The Minerals

The predominant experience that most people have in their relationship with the kingdom of minerals is a sense of preciousness, sometimes verging on possessiveness. There are many mysterious and magical stories in literature where a person becomes possessed by the very thing they wish to possess. The force of mineral is integral to the material world on which our society is based. It is a force that can create a deep rift in our human relationships, creating feelings of superiority and deep unhappiness. Awareness and understanding of our relationship with the material world can lead to co-operation without the need to renounce or discard. I often think that what balances all that power and strength of the material force is tenderness.

Lasavia Box Sets are kitsets for Health and Wellbeing.  Having a set allows you to enter into a dynamic process or attuning to your needs on a daily weekly, monthly or occasional basis.  The benefit is that they are there to assist you with the distinct gifts that each essence brings.

  • Chambered Nautilus – Builds back self love and respect after experiences that have lead to shame and desolation.
  • Diamond – Cleansing. Understanding there is no permanence in life.  Celebrating natural beauty. Healing the imprint and damage that greed does to land.
  • Pearl – Assists in peeling away the dross and allow the truth to be seen. Makes sacred what has been desecrated.
  • Pounamu – To be able to step into a peace within the heart. Ability to share your own gift with others.
  • Pyramid Rock – Opens your vision,  prepares the way to breakthrough outmoded structures.
  • Rose Quartz – It softens the edges which then enables movement between two opposing points of view.

The Insects

The insects help to remind us of the nature of the ecosystem that we live in, and that we’re essentially part of this ecosystem, not separate from it.

All these remedies are created energetically through the conduit of water and are then preserved in brandy. They have been made with the physical insect nearby rather than use a dead insect in the medicine. Each remedy has the energetic vibration of the insect and has its own unique story. In writing about these remedies, I have chosen poems that convey a gesture of the insect that is relevant and beautiful.

Lasavia Box Sets are kitsets for Health and Wellbeing.  Having a set allows you to enter into a dynamic process or attuning to your needs on a daily weekly, monthly or occasional basis.  The benefit is that they are there to assist you with the distinct gifts that each essence brings.

  • Bee – That balances individuality and self determination with working towards the common good of a community or enterprise
  •  Cicada – The gift to surrender to your limitations. To be able to surrender to the fact.
  •  Cricket – Releasing self restriction.
  •  Paper Wasp – Assists in maintaining personal boundaries.
  •  Praying Mantis – To sever persistent thought processes that take you back to pain.
  •  Tree Weta – Warming and moving what has been frozen through trauma.

The Native Plants

The plants chosen in this collection grow around me on Waiheke Island. The island would have been mostly broad-leaved coastal forest. Although it was burnt for pasture during the 1920s, it has significantly reforested in the last thirty years. Ponga and Kanuka formed the first wave of this reafforestation. I have an intimate relationship with all the plants in this first collection, and I have known some of them for a very long time. Particularly Pohuehue which was the predominate plant in the sand dunes where I grew up. It was beautiful to find it growing here, wild and tangled amongst the honeysuckle.

Lasavia Box Sets are kitsets for Health and Wellbeing.  Having a set allows you to enter into a dynamic process or attuning to your needs on a daily weekly, monthly or occasional basis.  The benefit is that they are there to assist you with the distinct gifts that each essence brings.
  • Nikau – Embodies the earth element, Saturn and the stomach. The ability to absorb and utilise nourishment, well balanced, safe.
  • Pohuehue – Embodies water, mercury, and the mind. An exuberant response to life, intensifies perception, helps links pathways.
  • Hangehange – Embodies water and the moon. Acceptance and protection. Creating space in your life to slow down and connect to a different pace.
  • Ponga – A strong mind integrated with the heart. Embodies the ancient elemental energy of the Moon and Pan. A deep connection to nature, grounded.
  • Kotukutuku – Puts you in touch with the childlike freedom of having nothing to gain but the present moment. To express yourself and search for nothing.
  • Karamu – Expands your horizons and gives you space to be in the world again.

The Wild Weeds

Developing a more intimate relationship with the wild weeds in our own back gardens is to discover rich, forgiving and abundant friends. It is with the greatest pleasure that I made these particular remedies, I was surprised by their potency and their service to humankind. Some of these essences felt like a joyful shouting in my ear. It was hard for me to weed the vegetable gardens without some kind of general explanation to them about giving space to broccoli, or rows of carrots. I feel enriched by my relationship with these plants and in many ways feel their essence bringing me into life.

