Tree Song Shaman
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We are in an age when the two-legged ones are finally waking up to the impact of their choices on the environment. Thanks to global events such as the Earth Summit at Rio de Janeiro in 1992, and films such as An Inconveniant Truth, the evidence of how human beings are changing their natural world is becoming indisputable.

I encourage and support all forms of conservation actions. From recycling pop bottles to political activism, and everything in between, we all have a role to play. All those behaviors come from a place of Head; of mental understanding, and are important. The purpose of this website, however, is to encourage connection and caring for the Earth from a place of Heart. My goal is to teach others to show the Earth the depths of their heart-felt love and appreciation. Even though love is intangible, it is the source of all healing.

I have been doing shamanic work, privately, in my own small way, since 2000. Trees have been my teachers. They have taught me how to sing to them, how to hear their songs, how to listen to their stories and bring healing and requests to them. These love-filled forms of communication are healing for them. In June of 2007, while on my annual vision quest, I was told by the trees that it’s time to bring these teachings to the world.

They love being sung to, they love being listened to and they would like for many, many others to bring them healing in these ways. If you are one of those who resonates with this call, then this website is for you.

The basic tools and techniques I suggest are absolutely free. This is my gift to the healing of the planet. Please feel free to learn from them and share them as much as you wish. There are other items and tools available for sale as well; but these are NOT essential to the basic teachings. They are there for those who wish to pursue certain aspects of the work more in-depth.

To watch Denise's interview with Norm Lebus of City TV, click here.

Connecting with Trees and Other Nature Beings

Be forewarned: Things will change for you once you can communicate with trees and other nature beings. You will “wake up” to a feeling of deep connection with all of Creation. This process of waking is one that occurs both physically and emotionally. Your experiences in nature will be richer, more textured and vivid. As long as there are trees nearby, you will never be alone. You may receive teachings and guidance from your new friends that will take you to places you never dreamed of.

Your relationship with yourself is likely to change. You may crave silence and solitude more. You may develop a thirst for all things Spirit. Your tolerance for loud noise and crowds of people may go down. You may not recognize yourself in quite the same way.

The Effect of Song on the Plant World

In the 1970 movie “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever”, Barbra Streisand hit the big screen as Daisy Gamble, a chain-smoking, nervous young woman who sang to her plants and made everything bloom and grow. For over 30 years the idea that singing to one’s plants is good for them has been simmering away in our collective consciousness. Many scientific experiments have been conducted that support that idea. We have learned that houseplants love music and singing and dislike shouting or violence.

I would like to take this idea just one step further….outdoors. Trees also love being sung to. And, since they are rooted in the earth, it is easier for them to share the healing of the songs they receive over a greater area. Sound travels well through air, and better through water, but it travels best through solid material. So, by singing to trees with loving intention, we are able to send healing not only to the area surrounding the trees, but also to the Earth.

Creating a Healing Intention

The most important part of communicating with the plant world is in knowing what your intention is. It cannot be for the purpose of manipulating or tricking the trees you wish to connect to. It must come from a place of respect, humility and love. Trees are good-natured, service-minded beings, and they will teach us and help us when they can, but they will shut down if they suspect deception or ill-intent.

What is an Appropriate Intention?

I find it helpful to always remember that trees and other plants, animals, water, rock, and air all came from the Creator. They are truly my brothers and sisters, grandparents, cousins and every type of relation. The first part of communicating with plants is to see past the illusion of separation and to honour the connection that already exists between us. I do not create the connection, I simply acknowledge it gratefully.

Before I ask the trees for anything, whether a song or a teaching, I take the time to express my love and gratitude to them. I thank them for their beauty and strength; for the shade they provide, or fruit, or flowers, for stabilizing the earth they stand in with the power of their roots and for any other personal reason I may have, whether for an individual or group of trees. This appreciation can be expressed out loud through words, or in the quiet of one’s heart and mind. I usually sing to the trees, because I know they love receiving the vibration of song. There are two “all-purpose” gratitude/acknowledgement songs I use regularly. I am not suggesting these songs are the only ones possible or worthwhile; they just work well for me. I would suggest that you feel free in finding your own honouring song to open communication, but I also recognize that you may feel more comfortable in the beginning to have some clear examples.

