Tree Workshop 

I had attended a tree workshop about 20 years ago when I lived in the Wairarapa; and elements of it had really stuck with me since that time. I felt it would fit well with the Grove of the Summer Stars camp; as it encompassed Head, Hands, Heart and Hallows. As a newby with the Grove of the Summer Stars, I wanted to contribute something. As I’m less of a singer or storyteller (so far!) a Tree Workshop seemed like a perfect thing for me to share with other Druids.

Head:

As an introduction to the Tree workshop group members took a few minutes to think about why trees were important to them.

We then shared the large number of responses, which included:

friends, heritage, family tree, past & future, longevity, joy of listening to their wisdom, calming, strength, nurturing, can create from them – wand/staff/drawing/weaving, housing/shelter (birds, insects, us), Dru = ‘of the Oak’, food for lowest to most complex lifeforms, healing, beauty, convert air so we can breathe, magic, fuel – fire, heat/warmth, chemical processes,Green = Heart energy, protect, forest intelligence, Papatuanuku’s cloak, floats/burns – make things with it, leaves (like books), stops erosion, brings water, harmony/balance, help to loose our sense of separation, sacred trees, different trees have different personalities, joy – a gift to share, gift of spirit, climb it, wear it…

I think it might have been at this part of the workshop when we had a brief visit from a dragonfly, which we took as a good omen for the both workshop and the retreat!

Hands:

The next activity was to draw a tree, (but not from life) free hand. Once drawn, we spent some time analysing the characteristics of the trees people himg_0612ad drawn, which could intuitively represent aspects of themselves. The group then split into pairs to discuss their findings. Some very animated and enthusiastic discussions ensued.There was also some friendly competition between some participants, to see who had the most tree ‘accessories’ e.g. a mushroom, swing, child, fairy, snail, etc…!
Hallows:

I then led the group in a guided meditation, where they visited their sacred Grove, but on this occasion there was an additional tree waiting for them at the centre of their Grove, which had a message, energy or blessing to share. There was less discussion following the completion of the meditation; as the participants found something personal and profound to take with them through the rest of the day.
Heart:

One of the biggest impressions I had taken from the tree workshop I attended so long ago, was the memory of a delightful character known as ‘the man of the trees’.

Richard St.Barbe Baker (Born: October 9, 1889 – Died: June 9, 1982), was a gentlemanly character, passionate about trees – who encouraged the planting of trees all over the world, and in NZ.

He also credited trees with keeping him in good health for much of his life, and suggested one could put their hands on a tree to receive energy. We watched NZ On Screen’s 1981 video documentary (about 20 minutes) about him and his work. This video is available online at this link: https://www.nzonscreen.com/embed/9d1aad49d6394f84

In addition, there are several web articles about Richard St.Barbe Baker available online if you do a Google search.

We ended by having a play with my tree oracle and runes.

– Claire

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Book Review: Earth Tree – An Anthology of Poems

dawns-book-photo

EARTH TREE – An Anthology of Poems
by Dawn McKenzie

Copies are available from Dawn McKenzie
Email: Leafspr8@xtra.co.nz
$NZ20 + postage

Natures riches, blended knowingly with elemental cycles, with spiritual beliefs, set within the magical land that is Aotearoa, this poetry captures it all. Readers are transported by the imagery created, born of Dawn’s life experience and deep understanding of the connection between all life forces. Delightful drawings of the branches and leaves the trees featured are sprinkled throughout the text, enriching the verse still further. ‘Earth Tree’ is a must have collection of poetry for both those who understand well our dependence and empathy with our planet and also for those who desire to discover it.

“She knows the cycles
Daybreak to sundown,
The seasons –
Beltane’s buds to winter bareness.
She knows the creative cycles,
The birds in her branches
Nest, fly,
and make their homes in her boughs.”

~Les

Book Review: Awareness – A De Mello Spirituality Conference In His Own Words

I founawerenessd this on the internet a number of years ago and thought that fellow grovers might be interested: AWARENESS; A de Mello Spirituality Conference in His Own Words by Anthony, S.J.; Edited by Stroud, J. Francis, S.J. De Mello (Author).

Anthony de Mello was a Jesuit priest 1937 – 1981. His writing is thought provoking and challenging. Despite being a Jesuit priest most of his themes are equally applicable to persons from any spiritual believe. In the introduction he tells us that we are all born asleep and that many of us never wake up; most don’t even want to. Among other things he challenges his listeners / readers:

  • to look at who they really are themselves and stop being a slave to their upbringing.
  • to reconsider their motives for ‘good works’.
  • to consider the age old question of ‘who am I?” or indeed “what is this thing I call ‘I’?”.

It has nice short sections which I particularly like so that I can be challenged and have something to think about for hours, days (or longer) without having to spend hours on the pre-reading.

Quite topically (considering de Mello died in 1981) he tells this story:

I remember hearing about a man who asks his friend, “Are you planning to vote Republican?” The friend says, “No, I’m planning to vote Democratic. My father was a Democrat, my grandfather was a Democrat, and my great-grandfather was a Democrat.” The man says, “That is crazy logic. I mean, if your father was a horse thief, and your grandfather was a horse thief, and your great-grandfather was a horse thief, what would you be?” “Ah,” the friend answered, “then I’d be a Republican.”

I have included a couple of short extracts for you as a taster. If you are interested, here is a link to an online PDF version: http://www.arvindguptatoys.com/arvindgupta/tonyawareness.pdf

THE MASQUERADE OF CHARITY

Charity is really self-interest masquerading under the form of altruism. You say that it is very difficult to accept that there may be times when you are not honest to goodness really trying to be loving or trustful. Let me simplify it. Let’s make it as simple as possible. Let’s even make it as blunt and extreme as possible, at least to begin with. There are two types of selfishness. The first type is the one where I give myself the pleasure of pleasing myself. That’s what we generally call self-centeredness. The second is when I give myself the pleasure of pleasing others. That would be a more refined kind of selfishness.

The first one is very obvious, but the second one is hidden, very hidden, and for that reason more dangerous, because we get to feel that we’re really great. But maybe we’re not all that great after all. You protest when I say that. That’s great!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

FINDING YOURSELF

The great masters tell us that the most important question in the world is: “Who am I?” Or rather: “What is ‘I’?” What is this thing I call “I”? What is this thing I call self? You mean you understood everything else in the world and you didn’t understand this? You mean you understood astronomy and black holes and quasars and you picked up computer science, and you don’t know who you are?

~ Linda

Lugh Lamhfade by Moria

Here is the lyrics for the song we sing at Lughnasdh, Lugh Lamhfade by Moria.

Lugh, Lugh, Lugh Lamhfada
Lugh the shinning one
Lugh, Lugh, Lugh Lamhfada
Warrior of the Sun

God of craftsmen
Lugh of the long arm
All knowing all wise
LUGH!

Travelled to the West
With the Tuatha da Danaan
Celtic sun god
LUGH!

Lugh, Lugh, Lugh Lamhfada
Lugh the shinning one
Lugh, Lugh, Lugh Lamhfada
Warrior of the Sun

Slayer of Balor
The champion Formore
Warrior sun god
LUGH!

Lugh Chromain
Now called Leprechaun
Sleeping with the aes sidhe
LUGH!

Lugh, Lugh, Lugh Lamhfada
Lugh the shinning one
Lugh, Lugh, Lugh Lamhfada
Warrior of the Sun

Lugh, Lugh, Lugh Lamhfada
Lugh, Lugh, Lugh Lamhfada
Lugh, Lugh, Lugh Lamhfada
Lugh

Here is us singing it at Druid Camp 2017:

Here is Moria’s nephews band singing it: