IFER flower essence business used to be located in a building called The Living Tree, which was set in a beautiful valley in West Sussex about 25 miles northeast of Portsmouth. Thankfully the Milland Valley is skirted by the major roads of the region, so relatively little traffic went through it on its small ‘B’ roads.
About one mile from Don’s original premises was a woodland of primarily oak trees which had been planted as a crop back in the 1880’s, but which by the 1980’s was regarded locally as a rather special woodland. It had been well looked after by the Forestry Commission which owns it. Passed over by the hurricane winds of October 1987, due to its location in the floor of the valley, those winds nevertheless changed the direction of Don’s life. Don had been working for about 10 months as a full-time wood turner – making wooden bowls – and had had conversations with a local cabinetmaker about purchasing a portable sawmill to help supply our timber needs. Don placed the order for the Trekkasaw on a Tuesday; the storm hit the following evening, bringing some 17 million trees down all around us. And so Don’s timber business came into being. Milland Fine Timber Ltd. (or MFT for short) was busy sawing up windblown trees for the next 5 years. (MFT also became involved in importing community-based sustainably managed timber and forest products, and eventually helped to found the international organization the Forest Stewardship Council – FSC – working closely with the Ecological Trading Co. Ltd., as well as Friends of the Earth and WWF. But that is another story…)
Then in the autumn of 1992 Don learnt that Hatch Copse was scheduled for a thinning cut. Some 30% of the trees were marked for felling by the Forestry Commission. Don’s co-Director and I decided to bid on the standing timber, so that we would be the ones engaged in the felling and extraction of these trees. It being local woodland Don naturally wanted to make sure that it was done well, and without leaving an ugly mess – all too common in such situations.
However, over the years Don had had many discussions with his clairvoyant friend Peter Tadd, about the reality of elves, fairies, gnomes and other ‘invisible’ nature beings. For Peter they were obvious, and (he often commented) far more abundantly found in Britain than in America, for some reason. Don recals that Peter Tadd saw that a gnome-like fellow lived inside a well-formed Box shrub Don had in the garden of our house. Whenever Peter visited, this fellow was still there, described to me by Peter. Such conversations over time, coupled with the occasional mystical experience, led Don to accept that such beings were real, were actual and not simply figments of writer’s imaginations. Don cannot say even now that he has much knowledge of such beings, not being clairvoyant, but it was more that Don’s understanding of reality shifted to admit their presence.
So when it became clear that MFT would have the responsibility for cutting down the marked trees in Hatch Copse, Don decided that they needed to do something by way of preparing the unseen beings of the woodland for what was to happen. Through Peter Don had come to know a young local woodsman with rather extraordinary abilities – similar to those that Peter has. Graham Hayes was very aware of these nature beings, and so he was asked if he would conduct a ceremony in Hatch Copse prior to the felling, to give thanks to the woodland and its beings for the timber we were taking out of it. Graham reconnoitered the woodland one week, and then asked Don to join him the next week to help perform this ceremony of thanksgiving.
And so it was that one cold and slightly windy day in January 1993 (or was it 1994?) that Graham and Don spent an hour and a half chanting and beating drums, in an eclectic ceremony of Graham’s design, offering gratitude to the trees and the spirits of the woodland. There were 4 candles – which kept blowing out – placed around the ceremonial space to honour the 4 directions. And the drumming and chanting moved eventually into a very slow rhythm, in which space it felt as though they were somehow experiencing a communion with the oak trees all around them, as though we had moved into their rhythm of consciousness. Even though Don felt a bit awkward, having really no background in ceremony, yet following Graham’s instructions, together it felt as though they did indeed communicate something of their thanks, of their gratitude, to the woodland. But it turned out later that much more had happened than we had anticipated.
Two months after the last of the felling and extraction work had been completed, in early June of that year, Graham Hayes and Don returned to Hatch Copse with Peter Tadd. Graham was astonished, because in his experience he had never been in a woodland where felling and extraction had been done in the two years previous where there was not a sense of trauma; yet in Hatch Copse that June there was no sense of trauma at all, but rather a kind of quiet joy. It seemed a bit like the feeling some women have after having her hair cut well at the hair dressers – a sense of happiness permeated the place. It is no exaggeration to say, that woodland had no sense of trauma at all, anywhere within it. And this despite the ruts left in the mud in places where logs had been hauled out by the tractors.
