Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Clootie Tree

The Clootie Tree
Also called a Clootie Tree, Cloutie Tree, Raggy Tree, Wish Tree or Wytch Tree. Strips of cloth or ribbon representing a wish or a need (usually a physical healing) to be granted were tied to the branches of the tree. As the cloth or ribbons fluttered in the wind the request was carried on the wind to be manifest by the Gods or Saints (depending on the belief system of the person placing it on the tree).

(This one is not mine, but I'm hoping it will look like this in time!)

The word “clootie” in Scottish, means “cloth”. In various parts of the British Isles and across northern Europe, the tradition of tying a piece of cloth to a (usually Hawthorn) tree near holy wells is still relatively common. After taking water from the well, the people then take a piece of their clothing (or just a piece of cloth), dip it into the water and tie it to the tree. If it was for healing, then the wetted cloth would be used to wash the affected part of the person's body. The illness would then dissipate as the cloth disintegrated. The tree is a symbol of long life and health, and water is the essence of life.

This practice was brought to America with the immigrants, and can be found throughout the south, the Appalachias, and other areas where they settled.

As these cloths are tied to hold them to the tree, this is also a form of Knot Magic. As the cloths become more ragged in the wind, they will disintegrate, but the knot will continue to hold it in place. In time the entire piece will eventually fall off and blow away, but it will take such a considerable amount of time, imagine how much of a blessing it will have bestowed upon those who placed it there!

I have started one here in our front, tying strips of cloth cut from beautiful old men's ties I had collected for my crafts. They have all kinds of beautiful colors, but as there aren't too many on the tree as yet, they're barely noticeable. I have decided that I will begin adding one each week for either a specific blessing request, or just to bless the week coming in general. As I tie each of the clooties, I will envision what it is for specifically, as well as recite this spell for it and the others on the tree.

Clootie Tree Spell
Clootie, Cloutie, Raggy, Wish & Wytch
I tie this cloth for the wind to toss & pitch
Branch of tree hold the cloth real tight
To keep the blessings flowing right
Blessings to us on the wind do send
Long life, good health, and wealth are ours til the end

We have a well, but it's not quite like the old ones the people dipped out of, so I will use the birdbath under the tree as my "well". It is very dry here, so I will have to remember to keep it filled. :)

For those living in an apartment or other small place, you don't have to have a yard with a tree to do this. A small potted tree or branching plant can be used, just cut your cloth strips to an appropriate size so as not to over-power the tree or plant.

For anyone who does this, or has done this, why not share it on the Hoodoo Hill's Facebook page? I will set up a photo album specifically for everyone to share their works (Clootie Trees, rituals, dolls, and crafts - whatever). I'd love to see what you come up with!

No comments:

Post a Comment