I encourage you to get to know them for yourself, to take a moment to taste the dandelion leaf or place the flower in water to drink or gather the chickweed and the cress for your salads. I give immense thanks for all those before me who have brought attention to these great little healers.

Lasavia Box Sets are kitsets for Health and Wellbeing.  Having a set allows you to enter into a dynamic process or attuning to your needs on a daily weekly, monthly or occasional basis.  The benefit is that they are there to assist you with the distinct gifts that each essence brings.
  • Cleavers – This remedy clears the auric field and cleanses. It is a reminder that we don’t have to be self reliant in everything, creating interdependent partnerships.
  • Chickweed – For times of transition and first stages of grief, able to assimilate and receive nourishment.
  • Comfrey – Accessing ancient memory and bring this wisdom into contemporary times. Brings flexibility to the mind, helping us to shift to a new consciousness.
  • Cress (Bitter Cress) Bright, sharp, awakens the mind, seeing a way through to right action.
  • Dandelion – To stay fully connected and relaxed. Able to respond appropriately to your surroundings.
  • Scotch Thistle – Joyousness and invincibility. A powerful protector with nature of the spiritual warrior. Let go all the non–essentials and just step forward.

Lasavia Co-Creative Circles

Guidelines and Codes of Practice

The co-creative circle is a place of learning, held in a sacred way within the medicine sphere. The focus is not on a teacher but towards the centre of the circle and within oneself.

Every circle is unique because we are individually unique and when we come together we bring that difference forward. Each circle is influenced by time and by place, so this also brings its unique flavour to the work. Finally, each circle is different because of the purpose that brings the group together. I suggest for creating strong work together that you create a closed circle for a number of meeting times before opening it again. Circles are powerful places of learning and each circle builds naturally on the one before it.

 

photo by Deah Swift

It is helpful that people respect the timing and learn to arrive on time.

There is a transition between arriving and beginning the circle.

Think of this gathering time prior to the sacred time to be between 15 and 30 minutes.

If someone is invariably late you may need to be clear and begin at a particular time and not wait for this person. Some people experience a lot of resistance to the work and this can show up in arrival times.

A circle needs to invite in all those that come. Everyone has a place in the circle and a contribution to make. It is a good process to create the altar together to prepare the space together.

Starting with prayer, giving thanks and walking the directions, presents the spiritual nature and intent of the work that brings people together.

The rakau/talking stick needs to have a place in the circle and be used in a respectful way. If the rakau is being used in a way where there is not enough awareness or there is disrespect, the facilitator may interrupt the speaker carefully and respectfully. This has been one of the difficulties I have had to attend to – I have always had deep faith in the power of the rakau, but in some circumstances I have had to interrupt a speaker and bring them into an awareness of what they may be saying or doing. This is rarely done and I do now practice this in particular teaching processes.

In each circle there needs to be a beginning and a completion. This allows for the teaching to occur in the sacred and allows an integration at the end into the ordinary.

Each person in the circle is equal.

When doing spiritual journeying or deep meditation, children and babies are sensitive and vulnerable to energies moving in the etheric through adult process and work. I strongly recommend that sacred circle work be for adults and not for children and babies.

If you are running a circle in your home you need to clear and clean the space beforehand, and open your home to people so that they feel comfortable and at ease. Communicate to everyone where the bathroom is, and kitchen, and be clear which areas of your home are private. Set up clear boundaries so that everyone is aware of when they should arrive and when they should leave. At the end of the circle, clear the energy and speak an intention of bringing it back as a home.

If you are running a circle in a public space you should clear the area before you begin and after you finish. You can involve the group in this process.

If, as a group, you have a space designated for sacred work, the place may become tapu or sacred. If this is the case, as a group you will need to put in place the protocol of use of the space. This means that the space retains an energy of the sacred purpose and those entering the space respect this and partake in that particular sacred purpose.

