Posts Tagged ‘Tree Spirit Healing’

Listening to the song of the world that the trees hear.

Find a tree where you can rest comfortably for a while. The size is not important, though a large, mature tree is a little better to start with.

Settle down as close as you can get so that it is possible to relax comfortably. If you feel secure enough then close your eyes, if not relax your gaze and keep a relaxed focus at a comfortable distance.

Begin to relax your body and your breath. If you know the Tree Breath for that species you can begin with a few minutes of practice.

As your breath settles, place your awareness, not in your mind with its thoughts, but at your ears. Whenever your attention drifts inwards to listen to thoughts, send it out again to find focus upon your ears.

Relax your listening, hearing all the sounds around you all at once. (We habitually turn our attention between identifying one sound and then another.)

Now keep your awareness in your ears, simply allowing the one sound of the world to pass into your senses with all the different frequencies and silences knitted together.

Hold in your hearing all sounds, both nearby, inside your body and mind, and those that you hear from the far distance. It takes practice to relax enough to allow all sound to be perceived simultaneously, but this relaxed openness with alert awareness is the open quality of tree consciousness. It helps us to blend with the world and to begin to flow into greater awareness.


Read Full Post »


Tree: Roots and Branches.

This simple visualisation allows grounding and centring before then opening up awareness to more universal types of energy.

Begin by relaxing your body. Allow awareness to sink downwards to your contact with the ground.

Extend your awareness beyond the physical body to make searching roots that spread deeper and wider with each exhalation. Continue this process until you feel really secure and well-rooted.

Now with the intent to hold that sense of rootedness, focus on the top of your head. Feel the energy of the sun and the vast spaciousness of the universe gently drawing up your energy. Mould that expanding energy into the form of boughs and branches, growing in an ever-widening dome upwards and outwards.

Once you have a clear sense of these spreading branches, see if you can maintain in your awareness both the root system below your feet and the branches above your head. If it helps, you can visualise your body as the tree trunk holding in place and focusing the energy of root and branch.

When the imagery is comfortable and stable begin to sense and integrate the energies that each outgrowth of your awareness is receiving and releasing into its surroundings.

When it is time to stop, allow the imagery to fade and sit still to integrate the experience before resuming normal activity.

Read Full Post »

copper beechA4


In the darkness

glimmer rainbows

In the emptiness

and hollowness,


In the Earth,

a blessing for everything

In the light,

a balm, a cradle.

In the shadow,

a rest, a murmur.

In my shade an answer,

a seed.

copper beech closeup

A6copper beech

Read Full Post »

69essence hackberry

Tree Roots Visualisation

A simple way to ground and centre your energies, reduce thought and mental activity and become connected to your surroundings:

Settle in your seat so you are comfortable. Have your feet uncrossed and firmly placed on the floor.

Take a few slow, deep breaths and allow yourself to relax further into your seat.

Lightly put your attention on your body. Feel its solidity and its weight. Become aware of the pull of gravity downwards and let your mind settle on the feel of that pull.

Now allow your awareness to flow downwards beyond your feet and begin to sense, see or feel that energy as roots growing and extending downwards into the earth. See them reaching out in a widening circle around you.

Feel those roots of energy as they search deeper and deeper, establishing you firmly and securely upon the surface of the planet.

Allow gravity and the magnetic attraction of the earth’s heart to draw your roots deeper and wider with each breath you breathe.

When you feel that you are secure and well-rooted, begin on your in-breath to draw sustaining energy back along your root-paths into your body.

Feel the nutritious and life-giving energy of the earth slowly fill the whole body as it travels upwards from the very root-tips of your earthed awareness.

Continue to draw the energy upwards with your in-breath. On the out-breath allow that root system to strengthen and spread deeper and further outwards from your place.

Remain in this pattern of feeling and growing for as long as you like.

When ready, slowly allow the images to fade. Become aware of your physical body, your surroundings. Take a few deep breaths. When you feel ready, slowly open your eyes. Take a while before resuming normal activity.


Read Full Post »


I have worked with the Ivy Spirit quite a lot recently. It has been one of the main plants to be explored in groups who were starting off learning about Tree Spirit Healing. It has a lively, easily recognisable energy and provides a great support to those who make a good connection to its energy. Here is one way to become a little more familiar.


