image : ‘Forest Spirit’, Rob Purday
image : ‘Forest Spirit’, Rob Purday
We landed excitedly in Alaska in early February with an internship lined up, a few hundred bucks, and colorful plethora of wildly misconceived notions : it is a giant ice cube where polar bears run amuck, grizzlies attack at the slightest provocation, and every man, woman and child hunts moose for their dinner. Of these misconceptions most have been broken as definitely untrue, usually accompanied by a cringe of embarrassment.
In short order we acquired a truck and then a dog, which seemed to be required by law, and moved into a shoddily built dry cabin on six acres, not a neighbor in sight, down a gravel road in the bog. “Dry” cabin does not mean there’s no liquor, quite the contrary, because once you start to live in a cabin with no running water in Alaska, you suddenly really want hard liquor. Dry means there’s no plumbing, and there’s quite a few of these cabins in the frozen north; it’s often easier than putting up with freezing pipes all winter. We deemed it the Bogland Estates, or Chateau de Bog.
Initially, I was thrilled. The exquisite freedom of six acres! So little rent on this bogland with no plumbing! I don’t need running water, showers are for wimps! Early spring months passed by in a rosy glow, buffered from reality by our exuberance, anticipating the snowmelt and longer days. Trips to the frozen outhouse required mental preparation, gently coaxing myself, “Okay, it’s time. You can do this. Walk over there. It’s not that gross” (it undeniably was). I’m not ashamed to admit I peed in buckets to avoid moose encounters in the middle of the freezing night.
Spring nights were spent staring intently into the fire stove. I started dreaming about bears, as though my subconscious was trying to connect with the spirit of Bear, and because that which you fear has a way of finagling itself into your dreams. Mini earthquakes rattled the flimsy frame of the cabin for a terrifying few minutes every now and then.
We found ourselves quintessential Alaskan gigs for the summer: him on a fishing boat bound for Bristol Bay, me at a bear viewing bush flight company. He left for the sockeye salmon season just as the sun started to linger longer in the sky.
I turned to the water, tracking my days in the movements of tides thrumming in and out of the bay; the cycles were a sureness, a consolation, something to hold onto. A moose and her two calves began to visit my front yard every morning and evening like clockwork, ambling along their own paths, often emerging unexpectedly from behind the outhouse, stopping in their tracks to eye me as I eyed them; a strange daily communication.
Months of living alone in a dry cabin will turn you a little feral. I realized this with certainty when the bear guides suggested that I shower. Hauling water, bathing in buckets, filling the wood stove, WiFi a distant memory; survival chores take up the bulk of the day. It is essentially camping with the slightest veneer of a home.
Why on Earth would anyone do this?
It’s like hitting a reset button.
In that unwashed state, I felt glimmers of the reason that propelled me here in the first place, driven by some inner force, some inner knowing that in placing your body in a wild environment, some alchemy of spirit can happen.
Living simply, immersed in the dirty off grid, I was able to release myself into wildness. Becoming an observer of nature, letting the changing of the seasons wash over me, really feeling the building of every lunar cycle, the waxing and waning across the sky over the mountains. It’s slower and more subtle than we usually perceive, but always there for us to feel.
Midnight sun began roaring in earnest above, building in an intense crescendo towards the solstice, making my nerves and metabolism go into frenzied overdrive. A creative exuberance pulsed through my veins; the joy of an Alaskan summer in full swing, so gorgeous it seems to shimmer and shake and glitter.
The water called me to it every day, drawn to the liquid immensity underneath me. The scent of algal blooms, kelp, and sea rot became the sweetest intoxicants to inhale. In the bay, I could breathe in and out with the environment, feeling the intimacy and connection with the salty water. I could notice the exchange of gases between my inner worlds and outer atmosphere, my skin feeling more and more like a porous interface, aided by an awareness that we are made of water and elements recycled from the stars.
