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Down the Rabbit Hole
Paul Kiritsis, PsyD candidate, DPhil., MA (Psychology), MA (History)

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The Mesa World Retreat: Conversations with the Jupiter Tree

Paul Kiritsis - Thursday, December 05, 2013

One evening we caught sight of the planet Jupiter ascending to the pinnacle of the cerulean heavens. As we scampered along the sandy track I noticed that it was rising behind the arachnoid branches of a wraithlike tree. I halted for a second or so and superimposed the two images in my imagination so that Jupiter looked like one of its celestial fruits. In an outer image comprised of disparate natural elements woven into a meaningful whole by an intellect in search of meaningful connections, I perceived a scintillating diamond sprouting from a decomposing carcass still rooted to Gaia, the Earth Mother.

Intuition or not, I felt that there was an inexplicable connection between the lifeless tree and myself. Jupiter, that great wonderer of supernal brilliance, had led us to a tree whose last will and testament had been to impart autobiographical details of its horrendous demise to the first being willing and able to comprehend its silent language. If first impressions are anything to go by, the dramatic interface between the necrotic trunk and the celestial blue hinted at sharp vicissitudes of fortune; it had experienced the angelic flight to heaven but also the demonic descent into the fires of purgatory. It knew both good and evil, delight and desolation.

The following day we revisited the same spot and I noted some of the tree’s finer details and subtler undertones. For one it had grown diagonally, following the path of available sunlight. This meant sacrifice and plasticity when it came to mode of being. Furthermore, it adhered to a tricolour scheme–black, white, and variant shades of grey. This feature denoted complexity and obscurity. When a hand was traced athwart its trunk there was no detectable energy or life force; the only thing remaining in the material world was its corruptible body. Last but not least, a colony of bees had established itself inside a fissure at the base and were using the natural sanctuary for their munificent operations. In retrospect the tree’s carcass, whilst outwardly lifeless and barren, was continuing to serve a purpose in the phenomenal world.

In light of the available evidence it struck me that this tree had always been an altruistic noble, no doubt. It had to have been, otherwise it would not have attracted the prolific weaver of an incorruptible divine substance, the elixir of life we humans recognize as corporeal honey and the gods as an idealized ambrosia. I spent ample time connecting with the tree and absconding to an imaginal plane where it and I could ruminate as One. Then, having tuned into its individual vibrations, I committed to the bold, shameless act of naming it:

 

P:         I think I’ll call you Jupiter Tree.

T:         Ugh… You wrenched humans and your will to exert power and control over things by naming them!

            I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you.

            No offence taken.

            What would you like me to call you?

            It doesn’t really matter. You’re not addressing the actual tree because it’s dead. You’re addressing its ghost.

            So you’re the ghost of the tree?

            The ghost of the Jupiter Tree, yes.

            I’m Paul.

            You’re human.

            I am.

            Wrenched creatures those humans.

            Why do you say this?

            I used to like human beings until one lit a campfire around here that raged out of control. The fire became a conflagration that incinerated me whole. It was awful. Oh, wrenched human, I can still feel the agonizing pain as I burned to death!

            I’m really sorry that this had to happen to you, however in all fairness it was probably an accident.

            It is what it is!

            Please, don’t be quick to judge. And don’t judge all in light of actions enacted by the one.  

            My experience of humans wasn’t favourable I’m afraid.

            I’m sorry you’ve been made to feel this way. I think you’re beautiful.

            How so?

              You’re a unique bundle of black, white, and grey in amongst a uniform bed of brown trunks and branches dressed in green. I believe the word I was looking for is ‘unique’.

            I’m unique.

            Unique is beautiful.

            Interesting perspective,

            I’m just being honest.

            Or diplomatic.

            It’s what I feel, honestly.

            Do you want to know what my honest feelings are?

            Yes.

            That I was unjustly burned.

            You need to look at the positives to everything Jupiter Tree.  

            What are the positives Paul?

            That you’ve burned once so there’s no fear of burning a second time. You’ve died, so the chances of suffering a second death are nil. Purgatory will be no more!

            I don’t get it.

            Most of us continue to burn in the cauldron of our worst fears. We suffer purgatory before it even happens, if it does. You’ve obviously above that now.

            Perhaps so Paul, but in all honesty I see nothing worse than being a ghost, a passive observer of the phenomenal world with no power to positively affect or change anything. What fate is worse than this?

            To die without having lived; to suffering the feeling of burning and being calcined, over and over, with no hope of rest or liberation. As Plato says, death is not the worse than can happen to men.

            Or trees.

            Right. And don’t forget that you can always elicit positive affect indirectly.

            How?

            Became a teacher.

            Who would I teach? What would I teach?

            You can teach me Jupiter Tree. Teach me about the consciousness of trees, the cosmos as you used to see it.  

            [Silence]

            I feel that you’re smiling Jupiter Tree.

            I am actually.

            That’s good!

You know what, you’re not so bad after all. I think I might even grow to like you in time Paul.

