Stories from the Heart

Our Sentinel Apple Tree

nature beings ritual & ceremony shamanic healing trees as healers Sep 08, 2021
image of tree of life with animals


In the last post I shared about our apple tree, my friend Hesso, whom we steward. In this post, I'll share more about her role in our neighborhood, as she is both a nature being and a sentinel. 


Nature beings and sentinels

Nature beings are spirits who have taken a physical form in our tangible world in order to share their medicine. Nature spirits take the appearance or a tree, rock, flower, plant, an element, or an animal spirit. Nature spirits we co-exist with in our immediate environment bring medicine to us, our neighborhood, and enrich the ecosystem we are part of. 

Each nature being contributes medicine that is singular and unique, just as our medicine is. 

Sentinel nature spirits are guardians and protectors of the land and neighborhoods they reside in. Sentinels are the keepers of the wisdom of the neighborhood, understand the interconnections that exist between the different species in the area, and holds the history of the place, both through this lifetime as well what was passed on to them.


Hesso, a neighborhood sentinel

Our apple tree, Hesso, is both a nature being and Sentinel. 

She has been tended to by previous owners, and now my partner and I have the privilege to serve as her stewards. For as long as we know, her fruits have been shared with neighbors, who come pick them on their own, or pick them up from a box we keep replenished daily, which is placed along the walkway. 

Hesso also has other keepers in the neighborhood. A young boy and his sister, who both often bike past here, often inquire if we are watering her enough and recount stories of her past apple harvests. 


Hesso's medicine

Hesso's spiritual essence is composed of gold luminous light that fills both the vast space she claims above ground and her roots that reach toward the belly of the earth.

Hesso's unique physical form is a sign of the medicine she carries.  Her trunk branches into three strong limbs about two feet above ground. Then each of those limbs splits into three more branches. 

The initial three limbs each represent the elements of air, earth, and fire. Her main root symbolizes the water element. And Hesso as a whole embodies the fifth element of sacred space. 

The tri-branches of each main branch represent the three different realms - upper, middle, and lower - as they are known in shamanic healing. 

Hesso's medicine is of purification. She purifies the five elements in our neighborhood and local ecosystem via the branches that reach upward to the sky and the roots that purify the water tables underground. 

Her medicine also purifies the elements in the unseen realms, thus serving as a bridge between all that we can see in our realm and what supports and protects life in the spirit realms. 


Apple medicine

The apples Hesso creates contain medicine as well. They carry the tonic of outgrowth, outgrowth of our patterns of being, and patterns of how we typically interact with the natural world. 

These apples are wonderful to eat, of course! Fruit also serves well in ceremonial purposes. Sacred fruit as an offering has long been used in Hindu traditions. I have fond memories of carrying ripe mangoes to our Sunday morning mandir visits in New Delhi. 

Lastly, apple dishes can be created and offered during ceremonial feasts. 


Ecological harmony

The final piece to share is how we can play a part in enhancing the ecosystem and overall harmony in the place we live by collaborating with the nature beings and sentinels in our immediate environment. 

When I asked Hesso how I could contribute, her answer was swift and clear - to minimize the sources of excess water consumption. Which in our case is our grass! So our long-standing desire to xeriscape our yard has moved to the number one priority.

It's deeply gratifying to know I can play a part in restoring harmony within the natural world, be it through minding the impact on the elements, sharing our apple medicine, and simply communicating with and loving on the nature beings in my environment.



Thank you to Julie Kramer for introducing me to nature beings, sentinels, and the magic they carry.




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