I have always loved trees. Trees frame my journey from childhood to present, those that have held me, hugged me, spoken to me in surprising conversations and have become my teachers. I feel a kinship to them same as any family or friend. I can map my life by the trees I knew and lived by, and so I pay close attention when trees show up, when they speak.
Every morning I spend time in a meditative state in front of my altar. During this time I sit in stillness, and I usually journey to my home in non-ordinary reality, the dimension my ancestors knew as the Otherworld. This is the time I ask for guidance or messages from my spirit guides and teachers, or am just with them in simple friendship and gratitude. For the past week as soon as I arrive to meet them, there has been an immense sequoia in the middle of our circle.
Since I work with trees a lot, I am used to new ones showing up and we talk and get to know one another. But what made this different was the immense size and energy it held! Every morning I greet it and open my heart to its presence. As I engaged with it, I didn’t receive much information at first. Instead of a dialogue, the information was coming in through my felt-sense, primarily in my body sensations and then through synchronicities.
One of these was a recent news article that highlighted an unusual art piece at the local University. The sculpture is an 80 foot tall movable creation being held by three giant sequoias. The artist, John Grade, was visiting the campus to look for an inspired location for the sculpture he had in mind and when he saw the trees, he knew they were the ones. I feel that they reached out and communicated to him in some way to get his attention. I also feel that he had the wisdom and grace to ask them for permission to hold his sculpture. That they are holding it shows that they agreed, as I'm sure a lot can go wrong creating an art piece this size if the trees and the nature spirits are not agreeable.
Why would they be agreeable? Well this is the gist of the message coming in from my new sequoia friend in the mornings. They see collaboration and co-creation with humans as the way that they can break through our human-centrism and self-absorption so that we can fully realize our inter-connectedness to everything. The stronger our connection to nature, the more we will respect and protect it from exploitation and destruction.
And they enjoy the partnership that happens with projects like these. It provides lessons and spiritual growth for them as well. It strengthens the web of all life.
These same trees got my attention as soon as I saw them when I first walked across campus years ago. Freshly arrived from three decades in the desert, I had never seen such amazing trees. I stood in the middle of them and their lower branches hung on the ground and hid me from students walking by. I felt welcomed and cozy. I could have curled up next to them and stayed for a long time.
So I felt called to visit them again after meeting my new sequoia friend in the Otherworld. The late afternoon autumn sun lent its dappled light to the pieces hanging in the trees. I assessed the straps that held the netting the pieces were secured to, the small lamps high above that would light it at night, the thoughtfulness of the protective mats underneath to protect the ground and roots from the increased human activity beneath them. Then I tuned in to the trees and nature spirits. How did they feel? Did they have any specific messages to share?
A myriad of feelings swirled from the nearby faerie folk, from joy and amusement to exasperation and indifference. The elemental sylphs seemed to really enjoy playing in and around the hanging pieces. And the trees relayed this message:
One of the gifts we bring to humankind is that of heart chakra opening. We remind humans of how the energy of connection feels. We remind you of the feeling of reverence. We are - and all trees are - portals to the collective presence of nature kinship. We three who are holding John's sculpture are antennae broadcasting the energy of partnership, transmitting reverence. It's that simple.
With reverence, and gratitude, I sprinkled an offering of flower petals and herbs around the trunks before taking my leave.
The sequoia is still there in the morning stillness in my Otherworld circle. Its loving presence is a remarkable gift, and it is teaching me to broadcast loving presence from within myself.
All elements and Elementals have innate unique gifts. One of the major gifts of water is that it is easily imprinted upon, and takes on the energy of its surroundings. Its molecules also have the gift of taking on the energetic signature of what they surround.
It is this quality that makes water the perfect holder of energetic remedies like homeopathic medicine and flower essences. In a homeopathic remedy, once the actual amount of the plant, mineral or animal substance is diluted to the ratio of one part in one trillion, none of it actually remains in the water but its energy and characteristics have been transferred to the water. The vibrational essence is imprinted in the water to heal with remarkable effectiveness. Even homeopathic doctors do not know exactly how it works, but it has been proven to work in the 200 plus years it has been in use.
Dr. Masaro Emoto was a doctor of Alternative Medicine and a researcher who became interested in the properties of water. He took pictures of frozen water crystals under a microscope from many different sources and found that the structure of the water crystals could be influenced by words, sound and prayer. He published these pictures in a book he wrote and self-published called Messages From Water and it became a bestseller. One of the remarkable experiments he did was write words on a piece of paper and wrapped it around a bottle of water. When he froze the water and photographed the crystals, the water that was wrapped with the words “love and gratitude” showed a complex perfect crystal. The water wrapped with the words “You fool!” showed either deformed crystals or that no crystals formed at all.