Lasavia is about creating self-responsibility and self-reflection; I also want to suggest kindness and care are also important attributes. Often though there are people who may want to join a circle but may want a lot from the facilitator. Be observant of what happens within sacred circle and what happens outside of the circle. Be thoughtful about how you feed hunger and communicate clearly and respectfully when boundaries are crossed.

As a facilitator you may observe actions and see how a person is behaving that may not be in alignment or that they are in an illusion. It’s important to be with your own truth in these moments and to be patient. Listen deeply to your heart and to your words. Check your timing and ultimately trust the process within the medicine sphere. Remember you might be bringing some wisdom forward, but it is up to the person whether they partake in that. Do not force your own perception over theirs, rather offer it up.

Many people who are new to this work do not understand how to be with sacred objects. It is up to the facilitator to share the protocol of handling sacred objects.

In exploring the meaning of symbols or interpreting a journey, do not give feedback immediately. Draw out the person’s own understanding first. Then if you sense that there is something you see that may be helpful for them, ask them first if it is ok to share your insights, remind them that your insights could be for yourself or for others in the room and not just for them. Allow the opportunity for them to respond if you give feedback. This is how we learn together. This is in alignment with creating self-reflection first and developing self-responsibility.

Sometimes it is important to remind people in the circle that the experiences of others shared within circle are not to be shared outside of the circle. I usually suggest that participants can share their own experiences outside of circle if they need to. If a circle has been impacted by gossip, it is helpful to gather together in sacred circle and ask each person to share from their heart in a truthful and respectful way what they need to communicate. This often reveals mis-communication.

As a facilitator; be aware if the truth is overwhelming or painful and give space for each person to be listened to. If it is directed towards you, try your best not to be reactionary, rather look at your mistakes (if you have made any) as an action for change and self-reflection.

If you are being projected on, it is also a powerful teaching and worth looking within how you wear that projection or how that is a pattern coming up in your life. Be truthful and communicate from your perception of the events. Often you may need to access an inner strength and a way of stepping out of those old patterns. Be sure that you connect with your mentor and get support.

Ethical Practice

For people working under the umbrella of the Lasavia organisation, I would like these qualities to be reflected on:

Authenticity

Ability to allow vulnerability when revealing an inner truth.

Ability to self-reflect

Practices of self-compassion and exploration, engaged in looking at the mistakes we make in the view of learning, seeing shadow as a teacher and prepared to step up to what the shadow is hiding or revealing.

An active spiritual practice and study (the desire to learn)

Self-disciplined and engaged in following one’s path.

Ability to be present

This involves self-care, listening deeply, able to be present within the body, and therefore present within the heart.

Humility

Looking at how we meet, with a respect and an understanding that we all have a place and therefore we come together in equality.

Communication

Thoughtful and reflective around communication – words have impact.
Being able to discern the different processes required in communication, i.e discussion and process that leads to understanding, and clear communication that expresses information.

Ability to critically reflect on our own belief systems

Review and reflect on our own world views.

Lasavia’s Purpose and Values

Lasavia is an organisation that has grown from my own healing practice, spiritual exploration and teaching. It was originally a name given through a spiritual vision to mean a Garden of Eden. The name came with the vision of the logo and was to be the name for the essences I was creating. Later I found out its root comes from Spanish and means life force. From these beginnings it is now growing into an organisation whose purpose is to provide training, resources and mentoring for transformative growth.

The Lasavia logo encompasses the concept of the three pathways; the mind, the heart and the pathway of devotion.

Lasavia is an organisation that looks at the education of the soul. This comes from an understanding that the soul needs the practice of relationship, self-awareness, understanding of the will, and the nature of devotion and service. That we look at wholeness and the integration into ordinary life and that fundamentally spiritual transformation is not some kind of conditioning but a potent experience that involves the whole of us. I see that crucial to this transformation is the work of co-creation and being in circles.

The Lasavia Course is a training.

I have realised over the years that the most common way people learn about shamanic practices and alchemy is in short workshops, I used to think that if people had done lots of workshops they were well trained in this work. But I discovered that when they are in circle they are ill practiced in deep respectful process. They are in fact beginners.

The Lasavia course is imbued with ethical practice; to me this is important as it highlights that ethics is not something separate from what we practice, but it is within the work itself.

Gathering to learn and explore together in circles is not only a foundation for our growth but a continuum.

