This is absolutely one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. So naturally, I couldn't help but share it with you. Robert Moss is incredible with his work on the power of Dreaming.
From Dreaming the Soul Back Home
© Robert Moss, used with permission from New World Library
"Tree at my window, window tree, My sash is lowered when night comes on; But let there never be curtain drawn Between you and me."
— Robert Frost, "Tree at My Window”
We can't lose our way if we go to the root of things, to the roots of a tree. By finding the right tree — a tree you know that also knows you — you can reconnect with the soul of nature. You can find grounding for soul in this world, and a shaman’s ladder to travel between the worlds.
I once moved to a place in the country because of a tree, an old white oak behind the house that had survived the lightning. I knew it for a guardian of the land and a wise ancient. Sitting with that tree, I would have impressions of all the seasons it had lived. When I walked the farm road toward it, I would sometimes feel its silent greeting. Sometimes I watched the moon rise over the hills from up in its branches. The oak became a tree of my dreaming and a portal to the ancestors. Rooted deep in American earth, the oak also joined me to the ways of oak-seers of my bloodlines in the Old World, to the druids “grey, wood-nurtured, quiet-eyed” (as Yeats sang), to the sacred oak at Dodona where the Greeks listened for the voice of a god in the creak and rustle of the branches. After the first snows, when the cold stung my eyes, I saw that the oak still hung on to its leaves, longer than any other shedding trees on that land. Oaks hang on.
When I was leading a workshop by the Bay of Riga, in Latvia, we had a wonderful singer and folklorist in our circle who knew many dainas, traditional folk songs that celebrate sun and sea, earth and stone. I asked her to help open our circle with a song of the oak tree:
I found in a field
a tall oak tree of spirit his feet go into the earth his head touches the sky
Oak tree, oak tree
how wide you are
the bee flies for three days and can’t get around you
The big storm boasted
“I’ll break the oak”
Oak tree, stand strong
but let the wind shake your branches.
In the last stanza, this song of oak teaches us to give a little in a strong wind, to avoid being broken. This is one of the lessons of the trees.
Spending good time with a tree that welcomes us is a great way to repair and renew our connection with the soul of nature. Trees have personalities, as individuals and as types, and sometimes we find they have a second personality that was not originally arboreal, a spirit from a different kinship group. In front of the farmhouse that I purchased because of the white oak was a great sugar maple. The patterns of the bark around the place where its broad trunk divided made the vivid likeness of an ancient Native shaman with a storm of gray hair and a long, twisted body. I learned later that there are legends in the Native traditions of Northeast America of shamans who have, in one of their soul bodies, taken up residence in trees after physical death.
South of the farmhouse was an elderly apple tree that no longer gave fruit but still put out a few leaves in the springtime and let a few branches fall, which I burned in the hearth of the family room. The sweetness of apple, through pine and spruce and hickory, provided a kind of olfactory portal, and I would slip into conscious dreaming of ancestors for whom the apple branch was the passport between the worlds. North of the house was another great old tree, a shagbark hickory, that shed limbs as well as leaves profusely, as the deer sheds its antlers. I would often find antlers in the hickory hollow, dropped by bucks in the great herds of white-tailed deer that made their home in our woods, from which hunters were banned.
What trees call to you on country walks or from memory or dream? Any tree may be your soul tree, and it may also be your sole tree, the One Tree through which the three worlds of the shaman’s cosmos are joined, and which may become your ladder between them.
At the start of most of my depth workshops, I lead a standing meditation, in which each person in the circle finds the image of a special tree and then lets the body take the form of that tree, rooted in earth, rising between earth and sky, feeding on sun fire. We let our bodies sway as we stand, as a tree will sway in a strong wind, giving a little in order not to be snapped. We see the seasons chang- ing around us. We feel what it’s like to have a squirrel run up our trunk or to have birds nesting in our hair. As the meditation deep- ens, we feel ourselves reaching deep into the earth, through the root system, going deep and spreading wide. We feel, with our inner senses, how we can travel this way to connect with the animal powers, and with ancestral spirits, and to receive healing and blessing in the realm of the Great Earth Mother.
Then we let our awareness ascend to the high branches. We picture ourselves perched up there like a bird, or a happy child in a tree house, able to look out in all directions from this excellent place of vision. We imagine that we can fly now to a person or place at a distance and look in on them, and sometimes, quick as thought, we are there. We discover that, from our place in the high branches, we can not only see across any distance in space but also scout across time and travel into the possible future to see what lies on the roads ahead for ourselves and others. This is something that tree-seers have al- ways been good at.
Now we go higher, into the world of the tree. We feel ourselves rise up into the canopy, up to the green crown, and then feel our- selves rising up higher and higher until the sky opens and we are in the first of the many levels of the Upper World. We are on our way now to make or renew our connections with our authentic spiritual teachers. They may take many forms and may be using “contact pictures” adjusted to our level of understanding. Beyond all the other forms of the guide on these levels, there is one that will never fail us and that is always waiting for us to resume contact: the soul of the soul (as the Sufis say beautifully), the captain of the heart, the Higher, or Greater, Self.
Your soul tree can be your portal to all these realms of adventure, discovery, and connection.
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