Tag Archive: Oak tree

IMG_2228 (3).jpg Spirit of Autumn Melissa

A re-post. And a little early in the season as the oak leaves here are still firmly attached to their trees and rustling their dry leafy music in today’s winds. But we’ve not had much rain and trees are coloring up early, and other varieties have let go of their “clothes” leaving them on the floors of my deck and walkways The “Oak Maiden” is the guardian of the doorway to the next season…..

Usually at this time of the year, I am overwhelmed with the carpet of oak leaves that completely blankets my “yarden” since my little cottage is situated underneath a the overhanging canopy of a forest of oak. I must admit, because the weather and my daily schedule do not always co-operate, I am probably the only one in my neighborhood who does not rake and bag and neaten things up. I admit, I submit to the wildness outside while I give reign to the  imaginative wildness within that flows through me into my writing, photography or cooking.

They are EVERYWHERE, these leaves,  and they crackle and crinkle under boots as I come in and out, they come into my living room stuck to the shoes of my piano students upon entry, the blow in fierce winds and stick to the screen glass door as if to say hi.

I have come to think of the oak that surrounds me as a sign of the part of me that is magical while living in a mundane world, knowing the history of this tree in the worlds of the Druids, the old herbalists and other magical folk. I come to realize that often, the places, the happenings, the land, the home and surroundings that are unique to our own particular individual life are a hint of our own inner life and thoughts, in manifested form. If this be so, that I might be a woman of the wild, sheltered by a magical forest full of power and mystery which I love and respect.

And there IS mystery here as I gaze out into the woods from my writer’s alcove here. Throughout the year, and in yarden and woods, faces in nature reveal themselves to me, in the trees, the rocks, the sky, the flowers, the reflections in water. So it is no surprise to see the emerging mirage of the Oak Maiden appear through the dream of leaves and autumn’s powerful transformation from green to brown.

She is lovely, this mysterious Deva..quiet and calm, as she prepares us in the northern hemisphere to, like Persephone, enter the dark and stillness of winter for rest, reflection, recycling, and renewal. She is a reminder that this season is not meant to be a secular one, running here and there to shop and consume, but rather to pull back and let GO of what no longer serves us, to dive deeply to the underground of Soul to dream, journal, process, renew and quietly plan for what could be new in time.

From Christine, The Greening Spirit



Note: The Oak Maiden is my daughter Melissa.                                                                                           Note: Photograph by Canadian Artist David Hickey @ http://www.davidhickeyartist.com/

Note: Be sure to check the Greening Spirit’s recipes on my foodie  blog: http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

Note: The Greening Spirit loves to cook and EAT! Check out my latest recipe on Sensuous Soups and Suppers: http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com/2013/12/08/simply-sensuous-spicy-indian-stew-cold-weather-heat/

Portal to the Heartwood

Oaken Mandala

  The Oaken Mandala, tho actually a visual reminder of this tree’s wounding in the loss of a limb, has become a part of its unique appearance and its story, if we have taken the time to  really notice it and ponder. It is a very strong marking in the trunk of this tree, and as I was called to it to look deeply at it, I realized that it was not just the healed knothole in the wood that was so intriguing, but the triangular opening in the lower left hand corner of the framed mandala:  A Portal, and a tiny passage into the heartwood of the tree.

What little creature might find it’s way through that little doorway, seeking sanctuary from the elements, from predators, from busyness and into quiet rest? What in fact might that inner chamber look like? Might it lead down and in to the deepest secrets of the tree, the inner pulsing near the heartwood? What might it feel like to a tiny quivering creature within the deep and comforting silence beyond that threshold to the library parking lot with its noise and chatter of the world? How deep.. up, down or in, would the little creature have to go to hear the hum of the sap sleeping in the roots, or the buzz  and vibrating of its rising? 

The mystery of this intrigues me and I remembered how when I was a child in the inner city, I would play at the roots of the large old trees in the neighborhood, fascinated with these secret openings and sheltered foldings in their wooden trunks and limbs. I would imagine faeries and little people hiding just beyond my visual abilities, and I would tuck my teeny dolls and figurines, and little written notes within these hidden places, knowing that the tree would keep my dreams and wishes safe, and perhaps even have the magic to make them come true.