Nature connection is crucial as a core value around understanding our role and where we interconnect to our ecosystem. Part of building a healthy foundation for Lasavia is our participation and connection to nature.

The following values came out of a strategy meeting with Chalice, Deah, Meggan and myself facilitated by Annette Lees. I have looked long and hard at these values and consider them in alignment with the purpose of Lasavia.

We value diversity and encourage the growth of an individual’s particular gift within the support of a diverse community.

We value truth and encourage the building of an intrinsic ethical foundation.

We value humility, understanding that we are part of a vast dynamic, interconnected ecosystem.

Our first value is Diversity.

Diversity is connected to being part of a greater whole, it is linked to community, and we are diverse because we are in relationship to the greater whole. This value becomes an active principle in working with co-creative circles, mentoring and healing relationships. To value diversity is to value difference.

We value Truth.

Truth may be revelatory, and truth may be painful; what is powerful is that the more we express our truth, the more the truth grows in us. I see truth as being present and anchored within. I see truth through the ability to self-reflect, the ability to be self-responsible and to be able to look. It is powerful to receive truth, in so doing we may have to receive the pain that comes with truth, and there is humility in this. Sometimes truth is an action. As a value to uphold, truth is taking space to self-reflect, to look and to be present. Angeles Arrien in The Four-fold Way writes tell the truth without blame or judgement. It’s not just how we value the truth, it’s how we express this and act within this truth. I see love and truth in the same vein. While I was in Germany in 2017 we talked and worked around what love and truth were. It was looking at love as an unconditional force all around, and that is how truth is, and that it was looking at the resistance both to love and to truth. The following is what came through around this subject: It is not about holding on but allowing to be part of a great movement within love. When we hold on, we hold on to nothing. When we move we then have what it is we were wanting. The fear locks us into holding to nothing and the fear creates distortion in the mind and the mind creates a story of what we are holding onto. Saint Thomas Aquinas said The law of divine love is the standard for all human actions.

We value Humility.

The first action of humility is to come into connection with everything close to us. To see how all around us there is an interconnected web of life and we are intrinsic to that. To be with humility is to be of earth and to experience that our mana within us does not put us above anything else but brings a consciousness of our part in the world around us. Humility arises simply from a heart connection to the divine.

Introduction to The Ethical Foundation of Lasavia Healing

Excerpt from The Ethical Foundation for Lasavia Healing: An invitation to partake in an exploration of ethics for the community of Lasavia Healing, by Leila Lees

Introduction

I naively embarked upon writing this document a bit like the fool finding him/her self upon a path of manifestation. As soon as I started writing about ethics, ethical situations arose one after the other, keeping me on my toes as if the document itself was in cahoots with the divine and they were messing with my reality. I was also filled with a mix of awe and gratitude around the powerful evolution we are on when we sensitively open up our moral compass.

Stones - Lasavia HealingI see this document as living and I invite everyone who is moved to, to put forward your own dialogue around your personal ethics in what you do and for the ethics of Lasavia Healing as an organisation. I also see this document as unfinished and I accept that.

As practitioners, I see that the work is not some methodology but our own life pathway we choose to do. To live our life in community with others and evolve as part of a greater ecosystem; we need to reflect on our behaviour, the balance of the ideal with reality, and how do we meet with what we aspire to?

Kathy Fried, in her article on ethics, writes about how when we understand that ethics is about everything we do, we also need to bring particular focus to the different practices we do:

While this means that ethics are needed everywhere, and in everything we do, it is much easier to see how we are doing if we have a specific area of focus. This is why we need to name, not just the ethical code but also the particular practices and relationships it refers to: There may be one code of ethics for membership of a community, while there might be another code for teaching students Shamanism or for working with clients. The universal principles are most likely the same, but the ways they express themselves in our individual practices need specific attention if we want to know how to translate the moral into daily life.

She suggests that: to discover and monitor our own ethical code we need to engage with an inner dialogue between our values and our actions. We can use whatever means we choose: self-reflection, journaling, journeying and so on, or a mixture of any of these. This can be a very deep process that grows and develops as we do. It is an on-going exploration where we often uncover things about ourselves we were not previously aware of. This process hones and matures our practice, making it strong and sustainable.

