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Your Weekend Creature Comforts: Tree Spirits

Welcome back geeks, I don’t know about you but I’ve been melting out here in sunny California where a heat wave is already upon us. But all this sunshine means I get to enjoy the great outdoors a bit more than usual, especially more than if I was still living in the Northeast. And what is one of the amazing things we Californians have out here: redwoods. Trees can be pretty in their own right, but redwoods are just awe-inspiring. On a recent outing in to the woods near my place I realized some of these trees have a presence of their own. It’s like you can feel their spirit seeping out in to the air around it’s trunk, and that made me think about tree spirits in general, hence inspiring this post.

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In particular I had two representations of tree spirits in mind when I thought about this post, but I will start with some of the back research I just did for all you diabolical followers of me. As is often the case with a creatures post, my google-searching led me to Greek mythology, and the dryad. I had not heard of a dryad before, and am still probably mispronouncing it. But these are female tree spirits are considered sacred, and give their tree life. They are sometimes powerful enough to uproot the tree and travel elsewhere, especially when doing so helps some greater good.dancer_tree

And though I don’t personally remember them, dryads actually fought alongside Aslan in Narnia when fighting the White Witch. It’s a little hard to picture in my head, but I guess I imagine a female version of the ents from Lord of the Rings.

But what I think of when I picture tree spirits are the equally creepy and endearing tree spirits created by Miyazaki for Princess Mononoke. These little bobble head humanoids trot alongside the forest and are a sign of a healthy forest. The fact that they frighten many people away probably helps them keep the forest healthy in the first place. They seem curious, off kilter, and adorable all at once.

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While those tree spirits are my favorite example of them, and what I picture dancing around the base of many redwoods, Avatar also has a similar representation of tree spirits. The deity Ewya takes up her physical form in the Sacred Tree, and her large pollen filled seeds are meant to represent parts of her spirit. Their clustering around Jake reminded me of the little white tree spirits from Princess Mononoke, being attracted to things that would help protect them in the end. il_fullxfull.112167668

Hope you enjoyed this weekend’s creature comforts, now go find some tree spirits of your own! May the forest be with you…

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Posted on May 17, 2014, in Creature Comforts, Movies and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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