“One is wise to cultivate the tree that bears fruit in our soul” – Henry David Thoreau
Awakening the Tree of Life Within us All.
My goal is to create a nurturing, educational and inspirational place for you to land and renew your soul. I believe trees have been silently guiding us on our journey through life from the moment we took our first breath. I also believe that we are all, metaphorically, living Trees of Life who are just beginning to awaken to our true nature.
We are not separate from trees and nature, in fact we are intrinsically interrelated and interdependent. We would not be here today if it were not for trees and their innate desire to evolve and support life. They are the ones who came before us and co-created just the right environment for us to live on this earth. We have been co-evolving with trees ever since.
My hope is that we awaken from the amnesia of separation and remember that we all belong to one another. By awakening within we also expand our awareness of our enduring and intimate relationship with trees and nature.
“Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.” – Hermann Hesse
When great apes left the embrace of trees and began walking on earth to explore, trees were there to support them just as parents would. As we evolved, trees were the ones that encouraged us to grow. They challenged us to learn how to receive their gifts of food, wood and fire. The more we learned from them the more we realized they offered the raw materials for tools, shelter, clothing, paper and medicine. Trees even helped us become aware of life itself.
They literally provided the “spark” that ignited our consciousness and sense of wonder. They inspired us to create art, music, language, math and time itself. There is no other single species on earth that gives more of themselves than trees.
Trees are an archetypal symbol for the human psyche.
During the mid 20th Century, Swiss psychoanalyst, Carl Jung (1875-1961) pioneered the field of behavioral psychology. He studied concepts such as individuation, the conscious and unconscious self, the collective unconscious, as well as psychological archetypes. Jung felt that the human psyche was, “by nature religious,” and what set man apart from other species was their search for meaning in both life and death. He theorized that the human psyche individuated or separated the self from its soul in search of its unique purpose in life. Yet during this quest for purpose the psyche ultimately longed to reunite with the soul to feel whole. He felt that trauma enhanced this sense of separation. It could also prevent the psyche from rejoining the soul to feel complete.
The word archetype, “original pattern from which copies are made,” actually dates back to Plato. Plato, a Greek philosopher (424–347BC), identified archetypes as ideas in pure mental form that were imprinted into the soul before it was born. They are shared fundamental characteristics or experiences felt among all humans.
Carl Jung, identified trees as the archetype of the human psyche and mandalas as the archetype of wholeness.
As homo-sapiens evolved they looked up though the branches and saw the sun, moon, planets and stars and began to wonder beyond themselves. Trees became conduits to the past, present and future, providing a way for mankind to connect with the spirits of deceased families and friends.
Tree branches reach to the heavens, the upper world, the place of our future or super-conscious mind that dreams the world into being.
The trunk of a tree stands in the present or middle world of our conscious mind that makes us aware of our immediate surroundings.
The roots of a tree anchors our body in the lower world of earth where we sense the stories held in the subconscious mind of those that came before.
The World Tree is seen as the Axis Mundi, which represents a giant tree or pole that runs through the earth’s core.
The Anima Mundi is the World Soul, representing the collective soul of Earth.
There are thousands of stories about trees and the Tree of Life. They are etched in our hearts to remind us of our shared roots. Unfortunately some stories tried to separate us from this sacred knowledge and the intrinsic relationship between mankind and trees.
The story of the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge is one of them. It resides deep within our cellular memory.
Genesis 3:22 – “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”
This story represents our “original wound” of separation, that we are now healing. The Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge exist as one within us. It is both male and female, dark and light, knowledge and mystery, life and death.
“And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.” – William Shakespeare
One of the greatest lessons that trees teach us is that of life and death. They show us the great cycle of life as they move through the seasons of the year. They teach us about impermanence of the physical body and the importance of letting go.
Trees release their leaves in fall (death), draw on their inner resources in winter (rebirth), sprout new life in spring (birth) and spread their branches in summer (life.)
Yet eventually, each and every tree experiences a larger more permanent physical death just as humans do. Once their life force energy leaves the tree they gradually decompose and become one with the earth from which they came, but the spirit of the tree lives on.
Trees remind us of our own fragility as human beings and they inspire us to make an impact in this lifetime.
The rings of a tree mirror the organizing principal of life and record their life on earth. The core of a tree is called “heartwood” reminding us to live from our hearts. Native Americans call them the “standing people.”
Over the course of human existence mankind has created Gods and Goddesses beyond themselves as a way to reflect their own desires and dreams of immortality. These are actually projections of our humanity onto the world around us. In the beginning trees were seen as deities and given names. Today there are over 10,000 names for God. When we begin to see that we are all the names and faces of god, we will begin to heal the stories that separated us and honor the weaving of cultures that created us.
“All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree.” ‐ Albert Einstein
The Tree of Life is a reflection of ourself and our connection to everything and everyone. By becoming more conscious of trees, we become more conscious of ourself.
I invite you to explore this site and read the many Tree Stories that have shaped our collective memory. Learn a few tree facts and enjoy some inspirational quotes.
Thank you for taking the time to open yourself to the wonderful world of trees. Together we can support each other to grow in love.
“The Tree of Life lives within each of us, helping us awaken to our true nature. Let us reach out with branches of compassion, connect with each other through our shared roots, and hold space for all to grow and feel loved.” – Laural Virtues Wauters
To learn more visit: www.lauralwauters.com