Recieved: 1999/11/27 18:52
Subject: [K-list] Trees and Shamanic views
On 1999/11/27 18:52, Ckress posted thus to the K-list:
Another tree story: I'd told my friend H. about my "hug a tree" adventure and
she remembered it when she was on a weekend camping trip with some friends in
northern California. Without telling her friends what she was up to, H.
wandered off from their camp ground until she found a big old tree with a lot
of character and gave it a hug. Soon after she embraced it, H. got a very
strong message: "Earthquake!"
It seemed weird -- she had never had a psychic experience with another
species before -- but recalling my story, she took it seriously. She was
starting back to warn the others when she was thrown to the ground, courtesy
of a seismically feisty (I think it was a 6.0) quake. The epicenter was in a
sparsely populated woods area, so fortunately it caused little human injury
or damage to homes. H. came out of it without a scratch, as did her friends.
I'd read somewhere that before the advent of telephones and voice mail,
Aborigines communicated long distance perfectly well through trees. If they
wanted to send a message to a relative or another tribe, they told it to a
nearby tree. The trees passed the message along, so that any tree in a
fairly wide radius would carry the message to whoever cared to listen in.
I was trying to find the book that told about that, and instead came across
some interesting stuff about Aboriginal and general indigenous/shamanic
systems in Robert Lawlor's "Voices of the First Day." Aborigines knew about
K -- it's in their sacred "Rainbow Serpent." Lawlor says: "the serpent is
always associated with vibration and flowing energy fields... The Rainbow
Serpent is the first cosmological model for the spectral order of universal
energy... All radiation has the same velocity and the same electromagnetic
nature; the only difference between parts of the spectrum are frequency and
wave length. The electromagnetic spectrum, like the Rainbow Serpent, is a
profound metaphor for the unity that exists between the tangible and the
invisible worlds." (p. 115)
Lawlor also addresses the differences between indigenous and patriarchal
religions. He points out that Christianity and Buddhism focus on the
individual "by concentrating on personal salvation and enlightenment." (You
have to get YOURSELF saved or enlightened before you're qualified to run
around proselytizing to everyone else.) Lawlor says: "Buddhist meditation
and Christian prayer place the individual in the center of spiritual life.
Although the ego is considered the source of evil and suffering, it is
nonetheless the center of attention." The spiritual practices of Eastern
traditions are designed "to turn the attention to the individual's inner
thoughts and mental activities. Mastery of ... mind and perception is
considered essential to achieving the ultimate state through meditation."
The self-oriented (or me-and-God) "process of prayer and meditation is in
stark contrast to Aborginal spirituality which, through ever-deepening
perception, opens outward to empathize and identify with every aspect of a
living, active world." (p. 234)
Aboriginal children are taught compassion from infancy. "Whenever a weak,
ill, or harmless person or creature passes the child's path, the mother
fusses over it and showers it with attention, even if it is a scraggly
lizard... Food is never denied to anyone or any creature that is hungry...
The constant maternal dramatization of compassion in the early years orients
a child's emotions toward empathy, support, warmth, and generosity... Any
adult who does not show emotional empathy with the surrounding world is
thought to be 'like a rock' and is considered to be 'not quite human.'" (p.
This isn't to suggest the Major religions don't stress compassion -- they do.
Yet often this is considered secondary to the real goal of personal
salvation or ego-transcendence or whatever, while to most indigenous peoples,
heart-centered relationship is the essence of spirituality.
Again, Lawlor explains the difference:
"The unrelenting absolute eternal ground beyond all differentiation, which
many meditational philosophies seek as a goal of spiritual life, is for the
Aborigines as well as the ancient Egyptians to be avoided -- it means an end
to participation in the continually unfolding cycles of creation.
Meditational philosophies speak of one's spirit being absorbed into the
uncreative eternity, just as 'pure water blends with pure water and will,
henceforth, never more separate in eternity.'" The goal of permanently
dissolving oneself into ego-less All-ness "is nihilistic and abhorrent to the
creation-loving, adventurous soul of the Aboriginal Dreaming.
"Eastern meditative asceticism and Western productive materialism both result
from the polarization of humanity's spiritual vision. As Carl Jung pointed
out, they are like the left and right hand of the same body, each fulfilling
and complementing the other. In recent years, the attraction between them
has manifested in the numbers of educated, privileged Westerners who assume
orange robes and begging bowls and enter severe monastic practices, while the
Eastern swamis and yogis purchase Mercedes and establish corporate
organizations and institutions. The ancient shamanic religious practices are
the body or central core of the left and right arms of materialism and
asceticism, integrating the two extremes and including all the intermediate
levels of nature and consciousness." (p. 363)
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