Trees are wonderful and amazing beings, true teachers, friends, and wonderful introductory guides to nature’s mysteries. Sometimes though, we don’t realize what a powerful impact different trees have had on our lives. As one step towards cultivating a deep relationship with trees, this week I offer a series of exercises that can help you explore your memories of trees and see what existing connections you may already have.
These exercises and meditations can help you develop relationships with trees or deepen relationships that you’ve already started. You can do them either as meditations or as freewriting activities. Discursive meditation or journey work would be appropriate if you wanted to use these as meditation tools. In a discursive meditation, you might meditate on the question or theme given (in each exercise) and work through your thoughts. In a journey meditation, you would use the prompt to astrally travel to see the tree in question and interact. If you want to use these strategies as freewriting prompts, have a notebook or a few sheets of paper in front of you and write whatever comes to mind. Don’t worry about your grammar or penmanship, just write from the heart.
At the end of these exercises, you may have a deeper appreciation for the tree and plant relationships that you’ve cultivated in the past and a deeper insight into these trees’ relationship with you.
Your Most Powerful Tree Memories
The first exercise is a meditation to focus on your most powerful memories with trees. I suggest a series of meditations for this exercise. The first meditation should simply be uncovering the question: What are my most powerful memories with trees? Start by creating a list in your mind. Once you’ve created a list, you can use journey work, freewriting, or discursive meditation to work through each of the memories.
If You Were a Tree, What Tree Would You Be Activity
The second exercise is to consider what kind of tree you would be. Consider the qualities that you have–or share–with specific tree species. Which has always drawn you the most? Which may you resonate with? If you are doing this as a discursive meditation or freewrite, you can work through different possibilities. If you are doing this as a meditative journey, you can envision yourself as a tree on the astral and then seek identifying features to tell you which tree you are.
A Tree that has Done Something for You
In this exercise, spend time reflecting on the gifts that trees have offered you, or perhaps a special tree that has done something for you. Again, you can make a list if you have multiple things to consider, and work your list with a series of meditations, journeys, or freewrites. This could be something physical, like the chestnut or oak beams holding up your barn or the sassafras that came down in a storm whose roots you harvested for medicine, or something metaphysical, like a powerful energy exchange you had with a tree or teachings that a tree offered.
A tree that You have Done something For
Now, consider the question: What have I done for trees? Consider the times you’ve helped trees or done something for them: planting new trees, gathering and scattering nuts, cleaning up garbage in a forest, teaching someone something about a tree and more.
A Tree that You Remember/Miss
The final exercise asks you to reflect on a tree that you miss. This could be a tree that still lives out in the world but that you are far away from. Or, it could be a tree that you once new and that has since been cut or died. Bring this tree firmly into your awareness, thinking about the experiences that you had with this tree, the gifts this tree offered. If appropriate, make an offering of gratitude in honor of this tree.
Working with Your Tree Relationships
What these activities (and the grandmother tree activity from a few weeks ago) helps you do is to recognize what tree allies you already have that you might consider doing additional deep spiritual work with. Perhaps you have a tree that you haven’t seen for a long time but that is important to you–and it would be wise to pay this tree a visit. Or, you might realize that while you had a really good friend as an apple tree when you were a child, you no longer have a deep relationship with an apple tree, so maybe it is time to call a new one. Or, if you are constructing a personal ogham, you might realize that some of these trees should belong in this ogham system. The possibilities are endless for this kind of deep tree relationship work!
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