Becoming children of the earth again

(This post was produced through automatic writing. My personal belief is that the source of this lies outside of me, but obviously I have no way to check this, so feel free to read this as me giving my opinion on things in a somewhat unusual format, speaking from the perspective of the gods. What matters ultimately is whether the contents of this resonates with you or not. )

I want to tell you a story.

There used to be a time when humanity did not yet pretend that they were the rulers of the universe. When you were still small children who had just learned to play with tools.

It was during that time that you became self-aware of yourself in a way that many other creatures are not: you started to see the world around you as something you could master, a puzzle you could try to figure out in order to improve your living conditions.

At first this was just an innocent little game: try to seed some seeds and come back the next year to see if it had made a difference. But quickly enough, you began to see that it indeed made a difference, and you increased your experimenting and became more pro-active, no longer seeing this as a game, but as a serious business.

It is at this point that the gods began to take note. For we became aware of the potential consequences this would have, as your relationship to the world around you began to change.

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And so we reached out to you. We sent some messengers to communicate with you. Both to help you on your way, but also as a precaution to make sure that you would not disturb the balance too much. And we taught you to work in accordance with nature, honoring the plants that gave you food. It is no coincidence that many of the early creation myths speak precisely of this: of how the gods had created the people by teaching them how to feed themselves. For that is indeed the moment when you became humanity, and not just a type of animal that happens to celebrate very elaborate rituals and wears clothes.

Let me make clear what I mean when I use the word animal here. I use it in the sense of a living being that has a place within the web of life, and has a body that can move of its own accord. Under that definition, you are animals. This is not something that distinguishes you in a positive or a negative way.

Except that you began to think of yourself as different. Even with our guidance, you began to see the world around you as something that was there mostly for your benefit. And that worried us.

For even among peoples who celebrated the earth as a sacred place, and animals as brothers and sisters, there was this sense that your species was different. Maybe not better, but still different. And this had the risk that it could develop in a way of thinking where you would consider yourself as so different that you would stop your efforts of communicating with the world around you, and start to rely only on the resources of your own intellect, and no longer come to us for guidance. And thereby, think that you no longer needed us and that the world around you was there especially for you, and was there to feed you and be subservient to your kind.

Our fears came true. The worst happened: as you began to understand the world in which you live in a more and more mechanical way, the thought of it as sentient and capable of deep thought and emotion became more and more alien to you. And so a group among you stopped your communication altogether. And you all know where that has brought you, for that group of people is the one that eventually birthed you.

And so we worry. For your current way of living has the potential to destroy the earth, if you do not start changing your ways real fast.

But we are still here, and we still want to help. For we still believe that it is not yet too late, and the mess you have made can still be cleaned up.

And so I have a question to each of you. On whose side are you? What is more important to you: Your own personal comfort and survival, or the survival of your kind and of this planet?

I hope you have given the second answer. If so, I have an invitation for you. I am the Earth. I am your mother. I am the one who feeds you. Will you work with me? Will you allow me to teach you ways of seeing differently, of respecting your fellow creatures? Will you allow me to help you to become just an animal again, and to regain the connectedness that you have lost?

Life through the eyes of a tree: leaves

(This is the third and final part of ‘life through the eyes of a tree. The previous parts, the heart and roots can be reached by clicking on the respective links.)

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Imagine freedom, dancing in the wind, a life spent as pure breath, lived on the wings of song.

What do you see when you look at the sky? Is it what science tells you – a place where nothing happens, just some molecules spread out thinly, or is it a place of wonder? Even with human senses, you can perceive some of its miracles: just think of the wonders of sound. And your cell-phone may have convinced you of just how much information that ’empty’ sky can carry.

Now, imagine that you could be just that, that your life could be spent simply as an antenna listening to these songs, helping them get carried along, shouting out and adding your own voice to the concerto. Imagine, being a leaf of a tree.

Who ever told you that trees do not have ears, that they do not have eyes? They do, they just do not see in the same way as us.. Every leaf is a living organism on its own. It breathes, it has a heartbeat. And it hears the whispers of the wind, because it dances along with it. It hears the subtle vibrations of birdsong, and responds to them with tears of joy.

Imagine having not one, but thousands of these little ears at your disposal. Like pixels on a screen, they form a reflection of the vibrations of the sky. Then this picture is enriched by the rays of the sun and the way they hit the leaves.

But how can the tree even use this information if it does not have a central nervous system, if it does not have a brain? The mistake you are making here is thinking that the tree is operating as a separate organism. The tree is forest, and its brain is the entire forest. The tree is just the tentacle that speaks with the sky.

