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The shadow and the hill

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The Shadow and the Hill

Light becomes torn by rain and cloud.
A delicate distance
washed, lost, illuminated.

There is a fast
Wind river in the forest.
Below, another, threaded with light
Funnels between the knees of oaks.

Steadfast sheep, white as stars,
Nibbling deep wet grasses.

This hill, too big for birdsong,
Graciously accepts
And rolls deeper
Into its green haunt.

This hill a hero hill in name,
Breaks kindling silence,
A drift of saintly flocks.

Yesterday, the oaks were gold.
Today, they are all become steel.
Armed for winter.

Deep is the depth of the world.
The sheep know it,
The oaks know it.
Slow are the spinning shadows,
The long shadows that stroke
These patient hillsides.

Yews of Llywel

The start of a series of works based on the ancient yews of Powys,Wales….

simonhlilly

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YEWS OF LLYWEL

1
Older than theologies,
Blood grail holder
A taste of cinnamon and rust.
He would have stood here shaded,
Llywel, eyes following your dark spirals,
Hands and back against your rough dragon skin,
Watching the rain sweep in across the valley trees.
The little stream growing loud then quiet again,
The nod of measowsweet and hawkweed,
A thick, potent prayer tasting on his lips.

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2
Lidless, you seeing yews,
Eyes fast on eternity,
Shrugging off days and years.
Time, (even), kneels down in your shade
Forgetting all but this one moment,
Head bowed, long-veined hands
Like the valleys of the Epynt,
River full and throbbing green,
Bending seawards, bending to the lowlands,
Bending to the silence, to the confluence of breath,
An instant of clarity, wordless, bubbled, weightless.
The chambered heart, rope and sinew,
Knotted, released, a stretched tympanum quivering.
One vowel, one consonant, one tree.

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3

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Not strictly on topic, but an aspect of Northern shamanic tradition that makes a great assessment technique to add to Tree Spirit Healing processes.

simonhlilly

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Please click on this link to view a preview of my newly finished book:

stave runes all

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Ashes to Ashes

What we can do is pay attention and offer it kindly….

simonhlilly

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Ash, my tall and graceful one!
My sky-sweeping, rooted one!
Pillar of the upland airs,
Feather-leaved and blowsy one!
May you live forever
On the green meadow,
The cliff-side wood.

May you not decline
With the eastern wind
That blows unwitting death.
It is not hateful, nor malicious,
That small spored thing.
It is itself, longing to live,
Breathing when given space to breathe.
Happy to flourish free.

But all eat the other.
Each food delightful,
A means to be maintained,
And who can dare say
This one form has more need,
More right, than that other?

These hills, sighing open,
Green-pillared with ash and maple.
Sky-open, crow and jackdaw,
Hare and hawk,
Were once oak deep
’til cropped for pit and forge.
We ourselves so keen to scrape
And burrow, scratch and gather up.
Those stone walls now, too,
Broke and deserted, wooded once more.

Our curse in time…

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Tree As Vajra

Tree as Vajra

‘Vajra’ means ‘ thunderbolt’ or ‘diamond sceptre’. ‘Vajra’ is the Indian Sanskrit name. In Tibet it is known as a ‘dorje’. Like many of the symbols of Tibetan Buddhism, it has a long lineage. It probably derives from the attribute and weapon of the early Indian sky and storm god, Indra, the primary deity of ancient Indian peoples. Like the ‘phurba’ or ‘iron nail’ it has precedents in shamanic practice for dispelling and controlling spirits.

The vajra is the symbol of the emergence of the universe. It clearly echoes the form of a tree. The central point of the vajra is the sphere, symbol of the primordial creative void, the true nature and source of both emptiness and form. This is the seed or the heart (the core or the trunk) of the Tree of the Universe.

From here arises the first manifestations of energy: the primal elements and their interactions. This is where the trunk begins to divide into separate boughs and roots.

