A few years ago, I was on a canoe trip in Killarney Park. We were camped at the base of Silver mountain and it was a beautiful day. We left our canoes down at the lake and were hiking to the peak. It was too late in the season for mosquitoes but the sun was still full of the warmth of summer. The trail was wide for a section of forest, wide enough for two people to walk side by side and my friend Trish and I were ambling along. The fresh air, the sunshine and the bird calls were filling my heart. My daughter and husband were lagging behind, but I could hear their beloved voices chattering behind us.
I could hear the soft tromp of our my feet on the earth, the birds and a bubbling creek. My calf muscles were working hard on the steady incline. The trees, almost ready to burst into fall colours, were gently swaying in the breeze and the lake water was sparkling in the distance. “My happy place” as they say. I love this land with all my heart.
Trish began to sing a song in Gaelic . Her father came from Ireland and she is relearning the language. As her beautiful voice echoed into the woods, it was like a light bulb turned on in my head. In that moment I knew I had to learn the ways my own ancestors had worshipped the land. I know my parents would think I was crazy and maybe even my grannies wouldn’t understand it. I didn’t yet understand it myself! Plus, I had no idea how to go about it. I just knew I had to find my own way to frame this spiritual practice of connecting to rock, trees and water.
A few days later when we got back to the city I made a half hearted attempt starting with google. I googled Devon, Trees and Ancestors and holy moly. To my great surprise the “Celtic Tree Ogham” came up and I was flippin blown away. Why had I never heard of this before? The Celtic Ogham. The spiritual sound “OOOOhhhmmmm” is right there in the ancient language of the Druids and it was directly connected to the TREES! Woah.
I am on a wondrous journey that began with a song.
It was like I was given access to a whole world I didn’t even know I had been missing. I’ve been reading and studying and learning more about the Ogham, the trees and the druids ever since. The Ogham has been informing and changing my teaching and artistic practice. It is creating and deepening my spiritual practice. And it is leading me to learn many wonderful things about trees. How could I not know that trees breathe with their roots? How could I not know that trees also have mitochondria? And Birch, as the first tree to re-forest the land after a fire, is the first in the Ogham, representing the human quality of opportunity and beginnings.
This fall is a new beginning. I will be offering a Six Week online movement series based on the Ogham. I plan for it to be an opportunity to connect you to your deep nature within and the nature in the world around you.
First Class September 9!