“Ivy is a plant that behaves like an animal – specifically a snake, which it so obviously resembles. It creeps and wriggles throughout the undergrowth. it wraps itself around tree trunks. A image of the deep forest: mature old trees within a darkened, clean forst floor. As though in a time-lapse film nothing much changes except the flicker of day and night, the occassional leaf fluttering down into the humus. And then a movement at the corner of sight: a thin, snake-like tendril wriggles its way into view. It writhes and twists ans scrabbles as though sniffing out something. As time flickers on, the tendril thickens to become python thick; aerial roots, like legs, support and stabilise; new tendrils spread outwards across the floor searching more of that essentil food: light. Soon a wave of ivy, a tide of shiny green, is washing up the tree trunks and as time flickers forward the main Ivy Snake wriggles on out of sight, deeper into the forest silence.

“Ivy is a tree that moves, a vegetal snake, a green sea of leaves. It can become a gatekeeper and a useful guide…..

“unless you travel via the intermediary of Ivy or some other, similar tree spirit, it is not easy to gain access to the deeper levels of Tree Wisdom that is the Deep Forest….

” The serpent, the wise snake, is the ivy that lives in the duality of dark and light, summer and winter, intoxication and sobriety, life and death. Only a teacher who has travelled every possible path can know every step of the way and be for us a safe guide.”

(from “Tree: Essence, Spirit and Teacher”)

The Ivy Doorway is a process that combines chant and vision.

What is needed: a black and white image on card or thick paper.

1) First, create an image of a doorway with a semicircular arch, within which is silhouetted a large five-pointed ivy leaf. The archway is black and the leaf is white.

2) Position the image so that it is slightly above your eye level, but that causes you no strain to keep it in easy view.

3) Have a clear intention: ‘to open the Tree Doorways’ and then gaze easily at the image whilst chanting or mentally repeating the Ivy mantra:





4) When your eyes tire, simply close them for a while and continue with an internal visualisation of the image.

5) A time will naturally come when you feel a shift of awareness. When this happens simply relax and allow the experience with the Ivy Spirit to unfold.

6) When you feel it time to return to your normal awareness, say thank you for whatever experiences have been brought to you, and bring your awareness back to your body. When you are ready, slowly open your eyes.

ivy spel mat words 2

Read Full Post »

Ivy clad

And if I am a worm, I am the worm of the world
Enwrapping the roots, gnawing my fill.
So tell me then: which came first, life or death?

Well, (you might say) , first came life
For how could an end come before a beginning?
But I say:
Call death by a better name,
Call death “change of state”, in a more proper understanding,
And see then death arising first,
For how could life arise
Without a change from nothing to something?

But again, this is only one eye’s view:
Light without dark, sun without shade
So cannot be.
Life is change and dies remaining still,
Death is at the heart of life
As life is nothing without death.

So let me be the parasitic worm, the cloth of graves,
The burden of the ancient.
I walk in light and shade, deal death to live,
Bring change to remain.
I am the worm that weaves the world,
A stitch in time, a fearless heart
That will not needlessly divide.
Clasping the axis, seeing the round view.

A heart in light
A star in darkness
A rope to reach
A road to follow.

Ivy clad:
The world wreathed in glory.


Read Full Post »


IVY. ( eye vee why)

No mistaking that first eye, seeing straight.
An arrow dividing light from dark,
Both equal offspring of the sun.

Opening iris: understanding mind.
A mouth to engulf, to hold firm
Sharp advice.

Tongue tasting life,
A right rod to divine, chooser of paths,
Division sign
Conciliator, binder.

Slow spinning searcher.

Heart and stars of winter’s world tree.


Read Full Post »

plane trunk2
(plane tree trunk)

Meditation Tree

All trees help us towards a meditative state. Tree awareness is always connected to the whole. Tree awareness exists in a cyclical or spiral time. Human awareness exists in a linearity of past – present – future. We think at this linear level: evaluating past memory or projecting into the future. The present doesn’t hold our attention in the same way. Perception of the present becomes memory or speculation by habit rather than of necessity.

