Saturday, August 22, 2009

Cry of the Trees

The cry of the trees, at the very end of a recent training I led at lovely Mosswood Hollow, was the only disturbing episode during that whole wonderful week, which confirmed the depth and urgency of what was coming through. 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.
Over at my online forum at I have issued 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 will 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. I want to extend the invitation to readers of this blog to join in dreaming with the trees.


Gretchen said...

I wholeheartedly accept this invitation! This post is so touching. My family has a strong connection to trees, which is why we named our son Rowan. I showed him the American version of his namesake (mountain ash with gorgeous globes of orange berries) for the first time on Thursday.

Nancy said...

Thanks -- I accept your invitation to dream with the trees, thinking of acting out being the Pine Tree Seer in a dream theater at Mercy Center a few years ago. I'm sure you didn't write "the souls of your feet", twice, by accident.

Robert Moss said...

Wonderful, Gretchen. And what a magical name you have given your son. My Scots ancestors used rowan wood for protection, and the druids used the smoke from a rowan fire for divination and for calling in helper spirits. This is a many-storied tree, indeed, no stranger to dragons and powers of requickening. Yet, for all its flashy display of fall colors and its blood-red berries, it can fit in with almost any landscape, and prosper even in thin soil, which is promising for a young one starting out on the roads of this world.

Robert Moss said...

Nancy, "souls" truly was a repeated typo. I noticed it before I hit "publish post", and decided to let it stand, since clearly soul was walking as well as talking here :-)

Nancy said...

There are no accidents, Soul Man!

Robyn said...

Robert, your post and vision of the Dream Tree and the reality of trees rooted in earth--beautiful!

Yes the trees are calling. I will continue to dream with them and with Tree Speakers everywhere.

Sentinels lining the river
in winter, bare branches
watchful as hawks

or canopies entwined
in woodland green,
bearing cone and catkin--

praise to Alnus Rubra,
common alder tree.


Robert Moss said...

Robyn, thank you for the voice and the gifts of alder, that water-loving tree that shields the heart and sensitizes the intuition. Its Latin name, alnus, is said to be derived from a phrase that means "I am nourished by the stream" (alor amne). Its wood survives floodwater where other wood rots and falls away. It was favored in ancient Britain for warriors' shields, and milkmaids' buckets, and pipers' instruments. And it is the tree of Bran, a great god of divination who saw through the ravens and spoke truth after his head was parted from his body at his command - perhaps because those cones in winter look like oracular heads on the bare branches.

Rowan, now alder. We seem to be planting our sacred grove, moved by the trees we know and love.

Donna K said...

Robert -
I will be doing a presentation on Landscaping with Native Trees in September - and the native Rowan and Alder will have starring roles!

This piece if from a friend, found in the Old Farmer’s Almanac (reported by travelers in Portugal as being inscribed in many places where timber trees are found):

To the Wayfarer

Ye who pass by and would raise your hand against me,
harken ere you harm me.

I am the heat of your hearth on the cold winter nights,
the friendly shade screening you from the summer sun,
and my fruits are refreshing draughts,
quenching your thirst as you journey on.

I am the beam that holds your house, the board of your table,
the bed on which you lie, and the timber that builds your boat.

I am the handle of your hoe, the door of your homestead,
the wood of your cradle, and the shell of your coffin.

I am the bread of kindness and the flower of beauty.

Ye who pass by, listen to my prayer;
harm me not.

Robert Moss said...

Hi Donna - "the wood of your cradle, and the shell of your coffin". Whoever wrote these excellent words of caution was surely a Tree Speaker! Thanks for adding to our garden of green words.

Karolyn said...

There is a deep ravine near my house with many different species of trees. I try to go as often as I can and walk the path through this gorgeous watershed. It is green and alive and a place of peace and contemplation.
I shall go there today with your journey in mind and speak to my neighborhood trees to see what I can do right here, right now. I think I will start by accepting the City's offer to provide free trees to any resident who wants to plant one on their property!

Robyn said...

Karolyn, I have walked in the ravine you speak of and like you found it to be a refuge in the midst of the city. You are the perfect person to commune with those trees :-) I wonder what you'll hear.

Another idea for urban residents is to check out "Adopt-a-Tree" programs run through city parks departments or associated parks foundations. They give information and support for tree loving volunteers.

Robert Moss said...

Dear Karolyn (+ Robyn) - That ravine sounds like a wonderful place to dream with the trees, and I love the ideas you are sharing about what people in urban areas can do for the trees. Speaking of urban, I got my bumper sticker of the day just now, walking my dog on a city block en route to the park. The bumper sticker on a pickup truck three doors from my house read in bold letters: "MAY THE FOREST BE WITH YOU." May it be so!

Diana said...

I remember many years ago sitting under a tree by the side of a lake waiting for friends to finish a tour of the Baseball Hall of Fame. To my surprise I distinctly felt waves of grief eminating from this rather small tree. I immediately understood it was grieving the widespread on-going destruction of its kind all over the planet. I recall trying to comfort the tree and assuring it that I would do my bit to help.

