“The knowledge of the truth
is not given to the curious, but to those who follow the ascetic way.
Knowledge is a fruit on the tree of virtues, which is the tree of life.
Knowledge comes from asceticism. For the true Christian, Orthodox
philosophy is in fact the theanthropic* ascesis** of the intellect and
of the whole person.”
~St. Justin Popovich
*both divine and human **the practice of self-discipline
This is the Chêne-Chapelle (Chapel Oak) of Allouville-Bellefosse in northern France. It is between 800 and 1,200 years old, and in the 17th century the local curé built a chapel inside it, believing that the lightning that struck the tree and hollowed it out was an event with a divine purpose. It has an altar for saying mass and a “hermit’s room” on the floor above! Photo by Thomas Pakenham, from Remarkable Trees of the World.
So, my party had a particularly nasty encounter with a large group of Cobalts. Throughout the battle, a “demon” had been sitting in a tree behind this Chapel where the encounter took place and eating random Cobalts (players in our party were not excluded though), and had killed both of the boss Cobalts we were suppose to kill. As an evil pixie, the thought of a demon ally sounded appealing. Me: I would like to cut th head off one of the cobalts.
Me: You’ll see. *character proceeds to remove head from Cobalt*
Dm (to our paladin of Pelor Warforged): You aren’t going to do anything about this?!
Warforged player: No, I’m busy.
In Character: Gnome, help me carry this head outside.
Our DM is now mystified, and everyone now understands what I’m up to. After several boosts to my charisma and diplomacy, I now have a +18 on my next diplomacy check. The Gnome and My 6” tall evil pixie present the Cobalt head to the tree “Demon”.
So we have here, in Normandy, two yew trees, aged 1500 years, transformed in chapels by ecclesiastic authorities in mid 19th century. This is the first one.
This represents, from my point of view, the ultimate shelter : a door leading to the heart of a tree. I’d like to spent one day or two inside. I think that nestled here, my perception of time would be be different. Maybe there would be no time at all…