Whether I sing or speak or think my gratitude I place myself in direct contact with the tree, if at all possible. Oh yes! I am a tree-hugger! I usually place my hands on the tree and often lean my forehead against it. When a speak aloud, or sing quietly, my mouth is very, very close to the tree.

Here are the two songs I use:

Now I Walk in Beauty
(traditional song, source unknown)

Click here to listen to a sample (1.6 MB).

Lyrics:
Now I walk in beauty,
Beauty is before me,
Beauty is behind me,
Above and below me.

I usually sing this song at least three times for the vibration of it to sink in.

Spirit and Life
(written by Denise Gagné Williamson)

Click here to listen to a sample (1.1 MB).

You are free to use this song for your own personal tree singing work, but should anyone decide to record it or perform it publicly, you must seek my permission and credit me accordingly.

You are not background
Spirit and Life
You are my family
Spirit and Life
Brothers and sisters
Spirit and Life
We are connected
Spirit and Life
One in Creator
Spirit and Life
Spirit and Life
Spirit and Life

You hold our stories
Spirit and Life
Roots in the Mother
Spirit and Life
Arms reaching upwards
Spirit and Life
Prayers to the Father
Spirit and Life
Connecting and holding
Spirit and Life
Spirit and Life
Spirit and Life

Greeting and honouring the trees is the first step in communicating with them. If you stand in silence, remaining in physical contact, you may begin to sense the energy of the tree, and it may decide to “speak” with you. Receiving and understanding the tree messages is the next step.

Learning to Listen

I listen to trees with my whole body, not just my ears. I put myself in a state of being receptive to the vibration of the tree’s spirit. (This is a similar process to the one I use for hearing the soul song of a person).

If you have difficulty hearing tree songs or if you don’t feel comfortable with your own singing voice; here are some simple exercises you can try to open up your body to listen from the inside out. I believe these demonstrations and directions are all you require for this work, but if you’d like to learn more about my products for singing, click here.

A word of caution:
These exercises are simple and non-invasive, and are generally safe for all ages and body types, but you are the only person who lives in your body! Use common sense! If you are currently suffering from a recent whiplash injury or have chronic back problems or if your natural body structure has been permanently altered by the surgical removal of muscles or ligaments, or the insertion of metal pins or rods, or through having your vertebra fused together, then DON’T do the following exercise. I accept no responsibility whatsoever for the acerbating of any current health issues. My description of any and all exercises is offered with years of experience of exploring the body/voice relationship, but does NOT replace medical cautions you may have already received or the advice of a qualified health care professional. Please accept responsibility for this body you live in and treat it gently and with respect.

The Ragdoll

Often, in this society where people spend lots of time sitting in front of a computer screen, they can develop sore, inflexible necks and shoulders and stiff backs. Our singing “instruments” (our bodies) need to be flexible and have a good blood supply in order to bring out our best possible voices. Here is a well-known vocal exercise I use with beginning voice students to help them loosen up.

Our spines are meant to be supple and flexible, like a ragdoll.

Unfortunately, they may sometimes feel and move more like a plastic action figure.

To play the audio description of this exercise click here (4 MB).

Stand with your feet apart the same distance as your shoulder width. Bare feet or simple flat flipflops are best. If you’re reading from the page, I suggest you take a breath in between each sentence of the following description to give yourself time to feel the reality of your body.

Take the time to feel the weight of your body on your feet. Recognize that the entire weight of your body rests on your feet and ankle joints. Begin to sense if there’s any amount of movement in you ankles. Now recognize that your calves rise up from your feet to the knee and that the knee joint also has the potential of gentle movement as it constantly balances the weight of your thighs. Remember that even skyscrapers made of cement and steel are capable of slight movement at their joints! Allow your consciousness to travel up your thigh to your pelvis. Be aware that your legs descend from your pelvis and your torso sits on top of it and within it, there is lots of give and take within all the various joining pieces there.

Breathe and feel how the joints of your pelvis, your knees and your ankles respond to your breath.

