What is a tree ceremony? It depends on the tree and what or whom is being honored. This one is about honoring and strengthening community, rooting into land, and climbing to the cosmos.
The ceremony is not ‘traditional’, although there is a tradition in Korea of honoring sacred trees. I’m interested in layering old and new in incentive culture. I am in spiritual relationship with this tree and others on the acequias near my home and climbed this tree daily for three months prior to the ceremony. It is teaching me to remember who I am, and how to evolve. I wrote and sang a song for the tree and the text of the song is below. A community of participant-witnesses sent up colorful ropes with multicolored fabric and ribbon woven into them for me to place in the tree. They also wove remnants of fabric from my sculptural practice into a community rope which was placed at the base of the tree at the end of the ceremony.
Here is a view from the tree to the earth.
A huge thank you to Mina Fitzpatrick for filming the ceremony.
Eternal thank you to Eunji Son and Da Hye Yang for helping develop and arrange the 우리 나무 We Tree song, and whose voices you hear in the video.
우리 나무 We Tree
나무야, 나무야, 당산 나무야
It’s a tree, it’s a tree, it’s a sacred tree
너의 내 빛, 당산 나무, 햇님을 만난다
You are my light, sacred tree, I meet the sun
나무야, 나무야, 우주 나무야
It’s a tree, it’s a tree, it’s a cosmic tree
올라간다, 우주 나무, 기억 애 우리가
Climbing up, cosmic tree, I remember we
나무야, 나무야, 나는 나무 입니다
It’s a tree, it’s a tree, I’m a tree
뿌리 깊이, 나는 나무, 하늘로 뻗는다
Root deeply, tree self, reach for the sky
나무야, 나무야, 우리 나무야
It’s a tree, it’s a tree, it’s a We Tree
당산 나무, 우주 나무, 제피 나무 입니다
Sacred tree, cosmic tree, my blood is tree