Today we will talk about the totems of the Standing People, the trees. These Chiefs of the Plant Kingdom are our Sisters and our Brothers who continue to provide oxygen to Earth’s Children. They provide shelter from their trunks and branches for the winged creatures of Earth. Their roots give a place for burrows for the smaller creatures and we are given materials for homes from the Tree Nation. Had you thought about the Standing People giving so much of themselves for the other creatures of Earth?

The Cherokee teach that the Standing People and all of their plant relations are the givers of the Earth. They are always giving of themselves to provide for the needs of others. Each tree and plant has its own gifts, talents, and abilities to share with the humans and other creatures of Earth. Some will bear fruit while others provide healing properties.

Northern Saw-Whet Owl (Aegolius Acadius) in a White Pine (Pinus Strobus), North America

Owl rests in White Pine
Steve Maslowski

The White Pine is known as the Tree of Peace and is believed to bring serenity to the life of any person sitting in its shade. We find gifts from the Standing People all over the world. Gifts such as spices, fruits, nuts, rope, tires, books, fabric, chewing gum, and wood for our homes and furniture. They give us shade in the hot climates and break the winds in the colder regions. The Tree Nation is always giving which is a lesson we humans can learn from.

Some lessons of different Standing People:

  • Birch is the essence of truth – standing straight within ourselves and not being deceived by forked tongues
  • Pines are all peace makers teaching lessons of harmony
  • Mountain Ash brings protection from harm and teaches to not be deceived by others
  • Sycamore teaches the lessons of reaching our goals and making our dreams come true
  • Walnut teaches about clarity and focus
  • Oak gives lessons of strength of character
  • Willow teaches us about the give and take of love and that bending is necessary for love to bare fruit

My message to you today comes from the lessons or totems of the Standing People. The message is of roots and giving. The root of our inner Self is where our strength is stored and gathered. We must nurture that in order to be able to give of ourselves freely. We should stand still like our brother and sister trees and observe what is growing in our personal forest. Weed out anything that might cause future growth to be stunted whether that is coming from inside ourselves or from someone around us.

~Mitakuye Oyasin~ We are all related

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