It was only in dreamtime that those memories came to haunt her.. She had always been a restless sleeper, and her grandmother had long known that her dreamtime experiences went further than normal dreaming.. Aponi’s wisdom had known even before her birth that she was going to be a special child. She knew she was a Dreamwalker, one who could travel beyond this vale.
But she also knew that her granddaughter needed much guidance to be able to develop her skills for she was fragile in her emotions.. But Aponi had been told by the wisdom keepers that her granddaughter had much work to do, she needed schooling in the old ways.. A task Aponi had much pleasure in teaching her.
The Spirit Elders watched over Aponi’s task, which they had charged her with to teach her granddaughter Muna all she knew. Muna’s name had been well chosen, it meant Overflowing Spring in her Hopi tribe. They had watched over the infant and would travel in and around her world until she was ready for the task she had come to this earth to fulfil in this modern age where the old ways would be needed to be called upon again.
So Aponi had taught her grandchild the Earth medicine and she had done it in such a way even her grandchild was unaware that these were in fact lessons. For they came as natural as breathing to her. Such was her love of the outdoors and all of Nature she absorbed each piece of information Aponi gave her and remembered everything.
Aponi had only been too pleased to teach her granddaughter to connect with the Forests, and about the many animals. She spoke of the Trees being the Lungs of this earth, and how they gave us not only the air we breathed in, but the tools to live.. She taught her about the various varieties of Trees and their uses, and how their barks and fruits, leaves and shoots could all be used in various ways…
One of her Granddaughter’s favourites was that of the Silver Birch, it is graceful in form with its silver bark, was known as ‘Lady of the Woods’.. Aponi took pride in teaching her how its medicine had been used throughout the centuries and told her how it was a cleansing tree..
That the Silver Birch Twigs were used to make Brooms to sweep clean, and beat out negative influences, clearing the way for renewal. She was told how in the past Criminals were thought to have come under the influence of ‘Bad Spirits’, and were ‘Birched’ as an act of cleansing. And how land boundaries were beaten with Birch twigs each year in order drive out the spirits of the old year, the old energy which may have got stuck there, and let the new energy flourish . . Aponi taught her how the Birch shed its leaves and twigs and even its bark, teaching us to let go of unwanted aspects of ourselves to be free to move forward to new beginnings. The heart shaped leaves reminding us to follow our hearts desires.. ..
Aponi had taught her how the sap was tapped in March for syrup which was used as a Sugar, and could be used to make wine. Also Oil made from Birch bark was used in tanning of leather and the oil too when added with almond oil soothed aching muscles when used to massage the skin.
She taught her how the bark is water resistant, containing large amounts of resin, and how in the past it was used for roofing, shoes, and making canoes and in baskets and paper making. The young leaves too could be collected in late spring and early summer to be dried . These could be used in infusions such as teas, to act as a gentle sedative, to break up kidney stones, or gallstones, or to use as a mouthwash for sore mouths..
Birch leaves are a tonic as well as an antiseptic and Aponi had many women from the town come seek relief from cystitis and other urinary infections which the Birch medicine helped relieve. ..
Aponi taught her Granddaughter many things, how to be careful when removing the bark from trees and to do so in small patches, for as to remove it in a continuous ring around the trunk, the tree would die… This was just one of the many lessons of nature her Grandmother gave in her teachings of Earth medicine.
Many more were taught not only on the medicinal properties of Natures larder, But of the Spiritual elements of them too.. Birch brings boldness, helping to clear a path in our energy, as changes come. Aponi taught her the great wealth of knowledge that comes from the Earth, that many now didn’t even remember or practice.
Aponi too was saddened as many of her own Native tribes had also lost their ways and forgotten to live in harmony and within the balance of our Earth Mother. Forgetting the Ancient ways. Many were now lost..
One of the most revered lessons Muna was taught was that of the Trees, was that Trees span the five elements . Their branches held high in the AIR, they take their energy from the FIRE, the Sun, and their roots go deep into the EARTH, drinking from the living WATERS of the Earth. Aponi also taught Muna, that they inhabit the fifth element, SPIRIT, and that we are all able to connect with them..
Aponi told the story of the tree spirits in one of her bedtime lessons, and how important meetings were held under large trees, And how they listened to us, and shared their energy, and if we listened how they would speak to on the breath of the wind, as their leaves shook and branches creaked… And how they shared their gifts of fruits and nuts and most important of all, giving us our very life’s breath to breathe. And how they sacrificed themselves for fuel and shelter, and how important it was to communicate with their wisdom, for they were old and wise. Holding a wealth of knowledge as they had stood and watched the comings and goings of human kind some for hundreds of years..
Aponi spoke on how if one were to cut down a tree, or take a branch, a limb, one should always ask the trees permission, this allowed for the Tree spirits to withdraw, allowing the tree to die, however Aponi told her that even after the tree was cut down and the wood was used, either carved or polished into a piece of furniture or some ornament, some of the trees spirit would still be within its wood, and how people would always want to reach out and touch it, stroke its smooth surface admiring its colour and grain, thus touching the wood for luck.. as they felt the Trees spirit.
Muna sat now remembering once more all the Tree Medicine, as she sat with her back connecting to her favourite tree.. It was indeed time to reach within and bring out the wisdom she knew she had within her..
It was time for her to awaken others, she was ready.. As she became like the Birch Tree she sat beside.. It was time to let go of unwanted aspects of herself, to be free to move forward, to new beginnings… She turned to the four directions, and bowed respectfully to each.. She gave thanks as she gave the tree some tobacco from her medicine pouch
Her journey was just beginning..
© Sue Dreamwalker 2015 All rights reserved.
This is short story Part of one I wrote some years ago..Its message is too good not to share, Thanks go to Brad over at Writing for Freedom whose own recent post Native Winds prompted me to post this old chapter that I tweaked a little