My first experience with a “tree spirit” happened on a sunny autumn afternoon in Holzhausen Park, Frankfurt, Germany.
I was six years old. Holzhausen (wooden house) was originally the grand country estate of the Holzhausen family who built it in the 1400s. This wasn’t a manicured park in the classical sense; it was more like a forest garden filled with old oaks, ash, maple, beech and chestnut trees. As I walked among the trees with my younger brother I sensed someone watching me. I looked to my left and saw a woman standing within the trunk of an old tree. In the days and weeks ahead, the tree spirit appeared to me several more times – – each time was different as I sensed her silently speaking to my soul. During one of these encounters she revealed my life purpose, “to help people understand each other better.”
Soon after this revelation my father told us we were moving to the United States. Immediately after we settled into our new Midwest home I began searching for the tree spirit, hoping she had followed me across the ocean. I stood before every old tree and opened my heart, praying for her to reveal herself, but she didn’t. Eventually these new American trees became my first American friends. The cedars/arborvitaes were sweet and protective; the willows were mothering, while the oaks, elms and ash felt like grandparents encouraging me to crawl into their embrace.
My parents, who had adopted me as an infant, passed away early in my adult life. Mysteriously a door opened that reunited me with my birth mother Karin. I learned about the true story of my life and how I came to be in this world. I also discovered that she had named me Carmen Sylvia, “guardian tree.”
The morning after 9/11/2001, the tree spirit of my childhood appeared to me once again. I now sensed the urgency to work with her as the Tree of Life. I felt electrified as I imagined untangling the shared roots of world belief to heal the fear and separation that surrounded me. I immersed myself in researching the origins of belief and world religion from 40,000 BCE to present day within each continent.
I was fascinated to learn that all beliefs were originally inspired by mankind’s interpretation of the natural world. This led me into the teachings of the Kabbalah, known as the Tree of Life, and the work of Carl Jung. Jung saw trees as the archetype of the psyche.
Both reflect the human journey of finding one’s true purpose in life and how the psyche self-creates the illusion of separation from its soul. Eventually after many trials and tribulations one longs to know its soul and begins the journey of knowing one’s true self as whole (holy). This desire to “know” has inspired countless stories of trees.
My sense of wonder regarding the origins of stories has been fulfilled by connecting with nature. My desire to know led me to understand trees in a new and deeper way. They hold the root wisdom from which language, belief and stories were born. Over the course of the past twenty years I have written three books, each was inspired by the Tree Spirit.
The Guardian Tree – The true story of Carmen Sylvia, is my autobiography. It is divided into 22 chapters based on the major arcana of the Tarot that reflect my healing journey.
Mandala Chakra – Awaken the One Within, was inspired by the seven chakras and how we hold mythic maps within us that guide us on our journey of awakening and becoming whole.
Tree Spirit Tarot – Return to the Garden of our Soul, tells the archetypal stories of 78 trees as they relate to the Tarot. Trees are wisdom keepers who hold space on our journey to oneness.
The tree spirit within me honors the tree spirit in you as we walk this journey of awakening and returning together in love.
Namaste (respect) and Munay (love) to all.