Saturday, October 22, 2011

The association of a human body with the body of a tree has a long history. While sculptures have been carved of stone for thousands of years, the first sculptures no doubt were of wood. The material surely is more easily to work with. Moreover, some wood has a close resemblance to the human body. For example, an apple tree when debarked and saturated with linseed oil.

The Temple of Black Johns dedicated to lost forests has an annex where the trunk of an apple tree (see some of the photos in my previous blog), with an ax stuck in one of its crevices, hangs below the pole of a hazel branch. This trunk of the apple tree is the sacred body, an imitation of Black John (oak), but remains unpainted. If you look closely, you are likely to see that the trunk suggests both the body of a tree and the body of a human being.

The photos below give an idea of the setting, the stage, or if you will our 'altar'.

In the photo below, we see the body of the tree on the steps that lead to the foot of our outdoor temple. A creative dance group from the village of Matishi and onlookers perform a "greening of the tree" dance.

The following photo is of the visitors room and the altar space dedicated to the body of a tree, which we see as that of a human being as well.
The bodies of trees with humanlike bodies fill the stage/altar of the visitors room at the Temple of Black Johns.
We invite the reader to participate--by way of his-her subjective self--in the exercise of mimesis (imitation), which experiences our bodies as that of a tree. The next time you then need to cut down a tree, you will think twice whether you really need to do so, and if indeed you need to do so, then say a small prayer.

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