Offerings, Altars and Core Principles
Offerings and Positive Regard
So far we have explored stepping into a Tree-Centred Practice through being close to trees physically and spiritually. We have explored the relationship between our felt-senses and instinct and how they facilitate the exchange of communication with trees and nature spirits. Let us now explore how we can further deepen our relationship with trees and the spirits in nature through the act of making devotional offerings.
When we embark on a Tree-Centred Practice, we choose to acknowledge the importance of trees in our lives, and the importance to us of building a connection of spirit with them. Making offerings to trees, the woodlands and wild places can foster within us a deep sense of oneness within nature. Making offerings as part of our spiritual practice can be an intimate way for us to express how we feel along the path of our magical journey. Making an offering can be a way to share our appreciation for the magic that weaves through our lives, and show our gratitude for the abundances we receive. An offering shares something of ourselves with the other that we are interacting with.
Tree-Centred Practice is a nature inclusive spiritual path, animistic in nature. This path holds the core belief that trees are sentient beings embodying an awareness of self, an intelligent consciousness and a spirit. Tree-Centred Practice refers to a spiritual lifestyle that places focus on trees and their lives. With trees, the woodlands, the wild places, animals and the elements at the centre of our considerations. A fundamental practice within this path is to keep company to trees.
Trees generate within us feelings of wellbeing and calm. They offer us inspiration in mystical and creative ways and the pathways to the other realms of the nature spirits. They bring magic and wonder into our everyday lives. We may want to bring a little magic and wonder into their everyday lives. One way that we can do this is by making offerings. Building a companionship with trees includes making thoughtful exchanges with them. These exchanges can be thoughts, feeling (felt-sensing) or physical items. Making intentional offerings to trees can demonstrate our willingness to build a genuine equal friendship. One where there is equal exchange, equal regard, equal respect.
As human beings we can offer ourselves to others in many different ways. Positive Regard refers to a way we can express ourselves in the company of another being. An expression that offers the other a thoughtful and generous experience in connecting with us. Positive regard when expressed shows our recognition of another's experiences. We show the other that we see them and that we want to understand without judgment. We can think of positive regard as a celebration the other being. When we celebrate them, we show that we are on their side. Experiencing celebration and joy enables the other to feel safe, heard and valued. Allowing an unguarding of self and soul, through feeling safe in togetherness. When we feel safe we are more likely to feel confident in expressing our authenticity and sharing our deeper needs.
Positive regard is an offering. It is the purest gift that any one being can give to another. It is time offered and an understanding ear. It comes from the deepest parts of our being. It costs nothing yet it is invaluable to the receiver. When someone is on our side, we feel understood and less alone. There may come a time when we feel like offering something more in addition to positive regard. Whatever we choose to give will be rooted in positive regard, the celebration of the other and the joy created in the connection we share with them.
Offerings & Congruence
It is important to be aware of our motivations for include offerings into our practice. When we decide to make offerings a part of our magical practice, we will want to explore our feelings and below them our felt-senses. Consulting our felt-senses and listening to our needs will create a transparency within us and determine our actions. Knowing our true motivations behind our actions will allow us to engage with our magical practice in a deeply honest way. Congruence refers to how well our actions and behaviours reflect our inner thoughts and feelings. Being congruent supports us in our decision making. When we practice congruence we are in a internally balanced position to make healthier choices. When we know what we really think and feel, we are confident reflecting this outwardly.
When we are not aware of our needs and what motivates us to act we wont feel settled in our practice. We will act or do things that don't sit well within us. We will feel confused by our actions or feel like we are making a mistake. We will be vulnerable to influence and manipulation by others. Our actions and behaviours will feel hollow, empty and lacking depth. We may even live our spiritual practice through projection by becoming fascinated by what others are doing in their practices.
Whether we are interacting with other people or other energies, we need to be clear on our motivations and understand our own needs. Understanding what it is we really do think and feel, and how we can authentically reflect this in our practice. Tree spirit interactions can be subtle in nature. We rely on the translation process within us to decipher the nuances of their language. Practicing congruence supports us to know what motivates us to foster friendship with them.
Offerings and Advanced Empathy
Experiencing empathy means that we can sense the feelings of another. Advanced empathy is when we reach a relational depth with another being and emphasises the unusual quality of the space created between the two. The space will feel sacred and hold a unique vibration. In this moment all other interferences or distractions melt away and the senses heightened.