Otters and seals in the water tracked my movements; I could feel their awareness on me. Water birds dove and skimmed. Bull kelp grew large and bobbed to the surface in alien looking blobs, their long roots tethered to the sea floor like an underwater forest, otters slumbering coiled in the fronds. Salmon from the open ocean returned to their spawning grounds in a mass frenzy of movement into the streams and tributaries of the bay. Orca hunted the seal, seal hunted salmon.
As the light began to shorten again, the animals responded. Salmon skeletons began to wash ashore; their decaying remnants fed the ocean. Bears prepared for hibernation and migratory birds attuned to the Earth’s electromagnetic fields to lead them south for winter, guided by a magnet in their brains.
Having nothing but the bare necessities: shelter, food, water, space, allows you to open the curtain behind the veneer of civilization to reveal a natural world so complex it blows your mind: the goosetongue grass that feeds the bears fertilizes the humus and michiorzhial fungi web of the forest floor that in turn grows the spruce trees and blueberry bushes that shelter and feed the bears again. The cycle repeats everywhere.
This indivisibility with nature, it slowly falls over your body. In the ever-present awareness of large creatures around you, you feel yourself to be woven into the web of life — human, not superior. We hunt moose and dipnet salmon in order to stock our freezers, participating in the universal preparation for winter, just like the other creatures. It casts in stark relief how much we rely on and need our environment and our animals to be healthy.
We humans think, ponder, reason, extract, build, create masterfully, but who is to say a tiny songbird completing its 1,000 mile journey across the Atlantic using magnetic poles as its guide has accomplished a feat any less epic? Or a family of whales navigating their blue world using sonar to ride ocean currents from one hemisphere to another? Or the cultural knowledge bears have of their ancestral lands, passed down through generations?
To learn and witness these myriad adaptabilities and ways of existing in the environment, whether underwater or skybound, is to know there is a force of creation. The biodiversity of creatures we live amongst is a tangible reminder of this: endless forms, most beautiful. I began to feel that in conserving our animals, honoring the sacred ecology of wild creatures, we would be conserving our humanity.
I began to see our skin as an interface holding something encased. This something, You, the endless god knows of you, in a thin cell, sharing the world with other conscious beings. Whether its a bear smelling prey miles away, or a migratory bird seeing Earth’s magnetic field, or a newborn whale learning to sing, or deaf and blind human building up a rich tactile awareness with which to experience and communicate. Life, in all forms, has a Oneness, an undeniable divine interconnectedness. This awareness toppled me from the supposed top of the food chain down into the grit and muck, and in that muck I found an intimacy, like returning home.
This could happen anywhere. There is equally unruly wildness in a patch of grass between highway medians in Newark, but by the very fact of its vastness and its creatures it seems to happen a little easier in Alaska. I still won’t feel resourceful until I’ve fished and hunted for my sustenance, and I’ve unequivocally determined that running water is the bomb, but for now I can still feel it working its strange, slow magic on me, an alchemical change, a cosmic homecoming, and I know I won’t ever be the same.
This piece was originally published at Medium under the title ‘A Cosmic Homecoming’ and is reproduced here with kind permission of the author, Jennifer Tarnacki
I found fresh tracks today
and felt the shy beautiful eyes
of their maker, watching
as I made offerings
to the water spirits
beneath the old oak
by the brook
of fresh snow
that had fallen
in the shimmering
silence of the night
top image : Warlock by Neil Burnell
From where the wild hive dreams,
and, up here, on the high path
where the deer tread quietly
A river of quartz runs through the land,
powerful and melodious,
a honey laden song line.
I am not alone, here
on the wind,
among whispering pines
While, in the marsh below,
two Herons dance, silently
circling, swooping, lifting
Wide stretched wings,
one, a flight feather,
A cock crows in the distance
Beneath the roots of the tall pines,
The Three Sisters,
As I have come to know them,
The wild hive is silent,
save the soft vibration
of dreaming bees
And, from the deer path
that rises through old oak stands,
where the spirits of the forest can be felt
The lake glints through dark trees,
Holly leaves bristling
with rising Sunlight.