Like others have mentioned here, there are so many things we can do on a concrete level like planting more trees, donating to enviornmental causes, educating people on their importance to the ecosystem and eliminating or limiting our consumption of beef.
To add our shared dreaming for and with the trees and to better attune ourselves to them to speak for them is a most wonderful adventure to embark on. Thank you, Robert!

Robert Moss said...

Hi Diane - Your sense of one tree grieving for the plight of others is an intuition that forestry science now confirms. Experiment, especially in the Pacific Northwest, have provided evidence that trees communicate with each other, both through their electrical fields and through airborne chemicals, and can feel each other's pain - over great distances - in ways that can be registered by scientific instrumentation. Science is starting to catch up with what people who live close to Earth have always known: everything in the natural world is alive and conscious and will speak to us if we can hear it.

Mike B said...

I had occasion to bring the "One Tree - Dream Tree" exercise to a healing circle last Saturday night. The group of eight held hands in a circle while I spoke the creation of the image for us all. We then broke from the center and entered into the dreamspace through the One Tree image as a conscious dreaming portal. Our intents were individually focused as tree seers to see what the future may bring, or to be shown what we need to see at this time.

All found the image of the tree with entwined roots and branches a powerful portal. The combined energies of the shared image seemed to take us all immediately into a conscious dream journey with extra energy to spare. Some of us were able to sense each other in our individual work, waving from the tree tops to one another, or watching eagle or hawk lift the other journeyer from the top branches for further adventure. All felt the top of the tree to be a special place from which to view the world about us -- even if we were not quite sure we wanted to do so. Looking for 'what we need to see' led some into deeper personal spaces by following animal guardians or lines of energy that where also a part of our shared tree. Bear likes to scratch his back on our tree too!

The 'One Tree - Dream Tree' proved to be a powerful and useful portal for conscious dream work and I will use it again. Thank you for sharing it.

Robert Moss said...

Hi Mike - Thanks so much for reporting the experience of your group in building the Dream Tree and using it as a journeying portal. I am currentl;y seeking to digest literally hundreds of reports from other dreamers who have been using this portal to dream with the trees since my initial post, and may share an overview of what we have learned in the next days.

Don said...

I shall join you and the others in dreaming for trees. I recall beautiful virgin forests from when I was a boy in the 1930's. The chainsaw came into common use in the early 1950's. Nearly all of those virgin forests are gone now. And the cutting increases. Thank you for starting this.
~ Don

Katrina said...

I am deeply touched by this post. There is a beautiful oak tree I have a special relationship with near my home and I have been meaning to pay it a visit. It seems the time has come. I will also accept the invitation to hear what the trees have to say in my dreams and I will report anything of note.

Robert Moss said...

Don and Katrina - Welcome to our Grove of Dreamers! Do feel free to share your experiences with us.

Katy said...

I too, accept this invitation. I work in an environment surrounded by a state park/forest. I go out into the woods almost every workday. I will begin to focus more intentionally on the trees and their speaking. I'm also preparing a meditation workshop to be given in October and will do what I can to incorporate some "tree talk" into my sessions.

Unknown said...


You can count me in for the tree talkers. Rather like the Navajo "code talkers" during WWII.

I have trees extremely large trees on my property. Two in particular that are joined at the roots, one huge cedar and a Douglas fir. They make a perfect union together at the roots, blended perfectly.

I have a bench out there and some tree trunks as tables by the bench. It's like a outdoor living room. I go there to sit and meditate and yes dream. I'm going there tonight in my mind just as I drop off to sleep. I'll tell you what I hear.

Robert Moss said...

Katy, wecome to our dreaming GRove!

Naomi, I love the image of the cedar and the Douglas fir joining at the roots. Let us know what you hear when you listen to them closely.

Billie Jo said...

I accept.

About ten years ago 100-mph straightline winds blew threw the valley in Wisconsin where my family had immigrated from Germany in the late 1800's. As a child, the forest was broken up only by the occasional farmhouse, and development by people who want to live "in the country" has increased greatly. The storm was devastating, as whole areas of forest snapped like twigs. Rather than take out the fallen trees and leave standing trees be, many people clear-cut whole areas. Since then, many more houses have been built, and this is heartbreaking for my dad and I.

I have planted many trees with my grandfather and my dad. It is wonderful to see them grow; some of them that I planted as a child are huge now. Someday, when I die, I hope to have a crabapple tree or a Maple planted above me as a headstone--I love the pink in the spring and the red-orange in the fall.

Robert Moss said...

Billie Jo - Thank you for planting trees and I love your plan for a "headwood", flowering in such lovely colors in spring and fall. You may inspire others to consider substituting a living headwood for a headstone.

Nicola said...

