Sunday, May 17, 2015

The cry of the trees

The cry of the trees, at the very end of a training I led deep in the woods in the Pacific Northwest, was the only disturbing episode during that grand adventure. All that week, we had delighted in a world of green – frilly greens of the cedars, mossy greens hanging from high trunks and draping stumps and nurse logs, bottle-green shadows of the deep woods, juicy greens of berry bushes and young vines, splashy brown-greens of the beaver swamp.
    -On our last morning, preparing for an exercise in community visioning, I asked the members of our circle to join hands and imagine that we were creating a Dream Tree with our joined energies.

“Let your awareness go down to the souls of your feet. You feel yourself standing with the Earth. You are reaching down now, through the souls of your feet.
     "You are reaching deep into the Earth, going deep and spreading wide, as the roots of a tree go deep and spread wide. You feel your energy filaments touching and clasping the energy roots of all of us in this circle.
      "We are coming together, forming a root ball deep within the Earth. As you breath in, feel the Earth energy rising up to form the trunk of our Dream Tree – our One Tree, soaring towards the sky, spreading its canopy to catch the light.
       "Now we are feeding on sunfire…”

-In this way, we wove our energies together in a Dream Tree that we intended to use as a base for visioning, from which we could scout in different directions to fulfill a common agenda: to find new ways to bring dreaming into our environments and communities all over the map.
    I suggested that during the drumming, we would all find our way to an observation deck or tree house high in the upper branches of the Dream Tree. We could look out from there to see what we needed to see, and zoom in on things we needed to study closely, or take flight like birds to visit places many looks away.
-   When I started the drumming, the energy form of the One Tree emerged vividly. I could feel it, see it, smell it. It was unlike any previous tree of vision I have used. It was an immense elder of the rainforest, as wide and tall as a skyscraper. Its lower trunk was alive with creeping and slithering things, including thousands of snakes, hard to tell apart from the creepers and strangler vines until they darted out.
-    I moved gingerly to a shelf high above where a giant white heron was perched, looking out over vast distances. I was shot out from there, to meet one elder tree after another - a great Douglas fir, an ancient oak, a mighty poplar, a wide banyan rooting itself again and again from its branches.
    They showed me scenes of pain and destruction in the landscapes they inhabit. I was made to watch clear-cutting in the evergreen forests of the Pacific Northwest, and to be present during brutal deforestation in Brazil, with great machines rending the Earth, and the stink of smoke and the cries of dying trees everywhere.
    The grief of the trees entered my being. It was like being made to witness the rape and butchery of innocents. Choking and sobbing, I had difficulty sustaining the beat of the drum.
-   I heard the voices of the tree elders. Their message, in different accents, was the same.

-You use trees for your dreaming.
The trees need humans to dream with them.
The trees are dying through the ignorance and greed of men,
and with them your world.
We need Tree Speakers to speak for the green world.
It is your duty to find them and give them voice and vision.

-  I want to reissue an invitation for members of our dreaming community all over the world to dream with the trees and discover what it would mean and require to become a Tree Speaker. We can embark on this – as my group did at Mosswood Hollow – by imagining ourselves coming together to create a Dream Tree, with a shared root ball deep in the Earth, and a place of vision high in the upper branches. 

photo: Great Stump at Mosswood Hollow (c) Robert Moss

An expanded version of this article appears in my book Active Dreaming: Journeying beyond Self-Limitation to a Life of Wild Freedom. Published by New World Library.


Sensing Vitality said...

Dear Robert,
This blogpost has so much synchronicity for me at this time when I prepare to teach my retreat on "Your spine as the Tree of Life" - and recently attended two of your workshops this May. I recently picked up Dorothy Maclean's book for a bibliomancy and got a passage almost verbatim to parts of your blog on how the trees need us to dream, to stop the devastation. Truly asking for help. Then, a friend sent me a link about a filmmaker who is producing this incredible film TreeStory with Dorothy Maclean and others in it by Ward Serrill ( director) and Sophie Mortimer(producer) Tree Story. Here’s his web site: . Then, yesterday I walked into a park to find some old friends practicing Tai Chi and joined them as we connected together to connect with the trees there-- very powerful experience and feel a definite calling to action. Thanks for your writing-- Annie

TN said...

Anyone interested in this blog post might be interested in reading "The Man Who Planted Trees" by Jim Robbins, a science writer who contributes to the New York Times. It's about David Milarch, a man who had a vision when he nearly died which inspired him to start a reforestation project using DNA from the strongest old growth trees. To do this, he founded a non-profit called Archangel Trees. The story is fascinating, scary and inspiring. Robbins includes information about spontaneous die-offs of forests -- it's not just clear cutting that's devastating the trees, it's changing environmental conditions, which can lead to the collapse of entire tree populations. The situation is beyond urgent, but anything we can do to support trees will help the world.

TN said...

PS - Thanks Robert!

Tanya Kucey said...

Well I am taking a leap of faith here to share that a few months ago, I had the voices of the dryads channel a message to me. While I am a sensitive and an intuitive, Ive not had this experience before. It was clear and specific on How to Do the Cutting and Planting of new trees with Respect and Reverence to them.
If you would like me to share this information, which up to now has only been printed and placed under an equine labyrinth at a healers land - I would do so.

Much love and thank you for sharing this important message.

James Wilson said...

I don't know if the trees are happy with me at the moment. :) In the last months I've been significantly cutting back shrubs and trees in the garden of my mother. And in the coming months I will have to chop down 1 or 2 trees, so that other trees get enough light and space to grow further. That's the problem when trees are starting to become very large. They start to get in each other's way, so they are both hindered in their growth and survival.

I hope a lot of people will respond to your invitation. In my childhood the massively cutting down of the rainforest was a big issue. And there were made all sorts of good intentions to stop the deforestation. It is disappointing to see now that it looks like nothing has changed....

Irene said...

The post is wonderful...a few years back I had to trim some caraganas back & as I was cutting along I began to see images of people and a history in the cut area of the branches...the lifeblood of the trees were talking :) It made for interesting work of it rather than just cutting down an overgrowth of branches - perhaps by honouring the age of the trees first allowed me this moment in time in return. Evergreen varieties don't lend themselves to cutting easily and tend to make that known by a good stab or two...but they are also suffering a parasitic infection thanks to our industrial world and ar being devasted by pine beetles...nasty way to go actually. So the over 100 year old evergreens and younger in our yard are welcome to breathe as long as they can and I thank them for their work to create better air where I live. An invitation to dream with the trees is an honour as their collective life goes back farther than humanities does...a reconnection moment maybe. A place for everything and everything in its place...humans come and go don't they but trees remain - so far....

TN said...

Hello, Tanya Kucey, I would love to hear your message about cutting and planting new trees! I will share it with my brothers and nephew, who have yards and gardens.

And hello, James Wilson. Preserving the larger trees is beneficial because the larger trees promote the growth of new tree generations. The trees actually cooperate with each other. You might be interested in this :
I'm not sure what indications this can give on how to choose which smaller, "weaker," trees/shrubs to remove, or if they need to be removed. It's an awfully complex subject, with lots of exciting new information being discovered by scientists who are asking new questions. Best of luck to you and the trees!

James Wilson said...

Hi TN thanks for your advice. I will take a look at the website.

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