Garden club member and wood carving artist, Brian Feil, has been hard at work in the Nature Coast Botanical Gardens creating a Wood Spirit carving on a dead oak tree. Brian worked 2 days per week for 4 weeks to complete the Wood Spirit in January 2017.
Wood Spirits are common in many cultures. European legends originated from villagers who made long journeys through the forests. On calm days there was a sense of peace in the woods, but when the winds were blowing the trees made sounds of moaning and sighing. The people believed the forests were filled with malevolent spirits and to assure their safety would carve Wood Spirit images on walking sticks or pieces of wood or bark. These carvings appeased the spirits and allowed the traveller to enter and leave the forest safely.
It is said that the forest will stand as long as the Wood Spirit remains to keep order. The next time you are strolling through the woods, keep an eye out for one of these elusive creatures. Seeing one is said to be quite a lucky thing, guaranteeing health, happiness, and good fortune. It does not happen often, as Wood Spirits would rather see than be seen.
Brian is a member of the Calusa Wood Carvers group in New Port Richey. To see Brian’s Wood Spirit in progress go to www.naturecoastgardens.com/wood-spirit-carving.html
Photos courtesy of Kathy Wolfe