Tree Leaves is a cooperative / collective of folk enthusiasts, folklorists, artists, musicians, religionists, and culturalists who seek to preserve folk and tree lore, culture, ways, religion, art, music, and beliefs. As a cooperative, members network together, share ideas, theories, concepts, art, techniques, and lore to help one another preserve traditions, knowledge, and beliefs that have been generated in the past, present, and future.
Tree Leaves sprouted from an entity known as “The Tree Leaves’ Oracle“. (The Tree Leaves’ Oracle started as a community newsletter and grew into a journal. It became an organization, a store, a company, and was reduced back to a journal offered by the Folk Fellowship to it’s membership. From 2007-2008 it existed as an art store in historic Manitou Springs. From 2008 to the present day, it has evolved into a nomadic festival-driven art tent and artistic collective.)
HISTORY OF THE FOLK FELLOWSHIP:
When “The Tree Leaves’ Oracle” started out as a publication (October/November of 1991 in Tallahassee, Florida) it soon shifted into a nomadic store (founded in Eugene, Oregon in 1991). In 1993 a not-for-profit special-interest group was formed for the study of folklore and the offering of folk artist networking. This special-interest group became known as “The Tree Leaves’ Folk Fellowship”. Tree Leaves soon took off on it’s own and escaped the financial support of “The Tree Leaves’ Oracle, Inc.”. In fact, as the “The Tree Leaves Oracle, Inc.” collapsed as a corporation, the Folk Fellowship was holding activities and networking several hundred enthusiasts of folk culture. The Tree Leaves Folk Fellowship was officially born and founded in November 1995. (wit its first conceptual activities in 1994). Through membership dues and support, the fellowship offered it’s collective a bi-annual journal called The Tree Leaves’ Oracle, a quarterly newsletter known as Tree Talk, an annual membership directory, a web site, and a board of volunteers who actively organized activities, events, and question/answer support for those seeking answers about folk culture. Because of difficulties with volunteer support, The Tree Leaves’ Folk Fellowship closed it’s person-to-person activities and community support on 9/1/1998. October 1, 1998 Tree Leaves mutated into a cyber organization that operated on a strictly internet access basis, although some Tree Leaves’ Folk Fellowship forest groups still held activities in their local areas). It was on 9/1/1998 that Tree Leaves’ main grove stopped holding events, printing paper publications, and no longer offered telephone or person-to-person guidance & support. After careful consideration of the expenses involved in becoming a non-profit tax-exempt organization, Tree Leaves decided to remain not-for-profit and allow other organizations to donate support and funding for it’s operation.
The journal, website and former newsletters became available for free online. The folk journal sporadically was published online for free viewing by anyone with internet access. From 1998 to 2000, Tree Leaves operated under the wings of Leafworks, Inc. (a company now defunct). From the death of Leafworks, Tree Leaves operated under the wings of Wandering Leaf Designs. Reproduction of all cyber published materials was available for a nominal printing or reproduction cost through copyright held by Wandering Leaf, LLC. (now defunct)
In October of 2000 Tree Leaves was shaken by the dissolution of the two volunteer Directors, Tom and Hena, who ended their relationship in divorce effective in June 2001. Tom had started to revitalize the organization and had started the process of relocating the organization back to it’s original soil in the Pacific Northwest at this time. Without administrative leadership, Tree Leaves’ once again saw a bleak winter in an atmosphere of darkness, losing its leaves and entering a hibernation period.
October 2001, Tree Leaves’ was relocated to the Pacific Northwest of the Americas. It’s headquarters were located in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; then Point Roberts, Washington; and later in Eugene, Oregon. The Council of Lore at the time chose Point Roberts, Washington as its main headquarters.
By May 2002, Tree Leaves’ remained a virtual organization with headquarters in Point Roberts, Washington and Vancouver, British Columbia. It was considered a nomadic gypsy entity. The virtual organization had revitalized its folk art collection and was once again offering subscription/memberships. The Current Director at the time was: Leaf McGowan (Canada) and Tom Baurley (USA). Tree Leaves’ started hosting the Faied Fellowship ~ A Network of Faerie Lore, Faith, and Community Gatherings.
