Promises #midnighthaiku

Wishes on the wind

Ephemeral promises

Made and forgotten


Meant in the moment

Without true dedication

Tradition withers

The tradition of tying pieces of cloth to a tree, especially when it grows close to a holy or healing well, is an ancient one. The strips of cloth are usually called clouties (or clooties). They were once strips of fabric, dipped in the water of the well and tied to the tree. The idea was that as the fabric rotted away, so would the ailment.

Please have a care if you are tempted to tie your own cloutie to a tree. The fabrics originally used were made of natural fibres and would quickly disintegrate. Most modern ribbons and fabrics have some element of synthetic fibre and will not do so: they remain and cause harm to the tree as it grows.

The two photos above were taken in Cornwall on an unplanned visit to Madron Holy Well and the Celtic Chapel.

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
This entry was posted in photo prompt, Photography and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Promises #midnighthaiku

  1. As you know I’m not a huge fan of this tradition. I can recall naked Barbie dolls hanging with ribbons at the Nine Ladies. 😬


  2. Sadje says:



  3. Anita Dawes says:

    Most people wouldn’t have thought of this, I certainly didn’t!


    • Sue Vincent says:

      A lot of modern fabrics won’t decay, so you can see how they could damage trees. Leaving lit votive candles unattened is another problem, though it is to be hoped people would realise that.


  4. Adele Marie says:

    Very true about using natural fabrics, Sue. I remember a red cloth always being used to cure a sore throat or a raw potato for sciatica. lol I used this on my uncle Tommy’s knee, it worked, or so he told me. xxx


  5. Wish/prayer/thought trees always intrigue me – I think it could be a very soothing, meditative experience, and I think I’d like to try it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.