Tag Archives: Trees

A walk in the forest

As I have mentioned many times before, I’m sure, it is very healing and re-newing to spend some time in nature. Today I went for a long walk in the forest. At the start of the walk, I was feeling quite down in the dumps – with all the stresses of the modern world weighing heavily upon me. Bills piling up, work stresses, feelings of disconnection and isolation, and worst of all, feeling a long way away from my true nature. Usually I can spring myself into a more positive frame of mind, but today I just wasn’t in the mood for any inner work. It seemed like such a chore! So after a few yoga stretches, and a spot of breakfast, and toying with some meditative exercises, I decided to go for a walk in the forest.
As soon as I got amongst the trees, I started to feel better. At the beginning of the track was a lovely grove of Sydney Blue Gums, with their cool slate grey trunks marked by wavy darker insect lines. I felt their calmness and un-ruffled presence begin to wash over me, and my poise and equilibrium began to return. As the forestry track wound down the hillside, the Sydney Blue Gums gave way to a mix of Tallow-woods, Grey Gums and Ironbarks, and the feeling of the forest became less lofty or dreamy, to my perceptions, anyway.
As I continued to walk, my worries and cares literally drained away from me, and I became calm, and for the first time in several days, it seemed like I had some space around me, in which I could connect with myself again. It was a lovely autumn day – sunshine in a cloudless sky, just cool enough for comfortable walking, and the sun low enough in the sky to give plenty of shade from the trees on the side of the track.
As the elevation got lower, and the soil became rockier and lighter in colour, the spotted gums came into preponderance, with the odd White Mahogany scattered around. Ironbarks of course, still in evidence. I always like to be in the company of Spotted Gums, with their many different hues from blue to reds and orange, and their dimples which remind me of boiling water swirling around, then snap frozen. Further down the slope, I came to an area of stunted Queensland Blue Gums, getting ready to flower and in amongst them, I was delighted to come upon three Kurrajongs growing in a clump. I am particularly fond of Kurrajongs, which in my system of magic, assist with the telling of stories which touch and/or express the emotional depths. In my experience, I have usually come across Kurrajongs as single isolated trees, so it was very unusual to see the three of them there. Perhaps under the ground, there was only the one trunk. In any case, I christened them the three sisters, and spent quite some time in their gentle embrace. As I said, I feel an affinity with the Kurrajong, perhaps because I have always felt a bit different from the people around me, like the Kurrajong, the only one of my kind, surrounded by other species of people: you know the types – those who are interested in corporate ladder climbing, the latest fashions, making large amounts of money, with little sense of the spiritual, or the artistic, and whose sensitivities have been dulled by food, drink, and immersion in a heavy materiality. Not that I am opposed to a nice meal or a glass of wine on occasion, or earning a living by honest means, mind you. Just that, like the Kurrajong, I have always felt I was the only one, surrounded by other types of people who didn’t appreciate or understand me. Or perhaps more simply, surrounded by people who didn’t resonate with me.

Kurrajong tree
Kurrajong tree

So it was nice to spend time with the three sisters, and draw on their strength and ability to calmly and self-assuredly be themselves, even though surrounded by other types of tree. And as I write now it comes to me that indeed the Kurrajong fulfills an esoteric purpose in its aloneness, within the widespread range in which it is found. For it is like the leaven that makes the bread rise. A small amount goes a long way. I heard a fellow taking about the orders of Hermetic magic this way once – that they were like the leaven that helped the dough to rise – the dough being western society. I think the same is true for all people who serve the Ancient Ones – in whatever way, whether Hermetic, Pagan, Wiccan or any path with heart. There are precious few of us, and sometimes it seems that we are working in isolation. However, together, we help to make the dough of life rise into a shapely loaf – whether through channeling energy, or helping others to recover their true nature, healing or magical works, or perhaps most importantly, having the courage and knowledge to be one’s true self. Most of the people out there don’t appreciate it, or even recognise it. And that is the way it should be!

