Saturday, May 3, 2014

Visions of the World Tree

This glorious image, titled "Roots in Heaven", is by French artist Annick Bougerolle. In many indigenous cultures there is the tradition of a tree between the worlds whose branches are actually rooted in the sky, making a ladder to what Aborigines call the World Up Top. In the adventures in shamanic dreaming that I lead, our early work often includes finding and rooting a Tree of Vision firmly in our imaginations and inner senses. We then proceed to use the tree as a portal for exploring the Lower World, the Middle World and the Upper World of the shamanic cosmos. 

World Tree by Annick Bougerolle

We were fortunate to have Annick with us at my recent workshop on exploring the multidimensional self at the Hameau de l'Etoile, the restored seventeenth-century stone village near St Martin de Londres in southern France where I lead many retreats. 

Tree Self-Portrait by Annick Bougerolle
Annick tells me that in one of her reveries, in that highly creative in-between state of consciousness the French call dorveille, she saw a great tree with an opening that looked inviting. However, instead of going through the hole into a world-beyond-the-world, as she has often done, she was thrilled to see interesting characters coming out of the tree and engaging in the world on this side. This fired her artist's imagination and she has been painting new images of the World Tree.

The Tree and the Mist by Annick Bougerolle
I have a special love for Annick's painting of "The Tree and the Mist". As anyone with a drop of Celtic blood knows, the mist is the veil between the worlds, and a way of crossing between them. The resemblance between the antlers of the deer and the branches of the tree is one of those deep mythic correspondences that is embedded in the French language, where the word bois means both "wood" and "antlers".
    I am delighted that Annick has given me permission to share some of her extraordinary work here. Please note that all these images are (c) Annick Bougerolle. Contact Annick via her website.  


Unknown said...

I dreamed last night of the tree where I lived. I took someone who injured me into it, knowing they would not understand its power, but to tell them that was how I recovered from their actions.

Vacilli said...

I dreamed about a HUGE tree last night/today early morning, I called it in the dream the "World Tree" It was as high or higher than mountains, it didn't have many branches at the base but as you looked higher you will se branches and at the top of the tree there were many animals that I have never seen before, I remember mentioning this to everyone else who was present in my dream, there was also some kind of a threat because I had this gut feeling, like when you are nervous so I think someone might have been followed me or we were not meant to see this tree or something, soon after I started discussing the tree in my dream is when I woke up. This dream definitely made an impression on me.