During the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020, I was interested to find that the Icelandic Forestry Service was recommending that Icelanders go out into the forest and hug trees. Can’t hug a person? Hug trees instead, was their advice. Tree hugging, they suggested, could be done in accordance social distancing and without the risk of passing on Covid, whilst at the same time getting the benefit from giving a tree a hug. It was recommended that Icelanders should hug a tree daily for five minutes, which could aid in relaxation and assist with the person’s general sense of well-being (1).
Hugging a tree can increase your levels of hormones (oxytocin) that make you feel calm and help form emotional bonding. Simply being under the canopy of trees and out in nature certainly can help reduce stress levels and help you feel calmer.
When I was in my late twenties and suffering a deep depression, I actively went out into nature to calm my thoughts and sought out trees in my local nature reserve to hug. Just hugging a tree made me feel calmer and helped to reduce my anxiety although at the time I didn’t really understand why. I always felt better.
As I got older I began to see energy fields around trees, the aura of the tree. I’ve no idea how or why this started but I do know that it developed naturally through my connection with the trees. Now when I enter a woodland I see the energy emanating from the trees. For me, the trees look like they have a transparent web of energy that connects everything together. Some tree auras appear larger and stronger than others, and that to me is an indication of the trees health.
I’ve since found out that this is known as devic vision, an otherworldly vision, developed further by my experiences in seeing tree spirits. Deva spirits are nature spirits. According to folklorists, Celtic seers would cultivate devic vision and it is still practised to this day. They would call in their spirit allies and guides, perceiving the faery realm and nature spirits all around them (2).
I was given further confirmation one day when I was visiting family. They have a house that overlooks the countryside, and the house has living quarters up on the first floor, so that the panoramic views of the surrounding fields and moorland can be seen more fully. One summers day, I was just gazing through the window, looking down over the trees in front of the house. Suddenly, a face from the foliage emerged, right out of the tree leaves, the face of a green man exactly as depicted in many artworks and carvings, with leaves emanating out of the mouth. Just as suddenly as it appeared, the face disappeared back into the tree. I was transfixed but also taken aback. Could this have been the spirit of the tree revealing itself to me? Soon after, the tree was cut down by the family member.
There are various ways to connect with tree energy. Begin by choosing a tree that is away from any footpath or high traffic area. Try to select a tree that is set back. Wrap your arms around the tree. Sense the energy of the tree coming from it’s roots, upwards towards the branches as you connect your energy to the tree. Feel the tree giving you healing and energy but also give healing to the tree so it’s reciprocal. Allow the tree to take away all your stresses and strains, and see it being transmuted into positive energy. Give thanks when you have done.
Another way to connect especially if you feel self conscious, is to lean against the tree with your back to the trunk. Place your non-dominant hand on the tree trunk and place your other hand on your heart. Connect to the tree’s energy in the same way, sensing the energetic flow from the roots of the tree upwards towards the upper most branches. Really feel the tree and it’s connection to Mother Nature. Remember not to just take energy from the tree but also to give some back. So again, give healing back to the tree and give thanks afterwards.
An extension on this is whenever you connect to the tree, connect to the universal healing energy, breathe it in through the top of the head, a pure white light of energy. Connect and breathe it in. Then visualise the energy coming out from the soles of your feet, deep into the earth and connecting with the roots of the tree. Now, draw the energy up and see it rise up through your body, up into the tree, going up to the uppermost branches. Stay with the energy for a while. With this exercise you are going a little deeper, acting as a channel to send energy to the tree.
The roots of the trees are interconnected with one another and it is thought that the trees “speak” to one another. Any healing you give to the trees I feel goes down into the earth via the roots and is sent to the other trees.
I recently read a story of someone who took regular healing from a tree quite innocently, but was not giving any healing back to the tree. Eventually the tree, a peach tree, got to look very sick and the person thought it was because she was taking from the tree and not giving anything back. She started to give healing to the tree daily. The following year the peach tree became much healthier and yielded an abundance of beautiful, juicy peaches, more than she had ever seen before.
If you are a Reiki practitioner, you can give Reiki to the trees and in fact any plants or seedlings, and see how it can help the plants and trees grow stronger and healthier; do your own little experiment.
One should always honour Mother Nature; never take more than you need and always remember to give back what you can.
- (1) https://www.skogur.is/en/moya/news/category/3/cant-hug-a-person-hug-a-tree
- (2) Forest, D., (2008), Nature Spirits; Wyrd Lore and Wild Fey Magic
- Main Image: my own