I am sure you all know that a tree has the ability to eat the light of a star, our Sun!
So let us go into a love story about Trees and Stars based on ancient Hebrew texts canonical and midrashic. Are you familiar with he Song of Songs, Shir HaShirim?
According to Rabbi Akiba it is the holiest of all the ketubim/writings. He said it is the the very Holy of holies itself, that the whole world is not the worth the day that Shir haShirim was given to people of Yisrael.” He said it contains the whole history of the Jewish people from exile to freedom including the great Sabbath of a world at Peace.
The song lists seven different varieties of special trees in its few short chapters. These are Nut trees, palm trees, fruit trees, lumber yielding trees, spice trees, incense trees and the oil yielding olive trees.
The song holds the story of two lovers whose identities have been explored by many commentators and which we are told by kabbalists holds the greatest secret of our wisdom tradition. Trees can be our guide in lifting the veil on their identities just a little tonight.
Now when HaShem created the upper Eden which held a spirit ocean called the lake of Tears, This was surrounded by several of these stately beautiful trees. What if the lovers of the song were two of those trees who sensed each others wafting fragrance and fell passionately in love? They may have been the apple and the Palm tree known a the Tafuach and Tamar in the song. This was a new fiery kind of Love that caused all the trees to flower, to shake and shimmer and the waters to start rippling and it shook the entire creation and the waters began to flow into four mighty rivers manifesting the entire physical olamim or worlds. We read about that in the beginning of Sefer Bereishis,Genesis when it says that the waters above and below were divided.
In the first verse of the song we hear of Shlomo, the King whose name is Peace but commentators tell us that is a cover for the divine Source, The Holy One. And in chapter seven we are given the name of his lover as the Shulamite, a name whose root also means Peace. Could they be ancient tree spirits?
Many different Earth based indigenous wisdom traditions honor the Trees as, helpful, wise and providential spirits often related to spirits called kachinas here in New Mexico born out of the different forms of water such as rivers, springs, lakes and oceans. These interface with our human world in that some inspire us to develop the arts and wisdom sciences that have fueled our developing cultural journeys throughout history.
There are three ancient beings in European legend known as the original archaic muses, who inspire beauty and balance in our lives.
One is said to have been born from the movement of water.
The second one emerged from the vibration of air in a column of wood .
An the third sprang from the vibration of the human voice.
In ancient images the muse Terpsichore carries a chelys, a special kind of lyre made from a turtle shell with two strings. Just two strings. These two strings are another way of expressing that the entire creation is made from the dance of two lovers whose desire for each other has actually caused the Holy one to create the dance of polarity: shamayim,-the heavens; and the aretz- the Earth. The Tohu and Bohu, the light and dark, the day and night and the morning and evening. These five pairs were all manifested on the yom echad, the day One in the very first words of Torah and like the circle of ten hidden in the heart of the apple they are dancing our world into being every moment. It is the dancing turning of the Earth globe that gives us these ten original players of our daily and nightly experience. We just need to consciously join their dance with our minds, our hearts and our modechka, the power of our souls.
Consider Genesis 2:9: And out of the ground made HaShem to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and the not good. Are these two trees the original lovers?
From the song:
“AS an apple tree among the tree of the wood, so is my beloved among young men. With great delight I sat in his shadow, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.”(II-3)
One of the two lovers says as they dance:
‘Behold you are beautiful, my beloved, truly lovely, our couch is Raeinanah-freshness and renewing life.”(I-16)
The prayer of our human voice sings from the holiest of songs:
“Who is that coming up from the wilderness, the midbar, leaning upon her beloved? Under the apple tree I awakened you, there your mother was in travail with you, there she who bore you was in travail.” “Set me as a seal on your heart , as a seal upon your arm for love is as strong as death,… Its flashes are flashes of fire, the fire of the daughter of yah shalhevetyah.(raising the seal in the core of the apple)
SHOOVI----SHOOVI---SHULAMITE- Return, return, O Shulammite; Return, return, that we may look upon thee. What will ye see in the Shulammite? As it were a dance of two companies.
Shoovi, shoovi, shoovi Return oh Shulamite, you who dance the dance of Peace and Caring, you who shake the world with power and passion and bring us to our knees so that we honor each other, the creation and the Source of Love.
May this one whose names means Peace bless our Earth and all her peoples, and bless the trees, who call us to awareness of the great love that made the world.
Thank You to Arlene Goldbard for editing this writing.