Cellulose and the Subconscious
You who dare.
Nothing harms beneath the leaves ...
Fair you fare.
Only at the dread of dark
Quaver, and they quit their form;
A thousand eye-balls under hoods
Have you by the hair.
Enter these enchanted woods
You who dare.
George Meredith makes a good point about day and night. Even by day, the place is dark, yet at night, it deepens even more and fears are magnified. What realm is this? Does the blackness take one closer to the hidden destination? Odd that getting "out of the woods" as they say, is safety, yet going into the woods is usually pure delight. Why would mundane trouble be associated with this magical place?
Forests always beckon, both in reality and in stories. I think they must represent people's subconscious worlds, with the darkness and the plethora of hidden creatures. Sounds and smells are amplified by the moisture and the conductivity of the solid wood. The canopy of leaves offers protection and imagination takes flight. Fairies, elves, witches, wizards, leprechauns, and assorted sprites are known to reside there. Children find escape from tedious chores and tormenting parents, since they usually can wander freely, climbing trees, swimming streams, chasing wild animals, and bringing their fantasies to life. Great alliances have been made and broken in these hallowed green halls. The interior journey is promised, taking us further and further, seeking something specific, I think, although I can't imagine exactly what it is.
I think the psychological journey is a combination of peril and joy, and perhaps we are destined to live primarily in the light of open space and consciousness, wandering into the psyche as needed to retrieve information. Yet some people dwell in the woods. Others cut and clear, plant and mow, absorbing the full impact of the sun. These sun lovers can be suspicious of the woodsmen. Even the darkened homes on the streets are said to house odd inhabitants, sending shivers through the children as they pass by.
Oh well. Mystery has its up sides and down.
According to my astrological rulership book; wood, woods, and woodsmen, are ruled by Saturn and Capricorn. This does make sense, although I think the Moon and Cancer are also involved, with the womblike entrance and enclosure. Maybe the protective parental axis is symbolized. The Moon is imagination. Saturn the structure of cellulose. And he's also behind some of those funny forest beings. You know. The wily ones.
Top. Hindu Fakirs Practicing Their Superstitious Rites Under the Banyan Tree: drawn by Picart, engraved by Bell.
Photo and juxtaposition of engraving with poem: Thomas Pakenham.