Friday, March 18, 2016

The Fairy of the Copper Beech Keeps the Lost Girl Safe

A tall, elegant woman from Vienna traveled to Prague to take part in one of my workshops. Her name was Elisabeth. She said she had come because she wanted to find and follow the paths of her soul. I introduced a series of shamanic journeys, and she embarked on all of them with courage and high enthusiasm. She learned how dreams reveal the paths of soul, and how we can use a dream we remember as a portal to realms of soul healing and soul remembering. She traveled with the group on joint expeditions to very special places in nonordinary reality. These included the Magic Library.
     The Magic Library is a real place in another order of reality, one I often call the Imaginal Realm. It is a realm of true imagination. Palaces and temples and schools and pleasure gardens are constructed here through creative interaction, and they may be visited by prepared and invited travelers over centuries or millennia of human time.
     In the Magic Library, access to any form of knowledge is possible. So is contact with master teachers in any field. In introductory workshops, I often invite participants to use their life memories to open the portal. Think of a favorite library or bookshop, museum or gallery where your imagination came alive in the presence of fresh images and ideas. Picture yourself at the threshold. When the drumming begins, step through the door. You'll find yourself in a deepening space. Its contents and possibilities go far beyond the memories you used to come here. Information may be stored here in many forms.
     Elisabeth picked a used bookstore that she loves, in her native city . When she went inside the bookshop (as she told me) she found that a wall of books "peeled back", revealing a garden behind.
     She stepped out, with delight, into the garden, and then into the wood behind it. She paused at a certain tree because someone up in its branches was throwing sticks down at her. When she examined the sticks, she recognized Celtic designs that had been carved on them. Maybe they were Ogham sticks.
     She looked up, and saw a druid perched in the tree.
     She remembered one of the assignments I had suggested for this group journey. She told him, "I am looking for the story I am now living. Can you help me?"
    "Your story is about a Lost Girl," he responded. "When you were young, a tree  fairy took part of your spirit because your world was not safe and it lacked joy. Ever since then, the tree  fairy has kept that girl safe, inside a tree you know." The druid proceeded to identify the tree, and the park where it stands in her native city. Elisabeth remembered the tree, and the park, very clearly from childhood. The tree was a copper beech.
    "You must go to that tree and find your Lost Girl," the druid instructed.
     She promised she would do that, as soon as possible after she goes home. We discussed how, in Celtic folklore, people often sing to bring a soul back home, sometimes from a tree where it has been sheltered and is nesting like a bird. She agreed she would find the right song to sing for her Lost Girl, under the copper beech, to entertain the tree fairy and prove that she was ready to be a lively companion for her child self.
    Elisabeth did what she had promised.  She decided to visit the copper beech on her birthday, a month after the workshop in Prague. In preparation, she journeyed again to the wood behind the Magic Library, with the aid of my shamanic drumming CD, to talk to the druid some more.  She found him waiting for her. He gave her his name. He told her that to meet the tree fairy she must bathe and then smudge herself thoroughly and dress beautifully – taking special care to put on elegant high-heeled shoes. “Go to the tree with innocence and expect nothing. Take some small presents. Carry the song you will find in your heart.”
     She did not yet have her song. She felt it would be sad and wistful. After her return journey to the druid, she dreamed in the night that she was running from her childhood home to the park. She was carrying many carved wooden sticks, like the one the druid had thrown at her.  She came to a playground with a big heap of sand. She remembered playing here as a child, and that there was a kind of cave under the sand. She jumped in the sand and was disappointed to find the cave was not there anymore. She dove deeper, hollowing out a new space with her hands. A little boy appeared, but did not seem to be able to see her. He checked out her cave, and announced it was stable.  Elisabeth felt the presence of another companion, a child friend invisible to her. She knew, in the dream, that it was vitally important to “stabilize” the cave, so she could play with her friend – perhaps her Lost Girl – inside. To accomplish this, she needed “the soul of a tree”.
     She still lacked her song. But a sleep dream the following night gave her a clue. She found herself walking and talking with a charming, creative man. She was surprised to find they were on a train together. Waking, she realized the artist reminded her of George Harrison. She proceeded to take a Beatles song she loved ("Something in the way she moved") and had used for meditation as the tune for the song she would carry to the copper beech, fitting fresh words of her own to the music.
    On the eve of her birthday, she stayed at a family house  near the park. She followed the druid’s instructions. She took a hot bath with lavender oil and smudged her body with Palo Santo wood. She wrote the text of her song on pink paper, decorated it with drawings and folded it as a gift. She rehearsed the song.  Shortly before midnight – which she thought would be a good time for fairy encounters – she dressed in a glamorous sexy dress with high heels.
     It was a very cold night and she found herself alone in the park, except for the jackdaws wheeling and screaming over the nearby monastery. She remembered how the bells of the church had seemed cruelly oppressive to her when she shared her first kiss, aged fourteen, under the copper beech. She placed the little gifts she had brought near the roots of the copper beech. She sat down under the tree, leaning her back against the trunk, and reflected on her purpose: to find a lost part of her soul the now thought might be the scared teen who had kissed her first boyfriend in this place. She started singing her song, over and over. Sadness welled up in her . She sat in the cold for a long time, waiting for something to happen. She heard odd clicking sounds in the tree branches and hen a loud hissing sound behind her left shoulder. She asked the tree fairy to contact her in her dreams and walked back to the house.
     She returned to the tree before dawn. She did not have a new dream but immediately she had a new sign. As the sun rose, she noted the initial E and H inside a heart carved in the bark of the tree. H was the first initial of her boyfriend’s first name. She circled the tree three times, singing her song, feeling rising confidence.
     She went back to the house for a nap and returned to the park in the afternoon. The park was now alive with families and children, running and playing. She remembered what the druid had told her: Come with innocence and expect nothing.
    It was her birthday and she needed to celebrate. She went to her favorite pastry shop and ordered a pot of coffee and angel’s kisses. She made new  friends and walked on the bank of the Danube with them before she returned to the park, singing and inventing new rhymes spontaneously, snapping pictures with her camera, feeling good.
     At sunset, the squalling of the jackdaws was with her again. But the part was still crowded with children. Their laughter reverberated from the playground, and she remembered her dream of the cave under the sand. She sat down on a bench opposite the copper beech, relaxed and in good spirits.
     She closed her eyes. Immediately she was back inside the dream where she learned that she needed the soul of a tree to make a safe space to be with her younger self. The happy noise of the kids in the playground was having the same effect as shamanic drumming, powering her deepening journey into another world. Here is Elisabeth’s account of what followed:

