[Editor’s Note: Please welcome Andrieh Vitimus to the Agora! His column, Full Frontal Magic, begins today and will be published on the first and third Sunday of every month.]
Life moves. Life moves fast. In our modern world, we often stick to a world created entirely out of our own symbols, tools and ideas. That world of symbols and expectations forces us to move and act in ways that even further accelerate our personal worlds. Check email, Facebook, Twitter, SMS, and the line between work and home life blurs.
I am right there with you. I work full time doing project management and computer programming, have a family, go to grad school, and do magic. Electric induced sleep and a fast dream walk. For a moment, just for a moment, we need to really… stop. In the blink of an eye, the wonder of Spring happened.
If you have read my book, Hands On Chaos Magic, and realize the name of the column is Full Frontal Magic, you may know that while I may wax poetically, I do not do so in the blog or public sphere. Stopping and attuning to Spring has many tremendous practical magical benefits and some deep spiritual ones.
Now that said, stopping and attuning to Spring sounds very good, but that is a large and troublesome metaphor for me personally. I could connect with Persephone and incorporate that energy into my life. Instead, I know that all around us there are immediate and imminent sources to connect too.
Let’s focus on a tree. I love trees and in Spring trees the leaves awaken and re-grow. Go out and find a tree that seems interesting, friendly, happy, or seems to call to you. For this exercise, it does not matter if you believe in the spirit of the tree or believe that you are using a personification. Go to a park or forest and wander until you find a tree that just strikes your fancy. Try not to think about it too much.
Close your eyes.
Place your hands on the tree.
Breathe as deeply as you can and keep breathing with breaths taking 5-6 seconds on the inhale and again on the exhale.
See, feel, hear, smell, and taste what it would be like if your intention flowed into the tree and imagine what it would be like to BE the tree and let yourself feel, see, hear, smell, taste and BE that. If you believe in energy, allow your energy to flow into the tree, and the tree to flow into you. Try to do this for at least 20 minutes. Slow your breathing even further and just see yourself and the tree merging. You have gone deep enough with this exercise when you can no longer question whether or not you and the tree are merging. Keep going until you just get to that point that you are unable to form that question anymore. Of course, if you need to, try to do this sitting or with your back on the tree, do what is comfortable for you.What does the Spring tree have to tell you?
Scientifically, we know that spending 20 minutes in nature each day has a profound positive impact on our lives. Of course, this process may just be an extended hypnotic metaphor and is really happening within the walls of our mind. If there is a positive effect on your body and mind does the absolute reality matter?
For most people, connecting to a tree in Spring like this is a very positive experience that can re-affirm and reconnect to their faith in paganism, pantheism, shamanism, or even magic. Personally, I think there is more to the tree connection then merely a metaphor, but that is for each one of you to decide for yourself. You can always repeat this simple exercise and try to go much deeper. If you just go out and do it as if something with the tree is worth connecting to that is immediate and immanent, you might just overwhelm yourself with wonder tinged with a bit of mystery.
When you connect though, you may have certain insights. If you really got to the point you were merged with the tree (even as a metaphor), how might you apply the way the tree grows and “wakes up” to your own dreams and aspirations? How can you learn from the growing of the leaves, the “waking up” vibes, and even the sheer fortitude of trees? We can intellectually describe all of those qualities, but allowing yourself to really connect either to the metaphor, or to the tree itself, is a radically different experience isn’t it? Almost the stuff of an engaged spirituality with an immediate and immanent world.
So, for a moment, we connected to that tree (or the metaphor of connecting), and we can ask what other ideas, dreams or even people can we really connect to. How might our lives awaken and become enlivened just like leaves on a tree? Merging with the tree was one form of shape shifting and, although simple, can be very powerful. This technique is what I actually use with my more shamanic students when they start to venture into plant sorcery. May the thought enliven and awaken those dreams you have.
If you enjoyed this exercise, magic or thought games, I am running an online Shape shifting 365 course that will go much further into these kinds of transformations. We are restarting the course in April and you can book now through April. We will dive deep!