Trees are poems that earth writes upon the sky,
We fell them down and turn them into paper,
That we may record our emptiness.
With the advent of the New Year, I received many emails from clients and friends about numbers, astrology, Tibetan Personality test, etc. I thought this one, “Birth Trees” (author unknown- do let me know if you know where it came from), is an original.
Trees have fascinated me since I was a child. Perhaps because I grew up in a desert, I appreciated greenery, and trees stood out in a flat arid land. I hold a particular regard for trees, primarily for defying gravity. While most things ‘drop’ down to earth with age, trees grow upwards!
I remember distinctly, three trees on the desert coastline of Kuwait where I grew up, that stood there for many years, year after year, naturally, without being particularly taken care of. They seemed to have just sprouted out of nowhere and decided to live there dotting the long coastline of desert sand.
I think they must have been noticed and admired by many as later on, when the coastal land was extended out into the sea, particular attention was paid to those three trees. They were preserved, surrounded by a short fence, and the new modern Gulf Road was constructed around them.
Of course in some parts of the Middle East, there is not the same variety of trees as one can see while walking in the English countryside. But I am reminded at this time, during the Holiday season, of the story of Mariam or Mary (read A Mary for All), related in the Qura’an, of how when she became pregnant with Jesus Christ, and was fleeing town; she rested under a palm tree, and God sent her a message, through the archangel Gabriel to shake the palm tree and its’ dates would be sufficient food to nurture her and her baby.
Speaking of the Holy Land, a variety of Palm trees and olive trees still stand in my mother’s garden in Jordan, as homage to our heritage. Palm trees are religious symbol- returning pilgrims from Jerusalem, Christian and Moslems alike, carried Palm leaves -(thus Palmers). At a later date, people of Medina greeted Prophet Mohamed holding them as a sign of welcome and peace when he moved from Mecca.
The Olive branch is a symbol of peace too, and olive trees are a symbol of the country. Each summer, I can’t help but feel privileged to sample their fruits. You can imagine my delight, when the landlord of the block of flats where I live in London, decided to plant an olive tree in the garden. Now, I can marvel at it from my window.
Another favourite is a gorgeous Fig tree that still stands in the same garden, by the entrance of the house. We call it Father’s tree for he marvelled at it and enjoyed sitting in its shade. For more than 50 years its fruits were sweet and plentiful, enough for the family and the whole neighbourhood.
However, in the summer of ’95 my father passed away and the tree stopped baring fruits! I’d like to think in morning of him. Until one day a friend told us to ‘scold it’, so my mother stood by the tree and talked to it- acknowledging its sadness. The summer after that, the fig tree bore fruits again.
To my mind, trees are natural survivors. Apart from the obvious, they hold much of what we need as shelter, food, fruits etc. and are an important link in the natural cycle of life. They grow almost anywhere, and adapt according to their environment by spreading roots far deep into the ground and acclimatizing, sometimes, better than us human beings – a successful meditation technique: the deeper you root yourself, the higher you can go. Trees can be healing, just try sitting under one, supporting your back against it’s trunk- and let it do it’s magic!
Trees came up frequently when I started my own spiritual journey. I remember one of the first exercises in Healing Tao practices was ‘hugging a tree.’ I also still practice Denise Lynn’s Healing Tree meditation, where she designated a tree in Hyde Park, London to tune into to receive and give healing to.
In fact, I was so ‘into’ hugging trees, that my friends caught the fever too! While walking in Mayfair with my friend Khaled Bazzi, he thought a young tree needed attention, and on an impulse gave it hug. There were many walks with my friend Marcela Soares who used to live in London, when she was amused by my hugging an old Trees in a Church yard in Knightsbrindge; until she finally shed her inhibitions and joined in. It became ‘our tree’, by which remember fondly shared memories with Marcela each time I pass that tree.
I also remember, when a young teen, while researching for a science project reading about a research conducted in the forests of Japan. It demonstrated that trees, like dolphins, ‘talk’ to each other, and how they have different songs (or sound waves) in the morning from those at night.
Tree parables are numerous in Islam too, mentioned in both the Qura’an, (Surat Ar-Rahman 55:6) “And the stars and the trees -both (alike) bow in adoration”, and Hadith (prophet’s sayings)- relating how good deeds of people are like a tree yielding sweet fruits, and bad deeds yield sour fruits for their barer.
A project we were working on in biology class during senior year at high school, demonstrated how trees or plants react to stress, music, and to their leaves being cut off; in a measurable way. This stayed in my mind that to this day- I prefer potted flowering plats to fresh cut flowers and much to the amusement of some close friends and relatives; and I always ‘talk’ to my plants, or flowers, saying good bye and thanking them for the joy they brought and beauty they displayed – before it’s time to be placed in the bin!
