Whispers From the Trees: Walking With the Ancestors

whispers from the trees May 27, 2024

by Penny Reed

Whispers from the other ways called to my feet.

I found myself parked on the side of a busy road eyeing a small but well-worn path that led into the woods. The path was narrow, branches and leaves touched my skin as I moved curiously forward. I started looking for a spot that would make a nice quiet place to set intentions and give offerings. Just then, I noticed something peculiar in the branches of a fallen tree not too far from the trail. I moved in closer for a better view. To my surprise, it was a large animal skull. Big teeth-like structures protruded from the sides of the upper jaw above the teeth. It looked like it belonged to a boar. The skull was clean and in a very odd spot to find any bones let alone a skull. I decided that this was a great place to do my ministrations.

Once complete, I started back out to the small footpath, but my feet turned to lead balloons. I felt a pull from the skull asking me to bring it along. I went back over to the skull and picked it up. Instantly, I could feel the spirit of the creature who called these bones home. The intensity took me by surprise, and I dropped the skull. It landed on the soft forest floor intact and upright. I gazed into the hollows that once held vibrant eyes and trusted that our paths crossed for a reason.

I picked up the skull, bracing for the messages that streamed forth. I gently wrapped it in my scarf and returned to the trail.

I soon learned that my new companion had ideas on where we should travel. I quickly discovered that when I went in a direction that was not to their liking, my feet would stop working almost like being encased in cement. We soon found a rhythm that worked for both of us, and we arrived at a thin cedar grove on the edge of a marsh with a ridge of large moss-covered stones running through it. I noticed something odd on top of one of the stones. I got closer. I couldn’t believe what I was looking at… Two large pieces of vertebrae still attached to each other. The bones, much like the skull, were clean and oddly placed. I scanned the forest looking for a hidden camera crew ready to jump out and say that I was being punked, but only the usual forest folk could be detected. I picked up the bones and could feel the kinship to the skull - they were from the same being. How bizarre, yet incredibly beautiful. I placed them both down on the mossy surface of the stone and sprinkled flower petals around them. I thought that reuniting them was the purpose of our encounter. Satisfied, I said my farewells and began to explore the cedar grove. My feet turned to lead once again. Perhaps our story had more to tell. I went back to the bones, carefully wrapped them together in my scarf, and then continued along the ridge.

I began to enjoy the company of this boar and grew quite curious as to where they were leading us.

The mossy ridge within the darkness of the cedars along the edge of the marsh felt magical to travel through. Every new turn revealed what seemed like another fairy village. The twisted gnarly roots created doorways and rooftops. Grooves and nooks in the base of trunks offered portals and more homes. A soft layer of moss covered almost all the surfaces, and young fern fronds pushed their way through. Dappled sunbeams danced across the enchanted landscape, offering shadows for the imagination to explore the hidden spaces of magical possibilities. I could feel the heaviness return to my feet, so I stopped to survey the land. The waters from the marsh came in further here, and I was drawn to the water's edge.

Sitting on a smooth rock was another skull.

This one was much smaller than the boar's. I carefully picked it up and felt its spirit. Images of water and trees flooded my mind, and I noticed a space on the upper jaw with two large holes staring up at me - long ghost teeth appeared - “a beaver” - whispered a voice deep within me.

I held all three bones feeling a comforting harmony radiating through my body. Just then, something caught the corner of my eye, and up in the branches was a large barred owl looking directly at me. Overcome by the beauty of all that was happening, I succumbed to gravity and landed softly on the forest floor and breathed deeply. What does it all mean? Such a funny human question but it's what we do… I sat in stillness savouring the beauty of the moment when I heard the trees whisper…

“Honour the experience of the other. Honour the experience of those who have come before you. Honour your own experience because it’s real.”

I smiled as a truth bubbled up ‘It really can be that simple”. I can choose to get lost in the why and how or I can just accept what is happening. I sat with that for a while and felt tension ooze from my body and seep into the earth below. Just then, owl cried out but continued to sit motionless with its eyes set directly on me.

“The mystery is the magic, and magic is the mystery.”

Thank you wise one. I sat like this for some time not wanting to be the first to leave this sacred here and now. I realized that owl was in their favourite place and was not moving any time soon. The call of the trail beckoned me to start moving. I gave thanks and began to set out the bones in a safe place in this quiet mossy refuge. I placed an offering around them and got up to leave. My feet grew heavy, and my stomach churned. I looked back at the bones and knew they had to come with me. I gathered them up, tucking them once more safely in my scarf, and began walking toward the car.

I noticed no resistance in my feet and felt that whatever the Boar had been guiding me towards had been found. My heart hugged the bones that found me and the pieces of myself I found along the way. Funny how that works...

By witnessing, you are witnessed - the simple act of holding space and allowing what needs to surface to come forth and honouring that experience.

What is an experience? Is it a moment that is perceived? Is it only real when it’s witnessed? What does it look like to honour each other and our experiences in this reality? These questions are big and layered, but I’m curious, are you?

Walking With You, Penny

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Hear the whispers of your Soul. Remember the stories of the land. Move with the cycle of the seasons & the cosmos. Find yourself in community, in what is & what yet has to come...

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