In some areas of the human world, in times past, a culture might be respected, or not, by the health of their trees. Those human cultures didn’t simply live off the land, they participated with it, served and tended it. They understood it, gave back to it, and were part of it. And the trees weren’t merely passive recipients of this service. They guided the people who would listen, and their own health served the health of everything around.
Healthy trees have always supported the health and prosperity of the land, rivers, lakes and valleys of the world.
Brought by ancient peoples to many trees, especially ‘power’ trees, were sacred gifts of shell, bone, lime and mineral salts. These items, which were also economic currency for the people, would slowly decompose, feeding the trees with minerals and trace minerals. The minerals would alkalize the soils further supporting tree and plant health. Some cultures would powder the bones, shells and lime, applying a paste, or slurry, of the mixture to the trunks of important trees. The paste helped strengthen the bark, reduce bark moss, and support overall root and tree health.
For such cultures the trees weren’t merely things; they were ‘persons’. They would refer to trees by their ‘tribes’ of type and place. And special trees were recognized as ‘principles’ of an energy network that the people understood, cultivated, protected, and benefited from.
Trees and people were not distinct from animals and birds, rivers or mountains, for all these, together, were signs of life, each pointing all to wisdom and the cycles of the days and years of seeming time.
In 2004 Adi Da Samraj learned of, Dr. Lee Klinger, and directed us to get in touch with him, to learn more about tree care. Lee came to visit and shared with us his knowledge of ancient tree-care practices, developed between human and tree cultures. Adi Da said this was exactly what he wanted us to learn and know, and invited Lee to visit anytime to help us with the trees. Adi Da instructed us to do what Lee recommended, but to do so in the form of a sacred ceremony, invoking the sacred into the process, together with the science and the ancient lore.
The sacred ceremony of painting the trees, is among the most powerful ceremonies I’ve experienced. Adi Da has spoken about trees being the most spiritually developed beings on earth, saying that very few humans have central nervous systems developed to the depth of trees. He Talked of “good trees” and “great trees”, expressing his wish that all the Great Trees should never be felled, because they maintain a Contemplative Depth within the Earth Sphere that must be preserved.
Adi Da also hopes that all the trees of the earth will begin to be rightly regarded by humans again. So, in your backyards and neighborhoods, connect with the trees, invoke the sacred with them, enter into relationship and share their good company. Bring them gifts of shells, shell powder, organic mineral salts, crushed egg-shells, and bury them in the shallow soils around under the trees.
The Tree Painting Ceremony: Invoking the sacred in all life, wave candle and incense first, then prepare the lower trunk by removing old loose bark, moss, nails, wire, and so on. Clear the base of the trunk of leaves and dirt piles so that the tree base looks clean and served. Then, with a coarse brush, paint the mineral slurry (see recipe below) over the bark, from as high as you can reach down to the base. To reach higher, use a steady ladder, if you wish. Throughout this ceremony invoke the sacred and allow your mind, and self-sense, to be drawn into the tree’s conductivity and natural participation in the Divine. Be drawn and instructed by the tree’s restedness in Divine Communion. End the painting ceremony offering a closing invocation and thanks.
Recipe for Mineral Tree Wash (can be varied based on available ingredients)
Ingredients: Mineralized rock salt, hydrated lime, crushed oyster shell, azomite mineral powder or similar, water enough to mix into paint slurry
1/4 rock salt
1/4 crushed oyster
1/4 azomite or similar
Birds, amphibians and animal populations benefit from mineral-wash also, as it introduces fresh minerals into the local environment.
Native Americans, and natives of Europe, Africa, Australia and Asia would spread ocean, lake and river shells around under trees to feed the soil and reduce the growth of mosses.
Salts are absorbed into bark and bind mineral-wash to the bark. Hydrated lime dries, forming crystals around the tree. The mineral-wash is breathable, not sealing the tree. The best time for mineral-washing is right before rainy season. Wetting the bark before-hand helps with infiltration.
Also spread 100 pounds each of trace minerals and shells around tree bases, out beyond the canopy drip line.
Perennials and hard bark trees are the best for tree painting as the bark doesn’t slough, so the paint stays on. For pines, redwoods, paperbarks, and so on, who slough their bark regularly, the same minerals are as beneficial, but best broadcast around on the ground.
Some trees and bushes prefer acidic soils. For these plants be careful not to over-alkalize their soils.
Put minerals wherever you see moss. (Moss is generally not healthy for trees as it is acidifying. Moss can also weaken the outer layers of tree bark, enabling easier entry for insects and other organisms.)
Mulching under many tree types is important. The organic mulch becomes food for the trees, protecting the growth of good fungi (good for root health). Leaf mulch also supports soil alkalinity for tree health.
Lawns and watering leach soils of nutrients, alkalinity, and other positives. Lawns, and many gardens, are environmentally sad, leaching nutrition and acidifying soils.
Cut hair, nail clippings, bones and feathers, and crushed egg shells, are all good to bury under leaf mulch, and are good for tree nutrition. Unused mineral tablets and capsules can be discarded under trees to further feed them.
Urine is excellent to pour on tree bases for reducing moss and supporting healthy bark and alkalinity. There’s more than one reason why dogs piss on tree trunks !
In the dry summers when lakes recede, mussel shells can be gathered. Raccoon and otters eat the mussels, discarding shells everywhere around the banks.
“Shell men” in traditional cultures were highly esteemed.
People behave differently when they are involved with trees.
Trees aren’t things. Grass is not things. Water is not things. Rocks are not things. But as humans we easily think that even other humans are only things…
Adi Da Samraj, and the wise of old, and the trees themselves, say otherwise.