Next, the vajra expands further into clearly separate parts, the spokes or tines, each dividing into apparently distinct entities and individualities in time and space. These qualities of time and space come about through the apparent separation of form and emptiness – represented in the vajra by the alternating bands of metal.

The enclosed space within these tines echo the shape of the original, central sphere – the true nature of all apparent manifestation is that nothing other than this exists. This void is recapitulated as each tine returns to unite in a final point where all individuality and difference merge together once more.
The branches and roots of the tree spread out from the point of origin, yet in terms of both electromagnetic energy patterns, movements of the water cycle and other natural processes within the tree, the divergent manifestation forms a closed circuit of energy, a continual return to the source and then further outward expansion.

The universal balancing harmony of the vajra shape, together with its dynamic, wrathful, feel make it a powerful symbol for protection and unity. We can develop a visualisation process that mimics and manifests the energy of tree as vajra within our own energy fields.
This has a spontaneously balancing and purifying effect.

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TREE VAJRA VISUALISATION

It is not so important where you ‘place’ this visualisation. It may be clearly superimposed upon or within your own body, or it may be easier to see it just within your mind. Do what feels easiest at first, and with familiarity integrate the imagery more clearly within your sense of body, time and space.

2. It will always be more anchoring to begin with an actual tree. One that is present, or one that you know well.

3. In these exercises it will always be better to visualise yourself with a luminous egg-shaped energy surrounding and containing your physical form. Seeing yourself simply as that luminous form with no physical characteristics is sufficient, and may be easier to imagine that seeing “yourself’. Such an image allows the experience of more subtle levels of sense information and a clearer interaction with other levels of awareness.

4. Form an idea or image of the tree you feel you can work with, ( one that seems appropriate, or one that comes to mind as you begin to settle down).

5. In your energy form, consciously move closer towards the tree until you find at a certain distance you begin to enter the atmosphere or awareness of the tree itself.

6. At this place, pause, and greet the tree energy, asking permission to continue with the exercise. (if there is a clear refusal, you may need to work with a different tree energy or centre and ground yourself some more).

7. Move towards the tree until you pass through and into the trunk. Stay still and integrate with the feelings.

8. Become aware not just the trunk where you are, but also the boughs and branches way above your head, and the roots spreading deep beneath your feet.

9. Upon this, superimpose an image of a clear, bright, white vajra, with one end in the topmost branches and the other going to the deepest roots. You will see yourself more or less positioned at the centre of the vajra.

10. Now reduce the size of the vajra so that it is wholly within your body. Take it down to the size that fits inside one of the main chakras ( allow it to go to whichever one it chooses, heart or solar plexus will be most likely).

11. Now enlarge the vajra again so that it reaches from the crown chakra, just above the top of the head, to the Earth Star about a metre below your feet. Maintain this image for a while.

12. Next reduce the vajra size a little so that its two ends are at the crown and the root chakra. Now rapidly expand the vajra, or sense that it grows in size, moving both up and down to fill the whole of the tree once again.

13. Allow any precise imaginings to dissolve. Simply rest in the space of the tree and vajra energy. Let any communication with the tree spirit or any healing, purifying and balancing processes take place now.

14. When you are ready, become aware of your body again within the tree.

15. Imagine yourself leaving the tree trunk, walking out into the world again. At the tree boundary, turn and say thank you. Return to your normal focus.

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This is the first of a series of related meditation exercises that were created and presented in Japan last month. It can be done very quickly, or it can be made into a main practice. It will be especially useful for those who feel out of balance or struggling with aspects of their environment they find challenging and difficult.

WALKING INTO A TREE (PURE EMPTINESS TREE)

Emptiness presents no resistance, no opposition. Everything flows through freely and maximum harmony is maintained.

1. It will always be more anchoring to begin with an actual tree. One that is present, or one that you know well.

2. Form an idea or image of the tree you feel you can work with, ( one that seems appropriate, or one that comes to mind as you begin to settle down).

3. In your energy form, consciously move closer towards the tree until you find at a certain distance you begin to enter the atmosphere or awareness of the tree itself.

