Trees have long represented a multi-dimensional reality in shamanism.
Native Americans call trees „The Standing People. Though immobile, trees are alive and aware, rooted in their existence. They are seen as a link between Heaven and Earth and act as guardians of the environment.
Celtic shamanism uses the concept of the Tree of Life, the „Axis Mundi“, as a connecting link between all the worlds. The roots symbolize the Lower World, our subconscious mind or „The Place of Empowerment“. The roots are grounded in the earth with access to the deepest levels of the unconscious mind where hidden potential lies. The branches and leaves symbolize the Upper World, the super-conscious mind or „Place of Creativity“. The trunk of the tree represents the Middle World, „Ordinary Time“, the conscious mind and the „Place of Manifestation“. This is where potential meets creativity and our dreams become reality in the everyday, mundane world.
Trees and energy
The value of trees to our ecological health is apparent in today’s world. Many people consider trees to be guardians of the ecology. Their roots anchor the soil and help prevent landslides. Leaves and branches form a canopy over rivers, cooling the water to a habitable level for fish. Through photosynthesis, trees capture carbon dioxide from the air, nutrients from the earth and energy from the sun to produce oxygen. All of this makes the earth’s atmosphere better able to support healthy life.
In Oregon State, ongoing studies in phytoremediation (‚phyto’=plant and ‚remediation=to correct a fault, pronounced fi-to-re-mee-dee-a-shun), have shown that poplar trees are capable of removing dangerous chemicals from the soil. In this process, harmful chemicals are absorbed by the root system and altered then released in a less harmful form through the leaves. When the poplars have reached their peak growth, they are harvested to make paper. Thus, tree energy is contributing to a cleaner, healthier environment and providing a renewable resource to support industry.
Tree energy and Celtic Reiki
The concept of tree energy is used in Celtic Reiki to promote healing and gently facilitate change in our everyday life.
Reiki, „universal life energy“, is a form of energy healing recognized for its ability to work effectively on all levels and promote holistic well being. It energizes and heals, reduces stress, and is compatible with other healthcare treatments.
A variation of Usui Reiki, Celtic Reiki, uses the vibrations of the Earth and specific trees and shrubs to create an environment for healing and positive change. Thus, Celtic Reiki is an Earth-energy Reiki, channeled through the Base chakra.
In Celtic Reiki energy is passed via three attunements. These attunements are working with change in the body’s energy flow, healing, and Celtic wisdom. The results of the attunement process are a lifelong gift. They provide a connectedness to earth and plant energy that can never be taken away. It will always be accessible to facilitate positive change.
Let’s take a brief step back in time for a historic perspective of the development of Celtic Reiki. On a cold winter day late in the 20th century, Martyn Pentecost, a Reiki Master/Teacher based in Croydon, U.K. began an ongoing process of discovery. In his words, „…having studied various forms of Reiki for many years, I was guided to work with nature. When channeling Reiki to help animals, plants, trees, rivers, lakes, the oceans, and the earth itself, I found that everything has a distinct vibration – each variety of rock, each stream, and each type of flower has its own unique energy. I would sometimes lose myself deep in this vibration, sometimes so much so that I could mimic the energy during Reiki in self-treatments.“
While visiting in Wales“…I discovered a huge Silver Fir tree that had been split in two by a recent lightning strike. One half was still firmly rooted upright and was producing a healthy flow of sap to heal itself. The other half was lying on the ground, dying. As I walked up to the tree, I could sense the immense loss felt by the upright section and an urgency of the fallen half, which was completely separated from the standing section.“ He began sending Reiki to the standing section of the tree, but felt a resistance, so he directed the energy to the fallen half. As he did, „I felt a transfer of energy. As the Reiki flowed through my hands, I felt a vibration enter my body. It was unlike anything I have ever felt before – the essence of the tree – its knowledge, its energy, its wisdom and its love. I was then guided to give this energy to the standing section of the tree, which I then proceeded to do.“
Over a two-year period, Pentecost explored various species of trees and plants native to the United Kingdom. In an effort to remember and recognize the unique energies transmitted by different species, he turned to the ancient Ogham Celtic alphabet. He then assigned each plant a symbol, as is common in Reiki and many kinds of energy work.
Trees have been powerful natural symbols of longevity and enduring stability in various cultures throughout the ages. They, along with other plants, minerals, and the earth itself emit unique energy vibrations. These vibrations can be channeled and focused through Celtic Reiki into a positive force that enhances the body’s openness and ability to embrace physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Trees nurture the earth and enrich our lives with their energy and presence.