T is for Trees

Ah…trees, possibly my favourite things! Where would we be without these Standing Sentinels? Without trees there could be no life on earth (along with water and the sun too of course). Trees perform a wonderful and most important service to not only mankind but All-kind. Trees are the ‘lungs of the planet, with the Amazon rainforest alone producing 20% of world oxygen. Think of that! Without trees we would asphyxiate and die.

How do trees produce this life-giving gas? Well, it’s through the action of photosynthesis, which is how trees, and all green plants in fact, produce energy from light by means of chlorophyll that is contained in their leaves (the green pigment that makes leaves green!). They use the sunlight and the chlorophyll to make sugars from carbon dioxide (which they breathe in through their leaves during the day) and water. This sugar is then used to give the plant energy so that it can grow. The tree then gives off oxygen, which is the gas we breathe in so we can live. So our existence is inextricably linked to trees.

Trees also support a multitude of other plant and animal life too. There are many animals that just could not exist in the wild without trees, and trees also support numerous mosses and lichens that are important to the ecosystem. For example, one hectare (2.47 acres) of rainforest may contain over 750 types of trees and 1500 species of animals and higher plants. Scientists and botanists are also continually finding new species of plants and animals that rely on trees for life.

Trees are a wonderful source of medicine and food, producing fruit, flowers, leaves and bark that can all be utilised in some way for our holistic well-being. Consider the many different species we have in Great Britain, practically all of them have some value medicinally. One fantastic example is that little white pill so often taken for headaches, the one called Aspirin. If it wasn’t for a tree that might never have been developed. The bark (and to a certain extent the leaves) of the White Willow (Salix alba) contain a chemical called salicin* that eases aches and pains, and reduces fevers. Hippocrates noticed this back in the 5th century BC. However, it was being used far earlier by the Cherokee and other native American tribes. Eventually the chemical was isolated and became known as salicylic acid and was then synthesized in laboratories and brand-named Aspirin. This is just one example of how trees help us medicinally, there are hundreds more.

Trees not only give to us for our physical well-being but also our spiritual well-being. A tree of life, or Sacred Tree, is a common motif in various world theologies, mythologies, and philosophies; a mystical concept alluding to the interconnection of all life on our planet. It connects the Heavens (or upper world), the middle world, and the underworld; the three realms. For those with a spiritual leaning it helps to connect us with all other sentient beings (and that includes the spirit realm) and negates the idea of separation.

Yggdrasil ~ The Norse concept of the World Tree

Due to the longevity of trees they are sources of great knowledge and wisdom. They’ve stood, in some cases, for hundreds of years – can you imagine what they’ve witnessed throughout their long lives? In Celtic tradition, trees play an important part in disseminating knowledge and wisdom to us humans. Probably the most well-known use of trees in this tradition is the Ogham (pronounced OH-am or OH-yam) or Celtic Tree alphabet. This is an alphabet of twenty-five inscribed characters, each one symbolising a tree sacred to the ancient druids of old. Each symbol (which is an upright stave with particular straight markings on it) symbolises a letter, the character of a tree, its place within Celtic spirituality and mythology and its attributes both for daily living, healing and spiritual working. It is also used as a system of divination whereby the wisdom of the trees help us in our daily living and inner work.

Just spending time with trees is a meditative process in itself. To sit under a large, leafy tree on a summer’s day and gaze up into its branches can imbue us with peace and clarity. To hug a tree is even better!

A Tree Meditation

Sit comfortably…relax…close your eyes and take three deep cleansing breaths.

Now begin to clear your mind by concentrating only on your breathing…count your breaths slowly up from 1 to 10. If thoughts intrude do not force them away but return to concentrating on your breathing.

You are standing in a sun-dappled clearing in a wood. Around you trees stand like sentinels, their branches covered with the lush greenery of summer. Leaves whisper and rustle, kissed by a zephyr breeze that blows gently around and through them. The carpet of emerald grass beneath you is soft as velvet. In your nostrils wafts the delicate fragrance of summer flowers. All is quiet except for the sound of the leaves and birds singing in the branches of the trees.

As you stand there, the sun’s rays gently warming you, you begin to feel the grass part beneath your feet. The soft, rich soil gives way and you feel yourself sinking down into the earth. Soon your lower legs are completely surrounded by the cool earth. You feel your feet reach down into the earth, becoming roots that dig deeper and spread out anchoring you solidly into the ground. At the same time you raise your arms towards the sun and they begin to turn into branches, your fingers become twigs reaching ever upwards towards the sky. Soon leaves begin to appear, sprouting and growing vigorously all over you, rustling with the soft breeze that blows around you and through you…you have become a tree.

