The woman had to leave the painting alone for a while, but the Elder was never far from her thoughts as she pondered upon what the Elder had spoken of regarding the Renewing and Regenerating.
She thought about her beloved forest walks and in particular the Standing Ones of the Oak Tribe who had always drawn her to their energy.
On her walks she would often reach out to touch their bark, their outer skin, gnarled and cracked, marveling upon their ages.
The forest of Sherwood that she loved so well held one of the oldest and well known, The Major Oak Whose Standing had seen so many changes during at least 1,000 years reign over his domain. She thought of the changes still to come as she had signed petitions to try to prevent Fracking from under his roots. She again sent a silent prayer out to her Earth Mother as she thought of all the destruction Mankind had caused upon and deep into her own Earth Crust skin.
By the time the woman returned to pick up her brushes, the woman was eager to learn what the Elder had to teach her. Today she filled in more details to the bark, the tiny brush strokes making patterns she picked out the creepy crawlies, spiders, and grubs now forming. The woman thought deeply upon the thousands of insects that made their home in the bark and among the crevasses and branches of the Standing Ones.
The Elder remained silent, allowing the woman to penetrate each crevasse with her brush stroke as deeper she sank into her own world of thought. She painted the skin of the snake as it twisted up and out along the branch of the Elder, and thought of the many symbols mankind had used in which the snake had played a part.
The serpent representing both good and bad. The secret to a snake’s success was its scales providing both impetus and resistance. It shed many skins to allow it to keep on growing. It glided over everything managing to climb trees, swim and bury itself beneath the earth. She thought deeper to the various cultures which had created both Fascination and Fear.
Quetzalcoatl the Feathered Serpent came to mind.
Scholars had twisted the snake symbol for use of many of their own interpretations. The snake reminding her of the Kundalini, providing the Spark of Life, a great healer in many symbols. As she thought of her own snake-like-spine, and that of the Standing Ones trunk. Connecting both Heaven and Earth. As she thought of the times she had meditated her spine pressed against their trunk as she asked for The Standing Ones Healing.
She thought of healing and remembered the medical profession who also had it within their healing symbol The Caduceus entwined around a staff with wings. And the Rod of Asclepius And wondered upon how these symbols had been created. She assumed the snake meant both Life and Death which was what the medical professions dealt with at all times.
So many interpretations Mankind had given to the snake, both positive and negative which she had read about, ‘Which were correct?’ she thought.
The Elder picking up on her question answered. “ All of them,” said the Elder, “The snake is neither Good or bad, it is the cycle of Life itself. The Ouroboros The snake shows you by leaving your skin behind life begins anew. Your Human skin is but a shell and so too will be left behind.
In your world, there can be no birth without death. It is a perpetual cycle. You will see this again and again in nature. But your Human Tribe do not follow the natural law of the predator-prey cycle. Your Human Tribe has killed all the animals it deems as bad. Such as the Wolf , Bear and Fox.
Then you cry when your forests get overrun with Deer and Elk and Rabbits. Who then strip the forests and grasslands bare and they then suffer and starve as the balance is upset. You Humans then take it upon yourselves to cull and thin out the over population of species. Causing more suffering”.
She thought of the disease Myxomatosis introduced to Rabbits And the many Rabbits she had seen affected as a child in the country. She also thought of the Elephant tribe and wondered at the suffering of their tribe at the hands of mans ignorance and greed. It was no coincidence that the image of the Elephant had crept into her painting embedded within its roots.Or the horrendous culling of young seal cubs that were clubbed to death. This too was woven within the roots of her painting.
“Yet” continued the Elder, “If you had let well alone Nature would keep the balance by its own natural cycles.. Each living thing that is placed upon your Earth Mother has purpose. And is subject to natural law. Including you Humans. But you have long forgotten the natural laws of Cause and Effect. You think you are superior to them. But the Universe as a whole is governed by them, there is no escape.”
As the woman continued to paint, eyes appeared in her imagination which had transferred to the bark which peered deeper into her soul. She thought upon the many times she had sort out the Standing Ones healing. And to the shedding of her many tears pressed up against their trunks. How many sobs had they listened to? never judging, always steadfast, silent but for their whispers on the wind as they imparted their calm reverence.
They replaced her own sapping energy with their own as she often felt their pulse beat up through her spine. They had become bound by their roots as she imagined her energy tap-root from her spine going down around theirs into Mother Earths Heart as she meditated.
She knew the Standing Ones were the wisdom keepers, each year witnessing the changes, information contained within their own growth cycles of both good and bad years. Each inner ring a record, yet its outer skin/bark remained the same. Showing us how we have so many layers and yet can hold a constant mask to our outer Being.
We all grow from our inner centre outward from our hearts. And how important it was to go within and find those years which had affected our growth.
The woman stood back from her painting. She thanked again the Elder for the wisdom, knowing that as a world right now, we were but shedding another skin. Mankind was in yet another cycle of Learning, growing in inner wisdom as he woke up to himself.
To be continued..
© Sue Dreamwalker 2017.