Tree awareness is held in the present, so requires no thought process (or not like ours). When we contact a tree energy we absorb some quality of tree consciousness and so find it easier to release the habitual linearity of thought. This begins to establish a meditative state. (Each tree will have a different quality or ‘flavour’ depending upon how we interact with its energy.)

Tree awareness is concentric and 360 degrees. Individual awareness is the centre of a circle of energetic liveliness that also includes many other circles of awareness. A tree’s individual awareness is not experienced as separate from the circle around it, but as a denser focus of peculiar factors of view and form. The self (I) cannot have the same meaning where there is no spatial movement or change of view. As humans, we are always in a state of physically changing relationships with our environments. We have therefore to be constantly self-referring to know where we are and what we are doing. A tree exists in one place and has less differentiated parts (organs etc.) so there is not the same need to be self-conscious. More of the awareness can be directed outwards towards the circle’s circumference. It is an inclusive awareness rather than a human’s exclusive awareness. Entering into tree spirit awareness, we experience a change in metabolism – things slow down, the body relaxes, loses track of its position, sense of time changes, thoughts continue but do not distract us from an underlying, non-verbal vibration of energy, sometimes experienced as bliss or sound or light. Buddha knew what he was doing sitting under a tree – not just for shade, but for the connection to wholeness of life.

silver firs
(silver firs)

Read Full Post »

cherry plum closeup

(blossoms of cherry plum, usually the first petalled blossoms in the English countryside, though not a native)

Tree Truth (part 2)

There are about 40 native trees in the British Isles. The figure varies because some authorities do not include some small trees that they consider to be shrubs ( such as hazel, elder, juniper, dwarf willow, the buckthorns). But it seemed to be a logical place to start an exploration of tree energies using the flower essences of those trees. It is something that most people do not think about or consider: all trees have flowers. Not just the blossoming trees, like cherry and apple. Ask someone to describe the flowers of holly or oak, and even though they would probably be able to identify the tree from its leaf, few would be so sure about the flowers. Tree flowers often are small and the drama of their opening, flowering and fruiting go on way above our heads most of the time. Only the showiest tree flowers are more familiar to us because those are the ones we often choose to put in our parks and gardens.

And this was the next conundrum that faced me. Those forty trees ( really less than thirty if one was not to get too fussy about minutiae of very closely related species, like willows), nowadays play much less a role in our everyday environments than species of trees that we have intentionally and consciously chosen to have around us. Naturalised trees are those from elsewhere that have settled down and are quite happy flowering, seeding and self-propagating. Some naturalised trees have been in our landscapes so long, it seems almost churlish to exclude them, segregsting them from those that ‘belong’. Environments change. In Britain, monkey puzzle ( Chile pine) was a native for millions of years longer than the eight thousand or so the ‘natives’ have been around. So too were firs, now only seen in the mountains of mainland Europe. There are ecological reasons why the natives are important. Each ecosystem has developed its flora and fauna as an interactive web of synergistic support. But a horticultural division into natives, naturalised and specimen/park/garden species, though valid at some levels, makes little sense from an energetic and holistic perspective. If we are to explore and understand the spiritual qualities of trees then it would seem to be vital to consider those relationships as they now are. Otherwise there is great danger of becoming historically exclusive, to become zenophobic, even racist, in our attitudes to trees in the same way as we habitually are to ‘foreigners’ and ‘strangers’.

So when I was out collecting tree essences, though I was seeking initially to study the most common natives and naturalised species, if something else came along and grabbed my attention, that was also included. If people understand the energies that they bring into their cities, towns and gardens, then that relationship becomes consciously powerful and sustaining. Humans are also integral with the ecology. To think otherwise is devisive, and more than a little arrogant. Just because one crazy plant collector ( an awful lots of Scots, for some reason), roams the wilds and brings home an interesting/ beautiful/useful tree, that doesn’t make the end result any different than a wind-blown seed or a fruit passing through a bird’s gut. Trees need ( it could be argued, indeed, that they invented), animals in order to get around the planet. The relationship we have with a tree species has always relied upon usefulness and aesthetics. Both these require us to understand the physical and energetic uniqueness of a tree species. The tree presents us with qualities that attract us, we move that tree to other lands, where if the conditions are right, it will thrive. Win win. ( of course, there do seem to be disasters with this sometimes when one introduced species outmanouvres an established species. But this too, is a narrow, short term, anthropecentric view of matters, and introduces value judgements about one living entity over another, a slippery slope!)