You begin to feel your feet pulse with energy from the earth and with each breath in this energy is drawn up…up your toes…your feet…up your legs…towards your body. This is the energy of Gaia and it flows and swirls all through your body as a vibrant green mist, entering every cell…filling you up with the nurturing strength of Mother Earth.

The sun’s rays shine down upon you and enter your crown chakra where they flow towards your centre as a golden mist, filling every part of you with the powerful energy of the God. Every cell in your body is filled with golden light…energising and invigorating you.

The two energies meet and merge within you…swirling around and through each other…mixing their powerful energies…every part of you is filled and sustained by the Goddess and the God.

Breathe deeply and feel these energies become one…flowing through you as life-blood through your veins.

Now begin to gradually count your breaths down from 10 to 1…focusing on your breathing only. When you are ready open your eyes and know that divine energy is within you and remains in you…sustaining you and giving you the energy you need to see you through.

(Copyright Deep~Glade)

*Salicin is also found in other plants such as Meadowsweet and many common fruits and vegetables.

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Daily Card: Island of the Mill

Today’s card is Island of the Mill. Here we see people bearing sacks on their backs as they approach the mill. Oh boy, another moment of synchronicity. Talk about humping a heavy sack around! Here’s the background:

The Otherworldly mill is where the spectres of our greed are fed to us. What we desire binds us with unbreakable links so we are enslaved to it.

The Meaning

Niggardliness, possessiveness, scandalmongering, anger, jealousy, selfishness, co-dependency, grudges and feuds.

The Challenge

What are you holding on to that is unnecessary in your life? Let the gift of generosity come into your heart. Let other people live without your control. Lift burdens from others backs.

This is a timely reminder about control, or rather how it becomes a huge burden. We all like to control don’t we? ‘I don’t have a need to control!’ I hear you say. Yes you do, we all do! It’s part of human nature to want to control, part of the workings of the ego. We want to control others, ourselves, our lives…and so forth and etc. Even if we think we aren’t trying to control we are doing it unconsciously. controlling ourselves or others soothes our own inner sense of fear, of the unknown, of righteousness. It might work for a time but in the end it usually becomes too much.

And what a heavy burden it is, rather like those people in the picture humping their heavy sacks to the mill. So how do we get rid of those heavy sacks; the need to control, especially outcomes. Well, Buddhists advocate the idea of non-attachment. We only try to control what we are attached to (or as the book says ‘desire’). We invest emotional energy to things. By practising what the Buddhists call non-attachment we can free ourselves from the curse of the need to control. When I manage to do this I find my life going far more smoothly and feel a lot more together and calmer inside. It’s not about ‘not caring’ or having no compassion but rather just letting go, and not operating from ego.

Of course one has to be honest with oneself and it’s not easy to admit that we are operating from ego and attaching ourselves to something or someone. It makes you squirm actually but in order to free oneself from attachment you have to be really honest with yourself and do some hard self-reflection. But it’s ok and there’s no blame attached in realising that is, in fact, where we’re coming from. It’s all part of a human’s spiritual evolution. Next step is being mindful, living in each moment and being aware of each moment. We cannot live in the past because it’s gone, and we cannot live in the future because it has not manifested yet. The only place we can truly live is in the present…in the NOW.

Second thing is to give it up…give up the attachment you have…I do this by imagining myself on a high mountain top surrounded by alpine flowers. It is cool and the wind blows around me fresh and clean. The sun shines from a cloudless azure blue sky. I encapsulate whatever I’m attached to, whatever my ego control is, in a glistening iridescent bubble and allow it to float away. The Spirits of Air catch it and take it high up into the sky, up towards the sun. you could try this and see if it works for you. Of course I’ve had to practise this and have to continue to do so. holding on to things seems a natural thing for humans to do so it does take practise and maintenance but gradually it becomes easier.

So next time you feel as though you are carrying a huge burden on your back try climbing the mountain and giving that burden up to the heavens, and see what happens. Oh yes, and don’t forget to be mindful!

 

The Green Lady ~ a Beltane meditation

Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths, relaxing completely. With your inner eye, see a dim green valley of infinite beauty and peace, where no tree or plant has ever felt the bite of axe or knife, and no creature has ever known death from predator’s claw or hunter’s arrow. Here stands a grove of huge trees that soar skywards like pillars of a vast natural temple, whose dome is of many shades of green or coppery red. Beneath your feet the ground is carpeted with a rich emerald moss. The air is fresh and fragrant with the scent of growing things, and the air resounds with birdsong high up in the leafy canopy.

