Having grown up in California, it was hard for me to comprehend people from other parts of the country who “needed’ their four distinct seasons. Once I came to Europe to live, I then began to understand this seasonal need. I’ve learned to savor each season for the moods they create.
Although it is hard to give up the lush, green, flower-filled summers, Autumn – and its rich colors – is my favorite season. There is something magical about this season and not just because Halloween caps the season.
If you live in Germany, as I do, where forests are everywhere and play an important part in German cultural life, there are plenty of opportunities to be enchanted, or spooked, while going for energizing walks in the woods. The sounds and smells in the woods are different in Autumn. Visually, the forest takes on a mystical air. Rocks, tree stumps and fallen branches are cloaked in velvety green moss; streaks of light seep through the trees spotlighting small areas. Leaves crunch under your feet as you walk and you hear soft, rustling sounds of the movement of birds or groundhogs, or whatever, but you can’t see them. Sometimes it feels like a tiny fairy will flutter out from behind a mossy mound, or maybe little elves will try to play peek-a-boo.
The deeper you go in the forest, the more it seems to beckon while fairy tales and myths swirl in the imagination. One such bewitching place that could come right out of a tale, or myth, is an out-of-the-way, secluded grove in Germany called Druidenhain (Druids Glen) right in the middle of the triangle of Bamberg-Bayreuth-Nürnberg.
Druids, who have a distant connection to All Hallows Eve, or Halloween, were an ancient priestly class of Celtic peoples. Little is known about them because they left no language, artifacts or other human traces, although scientific studies are still being conducted.
Druidenhain is a labyrinth of fourteen individual and separately named dolomite blocks in a grove measuring two to five meters high and two to six meters long. They are arranged in long lines in a northwest-southeast orientation resembling a kind of Stonehenge and may have been used for rituals by these Druids. Surrounding the stones are ancient trees with twisted, knotty roots pushed out of the earth and spreading out all over like an octopus. It is one of many powerful energy locations (kraftvolle Ort) in Germany and Austria claiming mystical calm.
I hope you enjoy this other-worldly photographic excursion of Druidenhain courtesy of Frank Meitzke