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We sometimes forget how closely integrated we are with nature. We are reciprocal parts of the one puzzle. This interconnection is very clear at the historic Magnolia Cemetery in Charleston, South Carolina where the ancient trees empathize and comfort those who mourn and those at bodily rest. It is the energy of the Mother, compassionately bowing down to comfort those in need. At a time such as now, it is good to affirm our support from universal spirit. Here is the live oak – symbol of strength and wisdom – that graces the entry fork of the cemetery.

Live Oak in 2019

Live Oak in 2019. Over 900 years old. You can feel the strength of her heart center, of her compassionate looking down to comfort the sorrows of the transient humans who come here to mourn, or to rest at last in bodily peace.

Live Oak in 1900

Live Oak in 1900. A much admired ancient pivotal tree even then. Photo from Library of Congress archives












This much loved live oak is believed to be over 900 years old. That places her birth around 1119 A.D. – the time of the Crusades and the founding of the Knights Templar. Just recall how many changes, joys and sorrows this compassion tree has experienced over her lifetime! Nature’s creatures…native peoples…life as a central tree of a large Southern Plantation…life as part of a planned beautiful cemetery founded in 1849,,, life suddenly changed into a battlefield and campsite during the Civil War…people born, loved, fought with, died, mourned for…she has seen it many times over and her compassion runs deep,

The Live Oak and some of her attendants

Like all of us, this Mother oak has many spirit beings who are part of her energy field. At various points along her great body she has manifested their images. Here, on her back side, she has manifested a merged image of a bird (symbol of spirit) and a small animal (symbol of earth).



She lives at a pivotal juncture – the point of a Y between three areas of this dignified graveyard that harbors the hopes and tears of so many…soldiers, statesmen, mothers, children lost too soon. The weight of history, of much sorrow in many lives, gives a somber energy to the vast 92 acre graveyard. And yet the graveyard is also a profoundly spiritual site. Its deep silence has helped so many over the years come to terms with the temporary nature of the human body. It is a place where the living can sit in silence and inwardly detach themselves from the cares of the body. It is a place where many have sat and focused on that which is eternal – love, compassion, peace, spirit…

Close up of the Mother’s head. Notice the blue-green lichen that forms her eye and the moss hair, still brown in the early spring.














Over her life, this tree has grown into a life form of great strength, character and compassion. She embodies the compassionate energy of spirit as it descends to comfort those in sorrow. Today she bows down towards the ground, a soft mother’s face and outstretched arms sending compassion to all who pass by or who reside in this city of the dead. Just like humans, there are many aspects to her being and some of these are carved by nature into her vast body. Shown here are just a few of the many aspects of her character.




angel of death

In one of her branches, the nature spirits carved the portrait of a man lying in death with an angel of death gently hovering above him, to transport his soul. This is a classic Victorian image. It is also one you might see in a Kahlil Gibran poetic illustration or a Marc Chagall painting.

Photo of the live oak today, seen from much the same spot as the old photograph

Photographed in 1900, this shows the live oak in younger days. From Library of Congress archives.

Live Oak Pano

This is a panoramic collaged photo of the full length of the tree, seen from the point of the three roads’ Y juncture.

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