4. At this place, pause, and greet the tree energy, asking permission to continue with the exercise. (if there is a clear refusal, you may need to work with a different tree energy or centre and ground yourself some more).

5. Move towards the tree until you pass through and into the trunk. Stay still and integrate with the feelings.

6. Become aware of the edge of the tree trunk, where the living cells are. Be aware of the quiet central spaces of the trunk of the tree. Visualise these as a large, hollow space. Allow your own body boundaries and aura and those of the tree to become the same, so you are just aware of an inner space with edges at the outer boundary.

7. Now imagine from above the top of the tree, open to the universe, that the energy of space, the element of akasha, flows down into your energy tube, swirling and flowing with indigo and starlight. Feel the expansive,opening energy sweep through your whole being from top to bottom, from head to foot, from branches to roots. When it has filled your inner space allow it to concentrate at the outermost boundary, as if forming a new layer of tree bark. See it as a layer of intense indigo, or midnight blue.

8. Now return your attention back up to the top of the tree, open to the universe. See a refreshing flow of air, of wind, of breezes, with a vibrant green colour, sweep down filling and cleansing all the inner space, sweeping away all imbalances. Fill your inner space completely and the see the green energy of air concentrate at the outer boundary, on the inside of the indigo layer of akasha.

9. Return your attention to the upper end of your hollow awareness tree and see a forceful white flow of water rush downwards bringing clarity and openness. See that energy sweep round and cleanse every part of your inner space. Then see it concentrate in a layer of white energy on the inside of the green layer of air.

10. Return your attention to the upper end of your hollow awareness tree and now see a downward rush of fire, a tumble and roar of flames, red in colour, fierce and powerful. See it purifying, transforming, consuming all imbalances. See the red flames fill the whole of your inner space, then let it concentrate as a layer of vibrant red colour on the inside of the white layer of water.

11. Return your awareness to the upper end of your hollow tree awareness and see it fill with a deep, rich yellow of the element of earth. See that clean, nurturing energy fill all your inner spaces, settling and repairing, reestablishing order and harmony. Finally, let the energy of the earth element flow out to form and concentrate as a layer of vibrant yellow on the inside of the red layer of fire.

12. Focus for a moment on the five protective layers that form the boundary of your hollow tree awareness. Then relax and let the imagery fade. You are now just standing within the tree again.

13. Imagine leaving the tree, walk out into the world. Turn and thank the tree for its kindness and support. Return to normal awareness.

—–

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Wayfaring Tree

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Wayfaring Tree

Far memory, similarities, echoes, resemblance, personal boundaries and independant protection, echoing times, reminiscence, stuck in tracks, retracing paths, following one’s own footprints, familiar reverberation, resonant spaces, familiar signs, repeating patterns, mazed, enchanted, entranced, enraptured, unfolded, entrapped, bewitched.

Old paths
Echoes
New song to sing.

Old signs
Fading echoes
New song, new path.

Recapitulation
Mazed
Dream echoes
Habitual paths.

Circular paths
Old songs
Falling awake.

Old path
Echoes
Old songs
Fading echoes
Old paths
Dream singing
Old songs.

This small member of the viburnum family gets its name from the observation that it was frequently found along ancient roads. Its other, more ancient name, is hoarwithy, because it bears unbels of white flowers and produces very flexible stems that can be woven together. It is commonest on light, chalky downland soils -the same uplands that were favoured by Neolithic peoples because of the lighter tree cover that was easier to farm and to move upon, less frequented by wild animals and less prone to flooding.
There is a great attraction in following pathways that are already established. It is easy to presume that they are going in a useful direction for us. But it takes very little to get diverted or for someone to lay down a new track that may simply go back on itself or become a dead end. Habits are pathways established over time by cultures, groups, families and individuals.over time, useful, well-worn paths may become obscured by more fashionable directions to move in. Sometimes, old paths are the best yet are still forgotten. Sometimes, they are forgotten because they have been improved upon.
When patterns are repeating in an individual’s life it can be like becoming lost in an unfamiliar place where we simply find ourselves travelling in circles. Once we recognise this we must make sure that we consciously make changes so we can move off somewhere else.
To get lost in a dream of the future is as futile as getting lost in a dream of the past. Sometimes steps need to be retraced a long way to find out where we have ended up and why. Wayfaring Tree Spirit brings to our attention the deep past and how it has echoes through the ages and through repetitious habits in our lives, allowing us to discover what needs to be retained, re-examined or remembered, and what needs to be left behind. Following footsteps over a cliff edge, or following footsteps to safety.

