The lumberjack, Paul Bunyan, appeared to me during a shamanic journey focused on releasing the past. His figure loomed large as my shadow self, and as a collective shadow, that wanted to be seen, released, transformed. Our shadow is a denied, buried, unseen aspect of our psyche.
When I saw Paul Bunyan’s axe wielding hulking figure, I heard the words: “He’s an axe-murderer of trees.” When he cut trees without regard for their beauty, sentience, or true purpose, he became a murderer. In my eyes, he displayed wanton violence towards nature.
The archetype is old, a man of super-human strength that can control and take down nature with a single blow. Cutting up huge trees and accumulating record-breaking board feet of lumber. And, destruction. Do we want to continue feeding this kind of masculine archetype? Not me.
I brought Paul Bunyan forward to my circle of gifted Mystery School students. We had animated discussions and proceeded to work with Paul Bunyan energetically. His energy lives large in the astral world created through energizing cultural storytelling. Let’s not usher forward this story into the new earth.
We stood on a Mother Earth portal (energy vortex) at Earth School and held space with all the beings of the Land Council we work with—faeries, nature spirits, angels, devas, ancestors, and beings of light. We wove our sacred circle into a magical container for healing and transformation.
We called in the spirit of Paul Bunyan and offered our healing presence. Does he want to grow, change, evolve? He was receptive and allowed himself to be nourished by the earth. The faeries came forward and helped him feel his true feelings and begin to release the old ideas of cutting trees and destroying forests. In our inner sight, we saw him drop his axe and fall on his knees onto the Mother. He was asking for forgiveness and willing to open to a new way.
Babe, his blue ox, joined us. We invited in healthy role models Johnny Appleseed, Green Man, and Ferdinand, the Bull. These spirits model new ways for the lumberjack and his companion to be. We surrendered our vision back to the Mother so she and the spirit realms could take care of Paul. We knew he was in good hands. We felt a re-connection with the spirit of the forest.
We believe that the spirit of Paul Bunyan was open to growing and evolving with the new earth. He wants to care for the forest and work in relationship with the trees and animals. He models a powerful nurturing man. A new man in sacred relationship with the forest. Allowing the trees to carry the ancient wisdom of earth forward. And, the story is re-written.
My student, Harry Bridger, a former lumberjack who always honored the sacred life of trees said it well after I joked about chopped down the Paul Bunyan statue in Portland, Oregon near my home. Harry responded with this…
“I love your enthusiasm, truly…. but there’s another way… that won’t end us up in jail. If we chop it down, which I’m totally cool with… we need to be able to replace it with a higher version of himself. One who’s looked within, acknowledged the wrong doing, and has proposed an alternative way of being as a living amends.
I propose, we start by laying the axe, with helve broke in two, at his feet. Grow his beard longer, and his eyes softer. Cover up the big guns and plaid shirt (that was always a size too small) with a more relaxed, easy flowing garment… made of hemp. Fairies on his shoulders, gnomes at his feet. From the hand that once carried the axe, now swings a sack of seedlings.
Babe, shall be the voice of the people, asking all the questions the concerned consumers of the world will surely ask… “What will we do, how will we survive, if we can no longer kill trees, for selfish exploitation?”
With love, and gratitude, babe shall use all her muscle and might, to pull the consuming collective into the new paradigm. She has both the heart, and the muscle for this task.”