It is beautiful.
in the dappled thicket,
An unexpected blessing, shines
in the black pearl
of the Wren’s eye
As Pascal Canfin, former French Minister for Development said,
“Cynics know the price of everything but the value of nothing”
A film exposing the reality of the monetisation and commodification of Nature….
“Its not me, not my power that heals the trees. I receive teaching from the trees before I allow myself to touch them. I am very grateful for that”
“Our lives are made possible by others, both humans and nature. We don’t live in isolation.
Kodama. Kodama. It is a spirit that lives inside the tree. There can be one in each tree. The form of the spirit is something that cannot be seen. But one can feel their existence there and appreciate it.”
“…..you get that sense of history, of many spirits have been here before, not just human spirits, but many creatures have lived here and they still live here; I get that sense that I am not alone, ever.
The forest is a holistic place, a place thats connected. They’re like treasure chests full of biodiversity, genes of species that are really, really old. This is a special little heartbeat, where these things reside….”
A stunningly beautiful film that follows ‘a group of skiers, snowboarders, scientists and healers to the birch forests of Japan, the red cedars of British Columbia and the bristlecones of Nevada, as they explore an ancient story written in rings.’
” ‘Fools & Dreamers: Regenerating a Native Forest’ is a 30-minute documentary about Hinewai Nature Reserve, on New Zealand’s Banks Peninsula, and its kaitiaki/manager of 30 years, botanist Hugh Wilson.
When, in 1987, Hugh let the local community know of his plans to allow the introduced ‘weed’ gorse to grow as a nurse canopy to regenerate farmland into native forest, people were not only skeptical but outright angry – the plan was the sort to be expected only of “fools and dreamers”.
Now considered a hero locally and across the country, Hugh oversees 1500 hectares resplendent in native forest, where birds and other wildlife are abundant and 47 known waterfalls are in permanent flow. He has proven without doubt that nature knows best – and that he is no fool.”
This one rings true…..
this is Owlmirror’s 100th post!
Many many thanks to all…..
Interview with the Siberian shaman Alya, who wished to stay anonymous. Filmed by the TV Channel Russia-Culture in cooperation with Ethno Taiga. Translated into English by ©Excellence Reporter.
Q: There are shamans in Siberia. But who are they? Probably people don’t know much about them, and what do they represent?
Alya: Yes, unfortunately most people have no idea what a shaman is, who a shaman is, what they do and what for. They all have a preconceived idea. And as a general rule people are afraid of what they don’t know. Shamans are being afraid of, sometimes even vilified. People make up all sorts of rumors. As a matter of fact it is much easier to defile than to accept a concept. Of course not everything is comprehensible what the shaman does, precisely in order to avoid a prejudiced, unpleasant attitude towards the shaman. I will allow myself a little, well… to…
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………..’the truth hurts but the lies are killing us’…….
