This month we welcome the West-Country’s answer to Bear Grylls, Mr Steve England, or as his Twitter handle refers to him as ‘wild Steve England’.
Described through his website as an “award-winning wildlife educator, conservationist and horticulturalist from Bristol, on the Walk of Fame leading wildlife, wild food and protection”. And I have to say after attending a few of his workshops and wild walks now, he is all of those things and not to mention a generally nice bloke!
Audrey and I first met Steve on one of his workshops last year, which looked at taking a “walk on the wild side”. I came home with an even bigger thirst for natural knowledge and wishing I could invent some kind of machine that would steal his brain! That’s because attending just one of his workshops will give you more hands on experience and nature connection than reading several books non-stop for a week could do!
Bristol naturalist (not to be confused with naturist!) Steve, is a fountain of knowledge when it comes to all things nature; from being able to identify an individual bird song, knowing a poisonous plant from an edible one and he is definitely the man you want around when you’re sourcing a mushroom in the forest for your tea or wanting to learn how to light a fire! I am not saying this to inflate Steve’s ego in any way, but for anyone who has attended one of his events or even looked at his website you will know how much you take away for a very small fee! In fact I find you even have to ‘write off’ the day when you are booked on one of Steve’s events, as his talks always run over due to his blatant and infectious enthusiasm.
As someone who is deeply passionate about the Bach remedies, it is becoming part of my flowery pilgrimage to learn as much as I can about the source of each tincture, and to witness each plant growing in the wild. Trees in particular fascinate me and they are the very things I choose to walk amongst (and even hug) when I need grounding or answers. That said, I was honoured when Steve accepted my invitation to be interviewed for Honeysuckle’s guest corner. This month I have asked Steve a series of questions which are structured around some of the tree-based Bach remedies, and alongside his interview I have added a brief synopsis of why you might take the remedy in question. I felt this was important as a lot of people don’t realise that the Bach remedies harness the energy of the plant and do not contain the plant itself. Therefore, the medicinal benefits of consuming a plant for example will not necessarily mimic the emotional balance obtained from taking the same plant in Bach form, they almost become two separate entities and rewards for working with the same plant. It is my hope that perhaps one day (when I have personally taken a lot more Larch) that Steve and I might be able to collaborate on our own little plant based workshop!
Thank you so much Steve for your time this month, as I know you are a busy man.
Yours in love and light,
July Guest Corner
Q&A With Steve England
‘The Teachings Of Trees’
Beech is the Bach remedy for those who find it hard not to criticise the way other people act, speak or do things. Beech’s find it difficult to tolerate other people’s idiosyncrasies and as a result may have a tendency to ‘bitch’, gossip, moan at length or may be inclined to be instinctively judgemental – guilty until proving innocent so to speak! The remedy helps us to be more understanding and tolerant, even when perhaps our feelings are justified, as we are able to exhibit more patience and empathy towards others, learning lessons from every person we meet and every trigger. Sourced from the Beech tree, the Bach remedy was first prepared in the countryside near Dr Bach’s home, Mount Vernon, in 1935.
What are your tips for identifying a Beech tree?
The easiest way to identify Beech is by its elongated leaf buds that are pointed, also the greyish bark of the tree helps identify it too.
What are some practical uses for Beech?
The leaves are edible in spring just as they open, having a citric “tang” to them. A traditional use of the beech is the mast, or beech nuts, when simmered in warm water they release their oils which float to the surface and when scraped off can be used in cooking or as furniture oil. The wood is a hard wood and is traditionally used to make rifle buts, as it has a very tight grain and does not split, a good wood to burn being a hard wood burns hot and slow.
Pine is the remedy best known for balancing feelings of self-reproach, guilt and issues of self-worth. It’s utilised in times when we don’t feel worthy or good enough and when we tend to take the blame for situations, even when it’s clear it’s not our fault. Pines tend to apologise for anything that goes wrong, often feeling guilty and in affect doing everyone else’s healing for them! The Pine remedy helps us on our journey to self-forgiveness and self-acceptance, as well as brings a balanced understanding of what is and isn’t our fault or responsibility. One of my personal favourites, the Bach remedy is sourced from the Scots Pine tree and was first prepared near Sotwell in 1935.
What are your tips for identifying a Pine tree?
Pine trees are identifiable by their leaves, which are always in pairs of two needles, and they smell of pine!
What are some uses for Pine?
This is in my top two of trees that have uses! The resin is loaded with anti inflammatory, anti-fungal and bacterial agents that can have multiple uses such as a glue, and a great wound dressing. It’s fantastic for lighting fire as the resin is flammable too. It was used as a water proofer in roman times; heated pine resin was used to line their drinking pots to make them waterproof.
You can also twist a pine cone from its tree, leave it on a heatproof dish/plate on a radiator for a natural air freshener.