June – October 2002, Tree Leaves’ Oracle / Fellowship / and Faeid Fellowship went nomadic, travelling from Vancouver, B.C. to the Pagan Spirit Gathering (Ohio); National Rainbow Gathering (Michigan); Blue Heron Music Festival (NY); Ragnarok Tolkien Re-enactment Festival (Ohio); Sirius Rising and Starwood (NY); Dragon Dance (Missouri); Venice Beach (California); Los Angeles (California); and re-planted itself in the sunny palms of Los Angeles.
By October 2002 – December 2003: Tree Leaves was relocated to Seattle, Washington. On December 31st, 2003 Tree Leaves officially shut it’s doors and closed the Fellowship due to financial difficulties and lack of volunteer support. The facilitator gave up and moved to Los Angeles, CA.
In October of 2004, Leaf McGowan spearheaded a project to resurrect Tree Leaves through a Witches Faerie Ball Fundraiser. While financially the event did not make a profit, with over 90+ in attendance, the Ball demonstrated that there was still an interest in the need for the organization.
In March 2005, Leaf McGowan proposed bringing back the Tree Leaves’ Oracle folk journal and potentially holding member meetings, classes, and activities in the Seattle region.
This new evolution of Tree Leaves’ offered a discussion list on folk culture at yahoogroups ( firstname.lastname@example.org), A Livejournal Community, and a new web site at treeleavesoracle.org (formerly .com). Here one could meet other members, find out about events, activities, news, items of interest, share music, files, chat, and participate in many other activities. Thru membership volunteers, Tree Leaves was able to help connect members through their lists and circles to find other members with similar interests, find lore or information they may have had trouble finding on their own, and to help find groups who were preserving the culture they may had been interested in.
2007: The creative energy of Leaf McGowan / Tom Baurley resurrected the Tree Leaves’ Oracle – then headquartered as the Tree Leaves’ Folk Fellowship in Manitou Springs, Colorado. Located in an old historic funeral home/recording studio converted into a folk shop nestled in the heart of historic artsy Manitou Springs at 124 Ruxton Avenue. Tree Leaves’ hosted classes, workshops, movie nights, events, potlucks, and had an outlet for local artists and folklore enthusiasts to promote their creations. Alive and kicking the on-line Tree Leaves began to sprout many leaves for the future …
Tree Leaves’ Oracle closed its Manitou Springs shop on Ruxton Avenue and once again became a Festival-driven Art tent and Gypsy Caravan travelling around the world attending various festivals and events, including Burning Man, Faerieworlds, Beltania, Three Wishes Faerie Festival, and many other events around the World. It continues to do this to this date, currently located in Dublin, Ireland over the later part of 2011.
2011 saw an interesting summer with explorations in Australia, England, Scotland, and Ireland. Participation at the Burning Man 2011: Rites of Passage with the Tree Leave’s usual “Free Bodypainting Station” re-evolved as “Camp Tir Na Nog” as a meet n’ greet station for the Irish Core Effigy Build crew was a success, as well as Tree Leaves’ setting up a merchant booth and presence at Faerieworlds Harvest Celebration selling arts and crafts, doing bodypainting, having a bodypaint station for the kids, music jam sessions, tarot reading, and late night absinthe gatherings. In addition, 2011 saw Tree Leaves’ full circle back to Eugene, Oregon and participating at the Eugene Saturday Market with bodypainting and tarot, where it first began its origins. On November 2nd, the Tree Leaves’ Oracle finds itself to be 20 years old and full of ideas for setting up camp in Dublin, Ireland.
By networking with the membership, other groups, the mainstream, and individuals, Tree Leaves is able to provide access to hard-to-find information on folk culture and is able to preserve this information by the concept of Preservation thru Dissemination.
Are you interested in supporting or sponsoring the Tree Leaves’ Folk Fellowship? Let us know how you can help. Our existence and ability to grow depends on the fertile support from it’s members and sponsors. Whether a financial donation, volunteer support, contributing articles/poetry/art/discussion, we need your help!
Your active involvement will grant you access to these areas, activities, and occasions. Tree Leaves’ depends on active involvement.