Reading a local newspaper whilst on holiday last week, I came across an article written by a local man who had a device that measured the vibrational communication between plants. He had translated these vibrational tones and intensities into musical notes and textural sounds made by man made instuments. For instance, he noted that cacti send vibrational messages that sound very similar to the piano.
This amused me greatly as I allowed my mind to ramble into the possibility of a cactus playing a mozart piano concerto.
He was advertising a concert of plant music which was to unfortunatly take place the day after my flight home.

Nicola said...

Reading a local newspaper whilst on holiday last week, I came across an article written by a local man who had a device that measured the vibrational communication between plants. He had translated these vibrational tones and intensities into musical notes and textural sounds made by man made instuments. For instance, he noted that cacti send vibrational messages that sound very similar to the piano.
This amused me greatly as I allowed my mind to ramble into the possibility of a cactus playing a mozart piano concerto.
He was advertising a concert of plant music which was to unfortunatly take place the day after my flight home.

Robert Moss said...

I, too, would love to hear that concert of the plants, as interpreted by the fellow you quote, Nicola. This theme is clearly important, since your message came through twice :-) I'm thinking now about how a certain kind of sensitivity may allow us to pick up some of those vibrations, at least when we are out in the woods and able to minimize the human noise band. This adds a dimension to our understanding of how tree sears and tree speakers in ancient and indigenous culture do their stuff. One of the most famous oracles of ancient Greece was the oak at Dodona associated with Zeus, which gave messages as the wind moved through its branches. As time went on, to assist those hard of (inner) hearing, they hung various kinds of wind chimes among the boughs...

drstad said...

I'm in. Thanks for this call to action Robert. This will be good to continue the work we did from earlier this year. Did a Tree Meditation exercise with my oldest dog when she passed on. And ever since, Brandy has been faithfully presiding over our yard from her perch under the Goldenchain Tree.

Robert Moss said...

Welcome to our Grove of Dreamers, Peter. I'm moved by your mention of Brandy under the tree, not least because of of the beloved dogs who shatred my life - a big black labrador mutt - is called Brandy. She is buried under a youngish oak that, unusually, has multiple trunks. In one of my BIG drdeams, she and her brother emerged from an opening among the roots of a tree, slicked with what looked like amniotic fluid but might (from the sweet scent) have been honey, to take me on an important journey.

Jane Carleton said...

Hi Robert,

Thank you for issuing this invitation to be Tree Speakers and I would be honored to join the Grove of Dreamers!

I find it helpful to put my forehead against my favorite trees, grand oaks in the rolling hills of the open spaces of Northern California, or furry redwoods in the moist hills. I recently learned I can sense and see this way when I am with my trees, and when I am away, I will speak with them during conscious dream journeys.


Robert Moss said...

Hi JaneE - Let us know whether you find a special tree - or rather, whether a special tree finds you - during your trip to Bali, and whether the "tree radio" (as some of our dreamers are now calling it) operates across all the miles of ocean.

LeaVonne said...

I Dance With Trees

I dance with trees
It pleases me
To move my arms in imitation of their branches' gracefull flight
To join for just one moment
THEIR lifelong dance with light

Robert Moss said...

Thanks for the lovely tree dance, LeaVonne! I'm most conscious of the dance of trees when I am in the evergreen forests of the Pacific Northwest, and the red cedars shake their frills like belles at an old-time ball. Or when the madronas, yearning towards the ocean, roll back their outer bark, to reveal the green of an avocado that has taken off its skin.

Unknown said...

Robert, I'm glad to read this. I get so much power, guidance and vision from the trees that I ache to pay them back. I always tell people the oaks dreamed me up so I could speak (and sing) for them. Your message spurs me on to act upon the issue. I wish for your call to be answered by many! - Maurice

Unknown said...

Not coincidentally, I'm sure, I've scheduled a mini-workshop for September 12 called Journeying with Trees. One of the participants has sent me your comments on the OneTree/DreamTree vision. We will use it to open our workshop to deepen our experience of dreaming with the trees. Thanks so much for sharing it.
Ann Marie

monique said...

Hi Robert,

My current Flying Crow Dream Class recently participated in your experiment. We created a powerful Energy Tree, and journeyed with the intention of seeing, hearing, or feeling what the trees need us to see, hear or feel. Each person in the group had a very unique experience, but the overall theme that everyone came back with was the same. Some people had specific verbal messages, or futuristic scenes, but each person bonded tremendously and really FELT Trees. They each had a glow in their face as they spoke of their journey. I think we all left with a more meaningful relationship to our nonhuman friends, the Trees, and a sense of the healing that needs to take place for both parties. I think it was probably the most powerful message the Trees could have given us. Thank you for extending the offer and continuing to inspire action!

Robert Moss said...

Maurice, It's good to hear your voice! I like your notion that the oaks dreamed you up.

Anne Marie, I would be interested to hear a report of what the members of your group found in their tree journey.

Monique, Thanks so much for growing the energy tree in your circle and reporting back. Sound like you shared a fabulous experience.