by Elyse Pomeranz, 2019 Celestial Planting Calendar
“Where are you going next?” asked my five-year-old goddaughter, as I tiptoed out before dawn trying not to awaken the sleeping household. “The trees are guiding me. I’m a tree listener. I follow their guidance,” I told her. She nodded, then paused. “And I’m a heart listener,” she said emphatically. Then she hugged me and went back to bed.
In spring, summer and autumn, you will find me somewhere on the planet with my back against a tree silently drawing, paper balanced on my lap. Using what Rudolf Steiner called “Imaginative Cognition,” I listen with my heart.
This heart-guided perception enables me to be directed by the tree as to what to draw. Little by little, for over an hour or so, the drawing reveals itself. The tree “speaks” through images that are mysterious and pregnant with meaning, although I often do not fully understand what it is that I have been shown. I have over 500 of these tree-guided drawings. Some trees I have sat under are thousands of years old.
What is it that trees hope for? They wait patiently to be included in our earthly work of healing, reconciliation, forgiveness and transformation. I call it co-evolutionary work.
There are potential new partnerships with trees that can be offered in various areas of healing endeavors, for example, in the area of counseling and assisting people with Alzheimer’s and for those in trauma recovery. There is also the more practical work with what the trees call “treeforestation.” This term refers to what most of us call reforestation but recognizes that trees are well suited to guide the humans who plant and monitor them.
Trees belong to groups as well as types, each growing in particular landscapes and ecosystems. Some trees grow as singular beings, while others grow together in woodlands or forests. Some are far from human habitation, while others are next door to world-renowned cultural centres.
All of these factors play into the tree experience and their readiness to develop new capacities to relate to human beings in new ways.
As Steiner points out, the landscape can shape the activity that arises there. To quote from his lecture, Evolution of Consciousness, “The wise men of the Druids, or others of that kind, sought out regions for their temples and sanctuaries where the conditions were such as to allow Imaginations to remain and not immediately vanish away like clouds. In this region it has always been felt that the difficulty of holding an Imagination is not so great as in other places.”
The sites where ancient Yew trees are found were chosen by the Druids and later by the Church as locations for building sanctuaries for worship. The drawings shown here were made in conversation with ancient Yew trees that are 1100 to 5000 years old. The ones on the lower left were made near two 5000-year-old Yew trees in Wales responding to my question regarding Steiner’s threefold social organization. I deeply value my experiences of working with these beings in England and Wales.
Stefano Mancuso, an Italian experimental botanist, in his book Brilliant Green, helps us understand that tree senses are distributed over the entire tree, unlike the human senses, which are concentrated mostly in the front and sides of our head. At one point, I realized that trees can see 360º all around! With their amazing sensitivity, they are particularly vulnerable to the thousands of human-produced electromagnetic signals that are now creating a kind of electrical smog in our environment. They have asked me to advocate for cell phone free zones in parks!
Elyse Pomeranz is a former Waldorf School teacher. For the past 10 years, she has mentored and trained Waldorf teachers in Canada and China. She offers workshops and presentations on her work with trees. www.thetreeconversations.com
There is so much to learn from and with trees. I look forward to this ongoing research for the rest of my life!
Elyse refers the reader to Steiner’s Anthropsophical Leading Thoughts, pages 196 to 199. This leading thought is entitled “The Sense- and Thought-Systems of Man in Relation to the World” and dated March 1925.
For more of Elyse’s art, visit www.thetreeconversations.com.