A Meditation for the Season: Visiting the Oak King

A Meditation for the Season: Visiting the Oak King March 3, 2016

Oak Tree - public domain (CC) 2011.
Oak Tree – public domain (CC) 2011.

This is the meditation from the Oestara (Spring Equinox) ritual in my series of rituals addressing global warming. The meditation involves a visit to the Oak King in the form of a tree. The Oak King is half of a pair of Gods, the other being the Holly King. The Oak King is said to rule the warm half of the year, and to be the king of growth and vitality. The Holly King rules the cold half of the year, and is the king of withering and decay. This meditation focuses just on the Oak King, here at the start of the spring. You can use it individually, or incorporate it into a group ritual. Feel free to use or adapt as you like!

In your mind’s eye, picture a giant tree, larger than any tree you have ever seen. This is the World Tree. Take in the tree with your senses. Listen for the wind in the branches. Sniff the air for the smell of earth where the roots dig in. Feel the texture of the bark.

Place your hands on the bark and hold the intention of visiting the Oak King in the heart of the forest. Search in the roots of the tree for a tunnel. Find a tunnel and follow it.

The tunnel leads downward, sloping gently. You follow the tunnel deeper and deeper. Notice the way the tunnel feels. What is it made of? Is it rough or smooth? Do you smell earth? Do you hear anything? Follow the tunnel deeper.
The tunnel begins to open out, and you find yourself walking through a forest in early spring. Follow the path through the forest. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? What plants and animals are present.

Continue to follow the path. Now you are coming to a clearing in the forest. In the center of the clearing is one giant Oak tree. On the branches of the tree are the very beginning of tiny leaves. Walk to the Oak tree. Pause for a moment to take in the majesty of the great tree.

Then draw nearer to the tree, and place your hands on the bark. Bring your attention to your breath. Breathe in and breathe out. Breathe in and breathe out. Become aware that you breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. Oxygen in, carbon dioxide out.

Now bring your awareness to the breath of the tree. The tree’s breathing is much slower and less obvious. Search with your senses until you can perceive the breath of the tree. Become aware that the tree breathes in carbon dioxide and breathes out oxygen. Carbon dioxide in and oxygen out.

Become aware of this exchange. As you breathe in the oxygen that the tree breaths out, and the tree breathes in the carbon dioxide that you breathe out. Feel the balance and the harmony as you and the tree breathe together.

Now expand your awareness out into the forest. Become aware of the ways the forest is waking up as spring approaches. The sap is beginning to rise in the maples. The trees are starting bud or to send out leaves. The forest is awakening.

Become aware of the ways the forest will soon begin to take in more carbon dioxide and transform it into new life for the forest, and oxygen that will be used by animals and people. Become aware of the beginnings of the forest’s great in breath.

Bring your awareness back to the one Oak tree and to your sharing of breath with the tree. As you breathe with the tree, consider ways that you might become a partner with the tree. How can you help to protect the forest? How can you help to keep the forest healthy and strong? Is there a task for you in the protection of the trees and their breath which sustains your life? Is there something you can do, something you have to offer?

When you are ready, decide if you have a commitment to action that you can make. If so, tell the Oak tree of your commitment. Listen to see if the tree has any response. Look at the roots of the tree until you find an acorn. Take the acorn as a reminder of your commitment, a seed of action to plant when you return home. Thank the Oak tree for this time together and any wisdom you have found.

Find your way back to the path through which you came. Follow the path back through the forest. The path becomes the tunnel. Follow the tunnel as it slopes back up. Follow the tunnel up and up until you stand once more before the World Tree.

Thank the World Tree for this journey. Return to this time and this place. When you are ready, open your eyes.

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