I love trees, I always have. I love the natural world but for some reason trees have always had a special meaning and a special power for me. The reverence and appreciation I feel for them can be intense and lately I’ve made it a daily practice to connect and work with them. They are a great teacher for me and they demonstrate and symbolize how to live in the world with grace, groundedness, openness and connectedness. They help me move energy by connecting me with the Earth and acting as a channel for its energy.
They comfort me when I’m feeling lost and help me get to my feelings. They provide a natural temple to connect with Spirit, the Goddess and the power of the Earth. Its really too bad they aren’t appreciated more for what they have to offer people as well as what we can do for them because I think we are meant to work together.
Trees are an amazing spiritual symbol and they represent grounded connected life very well. If we consider how a tree exists this becomes clear. A tree is dependent on the world around it, it needs light, water, air and soil to grow and prosper. Yet if a tree is to survive it must put down strong roots deep into the ground while reaching up into the sky to the sun so it must be grounded in the Earth while open to the sky. If it is not well grounded a strong wind can topple it or even blow it away but if well grounded a tree can and must withstand storms and the tumult of the outside world. It must also be flexible so as not to break in the wind, a balance of strong grounding and flexibility.
Humans too must be well grounded in themselves, the Earth and in Spirit if they are to withstand the trials of life. If we are not well grounded we tend to be swept up in the circumstances and emotional drama of our lives and this is particularly true in these intense times. However if we are well grounded, we find our stability within and we are not swept away even in the most difficult of times. Like the tree we must also be flexible and not be so rigid in our groundedness that we snap. We flow with the changing current of life without being overwhelmed by it. Being grounded and flexible is what trees symbolize for me.
The tree has also been used by many cultures as a powerful symbol, an example of which is the Tree of Life. Here the tree is used to symbolize life itself in all its complexities and interconnections. A similar concept is that of the World Tree where the tree is used as a cosmological symbol of the underworld, the Earth and the Heavens.
Trees can be powerful healing tools because they can help us ground and move emotional energy very effectively. When I’ve felt stuck in my “stuff” lately I’ve taken a trip to the park to do tree practice. I’ll find a strong tree I feel drawn to and touch it with both hands while planting my feet firmly on the ground next to it. I will then ask the tree for help in moving my stuck energy.
If it feels right to continue I visualize energy from the earth coming up through my feet and into me and flowing out through my hands into the tree and back into the earth creating a circuit. The tree has a way of helping me make this connection and moving the energy. I usually find emotion comes up rather easily when I do this… whether it be sadness, anger or some other feeling I had been holding onto. Once energy has moved I will quiet my mind and feel the energy of the tree and the earth, which is very calming. I conclude by giving the tree my gratitude and sending it love and light.
I think this practice is a powerful one because we can be so disconnected from nature in our modern world yet we are a product of nature. I wonder how much of our mental and emotional pain is made so much worse because we have lost this natural connection that is so healing. The drama and trauma of human life tends to obstruct life energy so it becomes things like depression, anxiety, anger and confusion. To Mother Nature this is all just life energy and so in reconnecting with her she can help us remove the obstructions and free this energy returning it to source while allowing it to flow through us in a way that allows us to live fully connected with life.
In the sacred rites and rituals of old, particularly the Druids, trees represented the place of spiritual worship, the sacred grove. They became a temple to the Divine. I have come to see it that way myself and consider the park near my house a temple and place of spiritual practice. The paths are the sacred halls of the temple and the trees living manifestations of the Goddess as well as access points to the Earth energy we are all a part of.
Reconnecting with the Earth in this way is not only healing for us but for the planet as well. If we can return all the disconnected energy we have created in separation, that energy can be used consciously to heal the planet. The environmental crisis we are experiencing today is a manifestation of this separation. In seeing ourselves as separate from the planet we have harmed it greatly while not realizing we are directly harming ourselves at the same time.
Is it any wonder our culture is so sick and dysfunctional? We are not separate from the planet; we are a conscious part of it and with our consciousness acting in harmony with the planet, it and we can be completely healed together. Technology, science and rational solutions will not save us because the problem is much more simple and basic than that and the solution is right here right now if we can just let go, listen, feel and realize our interconnectedness.