Deenagh: The Pictish Years Chapter Three – Hawthorn Tree Dryad

This is a Disabled Pagan Voices Project submission from Deenagh Jackson

Every Pictish village had a name, one that helped to connect the clans folk who lived there to the land they inhabited. Usually a village was named after a a particular feature or landmark. Some villages were named after a standing stone or mountain face, while others were named after an old tree that grew on the land they inhabited. Deenagh’s village was named Anoc-Par and it meant The Wizened Tree, which was so called due to the old hawthorn tree that grew in the centre of the village, and dwellings were built in a circular fashion around the old tree, with subsequent dwellings being built in a continuous spiral. It was around the Wizened Hawthorn Tree that stories were told, ceremonies were held and celebrations took place with much song, dance and merriment.

The Wizened Hawthorn was a special tree because it had a Tree Spirit, known as a Dryad, and this tree could communicate with those she chose to. The Dryad held the knowledge of Deenagh’s Ancestors, as the tree was at least hundreds of years old and had saw much comings and goings of
the Pictish people. It was an honour for any of the clans folk to have the Dryad as a friend, as she did not chose to communicate with everyone, only those she saw as special in some way. When the Dryad established a Spiritual connection with a human, a special bond was formed and a deep relationship soon developed. There were only a small number of Deenagh’s Ancestors throughout the generations that had the privilege of being able to listen and talk with the Dryad.

Deenagh had spoken with the Wizened Hawthorn Tree for as long as she could remember, and it was such a natural part of her being that it didn’t occur to her that not everyone could hear the Dryad in their mind. She began to understand as she got older that not everyone could speak with Spirits, and when she considered it, she wasn’t aware of anyone else who spoke with the Dryad. But as a child, Deenagh never thought she was any different to the clans folk in her village.

When Deenagh was presented before the Wizened Hawthorn Tree for her Naming Ceremony, she was enclosed in a protective circle and a powerful energy was raised. The Dryad was momentarily surprised, as she noticed that there were a great many Spirits that had an interest in this child, because there were so many in attendance at this particular Naming Ceremony. It was on this night that the Dryad was given instructions to teach and guide this new child of the clan of Anoc-Par. The Dryad
believed the orders to have come from the Spirit of the Universe itself, because the energy was so unlike any earth energy she had experienced before. The Dryad was not merely the five hundred or so year old tree which was the life of the hawthorn she was currently residing in, because the Dryad was in fact much, much older, at least thousands of years old, although she did not count in years the way humans did.

The Dryad had gained much knowledge and wisdom in the lifetimes she had lived in the many trees she had inhabited, and on the night of Deenagh’s Naming Ceremony she felt that she had been given an important mission. The Dryad felt a renewed sense of purpose, one that would come with its own challenges because never before had she been instructed to actually watch and guide the development of a human child in such a way as what was now required of her. However, the Dryad embraced the
challenge and got to know the child Deenagh, communicating with her when the Dryad felt the time was right, which turned out to be just before her first birthday. The young child had crawled her way to the centre of the village, as though she had been drawn there, and Deenagh touched the Wizened Hawthorn Tree, so the Dryad took the opportunity to communicate with Deenagh. The Dryad was impressed at Deenagh’s level of intelligence for a human so young, and although their conversation was limited, it was definitely more than the Dryad could’ve expected from a child human so young. Deenagh herself was bemused at being able to speak in her mind much better than she was able to vocalise with her mouth when she found herself replying in her mind to the Dryad who introduced
herself to Deenagh. The Dryad was also impressed at this young child’s good manners, when Deenagh told the Dryad that she was honoured to speak to the Wizened Hawthorn Tree.

Since that first contact and their initial introductions, Deenagh made her way to the Wizened Hawthorn Tree at every opportunity, because she loved how freely her mind could speak with the Dryad, while her voice was still learning new words just as children of her age were. But the mind speak was different because Deenagh could ask questions that were in her mind that she could not yet formulate by her childish body. The Dryad mused many times at how this young child could talk and talk, the seemingly endless stream of questions that came from her young mind. But the Dryad
enjoyed their conversations and found that she had an unlimited amount of patience when it came to this curious young human. She had cautioned the child not to speak to anyone of their developing relationship, for no reason except the Dryad felt it important.

As Deenagh grew with the passing of the years, the Dryad listened and offered advice, fulfilling the purpose that had been assigned to her on the night of Deenagh’s Naming Ceremony. The Dryad was there for Deenagh when the child was sad or upset, and Deenagh would leave the Wizened Hawthorn Tree feeling happy once again, because although she may have been unaware of the energy at work, the Dryad provided a calming energy when it was needed. Although the Dryad observed that not much would keep Deenagh down for too long, as the young child had a carefree Spirit, and was able to take most things in her stride, and learn from the challenges that she faced. Deenagh knew that it was the wisdom that the Dryad had shared with her in their conversations that had helped her to
look at things from a different perspective when she felt any doubt or insecurity, and Deenagh could look again with a renewed sense of optimism and a clearer mind to help solve any problems she faced. Deenagh thought of the Dryad as her Tree Mother and she loved her deeply.

The Dryad would marvel at the effect Deenagh had on those people around her, without the child even being aware of it. The effect Deenagh had on the rest of the village was so understated, the Dryad thought many times, because even the village clans folk, it seemed, were unaware of the impact of Deenagh’s energy on all she came into contact with. The Dryad could see the magical light of energy emanating from all life, but with Deenagh it was different as it was so much more colourful and bright. The Dryad had an affectionate name for Deenagh and called her The Shiny One, such was the way Deenagh would light up, especially when she was happy or excited.

Deenagh thought many times that no-one knew her as well as her Tree Mother with whom she had shared so much of her childhood, and she loved the Wizened Hawthorn Tree very much. The Dryad was happy to have been given the task of teacher and guide to this young Spirit human child, because Deenagh had brought the Dryad a new sense of fun and adventure to her life, and the Dryad mused often that this young Spirit Deenagh had changed her way of life, and she could not remember what she had been doing before Deenagh came into her life. Human and Dryad had a magical relationship, and Deenagh soon realised that she did not need to be in front of the Hawthorn Tree to be able to speak with the Dryad in her mind, for she could communicate with her Tree Mother from just about anywhere.

My name is Deenagh Jackson and the process of my writing has helped me understand my own Pagan beliefs in this modern day, while also helping me to connect with my Ancestors of old.

The Deenagh series of books which I started writing almost 2 years ago are about the main character Deenagh who can remember her past lives and each book tells the story of the lifetimes she has lived and the lessons learned, with her Spiritual beliefs at the heart which are important to Deenagh.
This is the first time I have shared my stories outside my close circle of friends, but as a wise man once told me “a stranger is a friend yet to be”, so feel free to contact me by email 
Brightest Blessings, Deenagh.