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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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hawthorn kenn churchyard1

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.

*****

hawthorn blossom1

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.


****

A5hawthorn

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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Downloading

hazel coppice

The message
of the great trees
is communicated from within
and by means of
their great silence.

If you have a wish
To communicate with
The spirits of trees
Then go with a willing
Quietness.

Take time
Just to be
In the presence
And receive packets of information
For later unravelling and
Investigation.

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silver birch2a copy

Birch Breath

“Bone white
birth reveals
all in beauty.”

The birch is amongst the most graceful of trees. Its white bark and long elegant boughs, often with down-swept branches, make it easy to see from a distance wherever it might be growing. Birch is a pioneer tree inhabiting the poor, rocky soils of heath land and lower mountainside. Living on the edges of the inhabited world of man it is easy to associate the tree with the spirits of the wild, particularly female lunar and fertility deities. In keeping with its character as a liminal dweller on thresholds the birch carries associations that appear contradictory but elucidate its significant role and symbolism.

The ghostly white bark represents both light and life- the power of life to conquer and regenerate, to give birth and flourish – and also of the cold, lifeless bones of the dead, the dwellers of the Otherworld and the ancestors. In the Scottish Highlands the birch is sometimes seen as a benevolent female spirit, a dangerous, devouring witch or a home for the spirits of dead girls. This symbolism may well reflect an ancient association with the Great Goddess, whose aspects included the nurturing fertile Mother at the same time as the ravening destructive force of War and Destruction. She is the Mother who goes to all lengths to protect her offspring from harm.

The name ‘birch’ derives from the same Indo-European root words as ‘light’, ‘shining’, ‘bright’. But birch also shows that all beauty is balance, for the white purity of the bark splits to reveal black underneath. There is no birth without death, no light without darkness, no beginning that is not also an ending. We cannot rest our eyes on true beauty until we accept the whole interaction of life with death, until we stop favouring, stop judging, stop comparing. The oldest traditions of the Great Mother are uncompromising in their clarity. All aspects of human experience, good and bad, are manifest in Her forms and faces. There is no possibility of compromise with human frailties or wishful thinking if we want to attain a true state of clear, birch-like awareness.

Breath:
Breathing in through the solar plexus.
Breathing out, imagining the breath swirling around the inner walls of the body(as liquid swirls around a vessel).

Tea: All parts are useful, including the rising sap in early spring which can be tapped to make an excellent wine. The bark is diuretic and laxative. The leaves are high in potassium so taken together with the bark can prevent the sodium-potassium imbalance that can occur when taking other diuretics. Both the leaves and the sap are anti-inflammatory and are useful for arthritic conditions and skin irritations like psoriasis. The buds can be used in cases of cystitis (the alkalising effects of potassium helpful here as well).

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Tree Consciousness – on Silence.

Attaining a degree of silence is essential to any work with trees and tree spirits, ( in fact, with any work on subtle and meditative levels).

Silence, though, is not a reduction, not a shutting down or shutting out, not a restriction of thought, nor of the senses, the actions or the passions.

Silence is an opening out in order to include what appears not to be sound, what appears not to be self, what appears not to be sensation.

Silence happens with inclusiveness of what is not perceived. Thoughts don’t stop, feelings don’t stop, nothing changes. Except there is an addition in the self-awareness that all is occurring within a field existing beyond any object or percept.

We habitually seek out things, objects, names, identifiers. These are all in the foreground. Silence occurs when we also notice the background, the field within which our percepts reside.

When we stand in front of a tree, we need to see the tree behind the tree, the tree between the tree, the tree and the non-tree.

When we stand in front of the mind, we need to see the mind behind the mind, the mind between the mind, the mind that is the non-mind.

What is the non-tree? What is the non-mind? They are the silence that arises when we pay attention to what is not there, as well as to what is perceived as there.

Most, if not all, of the Tree Teacher Techniques in Tree Spirit Healing are ways to bring this silence to our awareness, either directly or indirectly. The next few posts will describe some of them. Beginning with Gazing.

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Imagine a tree beginning as a seedling.

It starts to accumulate energy and begins to transmute the elements of light, water and earth.

It accumulates power within its structure.

As it grows more energy, power, information, consciousness is concentrated and can stay stable here for many hundreds of years.

These are stable energy fields within an ever-changing environment.

Slowly, as the tree eventually ages and dies, it releases that accumulated energy slowly back into the earth where it can be accessed again.

Visualise this process as if each tree were a  point of light or warmth.

Look down on the landscape alive with stable energy.

Small points growing bright over the centuries, spreading the light of energy into their surroundings, holding steady and then gradually becoming more diffuse and fading as other lights begin to glow bright.

Know that nothing else in this world can infuse the world with this light.

Everything relies on this continual dance for its survival and sustenance.

These are the power stations that need to be maintained.

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monkey puzzleA5

Tube Of Light

A tree is a tube of spirit

Through which the energies of the world

Can move.

Being in the presence of a tree and its spirit

We can feel the movement of this energy again.

Our edges soften, our roots spread deeper,

Our ‘but…’ awareness quietens down

And we become happier to let go

And breathe life through our own tube –

The tube of our body,

Of our personal history,

Of our awareness.

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