As part of the participation in the ethical foundation of Lasavia Healing I would ask all of you who read this to engage with this inner dialogue around a personal ethical code. From here we can create active discussion to look at how we relate to the principles of Lasavia, the purpose, the values and what I put forward here as a guideline for ethical relationship and work as a teacher and practitioner within Lasavia Healing.

I have always been thoughtful around rules that govern our behaviour. I have seen the terrible impact of righteousness on a group, ostracising and splitting people from family, friends and community. I have witnessed how righteousness could warp the notion of ethics by shaming and focusing on one misdemeanour, blow it right out of proportion, whilst others were unable to act ethically in the face of the righteous. In those moments I wondered where the heart was, the understanding of the whole, creating space for self-reflection. It was from these kinds of experiences within a group that I started to realise the importance of growing and keeping alive an inner ethical foundation rather than look to the external for guidance.

I see when people gather together for the purpose of spiritual work that many patterns of defensive behaviour arise simply because change is in the air. Ethics are like the walking stick that could support us through those times when we are only just beginning to open up to our moral sensitivity. Simple processes like checking assumptions one makes, or giving positive feedback and reflecting on our reactions, before putting forward critical feedback.

In writing this document for Lasavia Healing, I bring forward the purpose of Lasavia, the structure and parameters of the teaching, the values of Lasavia and some thoughtful reflections around my own journey through teaching, facilitating and participating in spiritual, shamanic, therapy and improvisation groups. I also look at natural laws or cosmic laws – I want to bring this up for discussion as when we work in accordance to these laws it may impact how we define our personal ethical approach to our own lives.

When we form a group we share a purpose, we learn the most when we are able to work co-creatively with a group. Briefly this means that we gather with some purpose and we give space through being with each other. I put the being with in italics as to mean the process of deep listening and empathy. Groups are difficult for many people for a variety of reasons. Many participants have been wounded by people who have some kind of power within a group, these wounds have happened through family, through cults and through spiritual and therapy groups.

Ethics are about relationships, and I see that ethics is a heart issue.

How to facilitate effectively working with patterns of pain and vulnerability takes skill and requires a strong innate ethical foundation. It also requires a continued personal journey in reflection and spiritual practice. In her book The Ethics of Caring, Kylea Taylor writes: The degree of our willingness to delve into the dark truth of our own motivations, desires and fears will determine our ability to be caring, flexible and ethical.

This is very true, I see within myself and others that my mistakes, assumptions and misaligned reactions are always triggered by my own survival patterns or anxieties and that the ability to reflect healthily upon mistakes is an important practice in growing our work within an ethical framework.

In practice, an ethical document for an organisation, although appreciated in principle, can become an abstract document. An ethical foundation needs to be alive and the only way I see this to be alive and connected to people is for people to participate and contribute to the ethical foundation. Firstly this can happen by people finding and landing within themselves their own set of values, what is innate in them and how do they translate those values into their everyday lives. I realise the importance of this because the fundamentals of what the Lasavia Healing Course is about, is about transformation, and this happens through an evolution of consciousness and this is about our lives.

Exploring your personal ethical foundation >>

Exploring your personal ethical foundation

Write down five values that are important to you.

Under each value write down what this might mean for you. Research what other people write about these values.

Start to engage in an inner dialogue around these values and your actions. How do your actions and your values connect?

Think of this as an on-going exploration, rather than a self examination. Explore how you feel about making mistakes and the value of mistakes.

Look at the roles you have in your life. Do some roles have certain ethical practices?
How do these roles and ethical practices overlap in your life?

Take time to reflect and write.
Share your ideas and reflections with others.

Knowledge

Knowledge

I was exploring the use of colour in my art last week. I was thinking about colour association and how a colour will trigger emotions, memories and deeper feelings that often by pass our understanding. I started making notes of the colours of my childhood landscape. it was a landscape that was wide in its vista of dune, sea and sky. I was seeing the yellow hues of summer, the association with dry grasses and thinking of the pink moths of autumn and winter wet hues of grey, and then out of the blue, I started remembering the Lüscher colour test I used to play, this amongst many unusual books was made available to us, as my parents had a large eclectic library at home. My sister in her book the deep sky waits on the outskirts of town writes;

‘we browsed books, took piles of them to bed or to the bath, lay on the lawn and read them and looked at the photos and paintings. I dreamed over the weighty photography books about the great ballerinas, stared at the photos of bizarre tropical diseases, and knew by heart where to find the photo of Picasso teaching his cat to dance.

