Contemplative Cornerstones: Trees

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bro. Erik Marks

The tall cedars of Lebanon, The Acacia in its many forms, the Kabalistic tree of life connecting the ten sephirot sometimes thought of as archetypes, Yggdrasil the everlasting green Ash reaching to the nine realms: trees convert CO2 to oxygen, filter water, provide sustenance of wide varieties, offer the weary traveler shade and a place to lean—backpacking, I hang my shelter, a hammock and tarp between two. 

Symbolically, spiritually, they serve as links between sky or Heaven and Earth; Esoterically, as emblematic metaphors embodying the same in the human experience. Trees are captivating, majestic, sturdy, useful, necessary in our world. Crosscut its trunk, tree has many concentric circles around a center point. The fruit of the apple tree severed in a like manner displays the physical manifestation of its symbolic nature: the pentagram, evidence of the knowledge imparted by one of the two pillar trees in The Garden.

For many, using visualizations can help bring and keep the mind present in the moment, in the here and now. When feeling adrift emotionally, psychologically, practically, a meditation embodying aspects of trees can help calm and center the mind and body.

Sit in a chair, near the front of the seat. Don’t lean back, sit with body erect. Place your hands, palms down on your thighs. Take three long, slow, deep, breaths, or more if you wish. Bring your mind to the image of a tall tree. Hold the image for a few moments. Then imagine yourself as that tree. Your legs its roots, your trunk, its trunk, your arms and head its branches and leaves. Feel your feet firmly planted on the floor. As you focus on self as tree, imagine your roots growing down through the floor. If you are on a floor higher than ground level, imagine your roots growing down through the structural elements of the building, reinforcing, being the strength as well as lending to it, solidly. Imagine your roots breaking through the earth below. Growing downward through gravel, rock, finding your way around boulders and through fissures. Deeper you grow through nourishing earth filled with nitrogen rich loam, peat, centuries of sediment until your roots contact a pure and cool underground aquifer. Drawing up the quenching water, cooling and calming, hydrating and adding to your ability to remain flexible and emotionally grounded in every way.

Imagine your trunk extending towards heaven. Your branches growing upward and outward, seeking the sun and the solar radiation even if seemingly obscured by clouds. You could imagine growing tall like redwoods or tallest cedars. You can grow up through clouds and stand in the full beauty of the sun at noon. The suns power transformed through the chlorophyll your leaves into fuel, food. Healing and health drawn in, from below, from above. Through your vital body, you unify heaven and earth, bringing the elements of air, fire/sun, water, and earth into balance and harmony within you. Stay in this image, reaching below and above simultaneously; try to feel all the functions happening at once as you breathe. Taking in and transforming the world, absorbing and utilizing sun, drinking up and in water, grounded in the earth absorbing all you need to grown and be at ease in your terrestrial home.

Alterations: Those so inclined could substitute a favorite tree, imagine Ratatoskr traveling the tree connecting the nine realms, or with greater focus and concentration along with knowledge or study of Kabbalah move through the ten Sefirot from Malkhut to Keter; Earth to Crown, draw back down and then return to crown in the order: Malkhut, Yesod, Hod, Netzach, Tiferet, Gevurah, Chesed, Binah, Chochmah, Keter. Finding the Tetragrammaton and also form the Adam Kadmon, (See MacNulty: The Way of the Craftsman and Kaplan’s Meditation and Kabbalah).

When working with strong emotion, imagine the earth taking back from you the emotion you wish to relinquish—to be clear, this is not denying or avoiding the emotion, its is an invitation to your non or pre-verbal self, your personal and collective unconscious, that you are willing to let this emotion move along. Or, that you feel strengthened enough to tolerate it longer. The earth can absorb the energy, the sun can transform it as fire transforms anything it touches.


Brother Erik Marks is a clinical social worker whose usual vocation has been in the field of human services in a wide range of settings since 1990. He was raised in 2017 by his biologically younger Brother and then Worshipful Master in Alpha Lodge in Framingham, MA. You may contact brother Marks by email:

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