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Aspen

The aspen is a fast-growing poplar with a straight trunk and tall-domed crown. Like al poplars it holds its leaves on long, flat stalks allowing each leaf to flutter in the lightest of winds. This constant gentle vibration of sound has sometimes been interpreted as ‘trembling’, born of the memory of grief or pain. It could be equally, though, a continuous, gentle laughter at the constant variation and surprise in existence. The leaf’s movement is a homoeostasis, a response to external stimuli that maintains inner balance within the functioning of the tree. It is not as a result of confusion or disorderliness. The noise of poplars can be experienced as a soothing, trance-inducing state similar to the rattle of a shaman.
But if one is unwilling to change one’s viewpoint and resist the tendency to quieten the mind, then confusion might well follow. We strive to see patterns, to create order and meaning, to make sense of everything we experience. But as soon as one pattern is grasped, all other potential patterns can disappear from view. White noise is the noise of everything in the universe, but with no one thing dominant. Where do we rest our awareness? If we relax into the unfocused state then the noise becomes both random and patterned. Because we exist as a pattern of fixed or resonant energies, and because we tend to look at some things clearer than others, because we possess our own personal ‘tune’, it will be reflections of that tune that we hear. This is the nature of vibration – it amplifies similarities. So white noise and trance-inducing sound can act as a mirror heightening our energetic state if we attempt to focus, or make sense of, the sound. If, however, we remain unfocused, happy to exist without any particular focus for a time, then what appears out of the random noise of existence is the energy that will tend to move us towards new information, new energy, new harmony. The aspen is sometimes a shaman’s tree – one by which the seer ascends to meet the spirits. It is a true shaman’s tree because what appears above ground is simply a relatively small portion, and a short-lived portion, of the root-being that can live for hundreds of years and spread itself over many acres. Aspen says what seems to exist, does exist but not how you expect. It says that attempting to make sense of everything from only one viewpoint is expecting the universe to conform to your narrow view of what is real. It says owning everything is only accomplished by relaxing not by attempting to control.
Looking up at an aspen tree one sees the straight trunk like the axle of a wheel and, against the sky, radiating spokes of the boughs and branches. The purpose of a wheel is to move but to stay fixed in place – to vibrate, to respond to movement, but not to lose its own balanced state. Holding still but moving. Keeping to a pattern, but not excluding other patterns. The ability to easily let go of one experience to experience another.
The voice of the tree is not the voice of the tree but the voice of the wind. The voice of the wind is the voice of the tree. Vibration is a combination of forces acting on each other. It is not simply one thing. To identify with sound is to misunderstand silence. To identify with pattern is to misunderstand chaos. To identify with a body is to misunderstand the nature of the body. To identify with thought is to misunderstand the nature of thought. To identify with mind is to misunderstand the nature of mind.

“Laugh, walk away. The tyranny of certitude will always fail.”

Aspen Sutras

1
Moving on
Nothing stays.
Never mind.

2
the wheel spins.
No point
Still point

3
white noise.
Orientation:
Never mind.

4
letting go,
frequency change:
never mind.

5
taste delight.
Moving on:
Never mind.

6
holding on,
missing the point:
never mind.

7
missing the point,
centre of the universe:
never mind.

8
the wheel spins
no point:
never mind.

9
still point
white noise:
never mind.

10
shaman’s rattle
world’s laughter:
never mind.

11
wheel
hub
laughter

12
speak
spoke
rattle

13
rim
run
remain.

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What is a Tree?

What is a tree? Is it the root, invisible and gigantic beneath the ground? Is it the trunk and branches? Is it the leaves, the fruit, the flowers? Is it the wind that moves the leaves, evaporates and moves the water, that carries and fertilises the seed?

Where does a tree begin and where does it end? What moves through it belongs to it – courses through every cell, acts on every membrane. What enters the tree becomes the tree.

We are not distinct from the water in our cells,the minerals in our bones, and the same is true of the tree.

The edges of things begin to blur when we start to become as quiet and attentive as a tree. The human being grows tendrils and leaves, the tree looks back with silent eyes.

This is the beginning of Tree Spirit Healing: knowing that the boundaries between this and that are only of use if we can forget them when the need arises. Boundaries are safety nets, but they can also become prisons / poisons.

17

Only Human Beings

As human beings we are truly ‘only human beings’ with the perspective and patterning of human beings. We know less than we believe we know because we tend to cling to the facts that we have chosen to accept whilst rejecting everything else.

‘Only human beings’ reminds us of our intellectual and body limits. However, ‘only human beings’ also means that we must remember that, in the same way a tree is made up of stone, water, air and sun, all held together in the pattern we define as “tree”, so we, as human beings, are also part of the contigious, continual, seamless flow of energy that moves through the universe.

‘Only human beings’ means that we should remember not to take our own sense of importance too seriously. On the other hand, we should remember that we are not apart from, but instead, we are part of, creation.

“Tree” is a dance of the Elements.

“Man” is a dance of the Elements.

“Spirit” is a dance of the Elements.

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This is the Tree Spirit Key of crack willow, fire that inhabits the boundary of water and land.

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