Kurrajong Flowers
Kurrajong Flowers

Kurrajong Fruits and Leaves
Kurrajong Fruits and Leaves

However it sometimes takes its toll when one marches to a different drum beat to that of one’s colleagues and peers. People’s suspicions and ill feeling are easily stirred by someone they sense as being vaguely different, or motivated by unfathomables. In the old days, it was the teaching amongst the wise that those who followed the path should make every effort to appear no different to a typical person. Their dress should be unexceptional, and as befits their trade. Their demeanour should be temperate, and their behaviour moderate. They should engage in the customs of their village, town or country as befits any respectable person. They should have friendly relations with all, and if such were not possible with a particular person, such a person should be avoided. If one was brought into conflict, in spite of one’s efforts to avoid it, one should give every opportunity to have the conflict resolved fairly. If this proved impossible, due to a person’s ill will, then the conflict should be engaged impeccably if it was possible to win. If, however, one’s opponent was so superior in resources or social position as to make victory impossible, then this should be recognised, and one should allow them the victory, and move on. As tempting as it may seem, one’s esoteric knowledge should not be used in order to revenge oneself on such people. Typically, they lack the knowledge and skills to defend themselves, and the grief or harm that you may cause will undoubtedly spill over to effect others who are harmless and undeserving of ill. Thus the wise teach of old that the power is not to be used in this way, except that those who continually do serious harm, and where efforts by ordinary means to address the situation have failed, then a binding may be conducted to prevent further harm. The web of life will reverberate with their actions, and in time they will reap the rewards due to them, good or ill, as will we all. This guidance is no less true today as it was in days gone by.
The chance to connect with and work with spiritual brothers and sisters is priceless, a treasure without price. In those times when one’s brothers and sisters are far away, or yet to be discovered, one may draw strength from the Kurrajong, who is used to being different, and knows the way of it.
As I walked back up the hill, feeling refreshed and re-newed, I noticed many birds, which had seemed absent on the way down. At one point, two pretty little finches came and sat on a tree branch only a few feet from me, and enjoyed my company as I stood watching them for several minutes. I fancy that they could sense the clear and open energy that I carried, as I walked back, a far cry from the dense and unhappy energy as I started my walk.
So get out into the forest, and amongst the trees! You will feel better – I’m sure of it!

Originally Published April 2008

Building up your circle

One of the practices that is taught in the Fellowship is to build up a circle of allies from different planes of existence. As pagans, we work with the four elemental qualities, Air, Fire, Water and Earth, and we understand phenomena through their relationship to the elements, and the various cycles of manifestation, which I have discussed on another occasion. One component of the magical enterprise is building up a strong and impregnable aura, which has built into its nature symbolic keys through which various energies and aspects of consciousness can be accessed and amplified. These symbolic keys are receptacles for imaginative energy which creates a living nexus that links the practitioner to the energy and consciousness behind the symbol. These symbols can be purely human created, by ourselves or others, or they can be natural symbols, objects or entities which pre-exist in the natural world or on one of the non material planes.

As an example, I work with four different varieties of trees on a regular basis. They are all tree that grow naturally in my surroundings, and or places I frequently visit. They are naturally Australian Native trees, as that is where I live. For each tree I have made a wooden stave, from a branch that has been dropped. I use these staves in ritual settings, to mark the four quarters. My tree friends are the Ironbark, who I regularly place in the Air Quarter, as I wish to emphasize practicality and solid reasoning in my mental sphere. In the Fire quarter I place the Brushbox, which has a transformative energy. I the water quarter I place the Paperbark, which for me calls to mind the dark still, reflective tannin stained waters of the Paperbark swamps of my region. In the earth quarter, I place the Bunya pine, which bears an abundant harvest of nutritious edible nuts every few years.

I have described the process of making a stave elsewhere…this process is a mechanism by which a relationship with the tree spirit can be established and strengthened. And this relationship can be honored and the connection strengthened within ritual, by honoring those tree allies at the four quarters when establishing sacred space, and by further meditative work within the circle as appropriate.

In addition to the trees just mentioned, I also have four gem stone allies that I work with in the same way, selected for their relevance to my energies, and placed in the four quarters. Being interested in herbs and their uses in healing, I work in the same way with a number of herbs.

In addition to these regular helpers from the worlds of stones, herbs and trees, I sometimes draw in special helpers for a particular working or occasion, in order to work with a particular energy.

You can build up your circle this way over time, adding additional circles of trees, stones, herbs, animals, birds, mythic creatures etc, depending on your interests and proclivities.

Blessed Be