(from; the deep sky waits on the outskirts of town by Annette Lees; published by Reed).

This description sums up that immense delight in delving randomly into knowledge. Particularly interesting were the pathways that open up, as one thing leads to another, and before you know it you end up waking from lost time where with soft focus stalking of knowledge you find oneself immersed in a fairy tale about Cornish Piskies.

I don’t think my parents totally understood what it was like for a ten year old to be doing psychological studies on her self through colour. Quoting from the Lüscher colour book that I still have in my possession: the principle of the Lüscher Colour Test is that accurate psychological information can be gained about a person through his choices and rejections of colours.tree print

The kind of things I would read about my choice of colour might be like this: ‘whoever chooses green in 1st position wishes to impress’. Or: ‘Sexually, red standing by itself in the 1st position suggests a more or less controlled sexual drive, with the possibility of occasional outbreaks of impulsive sexual experience.’ There were of course fascinating insights into how I felt which arose entirely from my choice of colour.

I still have a large collection of books and it is this I go to first before a google search. Sitting in the studio I find a book called color. It’s got all the stuff around colour and perception of colour when looking at shadow or grey colours and then a short chapter on symbolism and history. In browsing this book  I read something that throws me. It gives one sentence on Goethe’s theory of colour and in this sentence it completely dismisses Goethe as some kind of idiot who knew nothing about painting. Yet everything that is written in this book on colour has emerged from Goethe’s deep study and exploration on how we see colour and his study on prisms and light.

The writer has not understood Goethe, he has also done something so common, he has forgotten how knowledge grows and develops from people before us who had wondered about something and wanted to know more. Knowledge deepens as we deepen our connection to what it is that we desire to know. Within that we see how we connect into a body of exploration that has occurred before us. It is profound as it is like a relationship between the learner and the body of knowledge. The writer got me straight to Goethe possibly the opposite of what was intended and here amongst all the wonderful insight he brought to our persception of colour is a fabulous quote on knowledge which I will leave you with.

‘the desire for knowledge is first stimulated in us when remarkable phenomena attracts our attention. For it to continue we must find a deep sympathetic connection, which will lead us by degree to a deeper acquaintance with the subject.’ -Goethe.

 

Trees

Trees

I was met in London by a tree. I had just arrived, slightly bedraggled into Charing Cross station. Missed and found, amongst the crowds, my friend Belle and together started to meander. When you come to a place for the very first time, a thousand tourists cannot lessen the sensation of arrival into a new land and also an old land, the tangible London touching the London of my imagination made up by artists and writers and rhymes.

In that state of sensory expansion, an oak tree standing alone outside Kensington abruptly caught my gaze.

Uncannily aware I was observed, observing it observing me, extraordinarily alive.

Oaks, I read, take time to mature and live to 700 years old, they are enduring and firmly rooted. I am told that my ancestors lived in the same place for thousands of years, in Clarksfield, Oldham. My part of the family left to sail to Christchurch New Zealand. I imagined my ancestors like trees, lifting up their roots, a sailing ship with an odd assortment of trees. There is a wisdom in endurance, the ability to withstand the elements, both physically and spiritually.

There’s an oak at Judges Bay, Auckland. It’s a tree that will overlook you, so that you tend to place your back towards the trunk.

You look over the harbour with it, a companionable silence, although there is a sense it is looking further than you can see.

The bark is woven with a tight weave. In finding oak I find that there are at least 200 species all unified by the creation of the unusual acorn.

20140523_075729I see my family in the manner of trees, they put down roots and stay. There is a love of land, an anchoring into a place like roots into the earth. I may come and go but I belong to where these roots go down. My aunts and uncles found their place and tended to settle, one aunt lived in the same house her entire married life, my parents similarly settled in Piripai, Whakatane.

In London it was like I went from tree greeting to tree greeting. I didn’t hug them, rather well met, a shared acknowledgement. Each encounter I was affected, being touched in an other-worldly way, a blur of edges. They let me see them through the eye of the camera, each tree held its own individuality intact, apart of place, of weather and season.

