Above are the expressive upper branches of a young white pine living at the edge of our driveway. I have my own special name for her. Others who are drawn to this specific tree's vibration have given her names reflecting their unique impression of her. She and the additional white pines in these images were less than six inches tall when we arrived. She was barely noticeable then but now she is the tallest and fullest. J. estimates she's ten or eleven feet. She and the others in her habitat grouping form a vibrant windrow that graces us with privacy while offering shelter to many species of birds and countless other sentient beings.
***Years ago a woods-walking kindred spirit shared his formula for getting in touch with the co-creative entities in an unfamiliar landscape: Research ahead of time so you go in cognizant of the region's First Peoples' relationship to the trees in that place. As a general rule a specific tree species will likely be known as sacred if only in far gone times. In many place that tree's presence may continue to dominate space and local imagination within our world of today.
Here's a way to grow a more intimate awareness of your own sacred capacities and connections: find a gorgeous tree of a species that already means something important to you. Approach the tree joyfully. Reach into the trunk of your intuition. Reflect all that is glorious about this species of tree. Consider singing your praise and gratitude. Then take a generous portion of the energy this experience yields to find another tree in the same species that's neglected or struggling in some way. Approach quietly to offer very gentle touch as you would an ailing child or beloved animal. Express a soft intention to return over time in order to offer ongoing care and love. Follow through even if it takes a few times to get the sense of energetic connection fully synchronized.***
In the part of the world where I live White Pine/Pinus strobus holds a very powerful presence in the landscape as well as indigenous stories and legends. Although there aren't nearly as many here at home as there are hickories and maples, there are still more than enough white pines to hold a distinctive tonal resonance. The trees featured in this post were nearly cut off at the ground "as a good will courtesy" prior to us passing papers. We (obviously!) asked that they remain. Life without them is unthinkable to the entire family. Quite recently it outright shocked me to come across an image highlighting how not-there they were on the night of our walkthrough.
The friend referenced above also passed along a tip for maximizing personal bonding and healing time with a specific tree medicine spirit: Find a place where two old trees of the same species grow side by side. Address them as grandfather and grandmother. If you're meant to work with them you'll feel their energy radiating directly from their root system to your own. It's a powerful feeling you can't mistake. Like an orgasm in that you'll know past doubt if it happens. Make sure you pick a sacred pairing that's convenient to visit on a regular basis. You'll want to spend time absorbing wisdom and solace that only you and the trees can know through spending time together.
There's a particular grandfather and grandmother at the Garden in the Woods that I've visited as an internalized pilgrimage and also within the course of viewing special art installations. Will have to trawl through my gallery of thousands and see what I might find of this particularly wise and loving couple to share in a future post. The trees are found near the center of the property's exhibition space. Their branches intermingle above two different pathways. Located as they are, at the hub of a cross, the energy from the trees rises to filter throughout the landscape in an undeniable way. There's a sense of serene peace, for sure, but there's also something a lot more basic and primal at play. The root chakra responds to evergreen/pine energy because it's so strongly embodied in a scent that remains fresh and swiftly recognized by human brain chemistry. White pine's powerful anchoring force further roots our own souls and spirits more firmly into our body.
Pine's medicinal properties are astringent and deeply cleansing. The scent of a few crushed needles rubbed between the finger tips can automatically set into motion an invaluable clearing of cobwebs. This property can provide sturdy backup for an overworked brain and/or an emotionally depleted soul. In another month all manner of pines will begin to sashay into the house and hold pride of place everywhere the deep green needles look beautiful and smell good. Drafting this post inspired me to put it aside for half an hour in order to visit a far more extensive self-designated windrow at the eastern edge of our property. I thanked them all (there are three or four dozen trees involved) for their presence and all the life they sheltered, especially during the cold months. I'm not sure if I've previously acknowledged their value and capability in this direct a fashion. Normally I simply speak of my ever-expanding love for them and my personal gratitude to be sharing the space.
(am thinking it's time to move deeper into co-operative spirit and learn more about things that the trees themselves might love and be grateful to experience...)