****

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The Winding Roads

The Winding Roads

A tree essence such as hazel may be effective at increasing alertness and mental clarity. However, a different tree or essence will, in some cases, seem to work better – even if it seems to be unrelated in function or effect. Why?

In winter, snow can often block roads, even when all the main routes have been swept clear and are passable, the minor roads are often still blocked. If you live off the main roads it makes no difference that the traffic is moving freely there.

Again, if all the roads, minor and major, are clear, but your own driveway is impassable, you are still is not able to get to where you are going.

The effectiveness of energy information, such as essences, does not only rely on the essence chosen for the apparent problem. The effect will only be felt when all the appropriate pathways have been cleared that can allow the energy information to reach the best site of action.

One very small break in the flow of information can create a standstill in the process. Hence the need to work with each individual, on the individual, and not to rely on generalities and fix-it-all repertories.

****

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Larch Breath

Breathe in: through both soles of the feet, up the body to the very centre of the head.

Breathe out: down the outside of the head, along the outside edge of the arms, to the fingers.

“ Delicate touch
senses opening
warp and weft”

Few trees show such a surprising range of aspects as the larch. One of the primary mountain-side trees of Europe, it has become a common forestry tree as well. In winter few other trees look as scraggy, as unkempt as the larch does. It is a deciduous conifer and so loses its needle-like leaves so that rough bare branches thick with small cones disguise the often, graceful lines of the downswept boughs. In early spring, however, new tufts of bright green needles revitalise its appearance, and if one looks carefully, amazingly sculptural little flowers can be seen just as the green appears. Male flowers are domes of bright yellow-orange, female flowers to become the cones, are deep crimson crowns spaced along each branch. In autumn, the whole tree turns copper-orange and in the late autumnal sunlight, a burnished brass. Scruffy, bohemian, surprising to see, but perfectly adapted to shed winter snows. The energy of larch is the expression of creativity, the richness of experience, the enjoyment of contrast, a contrast of the practical and the rarified. Exploration of experiences, enjoyment of contrast, flexibility to get the best from the surroundings, relaxing into places and events. Sturdy but delicately sensitive. The wood is light, fibrous and heavily impregnated with aromatic resins that make it ideal for long-lasting telegraph poles. In the same way as those poles support and enable humans to communicate with each other, larch itself opens our consciousness to the possibilities of exploration, play and creativity. The understanding of existence is the experience of the warp and weft, the interweaving of communication and understanding/empathy, shared senses between beings. When things seem untidy, dull, lack-lustre, the spirit of larch will re-infuse experience with enlivened senses, optimism and a brightened mind bringing fresh vision.

The taste of time
Weaving through cellular senses.
Opening out, uncurling,
Delicately sensing,
Deeply feeling,
Letting go and dancing
Dancing for joy of movement,
Joy of stillness.
Mountain air
Serious and sharp
Aromatic elegance
Mind weaver;
Will spinner;
Cat’s cradle;
Ingenious genius;
Careless creator;
Weaving sensation –
Golden dancer.

*****
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HAWTHORN

“warm breath
dark cave
summer stars.”

