Do you talk to trees?
Do you feel closeness with one special tree, one that you feel speaks to you or even hugs you with its loving energy when you are around it?
Many people feel a kinship with trees, a sacred gratitude in their presence. They can have the aura of a wise guide, a loving grandparent, a mystical sentinel. They are as individual as people. Many folks that work in the spirit realms work with a tree or trees, and many also work with a special place in nature that becomes sacred with the work.
My friend Lawrence Birch, who facilitates the shamanic healing circle with me, had an inspired idea for our circle to work with a “shaman tree”. He shared a great book with me by Evelyn Rysdyk, A Spirit Walker’s guide to Shamanic Tools, in which she talks in great detail about how to create a sacred prayer tree for offerings, prayers, and ceremony. At our May healing circle we asked attendees to bring ideas of trees they know in local places that would be accessible to our group. We asked each person to journey to the tree beforehand to make sure they had their permission to bring them as a nominee. Five trees were brought as possible candidates. Lawrence had a brilliant idea to be the neutral organizer and labeled the trees anonymously A – E. He then led us on short journeys to our helping spirits to choose between two letters, A or B. Afterwards we went around the circle and reported the letter we got, then the one who received the majority went on to the next round, and so on, until only one was left. It was amazing in the last round that almost all of us got the same one. This one became our “shaman tree”, a huge, elder Douglas Fir in Willamette Park at the edge of a quiet, but public clearing.
Our shamanic healing circle met at the tree last weekend. We brought offerings to place in the tall grass and blackberry vines entwining its base, we joined hands around it and sang songs of gratitude, gave it poems and prayers. We journeyed to it and to the surrounding nature spirits. We received messages that were powerful and profound. I was moved very deeply by the experience, as were others. After our circle, I was nudged to the edge of the clearing to take a picture of our tree. The next day I looked at the picture and saw that spirit had honored us in turn by becoming visible light in the photo.
Imagine if a group of people in every city and town came together in community to honor the spirits of nature in all realms. Imagine the pure light of spirit emanating in every one of those circles. Imagine the possibilities for healing our world.
Last night I attended a Full Moon circle organized by Joyelle Petersen and Danielle Heenehan, two amazing women in my town who are bringing back the art of ceremony. The weather was beautiful, so they could hold it outside in a friend’s big backyard. They had rugs, mats and pillows of every color arranged on the grass for the circle. The altar was set up on one side with rattles, drums, sacred herbs. A good crowd of about 15 of us was there at the start time, and we shared tea and snacks we brought. I knew a couple women from other groups, but what struck me was that I felt so easy about talking to the people that I didn’t know, despite my feeling shy in big groups. More women kept trickling in and as I talked to them, I found many times we have some other friend or organization or modality in common.
As the ceremony started and a shamana sang a sacred welcoming song, I looked at the gathering of about 30 women and felt the strong invisible web that we created. We were weavers of our community, teachers, students, moms, grandmothers. Then I could see us in a birds-eye perspective woven together with all the other people coming together in ceremony all over the planet for the full moon, creating our web of light. Visions like that give me great optimism that humanity just might pull through these chaotic times.
Creating ceremony can be hard work. It’s not only just the planning, it takes a devoted energy to hold the sacred space for everyone to come together. I am so grateful that I know people who value ceremony, and have the skills, the heart and respect for the joyful work they take on to feed the spirit of our community.
One of the first things we learned how to do in energy work classes was to ground. And it was the way we started off all the other workshops I’ve taken in Reiki and shamanic studies. I always thought I had that down. But I’ve come to find out recently that there is always room to deepen the practice, add new facets and finesse to it and take it to the next level.
I’m taking a class right now in Energy Body Mastery with Christina Pratt, a brilliant shamanic practitioner in Portland. This is an online class, and honestly I wasn’t sure what to expect. But after reading her introductory email about the class, I was hooked. So far we are only in week 3 of the 7 week class, but her perspective on the energy body, grounding and boundaries has been very refreshing. Even though I have been studying energy medicine for the past 12 years, I am definitely benefiting going deep into her aspects on the subject. So this version of grounding she takes us to is augmented with Chi Gong practice which really integrates the body and energy awarenesses. I have practiced Chi Gong and Tai Chi in the past but it’s been at least 20 years ago. Practicing it again after all this time and combining it with the energy tools from Christina and my own deep toolbox has been a lot of fun.
And it made me realize that sometimes when I thought I was grounded I wasn’t, and that it is possible to be over-grounded. So if you have the basic tool of grounding in your toolbox, take it out and give it a good lookover and a polish. Discern if you are really feeling that solid energy connection to the earth, or if you are just going through the motions.
Some things to ponder…
When you think of being grounded, where do you feel it in your body? Do you feel a solidness in your belly, or do your legs feel heavy, or do you feel it somewhere else?
Are there images that come to mind, and if so are they ones that you have learned from someone else or from a spirit-teacher?
Do you feel balanced?
Is there a reciprocity going on with you and with Mother Earth and Father Sky?
Is there anything that you could add to it to take it to the next level?
In these intense times, being grounded is more important than ever, and it is essential to do on a daily basis to take care of yourself. So make like a tree and root.
Photo credit: Linda Guinter (dear friend and fellow redwood explorer)
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.
SACRED HOOP Magazine Guide to Shamanism Compilation- http://www.sacredhoop.org/Pages/FreeGuide.html
Kitzie's podcasts include interviews with artists and kirtan music. I love attending her weekly Satsang group and the New World Kirtan Band concerts -
Energy Intuitive and Nature Communicator - Cheri Melton's work with Devas and Nature Spirits is profound. So happy to have her as a friend and mentor -