The linden tree

Listening to Orpheus (10)

Today I took a photograph of the 600 years old linden tree standing  in the old courtyard of the Eroica House.  Ludwig van  Beethoven lodged there  over the summer until late autumn of 1803 and  wrote three of my favorite compositions – Symphony No 3 (Eroica), the Waldstein Sonata and the Tripple concerto. It was the time of premonition that his life was going to be a descent into silence and darkness.

This linden tree was a witness of his inner turmoil.

For a few days now trees have entered my mind and there is something about these marvelous beings from the green plant kingdom that wishes to reveal itself.

Trees -like all plants – have the ability to convert energy from sunlight into nutrients and so virtually all other breathing creatures depend on plants to survive. Plants also provide the oxygen humans and animals breathe, because plants use carbon dioxide for photosynthesis and release oxygen into the atmosphere

Maybe this is the connection between trees and humans – they are the silent guardians of our existence, providing food and warmth, being the intermediaries between the world of form and formless.

Practically every esoteric tradition has a tree of life and they are symbolic for creation, growth and transformation.  A tree also bears seeds or fruits, which contain the essence of the tree, and this continuous regeneration is a potent symbol of immortality.

If you touch a 600 year old linden tree that was a silent witness to Beethoven’s struggle with faith, you suddenly understand what trees are all about. They are guides, protectors, teachers and the seat of many, many being and souls. The old Celtic Druids and even before the old Greek mystery traditions honored the tree, because their wood holds a powerful spiritual presence.

Trees are living things, filled with the essence and energy and of the Elementals and Mother Earth with an aura of power which is visible to those who are in total balance and harmony. The lore which surrounds a particular tree or wood often reflects the power the old ones sensed and drew from their presence.

I imagine Beethoven working in that small room overlooking the court yard with it’s old linden-tree, sitting at his piano made of the wood of perhaps maple or walnut trees, his world increasingly going quiet, but he is intently listening to Orpheus singing in the depth of the underworld – louder, and louder still.

And the old linden tree bowed in recognition of it’s own essence.

About Michaela

I am a wanderer and a wonderer, like you are. I love our journey and to walk in the company of friends – to learn, experience, share, laugh, cry and above all I simply love this marvelous, magical, mysterious life. I have no plan (cannot believe I am saying this) and my only intention is to be truthful to myself and others.
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7 Responses to The linden tree

  1. johanna11 says:

    Lovely reflections! I love trees also, here, the gum trees (eucalypts) with their various different forms – also, life. From the days before tall buildings, including pyramids, churches and mosques with their towers and minarets – trees seemed to provide a path from earth to the sky/heaven. In that way they are an important symbolic element in Aboriginal initiation.

    On my morning walk, I feel “at home”, a small human ant among the tree-beings.

  2. johanna11 says:

    O, just a little addendum to your account, Michaela, of Beethoven’s relation to trees. Just this morning Mark (my husband) found the following in “Beethoven, the man who Freed Music” by Robert Haven Schauffler, who tells that among the staves,in one of his Sketch Books Beethoven had scrawled:, : “It is as though, out in the country, every tree said to me: ‘Holy, holy.'”. Just a further reflection of that great man’s affinity with, and reverence for, trees.

  3. johanna11 says:

    And then, there are the inhabitants of the trees, the quick, delicate ones, and the bigger, graceful birds, each with their own nesting place. Many traditional “Tree of Life” images show birds or other animals on the tree’s branches. Birds have often been considered sacred in various cultural traditions (incl. Egyptian), associated as they are with the sky/heaven. This tradition was taken up by Christian artists (esp. in 14th to 15th century paintings and icons) depicting Christ (at the top) and other godly figures on the branches. I hope to find some images to post!

  4. Fatima says:

    Yes, beautiful reflections you two. Trees are a rich resource indeed.

    I have always particularly liked eucalyptus trees too Johanna. Their smell in summer heat, even their shaggy lifestyle. Where I grew up in California, those Aussie ex-pats tended to be planted in rows along roads and lanes…why I don’t know, some kind of screen probably…and I always noticed them. Now I fancy that although I left Australia at the age of two, that was enough time for the natural vibrations of my birthplace to make a mark on my childish senses.

  5. johanna11 says:

    Hello Fatima, nice to meet up again here! And, yes, I believe that your memories could have remained with you! When our youngest daughter was about 15 months old we travelled in India, visiting Bodhgaya (where the Buddha was enlightened under the Bodhi tree), and Sarnath, near the Deer Park where he preached his first sermons. It think it was at Sarnath especially that we saw many, many stone images of the Buddha, set around a squared sunken garden, but of course also at Bodhgaya. So we were always pointing out “Buddha” to our little girl. When we came back to our bush block here, with its many gum trees, our little girl, carried in my arms to see her home ground again, kept looking at and pointing to, the smaller shrubs and trees, saying “Buddha! Buddha!…”
    And, yes, the Bodhi tree is amazing!

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