The tree is the dancer, that performs a ballet with the wind every day. The audience is the entire forest. Connected by underground fungi, the earth itself becomes aware of the love song high above.

And then, at some point, the coming of winter is announced, and the theatre closes for its winter recess. But not just like that. One final show will take place. And this time the leaves are not merely listening. This time, they are the messenger. They shout out their appreciation with a dazzling display of colour. Going out with a bang, they call that.

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I repeat my suggestion. Imagine being a leaf. Imagine living a life that consists of nothing but dancing with your surroundings, of being part of the most magnificent painting of the planet. Pure expression.

To then end your life in the womb of mother earth, dreaming of another year, of a rebirth where you yourself will be the foundation for the next generation. Alive through others. Listening to the concertos that you used to be a part of yourself. Rejoicing in the memories of song.

 

Life through the eyes of a tree: roots

Before reading this, make yourself comfortable. Snuggle up in a blanket or feel the warm rays of the sun caressing your skin, depending on what the seasons are like where you live. Then, close your eyes and join me on another journey in the wonderful world of tree consciousness.

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Imagine darkness. Not a threatening darkness, but a soft, caring, nourishing darkness. One that shows you the way rather than confusing you. All you want is to discover more, to merge with it, to be carried by it. And so you slowly expand your senses in an embrace of this nourishing darkness.

And you feel its whispers. You hear them vibrate within you. And you notice how you are not blind anymore, even though you have no eyes to see. For the soft vibrating somehow translates in a tree-dimensional image of the world around you. Slowly, other senses begin to add to that: an almost magnetic pull to go to certain areas, and to avoid others.

You sense how, if you expand yourself just a little bit more in a downward direction, you will be rewarded. There will be conversation, there will be friendship, there will be sharing. And so you stretch… and stretch.. …and very carefully, you make yourself longer, until you hit a pool of emotions. A trickle of water, a source of life. It invites you to come even closer, and you hear it whisper memories of mountain streams, of long journeys through the earth: of time spent within the body of a plant.

Then, as if in response, you feel the larger organism of which you are a part, stir and chant to you. Echoes of sunlight reach you, reach through, and start their own conversation with the droplet of water you just discovered. A journey begins, a dance, a sharing: as the water elemental attached to the stream discovers new paths and rises up through the root that you are, up into the tree. Along the way, memories are exchanged, allowing the tree to share in the magic of the thunderstorm. In return, letting the elemental rest for a while within a leaf, for a moment of sunbathing before being released out into the air. The tree breathes.

On the out-breath, a wave of gratitude comes back, reaching down into the roots. This time, a ray of sunlight floods down, dancing, reverberating through the roots of the trees. Continuing the conversation with the earth. Darkness infused with light, with laughter, with joy. For a split second, everything is illuminated, and the shape of mother earth revealed. And you rest safely within her lap, knowing that she will always nourish you, lead you to where the stories are to be found, guide you to where the richest conversations can happen.

And you crawl on, ever expanding, always reaching out, connected to the sun even though you are living your life within the embrace of darkness.

Rooted in love, you feel content.

(This post is the second in a series. The first one can be found here. )

Life through the eyes of a tree: the heart

This is the first in a series of posts that tries to look at the world from the perspective of a tree.

To begin, I would like you to visualize the following. Go to a place in the forest that you feel closely connected to, and see yourself sitting there, with your back resting against a huge chestnut tree. It is autumn. Right in front of you, you notice one of its fruits, the prickly skin protecting the chestnuts from those that want to eat them before they are ripe.

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And you begin to wonder about that. Why the protective measures? Why does the tree not simply give away its fruits, but does feel the need to protect them?

And so you ask the tree if it will help you understand. In response, you feel your perspective changing, and it feels as if your body is slowly being absorbed inside the tree-body, and you become ‘the tree’. At first, that feels restrictive. You even panic slightly for a moment. What if you are not going to get out of here again? What if you are going to be a prisoner in here forever?

But then you relax. And slowly you begin to let go of your human senses, and you start to breathe with the tree. You listen to the sound of your heartbeat, and how it pumps the blood through your body. Relaxing further, you focus on that for a while.

As you do so, you feel your perspective expanding. You are walking around the forest again. Not in your human skin, but as a kind of expansion of the tree body. You see how you are attached to it through a kind of umbilical cord. And you realize that that cord does in no way restrict you, but instead, gives you freedom. For it takes care of all your material needs: as long as the tree is there, you are assured of nourishment, because the tree freely provides these for you.

Take some time to explore the forest from this new perspective. You are truly part of it now: for the tree not only shares its resources with you, but also its senses. Translated in a way you understand, that feels as if you have suddenly developed an ability for a kind telepathic communication: where before, the forest was a silent place, now it seems almost loud, as if multiple choirs are singing at the same time.

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It is hard to describe what it is exactly that you hear, and the word hearing isn’t exactly right either, for that would be a too one-dimensional way of describing it. For the ‘hearing’ that the tree provides you with, doesn’t happen with your ears alone, but engages all of your senses at the same time: you see it as a wave of colours, as an alphabet of perfume, interwoven with an ocean of sound. It is a language that is way more complex and rich than human language: it is as if every instant you engage with it, you receive treasure chests full of rich impressions, and whole stories download into your brain, instantly, complete with sounds, impressions, as if you were their protagonist.

As you walk through the forest, you realize that you are not simply visiting: in this moment, you ARE the forest.

Then you think back of what originally brought on this reverie, and you turn your attention back to where you came from, kneeling next to the tree to examine one of the chestnut burrs more closely. You admire the cosy little nest that they form around the seeds. You pick it up. And in that moment, you become it. Your mind links to the chestnuts, and you feel/hear/see the burr whisper to you in the colourful language of the forest: I will keep you safe until it is time for you to get born. I will pour all of my love into you, so that you get the best possible chance of survival.

And in that moment, you feel held and loved, not only by the burr, not only by the tree, but by the forest as a whole. You know that, whatever happens next, whether you manage to become a tree, or whether you become squirrel food, you are here, part of this family, part of this community. How you develop and where you end up growing roots will decide in which way you grow up, and what your experiences will be like, but you trust like you have never trusted before. You are part of the web of life. It breathes through you. And you are an immortal part of it.

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At that moment, you sense that it is time to go, and you feel yourself being sucked back into the tree, and then, after a few moments, find yourself back in your own body. And you hear the tree whisper ‘Did that answer your question?’

We are used to perceiving the world as human beings, locked into our own head, with our perspective limited to what our eyes can see, and where our legs can carry us. This visualization gives you a bit of a sense of just how limited that view is. For how can we know what the world is like when seen through senses that we do not possess ourselves? Next time you go to the forest, I invite you to try if you can repeat this exercise: go to a tree, and take time to introduce yourself: explain who you are, and what the world looks like for you. Then, ask if it would be willing to let you share in its perspective. If you receive a positive vibe, sit down with your back to the tree, close your eyes and let yourself be sucked in…

The World Tree and the Maypole: a Creation Myth.

In the beginning, there was nothing but empty space. Nothing, but a single drop of pure Awen. 

And the drop brought forth a dream, and that dream became the first seed. As the seed hatched, the first tree was born. The tree that would become known as the World Tree.

And the drop of Awen became a well, so that the tree could drink of it. And as the tree drank, it began to grow. And behold, it began to have dreams of its own. And as these dreams took shape, they became the first leaves of the tree.

And as the leaves grew, they became aware of their surroundings, and as they became curious, together they dreamt up the sun, so that there would be light. And they found that the light of the sun nourished them, and allowed them to grow even more. 

As the rays of the sun reflected on the pool, the world began to sing with awen. 

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Now, the tree produced flowers, so that it would be able to better hear the song. And thus it was that, out of the union between the flowers and the song, the tree grew fruits, which carried the seeds of the tree.

Then the tree dreamed the first animals, so that they could eat the fruits and carry the seeds further away, so that new trees and plants could grow from them, and the area around the tree would become the first forest.

And the world tree loved them all, so much so that once a year, it shed all its leaves, to share his dreams with this beautiful world. And in return, we still share our own dreams with the Tree. For when we go to sleep, we return to our source, and become part of the Tree again. And as it feeds on our dreams and experiences, it becomes ever bigger and more beautiful…

And do you sometimes wonder about the nature of the gods? Well, maybe they are simply the dryad companions of the Word Tree, sent out into the world to help it curate its dreams, and to keep reminding us all of just how interconnected we are.

So, once a year, as we gather around our maypoles, let us be reminded of this. As we dance and see our strings intertwine, we are feeding the World Tree. And in coming together as a community, we are creating the seeds of the next generations.

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Together, let us dream a more beautiful world. For all of us, whether we are human, animal, plant or tree, together we ARE the world tree. May we dream of love, and share the beauty of diversity.