In Search of a Holy Witch

It’s a windy winter’s day here in the Norfolk countryside, but since when has that stopped me going out and about, searching, seeking, often stumbling, but always finding. Today is no exception.

I’m off in search of a Holy witch. I’ve actually located the site in question many times, but never in winter.

My Druid grove, which I’ve headed for nearly twenty years, have an area of woodland nearby, directly situated on an intersecting ley line, so we’ve often enjoyed walking the point of power to this location before beginning our grove of ceremony.

As a master herbalist, this witch has played a vital part in many client preparations over the years, well, not this exact one, but a similar Crataegus Monogyna. Figured it out yet?

I’m here today to connect with the Hethel Holy Thorn, known by locals as ‘The Old Witch’.

I love this place. Not because I love just anywhere with an ancient tree, (which is partly true), but because the area surrounding this particular tree has truth, myth and legend spanning 700 years. It’s thought to be at least 700 years old and even 300 years ago it was detailed as ‘the old thorn’ on old maps.

Back tracking a couple of hundred years earlier, the peasants in Ketts rebellion in the 1549 supposedly did their plotting under this very tree. The Ketts rebellion was a protest against wealthy land owners erecting boundaries on land belonging to the people. Some 16,000 peasants were involved, collectively they stormed in to Norwich and took over the city. There’s another famous tree, an oak, attached to this revolt no more than five miles away.

Hethel Holy Thorn is said, like the Glastonbury holy thorn, to have sprung from the staff of Joseph of Arimethia. Most doubtful, but a comforting thought nonetheless.

In Victorian times Hawthorn signified comfort and hope and boughs were hung from doors during the great war.

View a 360 degrees aspect in the video below:

It’s extremely unlucky to cut Hawthorn when it’s not in blossom and I’ve known of a witch back in Yorkshire who took 6 thorns for her magical practices and fell ill the very next day…..

If you find yourself followed by a vampire then you had best be quick at whittling a stake from Hawthorn to drive into the blood suckers’ heart. That said, you’ll have to hope you’re stalked by the fanged one when the tree is in blossom, otherwise you’ll endure the wrath of the tree – vampire or tree curse? Your choice!

In summer this place is brimming with life. Red Poll cattle graze the land and drink from the pool, (above photo’s), which is awash with dragonflies. I was lucky enough to count twelve Azure Hawkers around this pool along with many damsel flies last summer.

It really is a lovely part of Norfolk and the neighbouring church is a true delight too. Thankfully, it always seems to be open and welcoming. The additional lovely touches are the tea making facilities and a large loo that visitors are free to use.

I actually think this church is my favourite church in the county.

Within the church grounds, in addition to your visit to the Holy Thorn, you will also discover a magnificent yew tree, now providing cover for some small graves hidden under it’s boughs. This yew must also be of great age.

I loved the holly boughs that adorned the sills inside the church.

Whatever the weather, this place is well worth a visit.

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