 

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The door was opened to the trees and unexpectedly there were characters showing up. This tree appeared dotty and gorgeous. In meeting her, Belle and I started laughing. The words that came to describe her jumped out at me whilst perusing an old book called the movies published in 1957 describing the role Mary Gardner played in the movie the splendid sinner.

It was the words abandoned minx that got me grinning. On second take I also felt the grace of eccentric joy and it touched me, open-hearted.

 

 

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In contrast I named this tree the hunker munker tree I also thought of it as the sideways glance tree, where if one looked in a particular way of looking you could sense a door to the otherworld. A border between dimensions, where there is an experience of breakdown of identity, a merging, where the definition of either side becomes blurred.

Time, a different pace emerges, a reminder of dimensional existence amongst the human intensity in the centre of London.

I began to wonder how the forest originally stood here. A community of trees, its relationships with people, the flooding Thames and I wondered how they fared in the great frost that Virginia Woolf described in Orlando where the ‘birds froze in mid air and fell like stones to the ground.’

Trees naturally create forests, they gather together, in abundance and in difficult circumstance. I grew up with the kanuka as the only major tree in the sand dune. When they grew in the hollows they were leggy and close together, usually in a line as if they were following a crease in the fold of the land. On the wind strewn dune closer to the sea they would push their back to the wind, bending where the muelenbeckia crept over it. Underneath was cool dark sand, a hidden place that you could crawl into, sheltered from the wind and the sun.

John Fowles in his essay the tree describes the essence of trees being a community and the wider impact and inter-connected experience of an ecosystem.

“In a wood the actual visual ‘frontier’ of any one tree is usually impossible to distinquish, at least in summer. We feel, or think we feel, nearest to a trees ‘essence’ (or that of its species) when it chances to stand like us, in isolation; but evolution did not intend trees to grow singly. Far more than ourselves they are social creatures, and no more natural as isolated specimens than man is as a marooned sailor or a hermit. Their society in turn creates or supports other societies of plants, insects, birds, mammals, micro – organisms; all of which we may choose to isolate and section off, but which remain no less the ideal entity, or whole experience, of the wood – “

20140519_164657-300x400There is a pleasure to lie on the ground and look up at the forest canopy to see the branches working round each other.

Sometimes I would soften my vision to see the small auras around each twig, shaping the space, creating a pattern of growth.

We started to walk towards the National Gallery on the way we saw a squirrel flagrantly lie back in the arms of a tree as if the warm afternoon sun was to be savoured.

Squirrels and jays serve as the seed dispersal agents for oaks because acorns are too heavy. It’s called scatter hoarding where the squirrel and the jay make hoards of acorns in all variety of locations, they also retain large mental maps of cache locations. Luckily for the trees the odd acorn may get lost and once an acorn sprouts they are less nutritional.

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As we walked I happened to look to my right in time to see a tree with a distinct animal face. It was remarkable, it was an oak. In an unexpected way I entered London through its trees.

The following images are of the trees in Knole Park, Seven Oaks, just south of London. I always wondered if there was a word that describe those abnormal spherical, twisted gargole like protrusions in the truck and along branches and I found the word its called a burl. Burls are formed when bud growth cells deviate by dividing into many directions. The bark on the burl will often appear coarser and inside the grain is twisted and very compact.

 

 

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Minke Whale by Deah

Minke Whale by Deah

Deah found two Minke whales washed up dead on Waikawa beach last week on the Kapiti coast. She wrote this poem after finding the second whale. photo-of-minke-whale-deahMinke Whale – Dead In life she cruised the oceans deep Sieving time as with the tides. Awakened, untouched in her element Fulfilled and for-filling purpose Solitary Free. She looked as Minke looks, Of fat, length, flippers long, dorsal curved. Bullet head, baleen filters, grooved throat. And carrying unborn calf. She ingested mans dross For she encountered so few and knew little of their way. Innocent, Trusting Alive on the waves Curious of man And now dead She died on beach, Throat clogged. Bulldozer ripped from element water. Dragged with no ceremony Jaw removed Unmarked grave Duveted by dune. Crisscrossed tracks Wind to remake her bed. And long dead.