The first time I visited Reverie and walked the property with Tamara and Ramon, I noticed her- a tall sentinel rooted near the lower boundary of the land. I knew at once that this Oak was a very special tree, an elder among the native and planted trees that call Reverie home.
This year, I felt called to visit this special tree in celebration of the Autumn Equinox. Traditionally, autumn equinox is a time when we enjoy the harvest of all that we have planted in our gardens, and in our hearts. This is certainly the case at Reverie, where the gardens are bursting forth with peppers, tomatoes, zucchini and more. In addition, at this time of year, we are invited to let go of what no longer serves, like the deciduous oaks that drop their leaves in preparation for winter. Finally, we prepare the soil and plant seeds and new dreams for the year to come.
Often, the support we need for growing our seeds and dreams is right outside our doors. Perhaps Oak is just the medicine for Reverie this year, I thought. I mentioned the idea of celebrating with Oak to Tamara and Ramon, and so it was that everyone present gathered together and set off down the path to connect under the canopy of the Oak Tree. In addition to sharing with one another what we are releasing and what we are inviting into our lives at this time, we asked how Oak might want to work with Tamara, Ramon, and the land at this time. Here’s what emerged:
A call to deeper relationship
Working with plants on this level requires gratitude and reciprocity. We brought Oak gifts in the form of poems, prayers, offerings of water, touch, and plant essence sprays. We expressed our gratitude for this magnificent tree, for everything it provides and everything it represents. We spoke about the time it is taking for bringing the vision of Reverie into reality, and acknowledged “Big Medicine takes time to make”. This grandmother tree and the welcome Oak at the entrance to the property are working together as anchors holding space for the unfolding dream of this land. We consecrated Grandmother Oak as a living temple, honoring her ancient wisdom and remembering that all land is sacred.
Working with Oak Medicine
Qualities associated with Oak include steadfastness, perseverance, integrity, leadership, sovereignty, and strength. Oak helps provide the activation energy needed to help us fulfill our destinies. Oak gives us the feeling of having our feet firmly planted on the earth; it gives us the strength to be with challenges and uncomfortable feelings that can arise as we bring our visions down to earth. Oak is there for us when the going gets tough and helps to restore our courage when it begins to falter. Oak is at once a protector and guardian as well as a nurturing presence that gives us the feeling of being held.
Say Hello (The Welcome Tree)
The next time you visit Reverie, once you turn into the driveway, slow way down and stop when you see the large oak tree on your left. Take a moment to stop and acknowledge this old Oak. While this can be done from inside your car, it is also nice to get out and walk over to the tree. Placing the palm of your hand on the trunk is a simple way of remembering that you are “here”. You may also want to introduce yourself and let Oak know why you’ve come. Finally, it is always polite to ask permission to enter. When you hear a “yes”, you’ll know that you are ready to join the reverie.
Meet Grandmother Oak
Take some time during your stay to walk down to the grandmother oak at the bottom of the hill. Bring a gift of your choosing, something that is biodegradable like a hand-made wooden bead; some corn, a pinch of tobacco, or another plant that is sacred to you; a song; poem; story; or some water. Give your gift to the tree, together with your appreciation. What do you like about this tree? Is it her beauty? Her architecture? Her shade?
Spend some time with this magnificent tree. Whether meditating, daydreaming, journaling, or taking a nap is your style, you’ll find something to revere under the canopy of this beautiful Oak.
About the author
Kathren Murrell Stevenson, Ph.D. is an ecologist, teacher, and guide. Bridging science and spirit, she brings the principles of ecology into a more holistic frame through her personal studies with indigenous wisdom teachers, experience in embodied awareness practices, and deep immersion in nature. Kathren offers individual sessions, classes, workshops and retreats: www.wisdomecology.com