Susan recently wrote about Oogabooga trees on her blog, and she had some excellent photos that perfectly depicted the meaning of "oogabooga." There's no other word that can describe these trees as well.
Her post reminded me of some photos I've taken of trees with faces. Some scary...
(taken at Lost River State Park in West Virginia)
Some ancient and wise...
(taken in Bellingham, Washington)
and some to make you think the druids knew a thing or two.
This one even has hair.
(taken in Idaho)
This seems to show the face even more clearly.
There are probably other photos like these lurking in my files, but these are the best, I believe.
Can you see the faces in these pictures?
Or am I just a demented old lady who is seeing things? There's always that possibility...
But I am not alone. The Museum of Hoaxes lists many other "tree faces" with link to the news stories about each. Dr. Deb has a collection on her website, too.
Then there is the WaqWaq tree in Middle Eastern folklore, which was said to bear fruit with human faces (imagine biting into one...not!). There is an interesting discussion of this mythical tree and a story or two on SurLaLune.
I suppose any discussion of faces and trees is incomplete without a mention of the Green Man, that male face surrounded by leaves and branches found in ancient carvings and artwork. What does he symbolize? Scholars still argue over that, but there is no mistaking the importance the face must have had to peoples of many cultures in days gone by (and still today, for those who espouse Wicca and pagan beliefs). While browsing the web looking for "faces in trees" I came upon a fascinating book that will have to become part of my library: People and Woods of Scotland, by T. Christopher Smout.
There is far more written about the Green Man than I can cover here. If you're interested, here's a few books you might want to read:
The Green Man: Spirit of Nature by John Matthews.
The Green Man by Kathleen Basford.
Green Man by William Anderson.
One last thing about trees: The Celtic Tree Calendar follows the cycle of the year through the thirteen moons, each of which has been assigned a particular tree, for its folkloric properties and strengths. This month (February 18-March 17) is assigned the Ash tree. The website notes that:
"In Norse cosmology, the giant ash tree — Yggdrasil — was the axis point upon which the universe spun. Yggr was one of the many names of Odin, and the usual interpretation is 'Horse of Yggr', since Odin in a sense rode the tree when he hung upon it. The tree is repeatedly called 'the ash Yggdrasil', and a possible reason for the choice of an ash might be the bunches of 'keys' which hang from the branches like bodies of tiny men, recalling the practice of hanging sacrificial victims from trees."
And on that cheery note, I'll depart! (But I may take a bit of a longer path around our ash trees in future, not wanting to be a sacrificial victim just yet. I think I've circled back to oogabooga).