By Casey McCarthy, M.A., L.P.C.C.
Greetings fellow sojourners. Welcome back to our 9 part meditative series for walking the path of Odin’s journey on the world tree. For those just joining us, we are using Odin’s journey of self-transcendence as a method for reclaiming lost agency and much needed connection during times of struggle. In previous sections we “approached the tree as a metaphor for entering into a deeper process of self reflection. We established mindfulness practice as a basis, approaching the tree from a humble standpoint, and identified Yggdrasil as both a mystical being and as a symbol for the human central nervous system and how we process. Over the next few days we’ll explore the three parts of the World Tree that we introduced yesterday- the roots, trunk, and branches.
Getting to the root of it
Our culture’s usual approach to interconnected systems is predicated on a top-down model. But for this journey let’s place ourselves into the perspective of Odin staring up at the World Tree, Yggdrasil. Odin, having experienced everything, is now full of memories and knowledge, but for everything he has experienced, the All-father is missing one component that all the knowledge in the world can’t buy- embodiment. Being present in direct experience and feeling the sensations in the body as one processes knowledge is difficult , especially for those of us who have experienced terrible trauma. We will do almost anything to avoid the discomfort we feel in our bodies.
Odin chooses to lean into that discomfort, taking ownership, and thus making it a conduit for his own purposes. In order to process all the knowledge he’s acquired, Odin chose a visceral body experience to take it all in. Facing the pain of the hanging tree was to face the pain of all his experiences. Just as Yggdrasil represents his crucible it also represents him; just as it represents all of us and our struggle for agency, love, and connection.
Interfacing with the roots exercise
As we approach the roots of the World Tree, we need to do so with humility and respect, for they’re also a representation of our own roots- our memories, our connections. Re-enter the meditative position that you did for the last two parts. Imagine you are at the foot of the mighty Ash tree. If you can visualize, spend a moment to draw your eyes over the winding roots before gazing upward. Notice how they delve into the earth, connecting this tree to all things.
Now bring your awareness to yourself and to your body. Take a moment to fully experience fully being present in your body. Do so with love and deep respect. This is the root of your tree, the body and the vehicle which connects youto the world and others.
You’ll notice the pressure where your body connects to your environment and different textures touching your skin.
There may be sounds or vibrations around you to notice and identify that also connect you to the world.
Feel your body breathing for you, nourishing you with oxygen.
Spend a few moments to just let any movements organically arise.
Our bodily connections allow us to engage, interact, and process the stimuli of our environment into an experiential wisdom. Traumatic experiences may leave a stronger impression upon our bodily memory, but it’s important that we learn to connect to our body from a place of tenderness and love if we are to truly come through that struggle to a place of sovereignty.
Until tomorrow, sovereigns.