Like homeopathy, the mechanism of how exactly this works is beyond Newtonian scientific explanation of researchers, however shamans, visionary mystics, and energy workers know that everything is energy and everything is connected on an energetic level. Water is reflecting or resonating with the energy of the words wrapped around it and possibly the intention or energy field of how the person felt as they wrote the words. Quantum physics has shown that people influence the experiments just by observing.
Our bodies are about 70 percent water. Like Dr. Emoto’s research showed, our self-talk and thoughts constantly program the water in our bodies right down to the cellular level. Unfortunately most of this goes on at a subconscious level. If we read our positive affirmations once in the morning, then continue to have underlying self-sabotaging thoughts during the day, which programming is being most absorbed by the cells?
The stories we tell ourselves make up much of our self-talk. Many of these were imprinted from common life experiences; disappointments, misfortunes, dramas and traumas. We compared ourselves to others or couldn’t live up to our own expectations of perfection. Some of the stories are the descriptions put on us by others supposed to help us in traumatic times; we are a “victim” of fraud or abuse, we are “fighting” an illness or injustice, we have a “diagnosed” disorder or disease.
Words and thoughts have great power and are perpetually creating our stories. It is up to us to realize which ones may be causing disharmony in our lives. In shamanism this is called “stalking”. We set the intention to become aware of the underlying stream of our thoughts throughout the day. Another one of the gifts that the Undines, the water Elementals give us is the gift of fluidity. We can change our thoughts once we are aware of them.
I have been working with water, and it has given me this method to help stalk my stories. I set the intention in the morning to be aware and conscious of my self-talk and stories, and I speak that intention as I hold a glass of water. I direct it into the water with appreciation and gratitude, thanking it for assistance for noticing what needs to be noticed and changing what needs to be changed. As I go through the day, each time I drink from the glass of water, I focus awareness on what thought I am thinking now and then the thought right before that, and then before that as far as I can go on that thread. Were the thoughts helpful or self-defeating? If they were not helpful, I consciously affirm what I want to focus on and bring into my awareness and my life. I visualize it reprogramming the water in my cells.
It is important that we take on this process of awareness with kindness to ourselves. It doesn't help to get frustrated when we find ourselves going down the same old rabbit hole, repeating the same old story. To remove the judgment out of it, it helps to not label our stalking experiences as “good” or “bad”, but instead use a neutral “that’s interesting” observation. We must learn to look at our process with a measure of non attachment and even humor.
There are lots of ways to approach this practice. We can start by wading in slowly, getting used to the new way of stalking our stories. When we are ready to dive deeper, we have the support of the water and the Elemental Undines taking us to the next level.
To see Dr, Emoto’s water crystal pictures please visit https://masaru-emoto.net/en/crystal/.
One thing all my spiritual practices over the years of Wiccan, shamanic and Druid traditions share is the strong relationship with Elementals. The elements as we know them are earth, water, air, and fire, The Elementals are the spirits of earth, water, air, and fire. And they like to be called by their names; Gnomes, Undines, Sylphs, and Salamanders. That helps us - and them - resonate with their spiritual life force energy.
When we set our intention to interact with the elements as Elementals, it means that we recognize that they are both the water, and the spirit of water. A huge shift occurs in ourselves and the collective when we realize and interact with them as sentient beings.
Recently I had the unique opportunity to be an emissary for an Elemental. At the shamanic retreat this summer in Asheville, I partnered with three other shamanic teachers to initiate ceremony and workshops focused on accessing and honoring the living spirits of nature. Each person in attendance came from different traditions, but we were able to create a coherent and power-full container so that the Elementals and devas could co-create with us. As facilitators, we each partnered with an Elemental that we felt we could best co-create with and share their unique wisdom with participants. I partnered with water. Having this opportunity gave me the gift of taking my relationship with it to a deeper level.
I knew that would be my element, as I have always felt at home in the water. My sun is in the fixed water sign of Scorpio, I Iearned to swim when I was 4 and was always the last one out of the pool, the lake, the creek. But as I accepted bringing water to the ceremony, I inexplicably felt it was a difficult task. I suddenly felt like any of the other elements would be much easier for me to relate to and work with. I found that interesting and I spent a lot of time in meditation about why I felt that way. I came to the realization that it’s complicated!
