As I’m taking part in 30 Days Wild – an initiative by the Wildlife Trusts encouraging people to connect with nature each day in June – this week’s folklore post has a wild theme.
To me, nature and folklore are interlinked. Stories are as real as the wind, the rain and the ground beneath our feet. I’m fascinated by the way that similar stories crop up in different forms around the world (and equally fascinated by the differences in the ways that stories are told – and the stories that are stifled.)
Some of my fondest storytelling memories are of my grandad, telling me tales of Albert the Pixie who lived in our garden (I knew he was real because whenever I put a coin on the wishing well and closed my eyes, Albert would take the coin to grant my wish – if only when grandad was in the garden…)
I had flower fairy wallpaper and could easily see the fairies hiding in the fuchsia bushes.
Grandad would teach me about the frogs and newts, and show me how to collect seeds in tiny envelopes (with my equally tiny hands: grandad was a smart man. If you have a garden and children, teach them how to collect seeds for a mindful activity that should help soothe them and give them a sense of satisfaction, while also saving you money).
I learned from grandad that many stories hide in the garden – and even more on a countryside walk.
Nature is a storyteller, so here’s some nature folklore, inspired by things I’ve seen in my first week of #30DaysWild.
I recently wrote about swan folklore so I won’t repeat myself. However, should you collect swan feathers, it may be useful to know that they are used in magic for change, focus and wishes. White swan feathers are associated with grace, cleansing, purification, positive energy and beauty. Black Swan feathers are associated with removing negative energy.
Some people believe that a white feather is a message from a guardian angel or dead loved one, so it’s lucky to keep it. I think it’s a good idea to keep them as they are excellent for crafting.
I never realised how many types of bee there were until I discovered 30 Days Wild (there are around 250 species!). They are fascinating to watch and beautiful up close. Learn more about identifying them here.
Bees are known as nature’s messengers. If you see a struggling bee, feed it sugar water to help it recover. Who knows – you may find it tells the gods how much it appreciates your assistance.
Storytelling and clouds go together as well as storytelling and fire. Staring into the skies can reveal dragons and unicorns, along with faces peering down at you from above. Can you see the pictures in these clouds? Share what you see in the comments.
There’s also cloudlore galore – this article gives a good overview of the myths and truths of cloud reading. Some of the ancient rhymes are a useful way to remember weather-reading wisdom.
Nature has stories everywhere you look. Why not research the folklore behind some of the nature you encounter during 30 Days Wild? (Sign up for it if you haven’t already). The more time you spend connecting with nature, the more stories you will see…
If you like plantlore, nature myths and folklore in general, follow @FolkloreThurs and join in every week using the #FolkloreThursday tag on Twitter. Folklore Thursday is friendly, fascinating and fun. If you like nature, follow @30DaysWild and watch your timeline light up with colour and life.
My book, Go Wild! Over 200 Ways to Connect With Nature is now available on Amazon (currently 99p, or free for Kindie Unlimited subscribers). It includes folklore, research and money saving tips alongside ideas for making the most of the world around you.