I started a recent workshop, as I often do, by inviting the participants to imagine themselves, in standing meditation, putting down roots into the earth, like a tree. As the meditation deepened, they found themselves rising between earth and sky, like a tree, feeding on sunlight. When they felt really close to the tree they had chosen – a tree that had chosen them – they had opened a vision portal that could be used in many ways.
I suggested that they could go up in the high branches and practice looking at things that were far away, in space and in time, in the way of the ancient tree seers. A woman in our group was nervous about climbing her tree, which she saw swaying as if in a fierce wind, but was reassured by a friendly polar bear that appeared at the base, gripping the trunk. When she made her ascent, she startled to find a seven-year old girl, sitting on a branch near the tree top. She sensed she was meeting a child version of herself.
Meanwhile, down below, a jolly procession rolled by, with floats and balloons and a brass band. Everyone was laughing and booming out the words of “When the Saints Go Marching In”.
When she shared this vision, I suggested that – if it were my experience – I would want to climb the tree again and persuade that seven-year old to come back into my body and my life, lending me her joy and her energy. The dreamer sighed and said, “I want the music back. I think it went missing when I lost my seven-year-0ld.”
Supported by the group, fueled by shamanic drumming, she entered even more deeply into the world of the tree, on the trail of her child self. Polar bear came to help, and reassured the little girl that she would be safe and protected in the world she was rejoining. There was something attached to the tree that still scared the child, but the power animals we had summoned carried that away. The dreamer was able to wrap her child self in a huge bear hug, and carry her down next to her heart.
At the end of the drumming, she told us, “My seven-year-old is no longer a separate person. She is inside me.” We all sang “When the Saints Go Marching In” to celebrate and the dreamer made a list of simple things she could do right away that her child self would enjoy. These included eating hot dogs and chicharrónes, swimming, and dancing.
It’s wonderful when we can help each other become the shamans of our own souls and the healers of our own lives. One of the greatest rewards I find in my work is when I see the bright light of returning spirit shining in the eyes of someone who has reclaimed a younger self, or connected with a greater Self.
There is a chapter on the Soul Tree in Dreaming the Soul Back Home.