Sometimes what we love and resonate with can be hard to explain. I questioned my relationship with water and the Undines. Water rules emotions. It seems like I have spent my life trying to be balanced emotionally. I feel like finally after many decades my emotions have settled in the center of the spectrum instead of going from one extreme of being too intense and letting everything spill out wildly to the other extreme of being shuttered up and cold.
Spiritually I have loved water with deep gratitude, created many ceremonies with it and for it, prayed for it, even marched in the street for it. But then I have also brought thousands of pollutants into it with soaps, cleaners, leaky oil pans and plastic fibers from my laundry. I have taken it for granted, turning on a tap without thinking, forgetting that I am interacting with a spiritual being, full of other energetic beings like sprites, nixies, and nymphs.
I realized that this is a universal issue for humans as all of us care about the state of the world’s waters as we have watched oil spills, radioactive materials, agricultural runoff and other pollutants contaminate waters over and over again. Because we are spiritually sensitive we want to help, we want to do something about it. Many of us have probably connected with the spirits, or journeyed to them, asking what we can do to help. I have done that myself several times, and always I get a similar message of “Thank you but please don’t concentrate on the contaminants. Please see us in our perfection, our original and constant divinity.”
But we can not be in denial of pollution either. We have to address that as well in our practical lives.
When we are in nature, it’s easier to feel the powerful Deva energy of the ocean. Easier to see the nixies and nymphs dancing in the sun sparkles on the surface, and to see the shape of undines in the waterfalls. It tends to be harder for us to see the spirit in the mundane, the nixies in our bathwater, the undine presence in our dishwater. It’s not that they are not there, it’s that sometimes their vital life force may not be as vibrant because it has been harnessed and trapped in ways that are against its true nature.
When we hear about the contaminants in water, we see it as impure and not life-giving. And that is a legitimate concern, as there are many places in the world where the water coming out of the taps is not safe to drink. As we navigate our thoughts to those issues unfortunately, it diminishes its vibrancy even further.
So I asked the Undines what we can do to help this difficult situation on a spirit level and they said, “Love the elemental around the chlorine, around the lead, around the bits of micro plastic. Love the being who is the Deva that over lights bodies of water. Thank it for all it has done for us to keep life flowing and vital on the planet.”
We must train ourselves to see the essence of the water and its perfection by recognizing the soul light, the spiritual blueprint of perfection that radiates from the elementals, the undines, nixies, nymphs, mer people as much as possible. It may mean tacking a note above the sink so that we remember not to take them for granted, and we remember to thank them with a prayer, a song, or a feeling of gratitude radiating from our hearts.
It is not the only remedy, but it is something we can do now. Then they can use that energy to restore their vitality and purity and for whatever else they need, especially when it is infused with the power of our love.
The wild untamed Metolius River west of Sisters, Oregon
To help you tend to soul issues that may manifest in physical, emotional, mental or spiritual aspects of your life, and to give you tools to empower your path to harmony and well-being.
-There are so many kindred spirits doing the work out there. I include these links to help our community connect with one another.
FAIRY CONGRESS - Offers a summer weekend gathering in person with workshops, circles and of course faeries and nature beings! They also offer a winter virtual weekend with amazing guest speakers like Orion Foxwood, David Spangler and R.J. Stewart. I highly recommend joining the online network to participate in monthly workshops, circles, and book clubs.
SACRED HOOP Magazine Guide to Shamanism Compilation- http://www.sacredhoop.org/Pages/FreeGuide.html
Owner Valeria Pearson lovingly created SOLE TO SOUL YOGA studio with a community focus. There are classes for all levels and events that lift the spirit. I am delighted to partner with her to offer a kirtan chanting circle once a month.
My friend and herbalist mentor, LAWRENCE BIRCH is a Certified Clinical Herbalist, plant whisperer and shamanic practitioner. If you need custom tincture blends or are interested in a wildcrafting apprenticeship, he is the teacher extraordinaire:
ROGER WHEELOCK and GAYLE RUTH are shamanic practitioners and teachers in the Pachakuti Mesa Tradition. https://www.rainmother.com/ I am grateful to be able to take part in ceremony with them, and to support their love for the Peruvian people through the World Ayni Association.
NEW WORLD KIRTAN = Kitzie's podcasts include interviews with artists and kirtan music. I love attending her weekly Satsang group and the New World Kirtan Band concerts -