Yggdrasil: Tree of Life and Worlds

Photo by Susan Hintz Epstein

Human beings are creatures of Nature, like the trees and plants, stars, sun and moon, insects and creepy crawlies, and creatures of all types, those that fly, swim, or trod the land. Humans consider themselves the most intelligent, advanced species on Earth, yet intelligence contributes to a sense of separation from Nature, and is responsible for the mythological “Fall,” which is the saving grace of instinct. Reconnecting to Nature through the Tree of Life symbol in ourselves can heal that sense of separation. The only tools we need are presence, imagination, and awareness. The chance to visit a real live tree can help too, as its presence speaks to the Tree of Life within the human soul. I turn to Yggdrasil, as it is my ancestral Tree of Life.

Disconnectedness from Nature leaves me with a sense of rootlessness that manifests on physical, emotional, and intellectual levels. This became a disconnect from my spirit, from other people, from my ancestors, and even from my self. I witness a similar disconnect in others. Materialism, greed, and thought processes that lack common sense are symptoms of a disconnect that is bolstered by advertising campaigns all over social media.

Social media serves as an invaluable tool for education, meetings, and talking to friends during these times of COVID-19, but it misses the feeling of being grounded in the physical. It lacks the feeling of connection to a time and a place. Social media is like TV in this way. The circuit of the physical senses is not complete.

TV utilizes only two of the senses – sight and sound. It lacks the experiential moments of making eye contact, moving together, catching the nuances of body language, and the subtle tones of voice which add meaning to what is said, but may not be picked up by microphones and cameras.

While group gatherings are wisely delayed while the pandemic runs its course, this sense of disconnection is worth noting because it lacks physical grounding in an environment of loving acceptance. Our emotions take a turn for the better when we spend time with people who love us. Time in Nature, too, contributes to the experience of an enhanced feeling of well being and a connection to life itself in which we can feel ourselves as part of its entirety.

Trees are the most conscious beings of the plant kingdom, and are wonderfully easy to connect with. Making these connections deepens the grounding of my spirit in my own body. Physics has demonstrated that all beings possess an energy field. The trees in a forest share an overlapping energy field that contributes to their feeling of peacefulness. When I feel stressed by COVID worries, I naturally turn to my favorite trees where I am to shed my fears and re-connect with my deeper self. Merging with a tree for me is merging with the Earth right where I live.

My go to tree at home is a Hemlock tree I have named Hem. American Hemlock trees are evergreens with flat needles and two small yellow lines on the underside of the flat needles. They are shadowy trees, and the seedlings thrive in the shade of older Hemlock trees as they deepen their own rooting foundation for life. When I merge with Hem, I experience a cellular feeling of rooting not only to the Earth, but to the other Hemlocks in Hem’s grove, connecting like the trees to patterns of Wind and Water and Season.

Like people, trees have basic chakras. Unlike people, trees don’t move from their rootedness, therefore, in their stillness trees have the capacity to maintain continual awareness. Tapping into the still, continuous awareness of trees offers humanity this gift of awareness, undistracted by the routines of movement and habitual thoughts that arise throughout a regular day. When I merge with a tree, I make use of the Brow, Solar Plexus and Root chakras.

Taking a tip from Sandra Ingermann, co-anchor with Renee Baribeau of The Shaman’s Cave, as a gesture of respect to the trees, I ask permission to enter Hem’s energy field. If he says “Not today,” I will respect that. Usually Hem is welcoming, and I open my intuition to fully experience the tree. I may hug the tree, I may touch the tree with my hands and my forehead, or I may sit with my back to the tree. The response depends on the given day. Always I feel the deepest connection to the essence of the tree through my Solar Plexus chakra.

I ask the Tree for its news. I tell it mine. If I need to release heavy emotions that I have not been able to handle on my own, I ask Hem for his help. I do not depend on the Tree to process my emotions for me, I have to be willing to do that work on my own, but Hem helps by contributing his awareness to my own. We merge, and together we send our awareness down our Roots, deep into the Earth. My roots are energetic ones, but these cords of energy can be visualized deep into Earth’s core where even the most difficult emotions can be sent into fire for transformation.

Rooting and Crowning activities are part of a tree’s natural process of feeding itself as it transforms energy from the Sun and energy from the Earth into the substances it needs to feed on. So all I am really doing is riding Hem’s own awareness of his natural process in order to process my own. He is willing to share.

When I cannot visit Hem due to weather or life situations, I have enhanced our communication over distance by gifting him with a crystal that I buried in a hollow of his trunk. I could have buried it at his roots, too, but we liked the idea that he has a crystal in his body. I also gave him a small golden sun that my first Gurdjeiff teacher gave me. So now Hem has a Sun in his heart and a crystal near his root. These small gifts bind us together and deepen our friendship.

Hem has given me many gifts in return. Sometimes he will call the winds, whose language we interpret from the sounds in his branches. He has given energetic support during distance healing and distance extractions, where Hem has served as an energetic link to Yggdrasil. He consented to this when I asked, and fully linked me to the Norse pantheon with whom I work. I try to never assume. Like Yggdrasil, Hem is an evergreen, but not a Yew. We do not have Yews in America.

Hem has further allowed me to experience a feeling of oneness with a Grove. Long before Christianity and Rome, my ancestors in Europe worshipped at Groves. They too knew this oneness of feeling with Trees and Great Nature. Being part of a Grove is to partake of a “hive mind” where through telepathy the consciousness of all beings blends for the greater awareness of the whole. That gift of connection lifts me above the ego mind and into the realm of the Holy.

Published by susanofthenorth

Susan Hintz Epstein is an author, Rune diviner, healer, non-academic scholar, and former Methodist Lay Speaker who was called by the Runes in 2013. The time since then has been a serpentine shedding of one skin for another, as Susan's spiritual practice with the Runes and the World Tree, Yggdrasil, deepened. Susan keeps company with the Norns and other like-minded women.

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