Tree Dream: Trees Are Part of the Earth’s Nervous System (part 1)
The story we need is written on wood, on the trees. This is not a story we can get from computers. We must not rush. We learn to speak tree language to use in healing. Healing energy enters through lines of text.
– Dream, March 2004
Deep in the silence of my first Medicine Walk, a month after I had this dream, the trees spoke to me.
In the words of Grandmother Eagle Flying in the Sun, a gifted shamanic teacher with whom I have worked for many years, a Medicine Walk is “a sacred adventure. It could be described as a vision quest on the terrain of the Divine Feminine, a journey into the natural and spiritual realm of the Earth Mother.” For a period of 36 hours, we opened ourselves in silence to the guidance, support, and wisdom of Spirit, seeking healing, grace, vision, and medicine. It is not necessary to fast or stay awake outside during a Medicine Walk, as one does during a traditional Vision Quest. What one gives up can include outgrown notions of oneself, one’s limitations and fears, one’s separation from nature and Spirit.
About five hours into the silence, on our second night among big trees on the Washington coast, I woke to feed the fire in the woodstove. Trying to go back to sleep, I experienced a rush of adrenaline, a familiar pattern of worries and fears, wakefulness that resulted in part from childhood trauma. Seeing the moon’s light through the trees, I thought of my mother, born in the sign of Cancer, ruled by the moon. She had died of metastatic breast cancer over twenty years earlier, days before her sixty-seventh birthday. In one of my dreams, she had a beautiful round face like the moon. I called her to me, felt her hands on my heart and mid-back, and began to cry.
Between the house and the ocean stood a large Sitka spruce around which we had performed a ritual in the afternoon. The spruce called, “Come outside.” I got dressed, went out and lay face down on the ground at the base of her trunk. I knew I was with my mother then – my human ancestor and the Earth herself. I was – and always had been – held and supported, like a child on her mother’s shoulder. I never needed to feel alone again. I prayed to let go of my fear.
My roots extended deep into the soil of the sandy bank, like the trees. I felt all of our roots forming a network, a vast nervous system, of which I was a small part. My fear could be released, transformed, along these connected roots. I was accepted into that web and knew I could draw on it for knowledge, healing and inspiration. And I was also responsible to it.