Although you see no creatures here, you get the feeling of being watched by many pairs of eyes from holes in the trunks and shadowy roots of the trees. Then barely perceptible at first, beings emerge from the shadows as if the dim green light itself has taken form: animals of the wild: badgers, foxes, bears, and deer and many other forest creatures, great and small; and other beings that seem to step out of the trees themselves: dryads and hamadryads, elven creatures all in green, tall and slender with almond-shaped eyes and long silky hair that move noiselessly like sunlight over the forest floor; Woodwives and Moss-women, old and bent, with green skin like lichen; gnomes with bark-like skin, gnarled and knotty as tree-roots. . .

They do not seem to have noticed you, for they are all turning in the direction where someone is approaching: a Lady of great beauty with a radiant countenance and long coppery-gold hair which trails down behind and all around her: Wherever it touches the mossy ground, red and white thornless roses spring forth. In one hand she holds aloft a shining emerald stone like a lamp which suffuses the forest grove with a warm green-gold light. She is the Queen of Elphame, the goddess Venus, who is also called the Empress in the Grail legend of Peredur, and in Parzival, Repanse de Schoye: Knowledge of Joy. All beauty and harmony are hers, and as she walks, she sings the worlds into being, for her song is a song of Love that is the purest creative force in the cosmos. . .

You are so overcome by her wordless song and wish for nothing more than to bask in the streams of love and harmony and joy that she pours forth in song. The beauty of her song fills you with heartbreaking pain for all you have suffered in this and many other lifetimes. Seeing this, the Lady reaches down to you and touches the pain in your heart which takes the form of a symbol. Bring this symbol out of yourself and hold it in your hands as an offering to the goddess. She sings over this symbol and fills it with light which transforms your pain into pure love. The symbol changes into a flower – note well what it is like – which she places in your heart. You feel yourself strengthened and renewed. The pain begins to subside, then totally disappears. You begin to breathe deeply. Feel pure, unconditional love flowing through you. As you continue to breathe deeply, a great sense of calm and inner peace washes over you.

Now with each breath you take you feel your heart expand as you open to receive more life-force than you have ever allowed yourself before . . . The creative energy of the Universe flows through you unchecked, and you realise with delight that this stream of life that runs through your veins night and day runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures. It is the same life that shoots in joy through the dust of the earth in numberless blades of grass and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers. It is the same life that is rocked in the ocean-cradle of birth and of death, in ebb and in flow. You see without  any doubt that separation is an illusion, for everything now appears as it truly is: an endlessly diverse patterning of rainbow colors refracted from the one Light of the original Energy of Creation. And you too are part of this extraordinary dance of energy, movement, color and sound that coalesces into the infinitely marvellous natural forms of the physical plane.

So what will you create? What aspect of the Life Force fills your heart and soul with the deep desire to become itself in the world of expression? Will you bring it to birth or let it die still-born, knowing that with each little death, the Life Force will recede and seek another more willing  to carry it through to its full term, while you become less and less alive? Or will you choose to live your dreams and desires to the fullest no matter what, in service to Life itself?

What will you choose?

(Source: Mara Freeman)

Wednesday 22nd October ~ Waxing Crescent Moon in Sagittarius

My instructor for the Shamanism class replied to my efforts in the tracking exercise.Apparently I need to continue to do it until animal features come through. Last night I did the tracking exercise again, this time for a much longer time. Again I saw older images, female and male with moustache and beard but then I began to see female younger images, not young as in childlike, but much younger. They looked rather like teenage. I’m afraid I saw no animal like features but on three occasions my face began to fragment, like a jig saw puzzle all put together wrong, and it was as though something was trying to ‘push through’. I also got a strong sense of a bison or buffalo but never actually saw its features.

As for me being sceptical I guess I just felt it wouldn’t work for me, like I would fail at it somehow. It is disappointing I’ve seen no animal features but I will continue with this exercise. It is absolutely fascinating and I feel it’s showing me how worn out and old my perspectives actually are.