But beyond the lack of trauma there was much, much else. Peter was seeing nature beings all over the woodland, many of types he had not seen prior to that day, and some (such as unicorns) which he had only heard of before. Some were in etheric ‘nests’ in the trees, and were our size, and were ‘magnifying the angelic light’ coming into the woodland, according to Peter. Later they were to discover other beings, some minute and tiny, dwelling in the smallest planst and the immediate sub-surface of the soil. One of their clairvoyant essence developers, Shabd-sangeet Khalsa (SSK) of the Dancing Light Orchid Essences, liked to spend time in Hatch Copse whenever she visited us from her home in Alaska, and reported seeing (amongst other beings) a faun, and also met the guardian of the woodland, as I did myself one day. And once on a later visit Peter witnessed a scene which he said was like something out of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with a group of nymphs running around, a scene full of drama.
But on that first day, there was a sense of discovery by the group present, as clearly the ceremony they had conducted had led to something much greater happening than they had imagined was possible. Don later had the phrase, ‘Give them an inch and they’ll take it a mile’ come to mind. As they were nearing the end of their tour around the wood, Don sensed something off to his left (his sensitivities are all peripheral, not in front of me). Don asked Peter what it was. He said it was a portal, and I began to walk towards it. ‘No Don! It’s not for us, its for them!’ And indeed this portal appears to have been the gateway for the nature spirits to enter this dimension of our world, from wherever else they normally dwell. It became clear that our modern world is not easy for them to be in, and places that have been rendered safe energetically are special for them.
Over the years that followed, Don, Peter & others tended to go into the woodland only two or three times a year, as Peter had told Don that the spirits didn’t really like them disturbing their space too much. So the times they did spend in Hatch Copse were always special.
Nearly 10 years later, in early February 2002, a group of four went into the wood one day: Peter, Don, Heather DeCam and Natalie Shaw. Heather had by this time joined Don in making a couple of dozen orchid essences, and Natalie had also made two or three with Don by that stage.
As they walked around the woodland, they split up, each exploring on their own for a while. Then Natalie found Don , excited by something she had come across. She showed Don a large patch of boggy ground within which was a large patch of the brightest sphagnum moss Don had ever seen. It brought to mind the line by Dylan Thomas ‘And fire green as grass…’.Finding Heather and Peter, and showing them the moss, Peter exclaimed that it be great to make an essence with it. So a few days later, on the 8th of February Natalie and Don decided to do just that. They placed a bowl of water on top of the bed of moss, in the middle of the largest patch, and left it there for several hours. They didn’t put any moss in the water, it seemed clear to us that the vibrancy of the moss would go through the glass into the water of the bowl very easily – which turned out to be the case.
By this time Peter had taken to referring to Hatch Copse as ‘Narnia’, and so the name Narnia Sphagnum Moss came into being.
At one level, the effect of this essence is that of
(1) awakening the chakras on the soles of the feet,
(2) bringing light to one’s eyes,
(3) gently energizing and awakening, with a happiness about it as well, and
(4) a strong downward push of energy, so strong that it is helpful in childbirth, and especially to be used if the birth is overdue.
In fact we advise against using this essence in late-term pregancy. But lately (autumn 2007) we have come to see another aspect to this essence. It also appears to act as a gateway to that realm of nature beings, not unlike the portal in the woodland. But for many this gateway helps some to begin ‘seeing’ these otherwise unseen nature spirits.
In seminars many in the group have had the experience now of seeing elves and other nature spirits in the meditation on this essence. And for some the essence has acted to enable them to make that connection and even that seeing even when not meditating. So this is a new area to explore, and it will be interesting to see what develops from this. But it is clear that the realm of nature spirits are wanting our society to have many more people actively aware of them, so that society as a whole can begin to value and honour them and their values and perspective. Perhaps this is their way of trying to help mankind to stop the madness of treating the Earth and nature with so little respect? And what of Hatch Copse? Sadly, the Forestry Commission forced two further cuts in the woodland in the past 6 years. One took place later in 2002, and a further one early in 2004. In that 3rd cut, the craggly old oak that was by the portal, and which had served as its anchor in the woodland, was cut. And so the portal vanished, though it was trying to form elsewhere in the woodland. But it seemed by the end of the third cut, as if a tragedy had happened, and the magic of the woodland largely disappeared.
Forestry practices can either be to the benefit of all beings involved in the woodlands, if the work is done with conscious awareness of the beings of the woods, or it can and usually does do great harm, and drives the nature spirits further and further away from us, to the fewer and fewer remaining sanctuaries to be found in the diverse regions of the earth.
But using the Narnia essence, it appears that we can compensate to some degree, by helping to make even small gardens a place where they feel safe; and by helping us to communicate with them, to help us learn how to engender their trust.