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Friday, October 28, 2011

She Who Watches and Western Red Cedar Healing

She Who Watches and Western Red Cedar

To say that each day out was full of surprises really does not do justice. The second morning we awoke to Brian owner of Pacific Northwest Expeditions calling us before breakfast “Orcas”. Rushing down to the water’s edge we could see them coming down the strait. They swam past right under our feet. One young whale rubbed itself all along the small rocks as it swam past. We heard them singing and chatting to each other when the hydrophone was lowered into the water. Spectacular!

This day was perhaps my favorite day of all. The weather was perfect. Whales were plentiful. Everyone was relaxed and playful in the kayaks. At noon we hiked up through the rainforest to see an 1100 year old Western Red Cedar. This tree is a stalwart to the native cultures here. Its bark strips off easily and can be woven into water proof hats and clothes. Those tall trees stand true and do not warp or rot. These are the trees that totems are carved into. These trees provided homes, canoes and protection. They have powerful medicine.

A rainforest is an interesting place to hike when you are the eldest of the group to say nothing of being the shortest. Slinging a leg over a downed tree that is higher than your head took great ingenuity and strategizing. Though it took me a little longer than the others, I made it.         
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This 1100 year old Western Red Cedar dwarves all around it, especially us!

I don’t know where the top of that tree really was. I could not see it. I stood in awe of nature’s magnificent old wisdom. I love trees. When they widened the road where I grew up they took down all kinds of trees and blasted rock. I cried for days. I asked permission of this great tree to leave my pain in its care. I felt the reason for me being here was to leave pain behind. I stood on the other side of the tree as the others chatted and performed my ceremony, gave thanks and offered what I could. The offering turned out to be a teaching. One of the young engineers on the trip came around to see if I was okay. When I explained what I was up to he said let’s do it. He was solemn and respectful and seemed appreciative of the effort. Somehow, it feels like I was there to offer this young man a few words about honoring Gaia and keeping her well. For an engineer in Calgary inventing new ways of extracting resources from the earth it felt like an important teaching from my perspective. 
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This card turned up when I asked "What does Red Cedar want me to know?"
When I pulled my Gaian Tarot card for the day I was moved beyond words really and cried a few tears. To me it appeared that the woman deep in grief is hugging a tree. Apparently, she is leaning on a standing stone to release her grief into the compassionate healing of Gaia. The petroglyph of She Who Watches appears in the clouds above her. We are never alone in our grief and must not lose sight of that even as we weep our tears. People often say to me, I have done all the work. I have let that all go. Why is it coming up again? It is because we are human and afraid; because we are human and rarely weep and feel grief to the deepest releasing level. Because we feel emotions that remind us of what is gone and we miss those people and feelings of joy. We need to release, express and feel our grief so that it evolves into something softer that does not keep us locked in fear and pain. And so on this day with this 1100 year old Western Red Cedar I let go of another layer of grief and pain. The young engineer offered a healing of his own, by being compassionate enough to check on me and join me in part of the ceremony. We really do not know when or who is there for us until we let compassion into our life. And from the Gaian Tarot text “I allow the Mother to heal my sorrow as I open my heart in compassion to others”. And I would add receive the compassion of others, something I found very difficult to do for far too long.
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An old stump full of life! Death giving way to life and renewal as always.

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