These words from the Danish scientist Niels Harrit carry much weight and gravity in our times. In a recent interview on RedIce Radio Niels revealed how the collapse of building 7 next to the twin towers of the WTC on 9/11 is a clear and in-plain-sight demonstration of a building in free-fall…..without even taking into account the fact that there were no physical impacts to this building, as a physical structure this should not have happened. Even if it was a deliberate demolition carried out through conventional use of explosives the material substance of the building would not have behaved this way; the steel skeleton of the building, the tensile strength and material resistance of its superstructure, were eliminated, its mass integrity ‘atomised’ and rendered resistance free as it collapsed. Free-fall. And remember, this was the building that housed offices occupied by the Securities & Exchange Commission, the Internal Revenue Service, the Immigration & Naturalisation Services, the Department of Defence, several major Banks, and the CIA, amongst others. With extreme irony, as an image of the collapse of a power structure under the direct influence of a greater intrinsic power, it is a provocative metaphor. There are so many ways it can be read as such, that reflect the dynamic of change we are engaged with in the world right now……
……we don’t like to look at the truth when it is painful, when it incurs a cost on our well-being and happiness, but, there comes a point where avoiding the truth no longer becomes an option, where the threat of doing so supercedes the pain, where the cost of remaining passive in the face of a painful truth excedes the suffering of living under the lie. This is a truth that the people of Turkey are demonstrating to the world as I write. In the coming weeks the cost of this newest uprising of collective protest and defiance in the face of oppression and fear will ripple out and will register amongst the people worldwide – and, while the consequences of that ripple effect are largely unforesee-able, at least in their exact form at this point, we can sense the possibilities; those have already been given precedence in Egypt, Libya, Syria and many other countries where the people have risen up in protest……but, the chances of those consequences being realised signal truths that register with extreme clarity within the corridors of power. Little wonder the mainstream media news-channels so often choose to act as if nothing of this nature were happening. It is broadcasting denial.
Such denial itself is a top-down strategy, imposed from the upper-echelons of the incumbent power structures, that also harbours a blatant lie – there is absolutely no doubt about this. The diplomatic hotlines will be on fire, heads of State will be checking and establishing where each other stands, while ‘the usual forces’ will be applied in suppressing the uprisings. The main instrument of that suppression is use of force, but, its effectiveness is not simply physical – it relies on fear for full impact and denial for justification. The metaphor of building 7 finds its purpose here – the power that can deliver collapse is immanent, and widespread. No amount of media blackouts can hide this truth, even if the powers that be would like to subvert its reality under the banner of ‘Terrorism’. Terror or no, suppression feeds its own demise. And, although it can take generations for that demise to materialise, it can also arrive with devastating speed and impact.
The equations of terror applied as a calculated instrument of suppression are couched in the langauge of cryptic lies deliberately designed to spread fear. However, there is a powerful force waiting to be activated and realised if the spirit of revolt is allowed to spread amongst the people. It is the will and spirit of the People. That spirit has a history as long as that of the oppressors, and the source of its power is not only truth, but, fearlessness. When I started writing this article, some weeks ago, it began as an astrological meditation on that spirit, with a focus on the present and the potential energy for its emergence writ large in the stars. The propensity for that spirit to emerge within the world in our coming times needs to be looked at. We also need to glance over our shoulders. There is a point in time at which that spirit began to take on its most recent manifestation, that can be identified astrologically, and which is living through the generations alive in our times. We are approaching the time of the fourth generation from that initiating moment. The astrology is useful as it helps us to register how the effectiveness of that spirit and its nature has morphed through time under the influence of cultural, political, scientific, economic, philosophical and spiritual developments. It also brings the nature of revolution’s own innate spiritual force into a clear perspective. For the most part, what follows here is a severely edited down version of some of the notes, drafts and interpretations of that reading, that have accumulated in the meantime; it has to be edited so, as the material that could be drawn on is so extensive, but, the voice of the historical moment has dictated it so. I was due to publish the full article on May 31st, but, then Mars hit the cusp of Gemini and the voice of the people in Turkey began to ring out with a powerful cry……
……there are many astrological factors feeding into this moment for Turkey, not least of all the current transit of retrograde Saturn in Scorpio presently closing to within a degree of the Sun in Turkey’s October 29th 1923 natal chart – a clear indicator, given the events unfolding, of attempts at internal clampdown on the will and spirit of the Turkish people that are now coming to a head. Theirs is a spirit of much depth and a will of much strength. Chiron, representing wounds and innate truths, is closely transiting Turkey’s natal Uranus – a cathartic catalystic influence of increasing potential within the collective. We share that depth, that strength, those wounds – in solidarity. These are slow moving influences, exerting pressure over time….but, the Mars transit, very closely followed by Mercury crossing into Cancer, hits home with detonating clarity that effects us all. And it is hard to avoid the fact that we are globally under the direct influence of Uranus square Pluto……the metaphysics and potential energy of revolution are seeded within that square, its spirit an unstoppable reality for us all. It only takes for the personal planets to trigger senstive points within an existing natal template for that potential to become fully present and realised through the lives of individuals and nations. So, what can we expect in the coming times? What does the astrology tell us of the bigger picture for our world.
