Saturday, May 2, 2020

Wonnezeit Tree, Shrub, and Plant Observances

These dates are general because they are derived from a temperate climate which can result in wide variations of the appearance of blooms and blossoms from year to year. Other trees might be honored by different growers and orchards based on the stage they are at during Wonnezeit.

The Urglaawe community is still pulling things from notes and from research, but the blessings of fruit-bearing trees is actually an ongoing cycle, perhaps with its beginning point being, depending on the year, between September and November for trees for which it is advantageous to be in the ground six weeks before the first signs of hard frost. it is hard to predict a moving target six weeks in advance, so this brings us back to the old topic of using animal behavior for prognostication. In the Fall, it is more the fox that is looked to for an idea of when the first hard frost will strike. The thickness of the fox's fur is used to predict whether that frost will hit in October, November, or December, and then the depth of the den and the distance from water are factors that observers use to predict the date of the frost. Unfortunately, this facet of lore has not been as well preserved as Groundhog Day, so we are still doing some research on this.

Trees are again honored at Yuul in December and end with the harvests the following autumn. Conifers are honored in December and January. Birch in February, and Oak and March. 

The more practical (and somewhat common) ways to honor fruit-bearing trees includes straw in the following manners: 1. tying straw around its trunk; 2. strewing straw among is branches (which I think is a contributor to tree garlands); 3. tapping the trunk of the tree, particularly toward the base, with wisps of straw. I have used option 3 during Wonnezeit in the past.

One of the most common means of honoring orchard trees, even today, is New Year's shot into the each. I am not personally a fan of this practice, but it is common and an established tradition. It is our cognate of wassailing, and people do greet their trees with New Year's wishes. Bows and arrows would also work.

Hanging iron or stone from tree branches is believed to increase the bearing of fruit. This is likely a contributor to the modern Yule/Christmas tree ornament. The same also applies to the egg tees that are uniquely Deitsch and that we see at Oschdre and Easter.

This old tradition one is a little macabre: A lamb (or kid) that has dropped dead or died while very young is hung up in a tree with thorns, though any fruit-bearing tree will do. This hearkens back to older traditions of hanging animal skins in tree.

As the Urglaawe community strives to produce a ritual format (and it will be simple) for the honoring of trees in their bud, blossom, bloom and fruit stages, I'd suggest option 3 of the straw wisps for Wonnezeit.

Below is a starter suggestion list for dates to honor particular trees, shrubs, or plants if you have them. Plums on May 1 are fixed as the Deitsch cognate of the Maypole is the Gwetschebaam, which is literally a plum tree. Linden has been moved from May 12 to May 5 as a tip of the hat to Gedreier Eckhart, who sleeps inside the bark of a linden tree as the Parade of Spirits heads toward Hexenkopf. The linden tree is said to be on Hexefeld in Lancaster County, which occurs in the earlier part of Wonnezeit. This means that Urglaawe date of May 4 is more suitable for linden blessings.

The reckoning below pairs the solar and lunar calendar. The first date should be read as "sunset on May # is Urglaawe May #." For example, in the first entry, sunset on April 30 is Urglaawe May 1.

April 30-May 1: Plum Blessing and Harvest

May 1-2: Dogwood Harvest - Since today is May 2, let's also note that Dogwood is a medicinal tree that is one of the Nine Sacred Herbs of Braucherei, hence also of Urglaawe.

Hail to the Dogwood

May 2-3: Pawpaw Bloom and Blessing

May 3-4: Linden Bloom and Blessing [observing Gedreier Eckhart at Hexefeld]

May 4-5; Crabapple and Apple Blossom / Apple Tree Blessings

May 5-6: Hawthorn Bloom and Blessing

May 6-7: Magnolia Bloom and Blessing

May 7-8: American Chestnut; also, Blueberry and Huckleberry Pruning and Honoring (second-year plants have all budding flowers cut back.

May 8-9: Blueberry and Huckleberry Blossom - all remaining blueberry and huckleberry bushes are blessed [Observing the Hexedanz at Hexebarrick]

May 9-10: Cherry Bloom and Blessing

May 10-11: Serviceberry Bloom and Blessing

May 11-12: Strawberry Bloom and Blessing; Asparagus Harvest Festivals

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