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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in trees

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

Trees are wisdom keepers. They stand in a single place on the earth’s surface and faithfully witness the unfolding of time. Like people, trees observe their surroundings, root where welcomed, reach toward nourishment, and hold close where limited.  They form scar tissue when wounded and can adapt to change.  Examining the lives of trees offers critical insights for human wellbeing and survival, showing us when life thrives and falters.

“Witness tree” is an expression used for trees that mark boundaries, act as signposts and directionals, or witness key events in history and local culture – celebratory and tragic.  Trees also witness the in-between moments that are precious and informative in their own right. Through this collaborative witnessing of trees and people, we hope to foster a world that is richer and more sustainable for both.

My dear friends Rebecca Power, John Steines, and I partnered over a year ago to create Witness Tree, an art exhibit at Commonwealth Gallery in Madison, WI – with the two of them as artists (along with many others they invited) and me serving as facilitator of group activities and community conversations.  The above is our statement of purpose, and below is a picture of our world tree gallery where we gathered for circles of story, poetry, meditation, conversation, and leaf-making.

b2ap3_thumbnail_panorama.jpg

More recently Rebecca and John joined with other tree-minded artists in a fabulous follow up Tree of Life art exhibit at the Overture Center for the Arts in Madison, WI. Again, my role was to support the artists by facilitating a community conversation at the gallery to draw people into a more intentional experience of the Tree of Life exhibit. To kick of the conversation, we guided participants to reflect on their experience of the art and then to share in single words on slips of paper how the art inspired their personal connection with trees and the Tree of Life as metaphor for the connectivity of all living things.

We then collected the words to create a word cloud as a collective representation of everyone’s experience of the Tree of Life art.  Perhaps you can imagine the diversity of art in the exhibit through this “reverse experience” of viewing the visitor’s words rather than the works of art themselves.

b2ap3_thumbnail_wordcloud_2.jpg

As you view the trees in your home place over the next days and weeks, you might collect your own words of response and create a word cloud as an alternative, or in addition, to a journal. You can create your own word cloud with the tree or other shapes at http://www.tagxedo.com/

In alliance with the trees,
Anne

Credits: Thanks to Math Heinzel for the Witness Tree panorama, Amy Fenn for creating the word cloud, and the many others who contributed to the art exhibits and associated programming.

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  • Irene bryson
    Irene bryson says #
    My name is Irene and I am new to this, don't know how I came across it but have always been interested would love to enter into th
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Thanks so much for this! Your affirming the witnesses and caretakers of transitions is a healing for me. As a shaman, I often find

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
How straight is your wheel?

Our usual solar stories about the turning of the year focus on the birth, maturing and death of a sun god who might fight his rival at midsummer and will probably father himself. Imbolc is all about pregnancy and birth. Beltain is all about impregnating. It’s a very heterosexual narrative, when you get down to it.

Nature is not exclusively about heterosexual reproduction. What we would understand as homosexual behaviour crops up in all creatures. If you’re part of a wolf pack or a bee hive, it’s about the group, not about spreading your own genes directly. Many plants have both male and female sex organs – if you insist on understanding them in those terms! On top of this, plants will also reproduce through suckers, bulbs and other ways of doing it for themselves without any need for pollination. Some creatures change gender. Oysters have all the kit, and effectively change gender every few years. Other life forms – fungi particularly, are asexual, and reproduce without any input from anyone else.

Where, in the traditional wheel story, would you honour the oyster? Or the male seahorse who carries his young in a pouch? Where, in the cycle of the year do we talk about how most of the elm trees in the UK are probably descended from just the one tree, and spread asexually? Where are the stories that place our equally natural gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, not so gendered and asexual Pagan folk within the wheel of the year?

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    That's one of the reasons I'm glad I'm a heathen, specifically an Asatruar, because our ritual structure doesn't have heterosexual
  • Nimue Brown
    Nimue Brown says #
    If we have three kinds of ancestors (blood, land and tradition) then we must also have three kinds of descendants. While that cann
  • Anna Belle LaFae
    Anna Belle LaFae says #
    Thank you for this article! After my child was stillborn and then subsequent infertility the reproductive emphasis of so many pag

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Times of balance

The spring equinox is only a few weeks away. It is part of the modern festival wheel, not because there’s any real evidence for it being celebrated historically, but because it balances things up nicely. It being the time when days and nights are the same length, we tend to talk a lot about balance around these two festivals. However, every lunar month offers two rounds of balance between light and dark in the shape of the moon, so there are other times we might feel directed to consider balance, too.

Are equinoxes really a time of balance? I do not feel that point of day and night in equilibrium especially. What I do notice a lot at this time of year, is the racing change in day length. Around the equinoxes, we have the greatest pace on the balance between night and day changing. Every day right now is a little longer than the one before it, and I’m intensely conscious not of balance, but of a sudden feeling of hurtling towards summer.

