Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Wednesday Night Project 170210 – The History of The Cloutie Clootie Tree.

Rag trees, clootie wells, and raggedy bushes are English, Scottish, and Irish names for special places with a mystical reputation. People visit in the hope of healing and good fortune and tie a piece of cloth on a particular tree or bush near a well or source of water. Often the tree is a hawthorn (aka whitethorn or maytree).
There are many, many places in the world with a tradition of attaching cloth to special trees as a ritual for good luck, good health, or as a votive offering. Wishing wells and sacred springs of water are widespread too.
A Wish Tree is an individual tree, usually distinguished by species, position or appearance, which is used as an object of wishes and offerings. Such trees are identified as possessing a special religious or spiritual value. By tradition, believers make votive offerings in order to gain from that nature spirit, saint or goddess fulfillment of a wish.
I first discovered these trees when visiting The Samye Ling Centre, Eskdalemuir, Scotland.

Cloutie Tree
As you enter the peace garden from Johnstone House there is a Cloutie tree with colourful cloths tied to its branches.  It is both a Scottish and Tibetan custom to make a wish and then tie a coloured ribbon to the tree.  As the cloth fades the wish is carried off by the elements and hopefully one day comes true.  People are welcome to take a coloured ribbon from the black container beneath the tree, make a small donation in the box and then tie a ribbon to the tree.
184-8440_IMGMy crochet clootie tree. If anyone would like to contribute a crocheted ribbon to the tree please email me at


eight by six said...

What a good idea and so full of colour in this bleak winter. I will email my Japanese friend Tsujii to tell her about your Blog.

Teena said...

This is like the wish tree they had at Woman's Space in Kedron, it was really special. Great idea for the garden! xox

Jacqui Demarte said...

The Salsbery center in Edinburgh has a peace tree in the garden at the back of the house thats where I first learned of the peace tree. My friend has a memory garden in her back yard we planed some bulbs in memory of my husband Mike who died Feb 22 this year I sugested that we all do ribbons and tie them on the tree in the memory garden & also the one by her sacret circle since it was the summer solstice I think this will become a tridition

Jacqui Demarte Cambridge Ontario Canada