The Bleeding Tree

The Bleeding Tree

A Pathway Through Grief Guided by Forests, Folk Tales and the Ritual Year


It was the last of the ebbing days, the brink of the new season. It was the murky hours, the clove between sunset and sunrise. It was a tall tree with deep roots and it had been bleeding for a long while.

As summer falls into autumn, Hollie Starling is hit by the heart-stopping news that her father has died by suicide. Thrust into a state of 'grief on hard mode', Hollie feels underserved by current attitudes toward grief and so seeks another way through the dark.

Following her first year without her father, Hollie embraces her lifelong interest in folklore and turns to the healing power of nature, the changing seasons and the rituals of ancient communities. The Bleeding Tree is an unflinching year-zero guidebook to grief that shows us that by looking back to past traditions of bereavement we can all find our own way forward.

'Starling's account of family life is riveting and narrated with grace and honesty, counterpointing the personal with the mythic.' - Irish Times

About the author

Hollie Starling

Hollie Starling is a writer and folklorist from the North East of England whose essays have appeared in Folklore for Resistance, Horrified magazine, the journal of The London Horror Society and Lincolnshire Strange Delights. Hollie currently works in the libraries of a national museum. Her page Folk Horror Magpie (@folkhorrormagpie) has over 30k followers across Instagram and Twitter.
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