I will be exploring this longer term view in the next part of this post, looking into the upcoming quarter between solstice and equinox, from the perspective of revolution and global transformation. That perspective will stand independantly, carry a more spiritual emphasis and focus on the long term view from the point of view of healing, and activism as a potential medium for this. But, we watch the world stage with baited breath; the bigger picture is crying out to be acknowledged and held…….and, in case you were wondering, in respect of this, the image at the head of this article carries a message that I would invite you to meditate on…..
……Monarch Butterflys migrate en-masse over thousands of miles each year, following a pathway that is innately imprinted in their ancestral memory. Within a single year four generations are birthed, the first three following the primary instinct to find food and reproduce, increasing their numbers to a profound and significant level; the fourth generation is different – this generation follows the impulse to migrate on its journey home. By the time the fourth generation emerges their numbers are so great that even the ravages of the journey cannot reduce their numbers sufficiently to prevent its collective destiny being realised and the journey being completed. Such are their numbers that their future generations can be ensured and the ancestral link to their innate nature kept alive. This in itself is a powerful metaphor, but, we need to go a little deeper to get its full import…….
Within the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly the process of cellular and molecular deconstruction, breakdown and reconstitution within the chrysalis is facilitated and ‘managed’ by certain cells that hold the genetic codes of this process intact throughout – these cells are called the ‘Imaginals’.
The Imaginal cells within each generation of the Monarch butterfly assure the transformation from caterpillar into butterfly, but, it is the generational cycle that this in turn ensures that allows the Monarch Butterfly to achieve critical mass……..
…….what feeds the Imaginal is its connection with the bigger inter-generational picture, its crowning glory being its journey beyond the chrysalis, beyond the generation that it gives rise to, an ancestral journey that belongs to its spirit and is foreseen in a time to come.
As we stand, the long reach of the human journey encapsulates much of the Monarch butterfly’s, and, like them, our generational homeland calls to us with innate power. Perhaps for us in this time it is most clearly evident in the rising spirit of revolution, a force of nature that is both historical and of the moment. The wide scope of our future is narrowing and the time is fast approaching for our own migration – that migration is so intimately bound up with the release from the cocoon of oppression, lies and suffering, that we cannot help but know this is a journey into truth. It is the role of the Imaginals that is crucial for us now. The very word has power…..and it is here that we have our mandate. We are on the cusp of the fourth generation, witnessing its emergence, and its spirit lives through us.
Who would you look to as perfect living examples of balance, generosity and healing? Who will offer you a pathway to the stars, to reach into the inner cosmos of Earth. Who can unfailingly give you the most fundamental requirements of shelter, warmth, food and medicines? Such beings are real, they do exist, right now, here in our midst……
They have inhabited this Earth for nearly 400 million years – they preceded dinosaurs by 140 million years – before them there were no reptiles or amphibians. They are expert natural energy bio-condensers who radically altered the climate, reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, causing temperatures to drop and preparing the terrestrial surface environment for the emergence and evolution of animals and insects – through their arrival the planet quickly began to assimilate living conditions very similar to the present-day.
Their children have carried forward their ability to transform, nurture and, literally, inspire Life into our times – and yet we massacre them daily – through this, we contribute to climatic degradation and our own demise – for a thorough over view see this link
we love them too, so why do we treat our dear friends so – they are the Standing People – the Trees, living symbols of Life. It is our greatest challenge as a species to respect Life AND to, as a species, act accordingly – we devolve into failure unless we do so – so, if we could but take a few steps back from our madness and listen to them what would the Standing People tell us………..
