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.
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!
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 had 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…!
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.
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.