Tending the Trees
Tending to the trees through listening, ritual, and play is done to reconnect humans to the spirit of trees. This connection can lead to a friendship, allowing humans to see ways in which we can be helpful to world. The power of the group that is created through these rituals supports the trees in their healing.
As we form and deepen our relationships with the energies and physical forms of trees, we listen specifically for allies who tend our lineages and wish to form connections with us. We learn to be in a reciprocal relationships with these allies in order to understand what they want to teach us. They help us greatly to tend our relationships with all of life.
Trees are asking in this time that humans make the effort to heal our relationships with them and to help them thrive. There are trees worldwide that house earth shrines, portals, and keep safe wisdom that will help humans heal the wounds of the modern world. This wisdom has the capacity to transform our realities in wildly positive ways, and our friendship with the trees transfers this wisdom to us to apply.
I have a special tree that I remember from each phase of my life, and from each place that I have lived. Their steadfast presence offered me the physical space to ground and anchor myself in the world. Watching the plant and animal life that thrive all around a single tree is awe-inspiring. The trees’ generosity of shade, beauty, food, and storytelling deserve to be celebrated.
Some Tree Mythology
“The tree of knowledge, connecting to heaven and the underworld, and the tree of life, connecting all forms of creation, are both forms of the world tree or cosmic tree, and are portrayed in various religions and philosophies as the same tree.
The concept of the tree of life appears in the writings of the Bahá'í Faith, where it can refer to the Manifestation of God, a great teacher who appears to humanity from age to age. An example of this can be found in the Hidden Words of Bahá'u'lláh. Bahá'u'lláh refers to his male descendants as branches and calls women leaves.
The Bo tree, also called Bodhi tree, according to Buddhist tradition, is the pipal under which the Buddha sat when he attained Enlightenment at Bodh Gaya. The Tree of Immortality is the tree of life motif as it appears in the Quran. Jewish mysticism depicts the tree of life in the form of ten interconnected nodes, as the central symbol of the Kabbalah.
The concept of world trees is prevalent in pre-Columbian Mesoamerican cosmologies. World trees embodied the four cardinal directions, which represented also the fourfold nature of a central world tree, a symbolic axis mundi connecting the planes of the Underworld and the sky with that of the terrestrial world.
In a myth passed down among the Iroquois, The World on the Turtle's Back, explains the origin of the land in which a tree of life is described. According to the myth, it is found in the heavens, where the first humans lived, until a pregnant woman fell and landed in an endless sea. Saved by a giant turtle from drowning, she formed the world on its back by planting bark taken from the tree. The tree of life motif is present in the traditional Ojibway cosmology, and is sometimes described as Grandmother Cedar.
In the book Black Elk Speaks, Black Elk, an Oglala Lakota medicine man and holy, describes his vision in which after dancing around a dying tree that has never bloomed he is transported to the other spirit world where he meets wise elders, twelve men and twelve women. The elders tell Black Elk that they will bring him to meet Our Father, the two-legged chief and bring him to the center of a hoop where he sees the tree in full leaf and bloom and the chief standing against the tree. Coming out of his trance he hopes to see that the earthly tree has bloomed, but it is dead.”