I enter the cave under the hill of sand, which is kept hollow by the soul of a tree. I find the path to another cave under the roots of the copper beech. There I see a beautiful young girl sitting with blond, shoulder-length hair, a miniskirt, silk stockings and black high heeled shoes. She seems to be tied to the tree roots. Then I recognize the real situation. The fine, pink wings of a fairy are wrapped around this girl. I feel good. I embrace the girl. I feel a surge of hope for a freer life, for the power to follow my heart’s desires.
     I ask the girl whether she wants to come with me. She tells me she would like to go dancing with me and that she would love to sing along with me when I play the guitar. And she wants to go to the bakery with me and eat those cookies.
    The fairy is standing very close to the girl. When I greet her, the fairy says that I can take the young Elisabeth with me for dancing and music and visits to the bakery. However, she says firmly, young Elisabeth will be best protected if she continues to live with her. That way, she can keep her power intact and believe in herself fully. The problem seems to be that there are still disturbances and confusion in my life.
     The fairy assures me that I will be welcome whenever I come to visit their hill and their cave. She tells me my own roots are here, under the copper beech, and that this is more my home than the family place where I stayed overnight. Here, under the tree, is where my soul can always  and recover. I chose this tree in this park as my refuge and soul shelter when I was a child. Here I will always find home.
     The fairy tells me to find a beautiful red leather book and write the stories of my life in it, starting with this one. In German, “red book” (rotes Buch) is basically the same as “copper beech” (Rotebuche).
     Then I danced with her and the young Elisabeth. As we moved together, the fairy draped magical garments around us. We rose up into the air, dancing. The wind carried us higher and higher. We floated and wheeled over the park, the forest, the city, the river. I enjoyed the cold winter wind streaming over my skin, lifting my hair, as we fluttered like butterflies in widening circles.
     Rain started to fall, and the drops helped bring us down again, to the fairy hill and the cave beneath the tree roots. We embraced and said farewell, for now..
     Finding myself back in my body on the bench, I kissed the bark of the copper beech, gently, where the initials were carved inside a heart. I walked from the park humming the song I had made for the fairy. I went back to the bakery and bought a lot of angel kisses, for the Lost Girl who is now found, and for me.


Karin said...

I'm so glad to read this dream and the whole dreaming process. Thank you both for sharing this. A good reminder of all the possible resources we have in us and are around us in the, our, world.

Catherine said...

This is beautiful, a magical story and I was fully with both of you as you shared it.

Unknown said...

I have such shivers right now, Robert! You're aware that my given name is Elizabeth. What you may not know is there is a Copper Beech in my back yard that is over 150 years old. This is the tree I used on my first journey to the different worlds. On my trip to the lower realms,I met fairy and pixies! Last night I spent an hour looking at photos of beatific LIBRARIES! We are making a guest room into a library. I have many pics that I will post on our FB page as it won't let me do it here.

Unknown said...

I have such shivers right now, Robert! You're aware that my given name is Elizabeth. What you may not know is there is a Copper Beech in my back yard that is over 150 years old. This is the tree I used on my first journey to the different worlds. On my trip to the lower realms,I met fairy and pixies! Last night I spent an hour looking at photos of beatific LIBRARIES! We are making a guest room into a library. I have many pics that I will post on our FB page as it won't let me do it here.

James Wilson said...

That is really a very beautiful story Robert, thanks for sharing it with us.

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for this story! I am searching for the lost parts of me right now. I know, each time I stumble across things like your post, that I am getting closer to where I'm suppose to be.