Elm is the number one remedy we utilise in times of overwhELM. This is the remedy for people who become overwhelmed when taking on additional tasks or responsibility, despite usually being able to cope. It can be utilised for crisis of confidence, when extra pressures and demands mean that we can doubt our competency and ability to manage the task in hand. The remedy is a great ‘stress-buster’ and restores our belief in our own strengths by helping to break down tasks into bite size pieces, restoring calm and order once again. Taken from the Elm tree, the Bach remedy was first prepared using trees growing near Sotwell in 1935.
What are your tips for identifying an Elm tree?
To identify elm you can use multiple methods, first the leaves have jagged edges and at the point where the leaf is attached to the stem one side of the leaf is higher up the stem than the other confirming it as elm, also by its bark and seed cases.
What are some uses for Elm?
Being a hard wood it is great for carving, but the inner bark is traditionally used to make cordage and rope, not the best wood to burn as it smoulders.
Sweet Chestnut is described as the remedy for the ‘dark night of the soul’. It’s best utilised in those times when we have reached the limit of our endurance and we are searching, praying even, for the ways to get ourselves out of these dark times. This remedy is a saviour in times when we feel as though we can take no more, we have nothing left and no means of escape. The remedy helps to restore our hope, to bring about light again, and to help us continue on our journey with renewed will and vision. Sweet Chestnut was first prepared near Wallingford in 1935.
What are your tips for identifying a Sweet Chestnut tree?
To identify sweet chestnut you look for its long jagged edged leaves and also by the spiky chestnut fruits. It can also be identified by its wood colour as sweet chestnut is very high in the wood preserver tannin, giving it a very yellow appearance.
What are some uses for Sweet Chestnut?
Traditionally used to make fencing products called “pales” another great wood for carving and being a soft wood it is great for use in lighting fires making a bow drill set from its wood. The nuts are very edible, traditionally roasted over a fire in winter.
Willow is the remedy for when we find ourselves hosting our own little pity party. When there are feelings of bitterness or resentment for the situations we find ourselves in, which make it hard for us to be accepting of other people’s success. The Willow remedy is one of rebirth. We become more aware of all of the things we ‘can’ do rather than the things we ‘can’t’ and we refocus our direction in a positive light rather than a negative. It helps to bring about a steady flow of abundance through a more optimistic mindset and connection with others.
What are you tips for identifying a Willow tree?
Depending on the time of year, in spring it can be identified by its fuzzy catkins, or by the waxy bark. Some are very yellow such as the weeping willow, or look for the diamond markings on some tree bark.
What are some uses for Willow?
Willow is traditionally used in basketry; I use the branches for weaving fish traps and general baskets. The willow sap contains salicylic acid (a key component of aspirin), which in bush craft if in pain you can simply peel the bark off a young stem and suck to give yourself an aspirin dose to relieve the pain. The tips of the new shoots are high in concentrated auxins which is the plants growth hormone. By cutting the stems and crushing them, then soak them in water to release the auxins into the water which can then be used as a plant hormone cutting fluid – fantastic for helping promote new growth for cuttings!
Not one of the Bach remedies, but a little bonus from Steve is the addition of Silver Birch. After having tried some of it’s sap on a recent ‘plants and their uses’ workshop with Steve I can confirm it tastes lovely! But after witnessing how much is involved with tapping it’s water in a way that ensures you leave enough for the tree, I will leave it to the expert….
What are your tips for identifying a Silver Birch?
Silver birch can be identified by its white bark. Some have paper bark which is very flaky and easy to peel
What are some uses for Birch?
It is an amazing tree with multiple uses. The sap in spring is drinkable and is used to make wine or syrup. The oils in the bark are extracted to derive tar, and also the bark is used to make pots and fire. The leaves in spring are edible and have a nutty flavour. Being a soft wood tree, the wood makes awesome firewood that burns very hot.
Steve England Outdoor Learning comprises of educational material and hands-on workshops in Bristol, but Steve is also available for private bookings. Steve shares regular videos which help those to connect to his knowledge outside of the West-Country and he has both a Twitter and Facebook page (links here in bio). For more information on upcoming events and Steve’s work please visit his website here
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Legal disclaimer: as always, my guests are invited to share their work with you in order to support your healing journey as a whole, by giving you empowering tips and food for thought. I only invite guests whom I know to be insured and practising to the best of my knowledge at the time of their guest spot. I will only welcome guests that I have personally used the services of, and have found to benefit my own individual healing journey as a result. However, if you choose to book any treatments or use any guests services as a result of my monthly interviews, then please be aware that you act personally on this decision. Honeysuckle Healing take no responsibility for the outcome of this decision and these guest blogs do not act as a referral or recommendation service. Please ensure that these guests and services meet your individual requirements prior to booking. Thank you
https://www.honeysucklehealing.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/pexels-photo-432809.jpg427640Ami Smarthttps://www.honeysucklehealing.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/hshlogo-2.svgAmi Smart2018-07-01 18:29:282018-12-24 12:52:38JULY GUEST CORNER: The Teachings Of Trees
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