Human interactions, our history with trees is a fascinating thing when looked at from a spiritual or energetic perspective. So many serendipitous events, coincidences, unlikely paths have introduced us to some of our most familiar tree neighbours that one would not be blamed for believing that something very peculiar is going on…..

elm flowers

(flowers of elm, hardly noticed as they flower in February or early March. The seeds, if fertilised are much more obvious – a vivid green before most other trees are in full leaf)

Read Full Post »


blackthorn closeup1

blackthorn blossom, now starting to show here in Devon, though it will not be out fully for a while yet – the cherry plum will blossom first.

(The Old English word for “tree” is the same word they used for “truth”).

Moving into trees…

After the first idea to create a range of tree flower essences I looked to see if there was a natural grouping or selection that would provide the basis for a coherent collection of essences. The first, and most obvious choice was to create a range of the trees familiar to the Celtic peoples and popularised in various oghams and tree calendars from the 1970’s onwards. These tree-based systems are still very popular today for they carry the authenticity of the ancient past with their certainty of repetition. However, there were significant problems and discrepancies in the system. At a purely practical level not all the ‘trees’ in the system are trees at all. In the modern ogham we find reed, vine, ivy, broom, gorse, heather. Despite the certainty of modern lists, they are largely derivative of the works of Robert Graves. This Classical scholar wrote the influential book “The White Goddess”, within which he linked some Welsh and Irish texts to a Celtic lunar calendar of his own invention. As a poet he had every right to investigate, manipulate and create – but his grandfather, who was a renowned Celtic scholar, could not approve of the liberties his grandson was taking. Other Irish scholars, such as Peter Berresford Ellis, attempt ( against the flood ), to realign the truth of the source materials.

So firstly, I would like to examine the situation, as I see it. That the Celtic peoples of Europe, the heirs to the Neolithic and Bronze Age peoples, venerated the symbol of the tree is evident, both from art and archaeology. In the Middle East and in the early civilisations of Mesopotamia the tree is a central image that in hot climates clearly comes to indicate stability, fertility, abundance and the immanent creator deities. In the more temperate, forested lands of the West trees take up a similar role and become associated with the sacred centre of the land (as its protector and nurturer) and, by association, to the people of the land themselves. Trees are the pillars of divine order, and a means to access divine will throughout these early cultures.

Our association of trees with druids mainly derives from Classical commentators whose details may be exaggerated, salacious or ‘ improved’ for a city-dwelling audience. The evidence that late indigenous Celts/Britons continued to revere trees is, however, found throughout the petulant complaints of medieval churchmen who strove to destroy sacred trees and groves wherever they could be found. The later transmutation of the cavern-like Romanesque cathedrals of Western Europe into the soaring forests of the High Gothic suggest that the artistic and metaphysical attachment to sacred trees was easier to transform than eradicate from the spirit.

The Celtic intelligensia were not, as commonly supposed, illiterate. They were familiar with Greek and used the Greek alphabet. What they did not do was commit important information to writing, preferring the oral transmission and the power of memory over the vicissitudes of parchment. Only in the Later Medieval period, under cultural threat from Norman imperialism, did the scholars of Wales and Ireland begin to write things down, and then only sparsely. Treatises on metaphysics and supposed ancient wisdom often dates from the 15th to 17th centuries – understandably casting some doubt on the authenticity and reliability of these sources.

