There’s a reason why trees hold sacred reverence is so much of humanity’s history—“the tree of life” in ancient Egyptian and Jewish traditions, and “the apple tree of knowledge”, the olive trees in ancient Greece, the Bodhi tree in Buddhism, as well as many others in African and Norse mythologies are all examples.
I’ve always been drawn to trees for as long as I can remember. If I didn’t live by the water, I would live by trees. There are so many studies out there that show that benefits of being around trees—everything from the oxygen that they produce, to the mood and emotional benefits they have on us. Did you know that there are studies that show that trees have the ability to feel, react and even talk to each other (See below for a list of related links)? Tree huggers don’t sound so crazy after all!
From spending time with nature, I’ve learned that trees can also have personalities. Some are shy, others, that grown on trails for example, are more social and like human interactions, but all are wise. Trees also hold our memories, which is why preserving the older ones is so important to our history! They can not only provide answers and guidance, when we’re quiet enough to hear what they’re saying, but can heal us on so many levels.
My first tree experience happened in a dream. The tree in my front yard used to communicate with me in dreams and would guide me on how to heal or get a result that I was after. And yes, it worked when I listened.
But besides dreams, I’ve also had trees heal me in my waking physical life. I used to do a lot of trail running and one day, while running on a 6-mile trail with exits that were only at each end, I had the worst pain in my calf that I had ever experienced. I definitely pulled a muscle mid-run, after the 3.5-mile marker. It was so painful that I couldn’t walk, and there was no one around for miles. I didn’t know what to do, so I hopped to the closest tree on the trail, put my hands on its trunk, and asked it for help. I asked it to take away my pain, and that’s exactly what it did. It pulled my pain into the earth through it’s roots. I could feel it taking it away from my leg and even my entire body. I actually had no pain in my body left when it was done. I was walking like nothing had happened, and was able to continue my run more energized than before I had started.
I’ve also had another incident where a tree took away my depression when I was going through a period of grief and mourning. Not only did it take it away, but it had replaced it with the gift of joy. It shared with me it’s feeling of elevation—of feeling being so high up and feeling the sun on it’s every leaf and branch, of being illuminated and having every cell of my body glow with warmth.
How can you connect with a tree?
The first step to anything is intention! Choose a tree that you like. Did you ever have a childhood tree that you spent time on or around, or one that has provided you shade and comfort? It there a specific type of tree that you’re more drawn to? Walk up to your tree with the intention of connecting to it. Remember that the tree’s roots can extend widely, so it will feel you as you approach it. If you live in a dry area or one that gets minimal moisture, an offering of water helps. In Damanhur, we were taught to connect with trees by placing our 3rd eye on the tree trunk. This is an ancient way of connecting that some native tribes would use. Each place in Damanhur has a “greeting tree”. I’ve followed this tradition at home in the places in nature that I frequently visit and I’ve had some incredible experiences with trees doing this.
Breathe deeply and bring your awareness to what you feel—is the tree happy? Is it powerful? Feel its “heartbeat”. Sometimes you can feel it connect to you when your heartbeats merge into each other and become one. Be still and silent. Listen. Can you “hear” any messages? Do you “see” any images? Energetic communication can be very different for each person, so just engage all of your senses, get quiet and be aware. Sometimes the communication is very subtle, or it could be very intense and vivid.
Trees also hold our memories and history. It’s why they are also symbol of wisdom. We have sadly destroyed so many of the world’s ancient ones, and in doing so have lost the connection to our trees that we had for millennia before. We have forgotten that sacred bond, but they haven’t. We can bring it back by honoring and recognizing them as the magnificent beings that they are.