Photo Caption: Medium Natalie Seigne with Booyeembara’s wise peppermint. Photo by Carson Bodie
THE banks of the little lake in the middle of Booyeembara Park are a good place to sit and watch fat koi dodge the dangling feet of lazy ducks.
It feels like a place for quiet reflection and, according to spiritual guide Natalie Seigne, the reasons for that may go deeper than the idyllic calm of the park.
On the south bank of the lake, a tall peppermint tree shades the edge of the water.
Often you’ll find a bike leaned against its trunk or someone reclined there reading a book.
For those who manage to catch the tree alone, and who know how to ask, she has a great deal of wisdom to share, says Ms Seigne.
She believes trees are a lot like people; some are grumpy, others are fierce.
The peppermint at Booyeembara is a grandmother tree.
Ms Seigne says that trees see humans as being incredibly naive.
“They want to have a friendship with us and help us,” she says, “and because it’s a friendship, they ask for things in return.”
This particular tree values offerings of song.
The first rule in talking to trees, according to Ms Seigne, is simply being open to what they have to say.
“They speak to you through a knowing sense in your heart and mind.”
Ms Seigne recalls the grandmother tree’s advice to her following the death of a beloved dog.
Pain and love
“I sat crying with her and begging her to take the pain away, and she just told me ‘change the word pain to love’.
“And that’s all it was, just a different kind of love.”
Someone who is not open to hearing the tree, however, may mistake her voice for their own and miss the value of her wisdom.
“There’s no way I ever would have thought to change the word from ‘pain’ to ‘love,’” says Ms Seigne.
“I just spoke to her like I would speak to a friend, and it changed so much for me.”
Chatting with trees is not limited to mediums. Anyone can start by slowing down their breath and introducing themself, says Ms Seigne.
“You just speak to them like a friend and ask if they will gift you some of their wisdom.”
And it never hurts to sing to them. Trees don’t seem to distinguish much between the voice of an angel or of a prepubescent toad. “They just like song.”
With the foundation of the relationship established, sitting in quiet meditation creates a space for answers and conversation to flow.
The key is to not overthink a process that comes simply and naturally: “We are the land and the land is us.”
The tree is easily found by walking out the end of the dock that reaches into the lake and looking directly to the right. It sits at the water’s edge, spaced slightly away from other trees, and is recognisable for its unostentatious majesty and its bark, which is as warmly worn as a grandma’s hands.
Natalie Seigne can be found at her website, natalieseigne.com.au, or at her East Freo studio on the corner of King St and Marmion St.