As Witches and magickal/spiritual practitioners, we are aware that nature has a rhythm of its own. We can sense currents of energy within the earth beneath our feet. We can feel the pathways of the wind in the air and intuit the course. And we recognize the spirit which resides within every blossom, leaf, root, and bud (among other things in nature). Scientists, however, are now discovering the reality of what we Witches and Pagans understand through spirit and practice. Nature has a “heartbeat,” and trees are a mainstay of that pulse.
Heartbeat: Trees Do More Than We Know
Trees do have a kind of “heartbeat.” Through a monitoring technique known as “terrestrial laser scanning,” scientists are discovering that trees do have a “beat” of their own, a unique rhythm that pulses through the body of the tree.
These pulses distribute water through the tree, much as the heart pumps blood through our body. In the past, osmosis is the process believed to perform this function. However, these new findings contradict that understanding. The “heartbeat” of a tree is slow and steady, happening every few hours in some instances.
Results also show trees have a circadian rhythm known as “circadian leaf movements” and a kind of “sleep” pattern. Several tree species drop their leaves when the sun goes down. Some researchers believe trees and plants feel pain or distress, although not in the way beings with a brain and nervous system do. And, there appears to be communication that occurs, even if it is in a form we do not understand.
Heartbeat: Finding Peace With Tree Allies
Years ago, my family and I lived in a second-floor apartment with a kitchen window that looked out on a forest of trees. Firs, maples, oaks, and locust. Watching those trees, as the tops swayed in the wind or shook in a breeze, always brought a great sense of peace. For me, watching the movement of trees can be soothing, meditative, healing, or exhilarating.
Trees are essential allies in my practice. Even during Winter’s cold, when I am not outside much to touch or interact with trees, those in my yard still offer a presence (sleepy though it may be), whether it be protection or other aid. And the sense of their spirit, some ancient and some young, brings a feeling of belonging to something greater.
I love the trees. Whether walking in a neighborhood, through a park, or along the forest path, the trees call me. Their energy swells with a hum, and I cannot help but respond. To walk up, to touch, to greet, and speak in that silent language of recognition. Last summer, I did so with a young tree so excited to share a leaf or acorn with me the tree threw the thing at my head. The interaction was beautiful.
Heartbeat: Getting To Know Tree Spirit Energy
In my early years as a Witch, my mentor took great pains in helping me learn about nature spirits and plant allies. One of my experiences included sitting in a green space to observe the trees. She did this so I could learn to recognize and respond to their spirit and energy. So, here are some helpful hints if you would like to be able to “commune” with trees as well:
Go to a green space (yard, quiet part of a park, nature preserve, etc)
Pick one tree upon which to gaze.
Ground and center yourself.
Close your eyes and breathe.
Listen to the sounds of nature.
Feel the breeze touch your skin.
When you are ready, open your eyes and look at the tree.
Observe how the trunk has grown, how the branches move.
Take your time simply observing the tree.
Allow your eyes to soften, see the energy body of the tree.
When you are ready, reach out with your spirit and say “hello.”
Wait for a response. If one if not forthcoming, it’s okay. Communication can take time.