Lithuanian Tree Ceremony to
Release an Oak Dryad
Yesterday I participated in an ancient rite, a Lithuanian Tree Ceremony to honor the upcoming removal of a dying oak tree. I have passed by this tree often and held conversation. The local utility company was going to remove her. She had weathered lightening and her heartwood was loosing its strength. When I asked if she wished to be sang into new wood, she declined. She has lived in her tree for over sixty years, and wished to be returned to the bosom of the Great Mother. As the suburbs have grown up around her, four families have experienced her presence. Time has taken its toll upon her great oaken form.
We all sang to her a traditional folk-song, drank acorn-coffee to honor her, said a prayer, wafted frankincense, myrrh and sage around her and thanked her for her gifts of shade, renewed air, filtered water and enriched soil as she held place. I closed the ceremony with a Dryad’s Song of Blessing to release her presence and honor her. As I sang, I felt her sigh and the land embrace her as she returned to the great matrix of all knowing. The tree still stood, but now silent and without her song.
Of those gathered, there were thirteen of us, and of those present, the languages expressed was English, Lithuanian and my singing in the Language of Light. I was honored to participate in such an old and lovely ceremony. It inspired me and reminded me that we are all one, and that at one time, we all honored our celestial mother and her wondrous gifts through our mythology and ceremonies and festivals. Here is the prayer offered and folk song. Follow the links to learn more and hear the song in Lithuanian.
Tree Prayer: (say each stanza twice)
Thank you great tree
for the shade you have given.
Even when you are gone
we will remember your
shade, strength and beauty.
Lithuanian Song – Oi Kalnas Kalnas
Oh mountain, mountain highest of all,
upon that mountain an oak tree stood tall.
Under that oak a fire burned,
a fire burned and young girls spoke.
Fire Gabija, oh sacred flame
help me in that work I do
Fire Gabija, oh sacred flame
aid me on the road that I travel.
In Lithuania, the ‘Baltic Faith’ is known as Romuva, and it is a pagan belief system. Their independence was not until recently. Lithuania is up by Latvia and Estonia, faces the sea across from the UK. The country’s flag is yellow, red and green for the two colors of the sun and the green of nature. Trees and nature are very important and the forests are filled a variety of trees including oak trees. The code of their life includes reverence for nature, to not destroy a life, and replenish nature. There are many old carvings that stand tall, and are similar to the Haida totems, but are more simple in appearance.
“…an oak tree is typical of Baltic Lithuanian folk art. The three levels symbolize the three spheres of existence – the world of the dead (the past), the world of the living (the present) and the divine heights (the future) – all three in unity. They thrive in universal darna, which is harmony. http://www.romuva.lt/new/?page=en
The flag is a golden with a swirling emblem much like the ancient swastika. The Romuva logo is a black and white image, called the “pattern of the world tree, Austras Koks (“Tree of Twilight”), also commonly used as a symbol of Romuva.