The bamboo forest at Sagano, Japan
“What riches, what a blessing trees are! Particularly if you can sense that all that solid, compact matter is in fact condensed light. Yes, trunks, branches and foliage all feed on light and are condensed sunlight. How could we not be filled with wonder at the thought that the sun’s love is there in abundance? And trees are also our benefactors, as they purify the atmosphere with the oxygen they release, so those who live near a forest are truly privileged. A forest is a place naturally full of presences. As soon as I begin to walk through the trees, I sense presences. And so I speak to them. I know how to address them, how to commune with their soul, and they understand me. These trees are all inhabited, and humans would be happier if they were aware of this and tried to establish real relationships with them. What is an oak? What is a fir tree? What is a eucalyptus? You have to spend many hours with them to discover their soul and commune with it. “
-Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov
Have you ever stepped into a forest and suddenly felt a sense of serenity overtake you?
Have you ever walked around your neighborhood and suddenly found yourself attracted to a particular tree or grove?
Have you ever had the feeling while hiking by yourself in the woods that you’re not alone, but somehow feel a gentle presence is watching you or is with you?
For me, check, check and check.
I’m fairly certain that I had a former life as a forest guide or tracker. It’s a place which I have always felt safe and have spent hours happily hiking and never felt alone in the least. When I was younger I always wanted a treehouse and admittedly it was after hearing about Olympos, in southern Turkey, a backpacker’s haven where people stay in tree houses , which pulled me there.
The “tree houses” of Olympos.
As a tomboy, I spent many hours climbing trees and reaching the top of the local linden tree and having a bird’s-eye view of the entire neighborhood. At an even earlier age, in Bangladesh, I recall playing hide and go seek with other cousins around a gigantic Banyan tree which seemed to be a house in itself.
A very typical Asian Banyan tree.
I will never forget the sense of awe I had when I entered an old-growth redwood forest in Northern California. It was like entering a natural cathedral. Lately, I’ve found myself drawn to a magnificent, ancient willow tree in my neighborhood, which has a perfect place to sit and lean against and is near-perfect for climbing as well as having great branches for quietly sitting on and meditating.
Not “my” willow tree but you get the idea.
I wouldn’t mind in the least, even now, living in one. Just have a look at some of the designs out there these days.
If you want to check out even more amazing tree houses, have a look at this article.
Tree worship is nothing new. The fact that they are revered almost universally and have a prominent place in the mythologies of various cultures around the world are also a testament to their ability to calm us and even heal us.
Yggdrasil, the Tree of Life in Norse mythology
Africans have a very rich connection to the weird and wonderful Baobab tree.
The Baobabs of Madagascar
Buddhists of course revere the Bodhi tree under which Buddha achieved enlightenment.
Buddha’s original Bodhi tree is long gone but it’s descendant is now a Buddhist shrine.
Japanese Shinto worshippers usually tie pieces of cloth to specific tree shrines, with each cloth-tie signifying specific prayers.
I love the Aivanhov quote because it reminds me of the dryads in C.S Lewis Narnia tales, where trees had specific spirits attached to them and that they showed themselves to us when we were ready.
Lucy Pevensie seeing a dryad for the first time in the film version of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”
Go hug a tree!
In the meantime, if you find yourself in a concrete urban area with little chance of getting yourself to a huge tree, have a listen to this song, called “Sky Trees” by Swedish electronic artist Solar Fields aka Magnus Birgersson
. It’ll get you into the right state of mind :).