Postfest V, Part II: Bawming the Thorne
Date: Tue, August 09, 2005
Topic: Peoples & Culture
The druidic past of Veluna lives on in the annual Bawming of the Thorne in Devarnish. Now, just a local holiday, the Bawming of the Thorne dates from the time when the Great Western Forest of the Flanaess streched from Celene to Highfolk.
Bawming the Thorne
By: Glenn Vincent Dammerung, GVDammerung
Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.
Date: 4th of Flocktime
Location: Devarnish, Veluna
Bawming the Thorne is a relic of the druidic past in Veluna. Now a theocracy principally devoted to Rao and Pelor, Veluna was once a center for Flan druids. Where fertile agricultural land now gently rolls, The Great Western Forest once stood, connecting the Gnarley Forest to the Vesve Forest. Cut down to clear land for farming early in the Migration period, the Great Western Forest was once home to numerous druidic circles. They are now all but vanished within Veluna. The Bawming of the Thorne in Devarnish is one of the faint holdovers from an earlier day.
Near the center of Devarnish stands an ancient hawthorne tree, extraordinarily large and reputed to be hundreds of years old. Scholars believe that in ancient times, the hawthorne was at the center of the druidic grove of the Grand Druid of the West. Every year, the locals would come to ask the Grand Druid’s blessing and present him or her with small gifts. Today, this ancient custom survives in modified form.
On the 4th of Flocktime, the people of Devarnish decorate the hawthorne with ribbons and flower garlands as they dance around the tree. The ostensible purpose of this activity is to ward off evil. Hawthorne trees are reputed to have magical properties that are the bane of the undead, lycanthropes and witches. The term “bawming” comes from ancient Oeridian and means to “embalm” or anoint. The druidic practice has, then, transformed into a secular civic rite to ward the town against evil.
Whether Bawming the Thorne has any actual efficacy is unknown. The people of Devarnish are quite devoted to the ceremony, which is usually followed by a general, lighthearted merry making.