As for the 100 Day Sacred Mists Challenge – well, I’ve decided to do it. I’m still concerned that I will fail at this too. but then I see that this is me all over – no confidence in myself. I always think I’m going to fail before I even set out. Like when Meadowhawk was over and we went log/tree climbing. Immediately I thought I would fail, that I would fall off. Well, I did actually fall off in the end but the point is I had no confidence in myself from the beginning. I think I set myself up to fail and this colours everything I do. But when I look back there are many things I have succeeded at…passing my 1st Degree and becoming initiated, getting my Bachelors Degree, Have been successful in achieving my Crystal Healing and Herbalism diplomas…and much more. I just doubt myself. It’s almost as if I’m saying to myself ‘well I’m going to fail at this anyway so…’ This is completely wrong thinking and I know it. So I have written an affirmation for myself to use for the 100 Day Challenge and not only for that but for myself in all things:

EACH DAY I REMEMBER I AM A POWERFUL WITCH AND ALL THINGS ARE ACHIEVABLE.

I’ve posted this right above my computer so I can see/read it each day and it’s ‘in my face’.

Blessings
Deep~Glade

Tuesday 20th October ~ Waxing Crescent Moon in Scorpio

I again did the ‘tracking’ exercise exactly as my Shamanism instructor said…to the letter. This time the morphing faces took longer to appear. I’m not sure whether this was because I was a little keyed up beforehand and not properly relaxed. I expect so but anyway, I persevered and eventually after about 5 minutes I guess my face began to morph. Looked like wooden masks of me. Like my face was carved out of wood, or perhaps stone but they definitely had a mask like quality. These kept appearing and reappearing for a few seconds. Then older faces of me, as though my own face was going through an aging process. I thought perhaps the images looked like my grandmother but it’s not surprising actually because she and I do look very similar. Then absolutely nothing. I then noticed that I was very tense so I made a conscious effort to relax myself and concentrate on my breathing while remaining focused on my left eye. Suddenly faces were morphing very quickly, older versions and male versions too in rapid succession. The male versions looked like I was going back in time from a ‘human’ to a kind of ‘Neanderthal’ featured me but somehow male. Another thing I noticed was that the images kind of appeared in a pulsing way. I wondered why the ‘skull’ image hadn’t appeared up until now and then suddenly it did but it was as if I was looking through a ‘skull” mask which had its mouth open, even though my actual mouth wasn’t. None of these images ever smiled or looked happy, even though I did try to keep a smile on my face for some of the time. They didn’t look sad but rather thoughtful and looking off into the distance, never directly at me as my face was in the mirror. This time I didn’t identify a ‘younger’ looking face at all, they were all older versions of me and ‘male’ looking versions. I’ve found this exercise to be really interesting, quite exhilarating and a little unsettling too if I’m honest.

Blessings
Deep~Glade

Tuesday 6th October 2009 ~ Waning Gibbous Moon in Taurus

Talk about this for synchronicity (don’t you just love these moments!) I just found this information posted:

The Apple appears in the lore surrounding many beliefs.

The Norse Gods were said to eat apples from a tree in the garden of Asgard to retain their youth and strength. The Christians believe that the fruit eaten in the Garden of Eden was an apple. The Greek God Melanion (also known as Hippomenes) used apples to win a race against Atlanta and thereby make her his wife. The Greeks also regarded apples as one of the fruits of Diana and this was continued by the Romans in respect of Venus. The Celts held that a branch laden with apples would enable a person to visit the underworld, and for this reason apples often appear on the altar at Samhain. If you cut an apple open across the centre you will find that the core forms a five pointed star similar to the pentacle.

Apples are used in spells for love, healing and, as cider, to encourage growth in the garden. Sharing an apple which you have jointly consecrated with your partner will ensure a happy relationship, and this should be repeated at every New Moon. To encourage growth in the garden sprinkle cider onto the soil after it has been turned over. To drive out illness cut an apple into three parts, rub them all over and bury the pieces separately. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” has some truth, as eating apples helps the liver and digestive system. Drinking apple juice or rough cider also prevents the formation of stones. And eating one last thing at night is said to cure sleeplessness.

I was thinking about the Celts belief as this is my tradition – the apples appearing in my visions are emphasising my need to venture forth into the Underworld – the dark places of my psyche – in order to heal. The article also talks about apples used for healing and growth in the garden – think ‘mental and emotional’ garden here. In order to get my ‘spiritual garden’ healthy I need to venture forth into the Underworld. A scary thought but absolutely necessary.

And so today I venture forth to my therapy. Of course I don’t want to go, I never want to go, but the time has come to take up the reigns of courage again and set forth.

