Sacred Journey of the Tree

Sacred Journey of the Tree

“These Things are One. They are Unity. They are Ourselves.”

These are the words of Ramon Medina Silva: The Mara’akame of the Huichol people of Mexico. He describes seeing the world reflected in ourselves. Seeing ourselves in all things; the collective dream.

The landscapes of dream are often where my clearest images erupt; transforming, healing, and integrating what has lain on the surface of my conscious mind, too thinly scraped to call attention. This realm is a place of understanding that is so very difficult to form into words. Sometimes I wonder if the Earth may be dreaming us in her attempt to understand. May she understand.

In Joan Halifax’s book ‘The Fruitful Darkness’, she shares her own understanding of the Huichol people:

“The myth of the journey to Wirikuta is at once a sacred journey and a collective dream. The history recounts how the Ancient Ones, the gods of the Huichols, fell ill through forgetting, yet, returning to the traditional ways, were healed. The myth is also a collective dream reminding the people of the value of the continuity of traditions, particularly as they apply to place, to sacred and real locales.”

So far removed am I from my traditions in the waking world, that when they call my name in the dairy isle of the market, I hear only the blare of music and read those mythic labels with dulled uncomprehending eyes.

The wonder and the mystery are so easily lost.

Carroll Cloar 1913-1993

So for the moment I will try to share that wonder, beneath the tree. I may be stricken, I may be wounded, but I still do dream. Small impoverished dreams perhaps, but even the smallest thing has its place in the grandeur.

Tree-friend

Part Six: What May Enter Here

Culley sat waiting for his grandmother’s attention, cross-legged before the fire in her private rooms. He did not mind. Time between both worlds moved for Culley in a way that neither world seemed to notice. He would have been hard pressed to put it into words, had anyone asked. No one did. 

     He had noticed a shift in his mother after the thing that had happened to her. It was as if she were more still, rather than different. Her tone and her manor had not changed much, but the time between her words seemed to rest within a plane of its own. She now seemed, to Culley, to be nearer kin to the trees than to their surrounding human neighbors. He did not find this to be a bad thing, having been friends with the trees for a very long time, but any change in ones own mother seems to be a cause for deeper attention if only to reassess that all is still well.

     Todd had become, if anything, a more vigilant and now insistent caretaker since that happening. He was soft spoken and humorous as always, but his word brooked no gainsaying when it came to the issues of safety. This had forced Todd to travel more openly in the world of man, since he would not leave Culley’s Mama to travel alone. At first Culley had been stunned to see such an unflinchingly courageous fellow change color and twitch when riding in the auto to the market, but Todd quickly adapted and even attempted to operate the hulking ancient Citroën his mother had kept from her fathers estate, long before Culley was even born. Considering the normal self-adjustment that takes place when a Citroën is ignited: a rising and shifting due to the hydro-pneumatic forces, which gives the impression of sentience, this was an act of true bravery. 

     Todd was only allowed to cruise the small road that bordered the fence of their road in the end. Culley’s Mama had to explain licensing requirements, and identification issues, to Todd in great detail, again and again, and how they prevented him from traveling farther afield. Todd seemed to think that there must be some sort of loophole that would allow an unremarkable fey fellow to trundle down the roads of man. She eventually came close to losing her temper.

     “You are not The Doctor waving psychic paper!”

     “Sorry, what Ella? Not what Doctor?”

     Culley knew exactly what she meant and smiled ear to ear. Season’s 1 and 2 of Doctor Who were the only DVD’s that his mother had ever owned. The tiny flat screen TV, and the DVD player, were a gift from a college friend from long ago; before she had met Culley’s father. The entire device lived beneath a colorful Costa Rican tapestry and Todd had thought it was an art installation; so much of the house was scattered with such things. Culley took him by the hand, sat him down, pulled the cover off with a magicians flair, then plugging the device into an electrical socket. Todd was delighted.

     “You have never seen a movie?”

     “I had heard rumors, but who would believe such a thing existed.” Todd leaned into the picture so as to catch every word, while Culley watched him with a smile. Ella was talking softly to the groceries in the kitchen. Since she always had done this, neither of them paid much attention.

     “Most of the neighbors have something like this. I think it is too noisy though.”

     Todd cast him a worried glance. “Where does this man live? Is such magic common place, if so many have seen these things?”

     “Only the magic of the machine. This is merely a Bard’s tale. Such magic is long gone from man’s world, if it ever were here at all.”

     “But the machine itself is magic, so why not the magic it shows?”

     Culley paused, feeling an unusual sense of frustration. “Todd?” He tried at last. “When you encounter a sense a magic in yourself, can you say where it grew from?”

     “No, not truly. I can remember the things that led to my knowing, not the true path itself.” Todd was intensely curious about this and had pushed the system’s ‘off’ button on the block that Culley had shown him would control the television. “In other words, it seems unexplainable: true now, but hidden before,” he added.

     Culley nodded, still unsure of what he would explain. “When a human understands something in mans ‘science’ or ‘magic’, and sees how it works, he might feel the same way as you; shifting from not-knowing to knowing. However, he captures each part of the process, so that he can hand it to another human. He understands the physical properties of this world so well that he can teach their use, by repeating the process in tiny events, each entirely under his control.

     “So, there is no mystery?”

     “There is always a mystery. In Fey the mystery is held differently. Most men fail to hear it, or smell it, because the other ways they ‘know’ are not only very loud, but considered proper. To use the methods normal to Fey is considered either weak or mad.”

     Todd seemed to consider this deeply, silence resting with him for some moments, then he slide the remote over to Culley with a sheepish smile. “I believe I will help your mother prepare the dinner.”

      That had been last night. Culley still felt some sense of guilt. He had destroyed Todd’s wonder with simple unadorned facts. Even now he was not completely sure that he understood the whole of it. After all, his own knowledge of science came only from books, not experience. Behind him, he heard his grandmother rustle her papers and cork her inkwell. She now cleared her throat; a long standing sign between them that he would be given attention now. Culley smiled to the fire and stood, turning to face his Queen and kin.

     “Good evening Grandmother, are you well?”

     “Yes, child. As well as might be at my age.” She winked at him and he smiled back, meeting her eyes for a moment. “What is it you wish to speak to me about?”

     “I wonder if I might stay here in your home for some time to come?”

     She crinkled her brow and spread her hands in inquiry, but held her peace.

     “I have work to do of a nature that must be constantly attended to.” Culley looked down to gather his thoughts. “I believe it will benefit from the air of Fey.”

     His grandmother nodded slowly and thoughtfully. “I will inform the household. Will your mother be pleased with your choice?”

     Culley barely moved a shoulder in answer. “I will speak with her soon. She has always been my support.” Then he paused in a way that held his very heart in check for a moment before going on. “May you and I speak with ease in this room?”

     She watched him with the same still care. “Yes.” she answered softly, none the less, and then turned to close the door. She indicated the chairs by the fire and lifted a cordial in its cut crystal decanter from the table set between, filling one glass, then after a pause, filling the other by half as well.

     Culley smiled and tilted his head as he watched her. She returned the gesture as she handed him the full glass and seated herself to listen, taking a small sip. Culley also took a sip and set the glass aside as he curled his legs up onto the chair beneath him.

     “Who are they Grandmother? I need to know.”

She looked seriously at him for a few moments, with a thoughtful frown. “I suppose you are planning to tell the trees?”

Culley lifted a should a fraction, in answer, as his grandfather was wont to do now and then.

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