No smell so captures the atmosphere of early summer in Britain than the hawthorn blossom. It has a heavy, sweet, erotic earthiness that seems ideal for the burgeoning of life around the beginning of May when the branch-tops become laden with a layer of white, cream or pink flowers. Hawthorn is a tree long associated with earth spirits – the fairies in particular – and with the Earth Goddess. It is a small tree that never attains a great girth or height, though it suits its habitat of open scrubland, woodland margins and open moorland. It is one of the main hedging plants as it can survive heavy pruning and forms dense thorny barriers of angular branches. The wood is heavy and fine-grained, though not as hard as blackthorn or other fruit woods. It’s often contorted and expressively gnarled form gives each tree a personality and presence less easy to find in other species. Despite its rugged and wild appearance during the winter months, it has an aura of benevolence throughout springtime, summer and autumn when the branches are laden with small, dark red berries. Hawthorn somehow manages to express the epitome of the Threefold Goddess and the sequence of time marked by seasonal change. Herbally and energetically hawthorn benefits the heart by regulating any abnormal activity. Its generosity of expression in flowers and fruit and the guarded protection of its compact form and fierce thorns perfectly characterises the needs of the heart in opening to relationships with love whilst maintaining appropriate boundaries between the self and others. There are many sub-species and types of hawthorn, all of which work alongside the qualities of the heart, love, expression of emotion, personal path, universal consciousness, intimacy, relaxation, expansion, richness of the senses, relaxing into the experience of living.

*****

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HAWTHORN BREATH
Breathing in: upon a constant stream of moving breeze from the distance in a straight line into the centre of the back (at heart level).

Breathing out: upon the stream as it emerges out of the front of the centre of the chest.

TREE TEA
Hawthorn flowers soothe sore throats. The bark is a mild tranquilliser that can help with fevers and malaria. Flowers, leaves and bark all regulate heart function bringing elasticity to blood vessels, reducing palpitations and giddiness.

******

HAWTHORN GODDESS

Attraction of atoms,
Mesmeric swing of electrons,
Neutron heart –
The yearning of gravity.

The constant dance of suns and planets,
The magnetic tide of the years,
Pulling green fire
Furled from rock-bleak branch.

Lying warm in lust nest
Dreaming of you,
Shining one.

Nesting in warm lust,
Weaving dream,
Shining one.

Clasped together
Magnetic dance,
Heart sharp drop.

Star for stone
Blood for thorn
Bud for spring
Attraction, fascination.

Root to soil
Iron to Pole Star
Spiralling inwards
Spiralling outwards.

Dancing hearts
Bud to heaven.


****

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MIDLAND HAWTHORN

Expansion into heart, growth, direction, awareness, enthusiasm, fractal patterns, inward expansion, thousand-petalled

Inward expansion
Heart mother
Thousand petals.

Expansion inwards
Open fractals
Thousand petals.

Inner expanse
Heart mother
Fractal patterns.

Inner expanse
Heart mother
Fractal petals.


****
Midland Hawthorn Breath:

Breathing in: bring the breath in to the heart.
Breathing out: see the breath expanding out from the heart as a growing sphere. At its furthest, outermost edge, there is a sense of stars.

****
The Hawthorns all work with the energy of the heart. The heart is the centre, the core, of a thing, the place from which everything expands and originates. The first often gets swamped by the second, the third, the succeeding experiences that explore and elaborate in greater and greater complexity and originality. It is easy to get swept along with the new until there is so much to experience simultaneously that we grow tired of having to make choices, decisions, changes. We lose sense of control, sense of perspective and are overwhelmed by possibilities. Yet we have travelled so far away from where we started that it seems impossible to find a way back to a simple, honest, central point. Midland hawthorn helps us to experience a return to the centre, focusing energy and awareness in one place so that we can see the chaotic whole for what it is. Chaos and lack of order is simply looking at things from an inappropriate distance. Getting closer or going further away patterns will begin to emerge that we can recognise and follow.
Within infinity every possible point is the central point, and within that central point everything else is enclosed: expanding inwards, remaining in the centre, patterns unfolding endlessly. A small tree that becomes the universe. A wavy-edged leaf becomes a map directly to one’s goal. The music of the heart beating.

****

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