…….if we lived by our hearts we would know them instantly – they would offer us a chance at rebirth as they are the midwives of terrestrial life, our relatives and elders, beloved and wise – they would fill us with wonder as they cradle the stars in their arms, as they pulse with the Sun and flow with the Moon – they would pick us up, raise our spirits, as they dance with the wind and fill us with their songs – they would cleanse our bodies and heal our souls, as they give us the breath of Life and give back to us the sacred meeting place – they would inspire us to compassion, as they teach us of selfless giving, carry our prayers, heal our bodies – we would dance with them that we may come alive
“…….our DNA is made of the same DNA as the tree – the tree breathes what we exhale – when the tree exhales we need what the tree exhales – so, we have a common destiny with the tree…….” – Floyd Red Crow Westerman
Trees are powerful and highly evolved beings – the closer we become in our relationships with them, the more they stimulate our finer sensibilities, our deeper connections with Life and the Cosmos. They can transform our consciousness. As elder representatives of Nature they offer us a continual example of symbiotic relationship and environmental stewardship – they provide a wonderous variety of species with the essential habitat that fosters diversity and evolution. They too have evolved through this – Oaks, for example, have developed into around 450 species worldwide and, in the UK, the Oak provides a home for more co-habiting organisms than any other tree. Over 300 different kinds of Lichen alone have been found growing on Oaks in Europe and Lichen is a good indicator of air quality – infact the role of trees as indicators of balance within the health of ecosystems has given them a unique place within the consciousness and cultures of peoples worldwide.
No matter where we find trees they bring a sense of wellbeing and belonging, a reminder to those dwelling amongst the hard surfaces and sharp angles of the over-humanised environment of the flow and flux of Nature. For many living beneath the forest canopy the world is immediate, the horizon close by, the natural world a living matrix of vital energies. One western man who spent his life within the community of trees and was able to both discern and develop a profound understanding of these vital energies was the Austrian forester Victor Schauberger.
The son of a forester from a long lineage reaching back to the Germanic tribes Victor was born into the world of forest lore and the practical know-how of arboreal stewardship – he had a knack of perceiving the subtle and invisible energies at work in Nature. Through a mix of patient observation and inspired curiousity he made of his life a meditation on the living energies that manifest the mind of Nature through the trees and rivers, infused with the powers of Sun, Moon and Earth. Trees spoke to him, and he read their messages as energy. He came to realise that trees bridged the material and subtle realms, responding to the rhythms of Life, both sending and receiving waves of intelligent energy. Callum Coats book “Living Energies” is a itself a dedicated translation and thorough assimilation of the essense of Victor’s work.
The outer reaches of a tree’s canopy and roots transmute ever more subtle gradations of material energy units until they become pure information – the mind of the tree extends beyond its physical body, its intelligence reaching into the transpersonal, its whole being a synaptic complex of consciousness in communication. This is to describe a being that is fully awake, that is able to communicate with both inner and outer Cosmos – when trees enter the inward looking times of Autumn into Winter they focus their consciousness on the dreaming worlds, the dreamtime. Through this they teach us of the rhythm of the seasons as a reflection of our relationship with the pulsing heart of creation.
When we listen to that pulse and pick up the beat we are invited to dance – a circle of people dancing with this pulse, carried by the drum beat and sacred song, pulling the energy of the circle in towards the tree and slowly expanding out again, will awaken the tree – she will radiate a profound warmth and delicious energy, embracing us in her consciousness – to experience this is to know that this is real, beyond doubt, and it will truly bring healing.
Around the world shamans journey with the drum to the otherworlds from the roots, branches and body of the great tree in search of knowledge and healing – the hoop of their drum is gifted from the trees, the skin often adorned with the axis mundi, the Tree of Life – for many indigenous cultures souls come in and leave Life through her nexus – the spirits congregate there – our prayers hung upon her boughs are heard and cared for – in the groves we find protection, sacred space.
