Talking to Trees
I had begun to study Native American spirituality on my own. I read various books and magazines, but still had no one to share my ideas with. I needed a teacher and, at that time, I didn't figure that there were any in this area.
So one day I went to the park across from the school where I teach. I had read about talking to trees and hugging them, and finally got up enough courage to try it. I went down into a little valley so I couldn't be seen, then found two tall, straight trees to stand between. I put each hand on a tree trunk and called to the Great Spirit, asking that I be sent a teacher.
Within a short time I found out about a Native American teacher named Medicine Hawk, and began my studies with him.
When you think about it, trees represent pretty much every kingdom you can think of. They themselves are members of the plant kingdom. As plants, however, they draw nutrients and water from the soil, the nutrients representing the mineral kingdom. Their leaves draw carbon dioxide form the air and release oxygen as a waste product, uniting the leaves with both the earth and the sky.
Further, numerous animals make their homes in trees. Everything from birds and squirrels to various insects and the animals that feed on them. Trees are truly multi-purpose beings.
So, how do you go about talking to a tree? What types of trees should you talk to in the first place?
There are, of course, a variety of sources that you can read that will have descriptions in more detail, but for the moment let me note the following, but with one warning.
Various trees have been used medically in the past in various forms of spiritual systems. This is definitely not saying that they have been scientifically proven to have such medical properties so be careful when you decided to use any form of tree or other plant life for medical purposes without first doing very, very careful research and consulting an actual medical authority on the topic.
Given that warning, I'll note that the following are some of the reported uses of various trees:
Ash trees are noted for bringing peace of mind. Beech trees have been used for mental health and have been used medically for frostbite and as a remedy for skin inflammation, hives, and swelling.
Birch trees have been used for mental health and have been medically used for wounds and burns, ringworm, and ulcers. Cedar trees are used for purification, banishing evil spirits and negative atmosphere. This is the most sacred tree to the Cherokee. Medically it has been used as an aromatic, astringent, and heart stimulant. It is considered a very powerful protective herb.
Cedar trees can serve as an anti-aphrodisiac, for purposes of exorcism, and as a protection, particularly when used in a sachet.
Magnolia trees are used for dream work and have been medicinally used to relieve dandruff and aid fevers and chills.
Maple trees have branches that were often fashioned into magick wands. The spirit of the tree is considered to give love and understanding which neutralizes all negative energies, thus making it a particularly good tree to hug.
Oak trees are used for protection, luck, healing, and longevity. Its medicinal effects include as an astringent, and tonic. It has been used to stop bleeding, and as a substitute for quinine, diarrhea, dysentery, bleeding gums, and hemorrhoids.
Sassafras trees have been used to attract money and for healing, power, and love. It has been used as a blood purifier, stomach, eyes, as a spring tonic, and to help quell digestive disorders.
Pine trees have primary powers which include guardianship and problem solving and for cleansing, fertility, longevity and spell-reversing. It has been medicinally used as a diuretic and an irritant for bladder, kidney, and rheumatic afflictions.
Willow trees powers include banishing negativity, healing, attracting love, and communicating with spirits. It has been used medically as an antiseptic and disinfectant. It is used as an incense at funerals, and may be used in a smudging mixture.
AN EXERCISE IN TREE-TALKING
1. Consider first what you want to talk to a tree about. Do you want to talk about your troubles? Are you going to ask for guidance? Do you just want to try and merge with the tree, and feel the strength of nature as it flows through the tree and into you? Decide what you want to discuss first.
2. Then figure what kind of tree you wish to talk to. You can go by some of the descriptions given in various New Age/Native American-type of books, for example. If you are in an area that doesn't have many trees though, your choices may be limited.
3. Go to where the tree is. Smudge yourself first; if you feel that you don't want to be seen by people doing smudging, then do it before you leave to go to the tree.
4. Calm your mind, and focus your attention. Approach the trees and offer tobacco to the four directions and to the trees. Then place your hand on a tree. Focus your thoughts, and try to feel the pulse of life within the tree. You can use both hands and
if you desire, give the tree a full hug.
5. Begin your dialogue with the tree. State what you wish to, but also be willing to listen. As with other forms of communication with beings other than humans, the information you receive may be in the form of visions, images, smells, tastes, colors, or almost anything else. Keep your ears open, too, for any sounds of particular birds or other animals that might be nearby.
6. Once you feel you have communed with the tree long enough, then let go and step back. Thank the spirit of the tree for allowing you to talk to it, and for communicating with you.
7. Then take a walk and enjoy the fresh air, or return to your home and meditate on what you have learned from the tree being.
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