Happy Winter Solstice 2023, the shortest day and longest night! The celebration is focused on the light coming back after the longest night. It is a time of reflecting, going deep into the stillness. One sacred symbol used in various ways for this celebration is the tree. Some cultures use the evergreens decorated with lights to represent the eternal life cycle. In the Celtic cultures, the Yule log was decorated and burned, bringing light and warmth to the home. In many Native American cultures, the winter solstice was marked with ceremonies honoring the sacredness of trees and their role in sustaining life. Overall, the winter solstice and trees are deeply intertwined in many cultures and religions, representing the resilience and vitality of life even in the darkest of times.
Some of my best friends are trees. I find them to be sentient beings in life, stoic observers and confidants. They have stood witness to much around the world. Truly, they fascinate me with the way they communicate through an underground network of fungi. These fungi form a symbiotic relationship with the roots of trees, providing them with essential nutrients and water in exchange for carbohydrates. You might say they have “rooted communication” and an energy exchange. Through this network, trees can exchange information about environmental changes, such as drought or insect infestations, and even send nutrients to other trees in need. I wonder what they are saying about all the changes happening on the planet? Additionally, trees can communicate with each other through chemical signals released into the air. For example, when insects attack a tree, it can release chemicals that alert nearby trees to the threat, allowing them to prepare their defenses. I don’t think they have a defense against being felled by humans. I have cried at the loss of great century oaks for the sake of development.
Rooted communication is where it’s at! That deep, grounded way of sharing. It is the thinking before speaking, the listening fully before responding. It’s the allowance of connection. And, it is an energy exchange. How is it that as a culture we have lost connection in communication while having more ways to communicate? So many misunderstandings come through text, social media posts, and other electronic forms of communication. Not to mention bullying, judgment, and passive-aggressive exchanges.
On this Winter Solstice, I am taking time to reflect on how I want to communicate going into 2024. I created an art piece earlier this year called “Rooted Communication.” It is one of my wire trees with repurposed materials and beads. The name came from the crystals used in the roots. I have blue Lapis Azuli and Red Jasper. They are representations of the connection between the root chakra and the throat chakra. The top of the tree has twists and turns with a variety of glass, shell beads, and other grounding crystals. I brought it home from my retail space because I want my practice to be rooted communication. I am launching classes, coaching and consultation in 2024 and communication is key. My commitment this morning, as I write, is to be an authentic listener, to be fully present in conversations, and to share information, ideas and energy that support the betterment of our world. I want my art to be an advocate of awareness for trees, nature and our environment. The more I can recycle, repurpose and refurbish things the better.
I invite you, on this longest night of the year, to consider how you communicate. What message do you want to foster, develop and grow in 2024? How are you taking time to root yourself, rest, and be still? Remember that trees have also been used as a meditative tool in many spiritual practices. Sitting under a tree or walking among them can be a way to connect with nature and the divine and to find a sense of peace and grounding. In many Native American cultures, the practice of “tree medicine” involves sitting with a tree and listening to its wisdom and guidance. Forest bathing is a practice in Japan and other areas of the world, simply taking a walk in the woods or a park and connecting to nature.
I am planning on a few collaborative projects and offerings in 2024 that may support making deeper connections to the trees, nature, and energy. Stay tuned for what’s to come. In the meantime, I wish you all the blessings this winter solstice and holiday season has to offer. Here’s to a healthy, happy, and rooted 2024.
Thank you, Grammarly AI and Google, for the tree facts mentioned above.