An act of power and independence in modern times for all faiths and none or a pointless exercise? Read on and judge for yourself.
You may be forgiven for thinking what is the point? Why should I bless anything, what a ridiculous notion, I may as well shout at the wind for all the good it will do. You may think "I don't believe in any kind of god or higher power, what rubbish!" ... Bear with me...
#Prayers and #blessings, why are both included here? We as humans often confuse asking for something with the idea of gifting something. To illustrate this point I have attempted two different ways of writing. Prayers as an invocation or entreaty and blessings as praise and expression of #gratitude.
We have all seen places in nature for example where ribbons have been tied to trees and very often these are asking for something, perhaps to bring luck or help in healing. This is very different to approaching a place in nature with #reverence and gratitude with the wish to gift it something and to honour it.
Humans have become highly efficient at stripping the earth of its' resources so I think learning the art of #blessing and practising blessing is a small step towards living more consciously and therefore more sustainably.
It may seem an old fashioned and outdated notion to some to #pray or to #bless, especially for those who have no belief in any higher power but I think prayers and blessings do have a place and relevance now ... even for those who have no belief in any kind of a god, gods or universal intelligence.
The reason I feel this is because prayers and blessings are a way of creating greater #awareness both in ourselves and also of the world around us. They can be used as a positive #gratitude practice in a world that so often has no time for anything but endless rush and endless consumption. (With #climatechange and the current environmental destruction taking place we can all see perfectly well where this attitude is taking us and our fellow beings). A brief prayer or blessing even of just a minute can be a tool used for good #mentalhealth through developing #selfawareness, to reconnect us with #life and our surroundings and to change our perspective of the #naturalworld and our place within it.
AST is about celebrating our #ancient and #sacred connections. We celebrate our personal connections with nature through trees. Sacred means to regard something with great respect and reverence by a particular religion, group, or individual. Therefore regardless of our belief systems or none we can all have our own personal and sacred connections with nature. When you bless something you honour it.
In these modern times we have lost the art of blessing. We got caught up in the propaganda that only certain organisations or individuals can bless anything but this isn't true. Have you heard the phrase "Bless You!" when somebody sneezes? That is because it used to be thought that the soul left the body momentarily and was vulnerable to attack by demons and so the act of blessing a person at this moment protected them. So, when you say "Bless You" to someone when they sneeze, you literally are blessing them.
The ancient art of blessing is available to us all and it is a powerful practise. It is time to reclaim it as part of our natural native rooted #soul as part of our ancient #heritage. If we want to #rewild humans and improve connection to our environment I would argue this is an important thing to do, not just as an act of power and independence in a world of climate crisis and environmental destruction but as a beacon of hope in a world where, as I have said many times before, courting beauty is rebellion and love the revolution.
Welcome To The Sunday Blessing MinisTree
Our Sunday blessing service is tied in to the weekly Tuesday Tree Teachings for those who would like to take part in prayer, thanksgiving and benediction for a green and growing communiTree for people and planet. It is designed to be an interfaith activity and all beliefs and none are welcome in the AST MinisTree.
These interfaith prayers and blessings celebrate our sacred connection with nature and the living miracle of our planet Earth.
Below are two sets of prayers and blessings. These go with the tree teachings for 'Wild Winds and Storms Overhead', and 'The Twisting Tree'. As you will see, the prayers are asking or wishing for something. The blessings however are a kind of gratitude practise. More than this they are paying court to what is beyond the human, out in the natural world. Blessings are about recognition and gifting. They are also, put very simplistically, for those who believe in such things, a way of directing positive energy to give to others.
The Storm Prayer
May the storms that rage overhead be brief, may they blow away darkness bringing new light in their wake. Just as trees learn to sway with the wind and the storms that come, may we too learn the ebb and flow of nature. May we learn from the moon in its many phases. Even when it is waning it still has the power to turn tides, so may we too recognise that we have power. May each of us recognise our own cycles and the energy within us to create raging storms or gentle dancing sunbeams. Let us listen to the seasons and cycles of nature so we can learn about the crooked path through the forest. May we all find a tree to teach us something of life that we might not feel so small and angry and grief stricken. Let us be inspired by trees to stand strong even when bad weather comes. May we see storms and learn that we are only a small part of nature when compared to her wildest of children. When we are lashed by wind and rain may we like the wild flowers rise up the next day, our faces turned to the sun. When great storms come may trees and humans stand strong and may all of life bloom another day.
Welcome storms, you who bring rains to water the earth. You bring lightening to strike across the sky bringing light in the darkness. Oh how mighty are your clouds billowing and boiling across the sky. Your waters fill the ponds and pools and make the rivers run. You bring winds to blow away old leaves leaving the way clear for new growth. You dry the earths tears. May you continue to blow wild and untamed in your magnificence. When the time comes for you to leave may it be swift and graceful as befitting so great a great wild power.
Blessings on all beings, seen and unseen.
The Crooked Tree Prayer.
May the crooked trees of this world continue to grow. May they continue to harbour wild flowers at their feet. May we learn acceptance and live and let live. May we each be fed in a way that does not cost the earth. May we learn to live gently and lightly, and not sweep away all before us when we are hungry. Let our hearts be filled and our demands slacken and fade away. Let us find the time to sit still and see all the parts of the crooked tree within us and accept it as it is. May all the parts of ourselves and in nature be witnessed and honoured. Let us humans with all our crooked ways find a path to beauty that wild flowers might grow at our feet. Let it be so.
Crooked Tree Blessing
Oh, crooked trees, you who grow to your own rhythm, bending this way and that way, curving with life, curving as the earth curves, as rivers curve, as the vine curves around a stem. While others grow straight you bring in many stories leading this way and that way. You call them to yourself and offer them up for all to see. The story of the dark storm night and the story of the bejewelled spring morning, you hold them all in your boughs. You offer shelter to the song bird in your crown and the little mouse at your roots. You judge none and you welcome all. May you continue to grow unfettered in your own way. May you live a life beyond the human span of time and continue to teach those who come about living a good life with wild flowers at their feet.
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From Amanda Claire x
PS If you've enjoyed this you might like to buy me coffee.