“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. When you go into a forest, remember there is a multitude of creatures there, coming and going, busy doing different things, and that they can see you. Try to relate to them, and even speak to them to show them you appreciate their work. Go up to an oak tree or a fir tree, rest your hand against its trunk, and say to it, ‘How beautiful you are! How strong you are! Give me some of your robustness and stamina… Also, I entrust a message to you for all the other trees in the forest. Tell them they are magnificent and that I love them. Say hello to each one from me; kiss them for me’, and then hug the tree. The entities living in it will then rush to give your love to the whole forest, and while you carry on walking the other entities that have received your message come out from the trees to say hello and dance as you go by. When you return home you will be happy, as if you had just met some friends. A tree is a reservoir of energies which come from the earth and the sun. And it is possible to capture these energies that constantly circulate between the roots and the tips of the branches. When you are in a garden or a forest, choose a tree – the biggest and most beautiful – and lean your back against it, placing your left hand against your back, with the palm against the trunk, and the palm of your right hand on your solar plexus. Then, concentrate and ask the tree to give you its strength… You receive this strength through your left hand and pour it out into your solar plexus through your right hand. It is a sort of energy transfusion, as if the tree was giving you some of its sap. And when you feel recharged, thank it. You may be wondering how a tree can really help you. It will help you if you think of it as a living, intelligent being and if you love it. Your understanding and your love allow you to create a harmonious relationship with it, and gradually you will feel that this relationship revitalizes you and brings you joy.”
-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.
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.
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.
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.
Not bad, eh?
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.
The Celts, ancient Druids and modern-day Pagans have a very rich and comprehensive understanding of trees and the properties of their wood as well as magical exercises for working with the them.
Africans have a very rich connection to the weird and wonderful Baobab tree.
Indians have a myriad of stories around the Banyan tree.
Buddhists of course revere the Bodhi tree under which Buddha achieved enlightenment.
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.
There was a recent article about how actual tree hugging has been scientifically proven to be good for you and that it’s not some leftover idea by the hippies. I can believe it. (I recall watching an NFB film years ago in a “Women and Religion” college course called “Goddess Remembered” and there was a speaker in the film who mentioned an old pagan practice of standing against a tree, with your back against it, in order to alleviate menstrual cramps. It works.)
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 :).