Today I drew Petrified Wood from my Crystal ally Cards. I thought the information from the book was worth sharing here:

Under the roots of an ancient grandmother tree is the source of the Universe. This is the image of ‘Beginnings’.
Petrified Wood is a mineral, usually Agate, that has replaced the wood of ancient fossilized trees, retaining their shape, texture and even their growth ring pattern. Trees are the chieftains of the Plant Kingdom, towering above the earth with their roots sunk deeply into the ground. Trees sing to the wind and the sun, and learn much of other beings by offering them shelter, food and safety.

Trees symbolise the deep and ancient beginnings of all things. On their Earth walk they learn much of the beginnings and endings within the spiral of life. They grow from the seeds of their forefathers, and fertilise their children with their bodies when they depart. When trees become fossilized they have ‘turned’ to stone, the knowledge and understanding of these beings is preserved in the energy patterning of the stone that has taken their form.

All of us have our roots or beginnings. When we become incarnate and enter the physical world we choose our parents, our culture and the ancient memories of our ancestors that will be stored in the DNA of our bodies. It is with these choices that we form the basis for our physical experience. The energy of Petrified Wood enables us to access those beginnings, which are stored on a cellular level and draw strength and knowledge from our ancestors and lineage.

By exploring the roots and beginnings of our bodies and cultures we can empower ourselves through the ancient codings of instinct and intuition. We can ‘speak’ to those who went before and gain wisdom from them.

Delving into these ancient cellular memories allows us to move forward as well. We are the forefront of a new civilisation on Earth. By utilizing the memories of our peoples, we can integrate the lessons that they learnt and avoid the mistakes that were made in the past.

This is a time for all people to come together in peace and harmony, without regard to race, colour, religion or beliefs. As we move forward into this time of harmony and Light, we will find the ancient roots that are common to all. With the understanding of these tribal ways, we can create a touch stone, a place of common ground, that we can use to build a new life together on the planet. By seeing where we have come from, we are able to move into a brighter future and toward a new day of honouring the earth and each other.

Chakra: Root
Affirmation: The roots of my experiences nourish me deeply.

Source:The Crystal Ally Cards by Naisha Ahsian

Blessings
Deep~Glade

Monday 5th October 2009 ~ Waning Gibbous Moon in Taurus

Last night I participated in Sacred Mists Full Blood/Hunter’s Moon ritual. Scaraphina had intimated to me that she would like to take part in this. I had left her on my windowsill on Sunday morning, to allow her to cleanse from the night before – when she had appeared decidedly milky from her healing me. As I took her from the sill I noticed that she had cleared quite a lot and was emitting rainbow irising as before. So I placed her in spring water and left her outside under the Full Moon until the time of the ritual, which was about 2.30am GMT. I was so amazed at the change in her once I brought her in ready for the ritual – she had returned to her clear state (albeit she has an inclusion inside her cranium) but there was no sign of the milkiness from the night before. She felt refreshed and I could sense she was excited about the upcoming ritual. She intimated to me through impressions and intuition that she wanted to be laid on a bed of rose petals, so this is what I did; filled a little dish with dried red rose petals and laid her on top. She remained by my side throughout the ritual. While scrying I saw a vision of her in my hands. Again I was sitting on a hill side underneath an apple tree and Scaraphina was again human size and was glowing a lovely golden rose pink colour. She helped me see what is needed for me to deal with my emotions and process the stuff in my head – a tree, the Crone and an apple were revealed to me. As I saw the Crone Scaraphina became as black as obsidian and then cleared back to her rose/gold colour.

After the ritual I asked Scaraphina if she is here to help only me heal or if she would aid others in healing too. She told me she can help others heal too and that I can use her for distance healing but her main task is to help me heal. I feel I am becoming close to her and know a bond between us is growing. She wants to remain on the rose petals and wants to stay near my bed, so I’ve placed her on the dressing table right by my bed.

I’ve been thinking about what the images of the tree, the apple and the Crone mean. I feel I need to work with the Crone to process my feelings and emotions; she has the wisdom and I have always really been drawn to the Crone aspect of the Goddess anyway. In mythology the apple has always symbolised love and sexuality but not only that. Apples can represent harvest, fertility, the Divine, death (as in Avalon – the Isle of Apples), immortality, and to me an apple also represents the Goddess. That is I always seem to link apples with the Goddess. The fact that in my visions I always seem to be on a hillside, underneath an apple tree, or the Crone always hands me an apple, means that this symbol is obviously important for me. I still need some time to think about these symbols and what they mean in my healing process.

Blessings
Deep~Glade