from Wakeup-World Website
Offering mapacho smoke
to Remo Caspi.
Perhaps we still know how to speak this language, the knowledge of its universality rooted somewhere in the backyards of over stimulated city-minds.
In a quiet moment, surely
most of us can recall an occasion from our youth where something
memorable and magical happened with a tree (or a plant or a rock) -
a special climbing spot, a cozy place to read, a secret hideout, or
a passageway into an imaginary world we ventured to with friends.
For instance, the World Tree motif is strikingly common. It depicts the universe as made up of sky, earth and under-earth, all upheld and connected via a grand cosmic tree.
Sometimes referred to as a Tree of Life, this theme can be found in mythological, religious, shamanic and folkloric references in cultures as widespread and diverse as ancient,
Often the mythological symbol was born from a local species of significance, like the Ceiba for Mayan peoples or the Oak for pre-Christian inhabitants of northern Europe.
In other parts of the
world, certain species are praised, protected and regarded as sacred
by those who live amongst them, including the Cedar in
Lebanon and the Redwoods found on the northwest coast of the
Local jungle cultures have been practicing this form of healing, learning, and connecting with the forest for at least several hundred years, and likely longer.
The experience is tree-centered and primarily conducted in solitude while following specific dietary and behavioral restrictions.
The specific restrictions can vary by tradition but typically include a,
Once a day for three or four days the dieter consumes a mild tea made from the raw bark of medicinal trees.
The length of the diet
and the restrictions are followed for an agreed upon period of time,
lasting anywhere from 5 to 30 days, and sometimes longer.
Entire shamanic traditions and mythologies are built on this single principle: plants can teach and talk to us.
The traditional lore
maintains that once a plant has been dieted, its spirit remains
within the body and is always available to offer its assistance and
guidance. We bond with them and they become an inseparable part of
I was certainly not wired this way going in, as much as I wanted to believe in the mythos around it all. I was quite attuned as a child but somewhere along the way, like most of us, I gave in, at least partially, to the cultural undertow of modern life.
Now here in the jungle I was able to grasp intellectually what the tradition was telling me:
I spent a lot of time wondering what was happening, sinking in and out of a wakeful-dreaminess that didn't seem to produce much activity, let alone lively discussion with plant spirits.
Despite the seeming but not disappointing dullness, I went home with a tiny but growing sense of knowing that in some remote part of my consciousness, at a primal, animal level, an interaction of some sort had occurred and a subtle shift was underway.
It took months to begin
unraveling what that shift was, and many more months to start
discerning what the trees were talking about.
This new ecosystem was made up of me and my life and my consciousness; and I was now the source of nutrients and food that perpetuated and maintained their growth as well as my own.
residue that didn't support positive change, unhealthy patterns of
behavior that led to disharmony - all were treated like soil to be
cleansed or water to be purified.
They patiently but persistently sought to align my environment in symbiosis, with a new home established. This process ensures the successful fruiting of the dieta, bearing as lessons made clear, realizations brought to awareness, or healing taking affect.
For me, the fruit of change was apparent in two main areas: communication and relationships.
I learned how to speak
with more presence, focus and meaning. I began to feel the true
meaning of meaning, and how impactful words are. I learned the
importance and unmatched value in positive and supportive human
relationships. I now know what it means to be there for someone
else, and how to listen from the heart. I strive to embody these
lessons in my life.
But I can say that since
I began this part of my journey, my life has changed course
significantly. And the plants seem to have played a central role in
initiating that shift. They knew something and were showing me what
It turns out that plants are hyper-aware of and interactive with their surroundings. They engage with their environments through an elegant system of communication that affects not only them but nearby flora and the biosphere around them.
internet" plants are able to scan their surroundings, signal other
plants, cooperate and share resources with their neighbors, and
implement not only strategies of survival but those that lend to
flourishing - for themselves and the ecosystem as a whole.
The messages are biochemical and practical, leading to change. Trees will pass between them things like carbon, phosphorous, and nitrogen. This isn't sporadic, either.
Evidence shows that they can sense imbalances in the environment - a lack of phosphorous or carbon for example - and neighboring trees will share their abundance with those who are lacking. An interesting find shows that this sharing of resources will favor not only interspecies members but also the spawn of mother trees.
also occurs across the species boundary in a kind of communal
cooperation that often takes place in times of greater need and in
response to seasonal resource demands.
Neighboring plants will take measures of protecting themselves by releasing defensive chemicals even if they aren't the ones being attacked.
A similar mechanism has been observed with plants that are being eaten by a pest.
They will alter their
biochemistry to release a toxin that is uniquely poisonous to the
Of course they are
self-regulating, with the bounty and harmony of the entire ecosphere
in mind. And we are learning that they wield a linguistic
sophistication that helps them shape and guide the evolution of all
their kin, the forest and the earth itself.
Plants can show us how this wisdom is embodied in details, in the small acts of sharing and caring and looking out for others.
This gives the
universality of the wisdom its nutritional value. In this way it is
made relevant to daily existence and what it means to share the
earth as a human cohabitant.
Perhaps we are all
talking the same language, all looking for answers to the same
questions, as we seek new ways to live more harmonious, balanced and