Spirit medicine is only one way in which the balance of our natural relations with the Cosmos can be restored. There are other pathways that are accessible to us all and which are called into our consciousness on a daily basis, that our current planetary conditions tell us are increasingly pertinent.
The forests are dying on our Earth, because, through greed and dead matter thinking, we have given priority to satisying the needs of a voracious and uncaring culture, turned a deaf ear to our hearts, become disrespectful and overlooked the reality of our actions – and yet, for so many this is not a true reflection of how we would live. We have not forgotten how to listen, we can still hear their voices – and it is important that we do so for our children and our childrens children. We can reforest our home. And this is a first step – plants and trees planted with respect and in recognition of the sacredness of all Life, over generations of their family and through the seasonal cycles, will become our allies. They come to know us, form a sacred relationship with us and they will always be ready to answer when we ask them for help – this too is real, beyond doubt, and will help to heal the Sacred Hoop, the Circle of Life.
Our western thinking is a great stumbling block, and yet, it is also a great teacher – there is balance in all things. We often filter out that which we do not have tangible evidence for with our thinking – it is an affliction that is affecting our whole world and has caused great suffering within indigenous communities. Balance rather than dominance…….
Balance within communion carries a visceral potential – to restore the balance and make the encounter can be highly emotive and revolutionary, affecting of our view of the world and our understanding of our place within it, of ourselves. There is a wonderful account of such an encounter in “Of Water and the Spirit”, the autobiographical writings of Dagara elder and shaman Malidoma Some. During initiation into adulthood Malidoma describes how he met with a beautiful tree spirit, a tender yet awesome ‘Green Lady’ of immense heart and understanding.
For the ‘western’ mind this encounter is powerfully instructive as Malidoma has to struggle to free himself of the enculturalisation he suffered at the hands of Jesuit priests after they had kidnapped him from his village as a child – his return to the village created a dilema for the Elders who saw both a threat and a gift in his presence, in the cultural baggage that he was carrying. They decided that initiation was the only way forward, the make or break test of whether he could truly become the embodiment of his name, which means “be friends with the stranger/enemy”. It stands as a potent allegory for the relationship between the western mindset and the indigenous.
Malidoma struggled over a long period under fierce conditions of extreme heat and dehydration, focusing on the tree that stood before him, to arrive at the moment when he was able to ‘let go’ and fall into the embrace of the spirit world. It was the attachment to both ‘trying to do’, contriving what he thought was expected of him, and the emotional attachment to the concrete nature of what his senses told him was real that created the barrier through which he eventually burst – he literally fell into the arms of the beloved spirit, and she spoke to him. Without this breakthrough his initiation would have failed. Even more crucially, this opened the pathway back to the original purpose that he had petitioned the ancestors to support him in before his birth, and allowed him to remember and embody his connection with the spirits in Nature, his name and soul purpose. To the Dagara trees are amongst the most evolved of beings on Earth.
For Malidoma this was the beginning of a journey into the wider world, sanctioned by his elders, his ancestors and spirit family. He carries with him the sacred medicines of his African roots, reconnecting ‘people of the diaspora’ with their roots and healing the spiritual heart of our Western cultural desert – thanks to the ‘Green Lady’. I had the benefit of several years profound and heart centered guidance and tuition with Malidoma – it brought many challenges and, like many others whom he has helped, brought a much needed appreciation of our universal nature, the ways in which we can find healing that are so deeply rooted in Nature, our relationship with the ancestors and the spirit worlds. He, with many others alive today, continues to work his magic for the benefit of us all in the world. All blessings be with the healers – human and arboreal.
The next time you enter a forest, lean against a tree or plant a sappling, please say thank-you – say it out loud, from the heart – it will bring healing into your world, our world. Such powerful healing as we find amongst the Standing people is always at hand, within the forests, amongst the watchful care of those great beings we know as the Trees. The New Moon beckons – happy dreaming!