It is almost that time of year again, when trees start preparing for winter by dropping their leaves. But before they do that, most of them take time to recover as much life force from these leaves as possible. Make sure that nothing is lost, in order to assure and improve ones chances of further growth once the next springtime comes.
But let us try to understand this process from the perspective of the trees themselves, rather than trying to project human strategies and feelings upon a very different kind of being.
And so I went to ask my favourite Linden tree if she could tell me more. This is what she had to say.
This is Tilia.
This time of year holds a strange mixture of sadness and profound joy. On the one hand, the joy of having completed yet another cycle, but also the realization that every ending is a time of death, where we leave behind a phase of our lives that we will never be able to return to.
We worked so hard in spring to produce these new leaves, and they have served us well, allowing us communion with the world around us, as well as providing us with nutrients, protection and pride.
Yes, you hear that right. Pride is the right choice of words here. For our leaves are our children. The extension of our souls, that the older generations hidden within the tree experience the world through. They are the tree, and they create the tree. For the duration of one year, the entire soul of the tree is housed within them and expressed through them.
We are like a people that lives one generation at a time. All of our soul awakens when the leaves appear from the buds, and all of our soul retreats into the otherworld once the leaves fall. There is no other way for most of us. It is how we are able to survive the seasons while still enjoying the ability to grow wiser through the years, and have memories that can sustain and teach us.
Every leaf knows that it carries responsibility for the trees wellbeing, while being allowed its time of freedom in the sunlight.
The process of dying starts as soon as the leaf is born. For dying means storing and letting go of memories. For the leaves there is only a glorious time of now, of youth. They do not express feelings in the same way you do. These feelings exist only within other parts of the tree.
And so our life cycle is indeed very different from yours. We are first children, then we join our ancestors as they watch and are supported by the children of the next generations, whereas in your kind it is the next generation that is supported by the ancestors.
And yet there is something I believe you can learn from us. For within a single lifetime, you have a tree structure to your psyche. There are active parts of your soul, the parts that live in the now, and interact with the world, and there are older layers that have receded into memory, but are still active forces in shaping your soul.
Each of those pieces was once a leaf, but many of them have now lost their agency, because their time lies in the past. But is every leaf fully used? Did you complete the process of its life cycle? Did you reclaim the life force within, and did you take the time to fully integrate the life experience of these pieces of your soul?
Or did you allow them to rot and fester and steel the oxygen the rest of your soul needs to survive?
This is a time of limbo, when we live in between the season of darkness and the season of life. At Samhain, you will probably burn the leaves your soul no longer needs. But don’t forget that the period before that is equally important. For now is the time when you shoul prepare your soul for that harvest. Now is the time to taste the fullest joy of what had been, and give the missed opportunities a final spin before it is too late.