Engaging empathy in our Tree-Centred path allows us to practice our advanced senses in our communications with trees. Communicating with tree spirits uses a feeling based language. Our empathy can support us to feel the tones of expression shared by the trees in response to our presence. Our felt-senses receive the language of the trees, through our body parts (our thoughts, feelings and sensations). They translate what we receive into a language that we will understand. This is why it seems that the tree spirits speak to us in our own language. We must know our own language very well, to know distinctions between our voice and their voice.
When we are in the vibrational flow of deep sensing we are practicing advanced empathy. This may be more so noticeable when we are in the company of very old or injured trees. I have experienced at times feelings of deep grief from the trees and woodland after a devastating storm. Or when an offspring tree has been cut away from the parent tree. It is important to notice these powerful surges of feelings when they occur in the company of trees. To be aware of our feelings is to keep company to the tree and their experience. Keeping the tree at the centre.
Making offerings to trees as a part of our Tree-Centred spiritual path is a sensitive activity. Not only for us to perform, but also for the trees to receive what we share into their sensing field. With empathy, we can sense into the feelings of the trees and discern from their exchange if they are receptive to our offering. All beings rely on personal boundaries and it is important to navigate trees and woodlands with this in mind. And to respect when we sense that we are not invited to share. If we are given consent to exchange, we can then sense into what would be the right kind of offering, if any offering is appropriate at all. We can use our advanced empathy to assess what needs the trees may have depending on their environment, their age, their condition and their personality.
Altars and Nature
One of the most magical and fun activities on a spiritual path can be the creation of a sacred altar. Altars offer us a physical space to be present and aware within a concentration of magical energy. Altars are a very intimate experience to create, they are personal to our particular beliefs and practices. They will have unique characteristics and hold certain items that reflect our journey through life. Altars created for a nature based spiritual paths will often reflect elements of nature and will look animistic in appearance. Displaying items such as stones, feathers, dried plants and shells. They may have candles, divination tools and artwork or personal items such as photographs and jewellery. Where and when an altar is erected will also hold significance. Altars may be placed in a specific place in a home or face a particular direction. They may be created for an important season or special celebration. They can be any size, permanent or temporary, fixed or flexible, indoor or outdoor.
When we make offering to trees we can do this indoors or outdoors. Making offerings outdoors to the trees can be a deeply enriching experience. We will want to think how, when and where we will make our offering. Offerings may be made to different trees or places each time. Or we might like to find a regular site. Leaving our offerings in a specific place each time can cultivate a sense of the importance of place. We may think of this place as becoming something magical and sacred. Embodying potency in energy. A place that we make our regular offerings can become into an altar.
An outdoor altar can be a corner of our garden, in a woodland or meadow or on our windowsill if we can not physically go out doors. We will need to make considerations for our altar use and safety. For instance we wont want to use lit candles in a woodland during dry seasons or place items on our altar that are going to be destroyed in the weather or add pollution to the environment. We will also want our altar to offer us privacy or at least to not be noticeable to anyone that may pass it by. Creating a secret altar and considering how to keep it hidden can be all part of the fun. Making our offerings on an altar of nature also connects us with our ancestors and the land. It places us and our actions in nature. We become a part of the history of the land.
Making Offerings to Trees
We have explored the core principles of a Tree-Centred Practice and how these principles can reflect our intentions when making offering. We have explored positive regard as a celebration of Trees and how making offerings can share our support of them. We have explored how practicing congruence can bring awareness to our motivations when making offering in nature. We have considered advanced empathy as an important skill for assessing the appropriateness of making offerings to trees, by encouraging us to including an ethical framework in our practices. The core principles support us in fostering thoughtful, respectful and honest exchanges in relations with trees, and creates an environment for relationships to grow.
Making offerings, whether consist or occasional, can further deepen our Tree-Centred Practice. An offering can be the simple kind act of positive feelings for another. Or an offering of something more creative such as an intentional item found or made. Making offerings to trees can inspire within us a sense of togetherness. Togetherness as a way of being builds a sense of community in shared experience. Togetherness eliminates loneliness and togetherness within nature reminds us that we are not alone, and that we are nature to.
Making exchanges with trees lays down layers of richness on our spiritual path. These layers become like soil and nourish our rewilding spirit. Thickening our fur, sharpening our claws, strengthening our hooves, sensitising our wild ears, widening our wild eyes, teasing our wild noses.
Yours in the heart of the woodlands.