John the Beloved

Tree of Gold

Over the past few months John has asked a variety of questions in his monthly talks and provided exercises to help us to answer his questions. In addition I have posed a few of my own in these newsletters. However, in this one there are no questions, simply a story. It is about the Tree of Gold. On our recent visit to France we visited an ancient village named Trehoronteuc in the beautiful Broceliande forest, considered to be the home of Morgana, queen of fairies. As we explored we were guided to a lake (Mirror of the Fairies) beside which is the Tree of Gold. This is a story of survival and revival. The lake is surrounded by trees in various stages of growth and decay. Yet one tree stands out since it is coated in gold leaf. Despite trauma, it stands proudly in the forest shining for all to see. What’s more it stands in the Valley of No Return. It’s message seems to be that once you become gold and shine there is no turning back. Here is the story: L’Arbre d’Or is also known as Or de Broceliande and is located within the Valley of No Return, the enchanted valley inhabited by Morgan le Fay sister of Arthur. The fire raged for five days and destroyed a large section of the valley. Donations poured in from all around the world to replant the magical forest of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table and Morgan le Fay and keep the legend alive. The painter Francois Davin suggested that six charred trees should be kept at the farthest spot reached by the fire, near the magical lake. A powerful symbol was needed to celebrate the renewal of the forest. One tree had to be magical and survive… The Arbre d’Or – Or de Broceliande – Golden Tree was gilded with gold leaf. The branches of the charred chestnut are reminiscent of the antlers of Cernunnos, the Celtic God of Nature and Fertility with a stag’s head. The five other trees have been left in their charred state as witnesses of the fire. They surround the Or de Broceliande and symbolize the immortality and magic powers of the Forêt de Brocéliande, the resilience of life. You might be surprised to find the six trees are surrounded by a multitude of small standing stones. They look like a mini forest of spikes as they are there to discourage thieves!