I did not tuck a special paper note through this tiny portal now, but I did take my camera with me and a tiny light to investigate the inner path beyond the opening and into the tree. I felt that perhaps I was inappropriately peeking, like a noseyneighbor, in search of the heartwood, a most private part of the living tree.  The camera, and the computer photo program – which allows techno skilled adjustments/and filtering that we used to do in the “darkroom’ when developing pictures- opened the passage way just a tiny bit more, revealing it’s mystery, and yet still remaining somehwhat hidden and closed to piercing scrutiny. 

Beyond the Portal

What in fact, does this have to do with my own life “out here”? There WAS a kind of message that this tree and the experience of the mandala and the opening to the Heartwood had for me, which is why I kept going back to gaze at it.

It has everything to do with my engagement with others in my life as teacher, as spiritual companion/guide, and hopefully as friend and parent.

Those I accompany personally and professionally, present themselves and their various life experiences in front of my eyes and yet they and their stories can so easily be taken for granted or rushed through while we on the way to other tasks and responsibilities that seem pressing, demanding and ever so important. The people/students/friends/family members around me are themselves like this oak tree…noble, proud, often with a dominant wound or challenging situation that is either healed over, or  still in the process of healing…how gently we must accompany each other..to listen deeply to the stories of challenge, struggle, triumph or momentary setback…and to know when to stand back and and simply be present with the other within the frame of the wounded mandala, or when to assist and  gently shine the light into and beyond the tiny the Portal  opening, to ask the discerning question that might lead to the Heartwood of both the person and the situation. We cannot probe too deeply, or linger too long in such sacred and tender territory. It is too private, and indeed each person must find their own rhythm of healing and wisdom from their roots, and nourishment, pulse, and the life force from the golden sap of grace and energy rising within themselves.

But we can assist, pay attention and see more deeply the beauty and possibilites in those around us..and within ourselves…  in the various stories and seasons of our lives. And then, we must step back, and let it all unfold in its own time,  appreciating the Whole-ness and the Wholi-ness, which is full of wisdom and beauty, from a Source beyond our Knowing, and Doing….                                

Stepping back-Appreciation

   Christine Phoenix-Green, April 2011

**Please respect my ownership of all writings and photos on this site, and  credit me and this source if passing on or sharing this in any way. Copywrited material is part of a book in progress. Thank you

The Wooden Circle

… Still, I am not quite sure what it was that drew me closer and closer to this tree, but this circular shape, repeated over and over in Nature, was captivating my eyes and my attention, as if it were a rounded frame protecting a mysterious work of art, or a gnarled and sheltering arch around a secret passageway. Its position in the middle of the oak’s long and lean trunk could not be ignored as some sort of invitation…that is, if one just happened to be in “Deep Seeing” mode, which is so different from the usual fast-paced mind of inner chatter, and racing outer-movement to get to the next and the next and the next task as fast as possible. There is truly so much to SEE around us, and in our culturally “mind-less” rather than “Mindful” state of presence, we often are somewhat sightless to amazing wonders, if not altogether blind to much magical beauty.

There is a saying that if we were to shelve all books of Holy Wisdom for a time and went out to be humbly but fully present in Nature, that we would still learn everything we need to know about living a good and Whole-ly Life. And in the movie  Chocolat, Vivienne spins a carved wooden plate for her customers and  friends, with their secretely wounded Hearts,  and asks them what they “see” in the spinning movement of the dish. Each person when gazing directly into the spinning bowl, begins, unconsciously,  to  “see deeply” within themselves  into the forgotten stories or buried wisdoms of their own lives and in this odd moving mandala meditation, comes to a place of remembering something important , thus  finding a  doorway to inner healing.

And so I came to realize that in like spirit, this sturdy knothole was similar… a kind of  Meditation Mandala in the Oak, and as I came close and  gazed mindfully at it,  the questions about it..it’s shape, its, rings, its textures, its layers and mysterious opening to a deeper place within the tree,  revealed the same questions and pondering about myself and my own life…for what I see and ponder in this living wooden circle, is unique to my own experience.

And so, as YOU mindfully gaze upon this oaken mandala, “seeing deeply” into it…pay attention to what calls your attention and what you are drawn to, what do YOU notice and imagine as you look at it?…this tree, The Oak, is a  sacred and magical one in Celtic and indigenous traditions…it just may have something to teach you too……..(con’t tomorrow, Part 3..The Oaken Portal)

Christine Phoenix-Green (March 2011

The Knothole-Wooden Mandala

**Please respect my ownership of all writings and photos on this site, and  credit me and this source if passing on or sharing this in any way. Copywrited material is part of a book in progress. Thank you

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