Scan upwards along your spine to your shoulders and know that your shoulders hang from your spine; they do not hold your spine up. Your arms swing ever so slightly from their shoulder sockets in response to the movement of your breath in and your breath out.

Your neck continues the flow of your spine and stretches gracefully upwards its full length above your shoulders. Your head sits on top of your neck. It also moves ever so slightly in response to the movement of your breath.

Your feet are easily and firmly in contact with the floor and your head rises up towards the ceiling, and your entire body breathes and balances in between these two.

Your body is alive with the movement of breath within it.

Now, breathe in, and on the exhale allow your head to fall gently forward, only as far as it can comfortably go. Breathe in again and feel how by expanding your lungs to accept the gift of air, your whole torso and spine lifts slightly. Breathe out and feel how the deflation of your lungs in connected with a lowering of your entire torso and spine, which allows your head to fall even further forward towards the floor.

It’s as though your head is an apple at the end of a branch, drawing the branch closer to the earth.

Continue the slow, gradual, downward descent of your head, only as far as it can comfortably go, with each exhalation. If you encounter points that do not want to allow movement, simple breathe gently into those points. If they loosen, and allow you, continue the downward movement until your hands touch the floor. If there is tighten in your neck or spine that does not want to loosen, respect that and either stay in that position, breathing gently and being grateful for your body, or if you’ve had enough, begin your ascent back up.

When you are ready to return to an upright position, stay in contact with your breath, but this time place the emphasis on filling your lungs with air and allowing the natural lift that accompanies the inhalation to pull your body upwards. On the exhale, stop and rest, but do not allow your torso to go back down. If at any time you feel dizzy, simply open your eyes. If the dizziness persists, sit or lie down. Otherwise, continue to lift your body back upright on each inhalation as though you were building a tower out of blocks. The last part to be put in place is your head. When it has returned to its proper place above the neck, this exercise is complete.

Hearing Your Own Voice

Dr. Alfred Tomatis, one of the world's leading otolaryngologist, developed a principle, called "The Tomatis Effect", that states that the voice can only create and duplicate those sounds which the ear is able to hear. As a music teacher and vocal coach I have encountered the truth of this many times over. My first job is always to teach people how to hear.
Let's do a simple exercise that will help with that.

To play the audio description of this exercise click here (3.3 MB).

When was the last time you took a few moments to really listen to yourself?
How can one learn to listen to oneself? What does it actually mean to listen?

First, find a quiet place where you won't be distracted by other people. Turn off the radio, stereo, television, or any other source of external noise.

Think of the last time you called to someone some distance away. Your voice would have naturally taken on a certain cadence, a certain sing-song quality, usually two notes, the first higher than the second. (sol-mi or G-E for those with access to a pitched instrument).

Keep that calling sound in mind, and begin to gently call your own name.
Try to use an entire exhalation to call your name each time; stretching out your vowels as much as possible. Explore this a few times, sometimes a bit quieter, sometimes a bit louder, but never so loud as to bother your ears.

The next time you call your name, using the gentlest touch possible, place your fingertips on the front of your neck. Get a sense of where the vibration of your voice begins. Continue calling your name as you explore this.

Using the same gentle touch, bring your fingertips to your face. As you continue calling yourself try to discover where else the vibration of your voice can be found. Around your mouth? Near your ears? Around your nose? Behind your ears? It is neither "right" or "wrong" to sense vibration in any of these areas. These are only suggestions to guide you.

Now, place a finger INSIDE each ear canal. Once again, begin to call your own name. How does it sound different from calling with "unplugged" ears? How is it the same? Can you feel your voice vibrating in any particular places in your head or face? Still using a complete exhalation to each call continue to explore this.

The Rollercoaster

The muscles of the throat that support the voice box are largely responsible for your vocal range (ie: how high and low you can sing) The more flexible they are, and the better the blood flow, the easier it will be to extend your range.

This is the simplest way possible to begin to develop your vocal range. I call it the rollercoaster hum, because the goal is to explore the highest and lowest notes you’re capable of producing smoothly and rapidly, like a rollercoaster.

If you wish, you can gently place the fingertips of both hands on each side of your throat so you can feel the vibration of your voice as it travels from high to low.

To play the audio sample of this exercise click here (524 KB).