If you read The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben, you may well understand the tragedy and crime of the gross act of vandalism by a man wantonly felling the Sycamore Gap tree at Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland recently. Scientific investigations have proved that trees are sentient beings that live in communities, communicate with each other, protect each other and try to repair each other, even when cut to a stump. They reflect the nature of most human beings, because we are part of nature, created from stardust. As above, so below.
If you spend time forest bathing, you will experience the healing energy emitted by trees. They are knowledge keepers. They are healers. They whisper secrets and wisdom to you if you only have ears to listen. Someone once told me they are angels present on Earth in this form.
Trees have represented many things throughout the ages. In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliette, the sycamore tree is used to symbolise the couple’s “love sick” yearning for each other.
The sycamore tree is a symbol of regeneration and transformation, which is why in the Biblical story of Zacchaeus he is sitting high in a sycamore tree waiting for his heart/life to be transformed and regenerated by Jesus who cannot fail to see him – not just see him as a man, but for who he truly is; a man with a heart full of regret and sorrow seeking forgiveness and change.
In Judaism, the sycamore is regarded as the tree of life because it provides fruit (the sycamore fig) and wood. The tree of life with its roots and high branches represents death and rebirth and a bridge between Earth and heaven.
In Egyptian mythology, the sun rose each morning from the two sacred sycamores of turquoise that stood at the eastern gates of heaven. The sycamore tree was believed to be a manifestation of the goddesses Nut, Isis and Hathor, the latter given the title “Lady of the Sycamore”.
Now perhaps you will understand the tragedy and crime of the gross act of vandalism of a man wantonly felling the Sycamore Gap tree in Northumberland. The perpetrator is “sycamore” – sick for the lack of love in his own being, projected out in his loveless act. He cut away a part of nature, because he is cut off from the nature in himself. He lacks an awareness of nature’s power to heal and provide. He has no understanding that we, as human beings, are part of the embroidery on the one fabric of nature and if one stitch is removed forcibly, it has knock-on consequences for the greater whole, creating an unravelling.
We need to preserve what’s precious, honour it and treasure it. Tree roots bind the earth, to which we are bound till we leave our bodies, which return to the earth as part of a cycle greater than our individual selves.
There is no longer a Sycamore Gap tree, but just a gap mirroring the empty void in this young man that needs to be filled with love and respect. He used his hands and his intentions to destroy instead of build. There is a sickness pervading a large part of the consciousness of humanity and the cure for it is found by remembering and honouring the sacred and healing energy of nature, not by desecrating it.
This is not just the eradication of an ancient landmark, a place of shelter, a thing of beauty, a living structure of high outstretched boughs under which memories were made and dreams planted and loved one’s precious ashes scattered or a creation of nature that weathered all storms for hundreds of years, showing us when to hold on and when to let go. Trees inspire us to grow, climb and ascend, knowing we have support.
The Harvest full moon in Aries peaked this morning, 29th September, and it makes me question the apparent lunacy of the hacking down of this famous tree. The Aries aspect of this full moon signifies a time of action, finding your purpose, speaking your truth and creating. It means behaving with integrity and fervour but not mindless destruction. This act is nothing short of the attempted killing of a God-given, Earth-bound sentinel whose mighty presence will be mourned and missed by its kin and friends in the plant and animal kingdoms alike.
However, there is hope. The sycamore is a symbol of regeneration because it can regenerate itself, it’s resilient and grows faster than many other trees. It will recover over time, reflecting our human nature to keep rising up again no matter what challenges and obstacles life throws on our path, regardless of whatever darkness may come our way to try to knock us down or steal our essence.
We live through the experience, learn the lesson and grow from it.