If you had told me a couple of years ago that I would discover that the oak tree is one of my spiritual allies, I would have looked at you like you had two heads! Since commencing my Shamanic Practitioner training in January 2020, I have learnt so much about myself and Spirit that it’s difficult to know where to begin in putting some if it into words. In the spirit of giving it a go, I want to talk a little about my journey with trees – and just how I came to “meet” my oak tree guardian.
One of the traditional names for a tree spirit is “dryad”, which is essentially a reference to a tree’s higher self – just in the same way that we as humans each have a higher self. The size and wisdom of an individual dryad will depend upon the age of the tree, but their abilities remain constant, irrespective of size. Some people can sense the energy field of a single dryad from a great distance, particularly from an incredibly old tree. It always strikes me when walking in the woods that certain trees just have a power that draws your eye to it and more often than not, they are the ancient ones.
In terms of connecting with dryads, I have been taught that when you take a shamanic journey to meet any nature spirit, you ought to be respectful in your approach: ask how it would like to work with you, and what it would like in return for their assistance – usually, it’s a token gesture like ensuring your bird feeder is kept replenished, or for a sweet treat to be left when you visit a particular place, but it’s very important to honour what you are asked to do and not overlook it! So, when it came for me to journey to find out who my nature spirit ally is, I was curious to see who or what would step forward and why. I was delighted when a magnificent oak appeared in my mind’s eye, because I’ve always felt that there’s just something particularly special about oak trees. The tree that showed itself to me as one of my allies was enormous – gnarly, cavernous and almost regal, and I spent awhile dwelling joyfully in my heart as I made a connection with this mighty being. I asked the tree how it would like to help me with my spiritual work, and it communicated to me that they would act as a grounding and protective presence whenever I feel overwhelmed and the magnitude of life seems too great to bear. In return, I was asked to visit the woods at least once a week. As I opened my eyes, my heart felt truly full and the urge arose to draw the tree as I saw it as another way to honour its spirit; carefully attaching a couple of fallen leaves found from an oak in a nearby park to the drawing. Forging a deeper connection to nature is truly a privilege, and so I encourage you to look at your local trees with fresh eyes, alight with new curiosity and wonder!