I’m waking earlier as the first light comes a lot sooner, and I’m seeing shades of blue in the sky into the evening. My living patterns shift with the changing light. I have more energy in the light half of the year. My days are longer, and soon I will be able to go back to waking in the evenings – something I love to do but which just doesn’t work in the middle of winter. So on a personal level I’m not feeling balance, I’m feeling change, and that shifting from the hibernating part of the year when I don’t want to go out much, into the better weather and more light, when I have more energy and feel more inclined to be out and about.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
The plans of trees

 

The deciduous trees stand, bare and apparently lifeless through the winter months. The popular take on this, is that they are sleeping. It is a perspective which depends on paying no attention or thought to what the trees are really doing. Those bare branches are a misleading focus.

 

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Samhain Salutations from the Fairy Goddess

At this thinnest time of year, Samhain, when the veil between our world and the sidhe is gossamer I want to offer a poem in praise of Danu, our most ancient of goddesses. Danu is the gift giver and it is said that her name is embedded in our English word donation. Her name is embedded in the rivers - the Don in Russia in the east and another in the west in Yorkshire, England and the Danube that runs through the heart of Central Europe.  Some say that her origins are in India. She is undoubedly pan-Celtic and very, very ancient, sort of the great-granny of so many deities. 

 

The first impulse in a divinity is, then, to give. It is said in Ireland that Danu had a husband called Bile. Now that is a word, along with crann, for tree.  In my research I found that Ireland has seven sacred or chieftain trees.  It got me thinking about Danu's husband and this poem, Nemeton, is the result.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

 

I grew up on a farm in Puerto Rico where I experienced  the full cycle of life.  My days were filled with domestic dogs, cats, goats, pigs, hens, and rabbits. As I took care of these animals, I learned to love them.  In particular, I welcomed the miracle of life with every new litter of animals.  I also encountered grief as I mourned the creatures when they died.  Amazingly, my nights were filled with different entities.  Lions, cheetahs,  giraffes, leopards, elephants, monkeys, and many other exotic animals visited my dreams.  Since childhood, I have been dreaming about the African wildlife.   Until now.  

I was fortunate to visit Tanzania during this summer.  Through the eye of my camera  I captured African animals, not to mention a multitude of bright colored birds.  Besides the magnificent wildlife and spectacular Tanzanian vistas, something unexpected captured my attention:  A tree.  Not a regular tree, but instead, a wish tree.  This beautiful tree had a large opening in its center.  “People come here and pray to the wish tree,” a Tanzanian man told me.  “Women who desire to become pregnant climb up the tree and enter its trunk,” he said with a mysterious smile.  “The sacred tree always grants females their wish. “

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  • Lillian Comas
    Lillian Comas says #
    Thanks, Lizann!
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Lovely, thank you for this powerful tree story!

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Building a Tree

I have wanted a Tree of Life pendant for a few years now.  I look at them then think "I can make one of those."  But it's finding the time to actually make one.  

A couple weekends ago, my husband was going to go to work in Maryland (six hours from where we now live), so I decided it would be a good time to start, so I started the circle.  The weekend was going to hold just my girls and I again and we didn't have any plans, great time to start crafting.  They love it when I sit and craft.  I love it as well, it calms me, grounds me and helps me remember who I am deep inside.

The next day, after my husband and son left and I woke and started my morning chores.  After a while, I sat and I began the roots.  My girls watched now and again in between episodes of a new show they were watching.  It's my first attempt, and I'm taking it slowly. I tend to get "tunnel vision" and I didn't want to turn this into a chore that had to be done by a specific time.  

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  • JudithAnn
    JudithAnn says #
    What a beautiful Tree of Life and meaningful story of it's creation. You inspire me to try my hand and making this symbol as a rem

I must begin this article with a disclaimer. There have been entire books written on each of these ancient symbols, and I cannot presume to include all of the information, or all of the esoteric theories, in these few paragraphs. I propose here to discuss the one theme which they all share in common: each of these figures is a three-tiered representation of the levels of Creation.

1)  The first figure is sometimes called the Star of David, but it is not exclusively Jewish; you will see it carved in Hindu temples and used by Rosicrucian alchemists. In actual fact it is not a "star" at all, but two interlacing triangles, one pointing up (symbolizing human aspirations toward the Divine) and the other pointing down (symbolizing the Divine's willingness to meet humankind half way). The space where they intersect indicates the creation of a third state: the moment when Divine Consciousness manifests in human flesh. This is the state of Grace. It is Enlightenment. It is Samadhi.

 The sacred triangles represent the union of heaven and earth, spirit and matter. They embody the metaphysical principle, As Above, So Below.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

I’ve been busier than planned in mundania for the last few weeks—hence the lag in my blog posts. I’m going to try and make it up to you by posting a couple more times during November, in hopes of restoring my blogger cred.

RedHere in Oregon (that’s Ory-Gun to you non-US-west-coasters), autumn has arrived for real, with the trees dropping leaves and nighttime temps creeping toward freezing. We’ve had some wind and rain, but we’ve had glorious weather, too—including a recent handful of days near 70 degrees.

Every year, when we have these postcard-perfect fall days, I hear people start talking about “Indian summer” this and “Indian summer” that, and I grimace a bit, because their use of the term isn’t quite right. Indian summer—the real deal—is something very special, and it’s more than simply a nice autumn day.

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