Monday, June 9, 2014

Soul Tree: Joining Earth and Heaven


We can’t lose our way if we go to the root of things, to the roots of a tree. By finding the right tree – a tree you know that also knows you – you can reconnect with the soul of nature. You can find grounding for soul in this world, and a shaman’s ladder to travel between the worlds.
      I once moved to a place in the country because of a tree, an old white oak behind the house that had survived the lightning. I knew it for a guardian of the land and a wise ancient. Sitting with that tree, I would have impressions of all the seasons it had lived. When I walked the farm road towards it, I would sometimes feel its silent greeting. Sometimes I watched the moon rise over the hills from up in its branches. The oak became a tree of my dreaming, and a portal to the ancestors. Rooted deep in American earth, the oak also joined me to the ways of oak seers of my bloodlines in the Old World, to the druids “grey, wood-nurtured, quiet-eyed”, to the sacred oak at Dodona where the Greeks listened for the voice of a god in the creak and rustle of the branches. After the first snows, when the cold stung my eyes, I saw that the oak still hung onto its leaves, longer than any other shedding trees on that land. Oaks hang on.    
     What trees call to you, on country walks, or out of memory or dream? Any tree may be your soul tree, and it may also be your sole tree, the One Tree through which the three worlds of the shaman’s cosmos are joined, and which may become your ladder between them.
      At the start of most of my depth workshops, I lead a standing meditation in which each person in the circle finds the image of a special tree, and then lets the body take the form of that tree, rooted in Earth, rising between Earth and sky, feeding on sunfire. We let our bodies sway as we stand, as a tree will sway in a strong wind, giving a little in order not to be snapped. We see the seasons changing around us. We feel what it’s like to have a squirrel run up our trunk or to have birds nesting in our hair. As the meditation deepens, we feel ourselves reaching deep into the Earth, through the roots system, going deep and spreading wide. We feel, with our inner senses, how we can travel this way to connect with the animal powers, and with ancestral spirits, and to receive healing and blessing in the realm of the Great Earth Mother.
      Then we let our awareness ascend to the high branches. We picture ourselves perched up there like a bird, or a happy child in a tree house, able to look out in all directions from this excellent place of vision. We imagine that we can fly now to a person or place at a distance and look in on them and sometimes, quick as thought, we are there. We discover that from the place in the high branches, we can not only see across any distance in space, we can scout across time, and travel into the possible future to see what lies on the roads ahead for ourselves and others. This is something that tree seers have always been good at.
      Now we go higher, in the world of the tree. We feel ourselves rise up into the canopy, up to the green crown, and then feel ourselves rising up higher and higher until the sky opens and we are in the first of the many levels of the Upper World. We are on our way now to make or renew our connections with our authentic spiritual teachers.
    

Text adapted from Dreaming the Soul Back Home by Robert Moss. Published by New World Library.

Picture: "Dream Altar" by Siiri Liivandi. "A safe place," writes the Estonian artist, "to offer and generate dreams."

2 comments:

nina said...

I was lucky to hear a powerful story about a woman who joined some kind od self-development workshop.
At first glance, she was a joyful, successful woman in many paths of her life, in spite of the fact she had experienced abuse in her childhood. Somebody curious among the audience asked her the question about how she was able to come out of her ordeal with so little harm and so much optimism. The lady openly confided that the house where she used to live had a back garden with a compost heap. Whenever she had a possibility, she slipped from the house, strolled to her first-aid kit and sank her arms deeply into the compost. It felt warm, alive, reassuring, just everything whar her confused soul needed for a swift recuperation.
I know that most of us crinkle our noses and react with genuine yuk but Nature is a miraculous worker and transformation hidden in the process of turning the waste into a rich, nutritional substance might be a great example for the inner alchemy. In nature everything is recycled, nothing is wasted and in human souls it is probably the same process. No bad feelings or experience are thrown away as a sheer nonsense.
I realize this story is not exactly to the point, because it is more about soul trees but I find trees and natural transformation so closely related that at the end I decided to share.

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