And, when I first arrived in England my Chinese friend Pam asked me to join her in a search for the right herb in China Town, I was intrigued! A dying tree had to be removed from her garden, as I remember, and the powdered herb was much needed to bring balance and harmony to the spot where the tree had to be uprooted. Our hunt was successful. We found the herb, and Pam sprinkled it over the spot where the old tree was removed. Harmony was restored to both her garden and home – good Feng Shui all around!
Another ‘tree memory’, is that of fabulous tree that stood high and proud for years in a neighbour’s garden, next to my friend Renate’s house. The neighbour’s tree, although beautiful, covered a large area of Renate’s garden making it impossible for her to enjoy her garden, and it was also impossible to cut it down or have it removed. One day, few years ago, it was struck down by a bolt of lightning, and fell into Renate’s garden. I remember Renate commenting: “ as you say nothing is impossible, things can change overnight!”
During that year of stormy weather in London, we lost many trees, particularly in Hyde Park. But it reminded me of what my mother used to say: “ it is the flexible tree, that bends with the wind, which weathers the storm – obstinate ones don’t survive”- referring to my stubborn streaks!
In recent past, the BBC also had a popular TV series, “Meetings with Remarkable Trees”, where people talked about historic and important trees, so when I received this email, I was intrigued to see that somebody actually bothered to come out with a tree dictionary! Wonder what the Findhorn foundation thinks of that? Wouldn’t it be interesting to compare your birth tree to the corresponding properties Bach Flower remedies too?
Finally, I remember getting full marks in a communication class for originality, when I was 14- and the reason was a tree! We had to practice writing and conducting interviews, when I concluded mine by asking my pretend celebrity guest, if he were to choose to come back as a tree in the next life, what tree would be his choice? See chart below.
Find out which Birth Tree is yours:
Jan 01 to Jan 11 – Fir Tree
Jan 12 to Jan 24 – Elm Tree
Jan 25 to Feb 03 – Cypress Tree
Feb 04 to Feb 08 – Poplar Tree
Feb 09 to Feb 18 – Cedar Tree
Feb 19 to Feb 28 – Pine Tree
Mar 01 to Mar 10 – Weeping Willow Tree
Mar 11 to Mar 20 – Lime Tree
Mar 21 – Oak Tree
Mar 22 to Mar 31 – Hazelnut Tree
Apr 01 to Apr 10 – Rowan Tree
Apr 11 to Apr 20 – Maple Tree
Apr 21 to Apr 30 – Walnut Tree
May 01 to May 14 – Poplar Tree
May 15 to May 24 – Chestnut Tree
May 25 to Jun 03 – Ash Tree
Jun 04 to Jun 13 – Hornbeam Tree
Jun 14 to Jun 23 – Fig Tree
Jun 24 – Birch Tree
Jun 25 to Jul 04 – Apple Tree
Jul 05 to Jul 14 – Fir Tree
Jul 15 to Jul 25 – Elm Tree
Jul 26 to Aug 04 – Cypress Tree
Aug 05 to Aug 13 – Poplar Tree
Aug 14 to Aug 23 – Cedar Tree
Aug 24 to Sep 02 – Pine Tree
Sep 03 to Sep 12 – Weeping Willow Tree
Sep 13 to Sep 22 – Lime Tree
Sep 23 – Olive Tree
Sep 24 to Oct 03 – Hazelnut Tree
Oct 04 to Oct 13 – Rowan Tree
Oct 14 to Oct 23 – Maple Tree
Oct 24 to Nov 11 – Walnut Tree
Nov 12 to Nov 21 – Chestnut Tree
Nov 22 to Dec 01 – Ash Tree
Dec 02 to Dec 11 – Hornbeam Tree
Dec 12 to Dec 21 – Fig Tree
Dec 22 – Beech Tree
Dec 23 to Dec 31 – Apple Tree
Here is what each tree represent:
APPLE TREE (the Love) – of slight build, lots of charm, appeal & attraction, pleasant aura, flirtatious, adventurous, sensitive, always in love, wants to love & be loved, faithful & tender partner, very generous, scientific talents, lives for today, a carefree philosopher with imagination.
ASH TREE (the Ambition) – uncommonly attractive, vivacious, impulsive, demanding, does not care for criticism, ambitious, intelligent, talented, likes to play with fate, can be egotistic, very reliable & trustworthy, faithful & prudent lover, sometimes brains rule over the heart, but takes partnership very seriously.
BEECH TREE (the Creative) – has good taste, concerned about its looks, materialistic, good organization of life & career, economical, good leader, takes no unnecessary risks, reasonable, splendid lifetime companion, keen on keeping fit (diets, sports, etc.)
