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Grandmother Oak

Grandmother Oak

Once upon a time in val d’Orcia, a beautiful valley of Southern Tuscany, there was an oak forest. Over the years they were all cut down, except one, called the Oak of the Magpies, for the birds nesting in her branches.  She was also called Oak of the Witches because of  the magic rituals performed under her crown. Now she is 370 years old. History passed by under her branches and she is still standing, a majestic matriarch attracting loving visitors from near and from afar. When I was inspired to dedicate the 2015 Aurora Nature & Spirit Festival to the Tree of Life, it was natural to think of the Oak of the Magpies.

Jonathan Horwitz, master shaman of great experience and talent, advised me to go to the Oak of the Magpies to ask for help and advice for the coming festival. Arriving in  val d’Orcia I learned that in mid-August 2014 the oak suffered terrible damage: one of her main branches was broken, by a group of people climbing on it. Even though the branches run parallel to the ground, nobody ever thought of protecting her and this century old plant wasn’t part of a list of Monumental Trees.

This improper use and lack of attention to such a unique tree made me think that, more than ever, the Aurora Festival’s aim was to wake up consciousness so that each one of us learns to take better care of every other living being on the planet, which, as St Francis reminds us in his Canticle of the Creatures, are our family.