These mark the trees out as pagan wishing trees!

Confectionery left as an offering within a tree hollow 

Flowers left as an offering to the Avebury Tree


 
Avebury Dressed Tree
Arborglyphs are a controversial subject, no doubt about it. There are certain health risks to the tree assocociated with the practice. And it a strange thought that pagans, or those with a pagan interest, attracted to Avebury for it vast stone circle, would indulge in a practice such as this. Pagan faiths are usually associated with a love for Nature!




Perhaps it's practice is fading anyway. Nowadays, the injury it can cause to trees is more well known. In the past, the size and longevity of trees made people think of them as kind of living rocks, impervious to scrapes and the odd carving. I cannot remember seeing a fresh arborglyph for a long time.


All that having been noted, I do find these tree etchings interesting. They speak of the human sadness of the passing of the time and their disappointment in the nature of change. They express the human desire to be remembered, to fix a moment in time, like a photograph. The psychology of the practice is really worth delving into. For a first read, I strongly recommend this link.



This is another good read on the topic. And here is yet another.