 

I returned to the Jupiter Tree the following morning in order to engage in some meaningful discourse:

 

P:         Tell me something.

T:         What would you like to know Paul?

            Teach me something about the world. It can be anything you want.

            Look at me.

            I’m looking at you now.

            What do you see?

            A dead tree with naked branches that taper up towards the sky.

            No, not just in literal terms silly. Think of me in symbolic terms.

            [Pause] Um, I sort of get what you mean. A dead tree can symbolize one’s life journey from start to finish; the particular configuration of the naked branches might be the roads travelled, choices that have contributed to the becoming of the individual.

            You’re right. Listen, there are individual trees just as there are individual humans. We all begin growing in one specific area. These are the circumstances of your birth and cannot be changed; one may take root in a rainforest, a mountain, a desert oasis, and so forth. It is not a choice.

            Right.

            There are other things that cannot be attributed to choice either. We need to grow towards the sunlight as humans need to satisfy such conditions as hunger and sleep. Further we cannot choose the kind of tree in the manner that humans cannot choose their skin colour, the religion and culture they are born into, and their sexuality.

            Right.

            However, I do have some volition when it comes to the utilization of space afforded to me. I can elect to grow a little to the left, right, or middle, providing that the trajectory of available sunlight allows for it.

            Just as a human born into a family of wealthy nobles has multiple options when it comes to education, pastimes, work, and community.

            That’s correct. When all’s said and done though we are all united in the fact that we follow the path of the majestic sun. Humans follow such collective paths too–they all want to be loved and validated for their choices, and they all seek meaningfulness.

            They all seek unity.

            We are all growing towards the sunlight Paul; we all adhere to the laws of the solar vicissitudes–the trajectory, availability, and affordability of light. We all have to make do with what we have.

            Well that’s been a valuable lesson for me during this trip. We’ve had to make do with what we have, and when we don’t have what we need to do something we improvise! Having said that, I’m not sure if I would have been able to survive alchemical mortification without that fly spray!  

Indeed. Of course most of these processes that we’re been speaking about are unconscious and only become conscious in certain critical times and situations.

            I’ll vouch for that Jupiter Tree. As you know, most of us are content to live our lives in a state of semi-hypnosis, adhering to the same cognitive and behavioural patterns like mindless automatons. We’re rarely, if ever, awake.

            True that.

            If we were the world wouldn’t be experiencing the negative pandemonium that it is today.

            When I was alive I didn’t know the guiding force behind my growth; I didn’t know that there was a massive ball of helium and hydrogen at the centre of our Milky Way galaxy that controlled the natural cycle, the growth rates and the seasons. I wasn’t conscious of its exact nature; I mean, I could feel its pull, but I wasn’t sure of what it might be. When I was alive, I used to think it was a magnet of some kind.   

            Hmmm…

            That might shed some light on some of the questions you’ve been pondering lately.

            How do you mean?

            Would it be fair to say that a lot of you feel some kind of pull towards a union with something that you loosely term ‘The Divine’?

            Yes.

            Each day you move closer towards something far greater and majestic than you can possibly imagine. It is beyond intellectual comprehension; you cannot experience it directly because your only experience of the world is through a psychoneural world-simulator called the psyche-soma. You are an embodied intellect. Nonetheless, you know this other force, power, or whatever you want to call it is there; it exists, you feel it on an intuitive level that transcends sensory perception. And when I say ‘you’ I am referring to the collective. It’s a bit like being a nocturnal creature that has never seen the light of day. You know that a light source exists because it is reflected by the moon at night. We get an inkling that this light is not indigenous to the moon because the moon waxes and wanes; hence the light must be reflected from another source.

            There are created things standing outside our somatic receptors–they’re there, it’s just that we are unable to detect them.

            And probably don’t need to for your survival. This is why a mechanism or faculty never evolved to detect and interpret these cosmic noises. When I was an embodied tree I only knew of the cosmos through my wood, my roots, my branches, and my leaves. I can tell you from experience that the information these offered wasn’t very much. The things I became aware of were for survival purposes, nothing more. Everything that I came to realize after my death had been a complete mystery to me when I was alive.

            To be honest too many of us feel the pull of this other force for it to be sheer gobbledegook, a figment of our hopeful imaginations. Right?

            Yes, it’s collective in the way that all vegetable growth shares and competes for breathing space before the splendid majesty of the sun. Most plants feel the pull towards the sun, but they’re entirely uncertain of where they’re being pulled to and by what.

            What would you say about the magnetic force that draws humans towards it?

            You’re definitely moving towards a…um… spiritual sun. You can feel its heat, its warmth, its vibrations beckoning you to unfold according to biorhythms and laws intrinsic to its being.

            It’s true.

            Is this God that we’re moving towards?

            Yes, you could call it that. Just be weary of one thing Paul.

            What’s that?

            It mimics its physical counterpart, the sun.

            And?

            It’s wholly benevolent and nurturing until you get too close and peer behind the veil of appearances; then its cells turn malignant and incinerate you.  

            How do you know?

            I burned, didn’t I?

            [Gasps]

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