I’ve been learning about trees this past month.

Ogham Altar

The first five trees begin with Birch…

The fantastic Ms. Raven of Greenwoman Crafts periodically offers online classes in one of her specialities – Ogham. I’ve had an Ogham set for over a decade and have started teaching myself about the trees commonly considered to be signified by the sticks every few years but starting with Hawthorn has meant I’ve never gotten past the next tree. Thinking about it now, perhaps I struggled to move past the stillness of the Oak without external motivation or perhaps I find overcoming Holly’s defences tricky…

Let me explain; for some reason when I’ve approached Ogham before I’ve begun with Hawthorn, after Hawthorn comes Oak, then Holly. Apparently I should have started with Birch! This time, under Raven’s guidance, I began with Birch and have continued on… through Rowan, Alder, Willow, Ash and on past Hawthorn and Oak.

Noticing this tells me something about myself… I’ve been thinking that I’ll learn about the trees this way but, of course, the world around us mirrors our selves. In learning about the trees I’m learning about myself. I’m reminded that I don’t like to move into stillness (Oak) because I’m unsure how to handle it, though I’ve gotten better and I was able to properly engage with Oak this time because I’ve begun to cultivate stillness internally by working with the other trees first. I’m also reminded that I avoid discomfort (Holly) and that this means I’ll miss some of the benefits hidden in difficult places! But I also know that I will face it eventually.

It intrigues me how clearly that which is absent can teach us as much about ourselves as that which we encounter and that the world around us is such a direct mirror of our internal processes. The world we live in is made of our relationships to the beings around us and can therefore do nothing but reflect to us ourselves.

I am grateful to the trees for mirroring my self back to me and I look forward to continuing to learn from them!

Photo of Birch on Campus

Thank you Birch, opener of the way!