We’re planning a farewell ritual for one of our Brooklyn Group who is headed to Colorado soon. She’s a challenge – she doesn’t really like keepsakes and lives a very uncluttered lifestyle (so, the exact opposite of most of the group!)
As such, we wanted to give her something that wouldn’t take up room in the car on the long drive, but that she could still have as a constant reminder of our love and presence as she starts on this latest leg of her journey.
So we gave her trees!
In the same way that animals have symbolic meaning, so do plants and trees. I found this lovely little website that gives all the Celtic meanings of the trees.
We each printed up an image of the tree we chose and hand wrote a little note as to why we chose it. They were just the right size to fit inside her journal – reminders that wouldn’t take up too much space but still allowed us to be with her.
And better yet, they allowed her to find us in the woods that she loves. Those trees would become constant, steadying companions with messages from us, there whenever she needs reminding of how wonderful she is and how much we adore her.
What You’ll Need
At least 5 sticks 2-3 feet long (or one for every participant if you have many)
A chalice (or wine glass)
A printed image (or stick) of the selected trees to give
What To Do
Beforehand, each participant will want to choose their tree, print their chosen image, write their short note, and possibly write out what they want to say (because it’s terrible to get tongue-tied and miss half of what you want to say OR do the opposite and ramble forever!)
Creating intentional space:
Begin by holding the sticks between each of the participants to form a large circle. Focus on your breath and on becoming present with the group.
After a minute or two, cross five of the sticks so that they form a five pointed star in the center of the circle. There were five of us so we were able to do this by handing the end of our stick to the person next to the person next to us.
Slowly lower the sticks to the ground.
The beauty of the tree,
The softness of the air,
The fragrance of the grass,
Speaks to me.
The summit of the mountain,
The thunder of the sky,
The rhythm of the sea,
Speaks to me.
The faintness of the stars,
The freshness of the morning,
The dewdrop on the flower,
Speaks to me
The strength of the fire,
The taste of salmon,
The trail of the sun,
And the life that never goes away,
They speak to me.
And my heart soars.
Declaring Your Intention:
We come together today to send Chelsea on her way to Colorado and to bless this next, new, exciting phase of her life. We wanted to get you something special but we know you’re not a big fan of tchotchkes, and there’s not a whole lot of room in the car.
So we decided to give you trees! (You did after all request them.)
So, each of us has chosen a tree – one with a deeper symbolic meaning – and today you’ll leave here with 4 totem trees and 4 stories of why these trees in particular are yours to carry with you on your journey.
Body of the Ritual:
Each shares the wisdom of the tree they chose and presents it to Chelsea.
Closing the Ritual:
All lay a hand on Chelsea as we read together:
May you go forth under the strength of heaven,
under the light of sun,
under the radiance of moon;
may you go forth with splendor of fire,
with the speed of lightening,
with the swiftness of wind;
may you go forth supported by the depth of sea,
by the stability of earth,
by the firmness of rock;
may you be surrounded and encircled,
above, below and about,
with the protection of the nine elements.
Chelsea, you go forth with our love and with the gift of trees, that you may always find friends in the woods that you love so much.
Our circle is open but unbroken. Merry meet, merry part… ALL: Merry Meet Again.