BIRCH TREE (the inspiration) – vivacious, attractive, elegant, friendly, unpretentious, modest, does not like anything in excess, abhors the vulgar, loves life in nature & in calm, not very passionate, full of imagination, little ambition, creates a calm & content atmosphere.
CEDAR TREE (the Confidence) – of rare beauty, knows how to adapt, likes luxury, of good health, not in the least shy, tends to look down on others, self-confident, determined, impatient, likes to impress others, many talents, industrious, healthy optimism, waiting for the one true love, able to make quick decisions.
CHESTNUT TREE (the Honesty) – of unusual beauty, does not want to impress, well-developed sense of justice, vivacious, interested, a born diplomat, but irritates easily & sensitive in company, often due to a lack of self confidence, acts sometimes superior, feels not understood, loves only once, has difficulties in finding a partner.
CYPRESS TREE (the Faithfulness) – strong, muscular, adaptable, takes what life has to give, content, optimistic, craves money & acknowledgment, hates loneliness, passionate lover which cannot be satisfied, faithful, quick-tempered, unruly, pedantic, & careless.
ELM TREE (the Noble-mindedness) – pleasant shape, tasteful clothes, modest demands, tends not to forgive mistakes, cheerful, likes to lead but not to obey, honest & faithful partner, likes making decisions for others, noble-minded, generous, good sense of humour, practical.
FIG TREE (the Sensibility) – very strong, a bit self-willed, independent, does not allow contradiction or arguments, loves life, its family, children & animals, a bit of a social butterfly, good sense of humour, likes idleness & laziness, of practical talent & intelligence.
FIR TREE (the Mysterious) – extraordinary taste, dignity, sophisticated, loves anything beautiful, moody, stubborn, tends to egoism but cares for those close to them, rather modest, very ambitious, talented, industrious, uncontented lover, many friends, many foes, very reliable.
HAZELNUT TREE (the Extraordinary) – charming, undemanding, very understanding, knows how to make an impression, active fighter for social cause, popular, moody, & capricious lover, honest, & tolerant partner, precise sense of judgment.
HORNBEAM TREE (the Good Taste) – of cool beauty, cares for its looks & condition, good taste, is not egoistic, makes life as comfortable as possible, leads a reasonable & disciplined life, looks for kindness & acknowledgment in an emotional partner, dreams of unusual lovers, is seldom happy with its feelings, mistrusts most people, is never sure of its decisions, very conscientious.
LIME TREE (the Doubt) – accepts what life dishes out in a composed way, hates fighting, stress, & labour, dislikes laziness & idleness, soft & relenting, makes sacrifices for friends, many talents but not tenacious enough to make them blossom, often wailing & complaining, very jealous but loyal.
MAPLE TREE (Independence of Mind) – no ordinary person, full of imagination & originality, shy & reserved, ambitious, proud, self-confident, hungers for new experiences, sometimes nervous, has many complexities, good memory, learns easily, complicated love life, wants to impress.
OAK TREE (the Brave) – robust nature, courageous, strong, unrelenting, independent, sensible, does not like change, keeps its feet on the ground, person of action.
OLIVE TREE (the Wisdom) – loves sun, warmth & kind feelings, reasonable, balanced, avoids aggression & violence, tolerant, cheerful, calm, well-developed sense of justice, sensitive, empathetic, free of jealousy, loves to read & the company of sophisticated people.
PINE TREE (the Particular) – loves agreeable company, very robust, knows how to make life comfortable, very active, natural, good companion, but seldom friendly, falls easily in love but its passion burns out quickly, gives up easily, everything disappointments until it finds its ideal, trustworthy, practical.
POPLAR TREE (the Uncertainty) – looks very decorative, not very self-confident, only courageous if necessary, needs goodwill & pleasant surroundings, very choosy, often lonely, great animosity, artistic nature, good organizer, tends to lean toward philosophy, reliable in any situation, takes partnership seriously.
ROWAN TREE (the Sensitivity) – full of charm, cheerful, gifted without egoism, likes to draw attention, loves life, motion, unrest, & even complications, is both dependent & independent, good taste, artistic, passionate, emotional, good company, does not forgive.
WALNUT TREE (the Passion) – unrelenting, strange & full of contrasts, often egotistic, aggressive, noble, broad horizon, unexpected reactions, spontaneous, unlimited ambition, no flexibility, difficult & uncommon partner, not always liked but often admired, ingenious strategist, very jealous & passionate, no compromise.
WEEPING WILLOW (the Melancholy) – beautiful but full of melancholy, attractive, very empathetic, loves anything beautiful & tasteful, loves to travel, dreamer, restless, capricious, honest, can be influenced but is not easy to live with, demanding, good intuition, suffers in love but finds sometimes an anchoring partner.
By Sahar Huneidi