The ogham (“o’am”) alphabet popularised by Graves, seems to be peculiarly Irish. It can be found in Ireland and the facing coasts of West Wales and western Scotland – those shores culturally close to the remaining Celtic cultures of tribal Ireland. Mainly found on memorial stones, it is difficult to date, but seems to be from the Early medieval period around the 5th century AD. In physical form ogham takes the form of combinations of lines arranged along or across an axis, often the corner of a stone block. Each grouping represents a sound. Robert Graves emphasised the correspondence of each letter with a tree, but this is his own focus on one small part of a complex mnemonic and symbolic system. Each ogham was associated with a whole web of correspondences from birds to colours to plants to poetic meters to trees to directions and so on. It exhibits a truly Celtic love of ingenuity in language, a multiple layering of meaning and metaphor that really aggravated the pragmatic rhetoric of the Roman Senate. So although trees were one aspect of the ogham it was not necessarily the primary system. Even the names given to the ogham letters are often clearly not the ancient names of trees, though they may reflect some of the metaphysical attributes of a certain tree, but this is not the same as saying ” this ogham letter represents this tree”, as modern commentators would often have us believe.

From my point of view an even greater difficulty was the internal contradictions and ambiguity, and the great variability of what tree represented what sound. Modern sources have tended to follow Graves and plump for a single, definitive tree ogham. This certainly is absent in the oldest known sources. And these sources themselves present anomalies that require careful consideration. For example, if these ogham tree lists are a truly ancient system of symbolic knowledge then they should only have trees listed that were indiginous to the Iron Age and Early Medieval periods. This is an important point. In the British Isles the native species of trees is around 39. What is counted as ‘native’ are those trees that repopulated the lands of Britain as the icecaps retreated about 11,000 years ago, and before the land bridge to Europe submerged preventing any further natural spread of species. The expansion followed the warming climate from south-east to north-west, primarily along river valleys and finally into the highlands. The last trees to slip past the barrier before rising sea levels finally shut the borders were hornbeam and beech, which gained a late foothold in Kent and the far south-east. One hopeful maple, (now confusingly called ‘Norway maple’ ) had the door slammed in its face and only made it as far as the Channel coast under its own steam. Of these 39 species a great many are varieties of willow! All other trees that we assume are natural to the landscape were either introduced later by human beings or had very limited native habitats. Thus to find ‘fir’ in an ogham list must be a later addition because fir trees, though native to the forests of Europe, were not native in these islands ( except before the Ice Ages). Scots pine may have had a natural spread through Britain at some periods, but in recorded times it seems to have really only been native to the Highlands of Scotland, being reintroduced back into England in the 16th and 17th Centuries.
There are some notable omissions from the Irish tree lists that may suggest an Irish-only origin for ogham. In mainland Britain, the forests were dominated by three species: oak, ash and lime. Lime never colonised Ireland and is also absent from the ogham lists. Lime is one of the most useful of trees, both medically and for making things. Its absence makes no sense in a pan-Celtic system. There are many other native trees of similar importance that are notable by their absence from the lists. I was going to list them down here, but of course, became bogged down with which lists to use, which variations, and so on. In other words, I came up against the brick walls that had originally decided me on a different approach!

I believed that to be relevant today, it was important to look beyond. The limitations of the ogham tradition, and its ancient authority, creates both advantages and disadvantages. One inherent disadvantage with “ancient knowledge” is that, unless the key to understanding the core of the system is maintained – which allows updating and flexibility – the information becomes fixed and dogmatic. The advantage with a rigid structure it that it breeds confidence. The purpose of every tradition is to maintain and pass on true and effective methods. The limited number of trees apparently included in ogham means that it is easier to focus on each one. Confusion is reduced, simplicity encouraged. However, with a finite, closed system ( especially dealing with arcane or esoteric knowledge), the inherent danger is always exclusivity and elitism. It encourages the concept that some trees are more important, more spiritual, more healing, more traditional, more ancient than others. The more limited a system, the more this tendency is likely to manifest ( the intolerance of monotheists in comparison to polytheists, for example). We generally strive to achieve the security of precedence. The longer something has been in existence the more genuine we feel that it is. This is an emotional reaction and defies all logic. As social animals we feel more secure following the crowd or adhering to an elite group ( a ‘special’ crowd).

So when I finally discarded the practicality of the ” druid trees”, I looked to the next group: native trees. Native trees are defined in Britain as those that reinhabited the land as the icecaps retreated. There are about 40…..

field maple1

field maple, a common woodland and hedgerow tree, the only native species of maple in Britain, absent from all ogham lists.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »