The Tree

Week 20: Artful Shamanism with Effy Wild

This week had another personally powerful exercise. Effy shared a meditation technique where you listen to a drumbeat while using a prompt that she provided. The prompt had to do with becoming aware of the symbols that came to you during the meditation and to later explore their meaning as you are doing your journal page.

The symbols that I saw were an old growth cedar tree and and eye. The tree could symbolize steadfastness, life, vitality, prosperity, culture, etc. The eye could symbolize watchfulness, awareness, spirituality, seeing, knowing, & accountability. This is what I wrote:

The tree has a masculine, protective spirit–everything I love about masculinity. It is protection, it produces the seed of life, oxygen, art, shelter, a portal. We use it for staying out of the harsh elements, for telling our stories, building our communities. They have been here before man. A tree is a tree. It teaches us to be authentic. The cedar has many uses. It was used to build huge war canoes & masks that told the natives sacred stories. The eye tells us to be watchful of our planet-God is watching. The tree has life & has an awareness of that life that we cannot understand. We will understand only through spiritual eyes. We know deep down the right things to do and this makes us accountable.

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4 responses to “The Tree

  1. I’m intrigued by your statement “We will understand only through spiritual eyes.” There’s much to be said about this, but it made me think of John Keats concept of “Negative Capability.” He gets to the heart of the idea in his conversation with Fanny; his great love.

    Fanny Brawne: I still don’t know how to work out a poem.
    John Keats: a poem needs understanding through the senses. The point of diving in the lake is not immediately to swim to the shore but to be in the lake; to luxuriate in the sensation of water. You do not work the lake out; it is an experience without thought. Poetry soothes and emboldens the soul to accept mystery.

    More of what John had to say about negative capability: Poetry is not about seeking knowledge it is about sensing beauty. Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason ….. with the great poets the sense of Beauty overcomes every other consideration, or rather obliterates all consideration ….. , if one focuses on answers or systems of thought in a poem it narrows the mind to a narrow private path, not a “thoroughfare for all thoughts.” … what is needed is an openness to the world — negative capability is what the great poets like Shakespeare had; the
    rejection of set philosophies and preconceived systems of nature. … what we can know about the world is limited, and Keats rejected the artist’s attempt to analyze, rationalize, or categorize the world. He demanded that the poet be receptive rather than searching for fact or reason, and to not seek absolute knowledge of every truth, mystery, or doubt.

  2. Garry, I love how you are able to find the words for what is so hard for others to describe. Some realizations are deeply spiritual for me, and the personal impact of nature is where I feel closest to God and spirit. Thank you for sharing this conversation. It is beautiful & deeply profound.

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