For the past seven years I have journeyed each year to a young grove of Black Cottonwood trees to harvest their medicinal buds. An unexpected bonanza harvest last year made this year’s visit unnecessary. Such bounty is good, for harvesting is labor intensive and cold on the hands and feet. But as I moved through the days, I found myself missing the Cottonwoods I have come to know.
Just like people, there is more to trees than meets the eye. When first drawn to working with plant life I did the usual botanical research. For instance, Black Cottonwood live 200 years or more, preferring moist areas and full sun. This tall, straight tree can reach a stunning 50 meters at maturity. The sticky buds are fragrant and both the heart shaped leaf and cottony seeds emerge from the same bud, which also has medicinal properties. It never ceases to amaze me how so much can come from one little sticky bit of tree! But it is the spirit of these trees that truly moves me. They mirror my authentic nature and, as a result of knowing them, I know myself better. I have learned from trees that, like us, they have a divine purpose in being here. The difference between us is that they live and breathe this purpose every moment.
Just like a human, it takes time to know a tree, something I realized through spending 7 years connecting with the same grove. Trees have personalities, relationships with each other and with us, if we desire. They are affected by everything around them including our thoughts. One year I found the Cottonwoods clearly upset. Looking about, I discovered a backhoe had recently made large sampling pits, carelessly damaging trees. When I asked, “how can I help you?” a song came to mind. As my harvesting companion and I sang to them, we felt the cottonwoods’ distress begin to shift. They energetically leaned towards us soaking up the caring frequencies of our intent and song. Despite their damage and vulnerability, the Cottonwoods gradually came back to a place of peace.
All plant life expresses its spirit through subtle, non-ordinary realms of life. We too have a place where our “knowing” sense and innate ability to communicate with all species exists. Like trees, we are a blend of the physical and the non-ordinary intangible home of spirit. Herein lies the bridge to knowing trees and to being known by them.
With all the unconscious acts against nature, trees are still willing to share their tremendous wisdom and love with us. We need it! Trees are worlds within worlds and I have only begun to understand the complexity of their spiritual role on earth. The largest and longest living plants on the planet, trees also make it possible for us to live here by providing life-giving oxygen. With their roots in the earth and branches to the sky, trees are a link between heaven and earth. As Findhorn co-founder, Dorothy Maclean discovered, “Just tune into nature until you feel the love flow…always it is your state that the natural world responds to, not what you say, not what you do, but what you are”. So find a tree that calls to you and open yourself to a remarkable friendship.
Dancing Aspen © Joanne Marks – All Rights Reserved
Quote from “Call of The Trees” by Dorothy Maclean: Lorian Association, 2006
First Published In True Blue Spirit Magazine – Volume 3, issues 2, 2010
Guest Author Bio
As a Healer and Medicine Woman I have worked with plant and animal intelligence and the care of the human soul for many years. As an Herbalist and Naturalist I have formulated medicinal plant oils that are 90% native wild crafted in a co-creative relationship with the plants and trees. This work has become a profound apprenticeship with the multiple levels of consciousness in nature and the land.
In my “Soul Work Practice” I have helped heal the human spirit, witnessed people’s true purpose and regularly supported those through life transitions with the support of plant spirit medicine – Bach Flower Remedies and body energy and life readings for both animals and humans. I also develop and teach workshops on these topics.
I have been shown that the spiritual light we seek is not exclusively in far away or higher dimensions but right here in the earth’s light, in the body of the planet, its beings, in matter, in us. The animals and plants know this, and so do we in our bones.
Blog / Website: Fireweed Botanicals