What is a Council Tree?

by | Elders & Councils

Elf Tree

Council Trees are nature spirit judicial sites where denizens of various realms can bring their complaints to be heard and binding judgements issued. These are usually large, compassionate, sober trees with images “carved” into them of many different nature spirit species. These images designate the judges – chosen from different realms – currently in office.

Council Tree Diagram

There is often a very clear area around the base of the tree and a largish area in one direction where the audience and supplicants sit. Often there are also one or two “holding rooms” to the side, where supplicants can stay to compose themselves or which serve as transition areas where “prisoners” are held before and after sentencing.

I’ve been blessed to witness a number of these Council Trees in my travels and have photographically chronicled them (as yet unpublished). Here is a Council Tree located in Conway, New Hampshire. It is a large maple tree with many images and it resides in the yard of one of the area’s elite pioneer families. 

These Council Trees are multi-dimensional. They exist with their own inherent spirit (in this case a wise and mature male maple) and are selected and protected by the area’s deva (presiding nature spirit). They serve as home base for the judges and court personnel when court is in session – their “place cards” (images) are carved into the trunk. These Council Trees evolve and mature, as we all do, by the duties they fulfill.

Like most trees, with their limited canvases (their trunk), some of the images are parts of other images. I’ve diagrammed them above, and a few I’ve done solo portrait studies of (shown to the right).

Elf Prince

You can see, at the top of the tree trunk, an elf prince – the chief judge of the council.

Wood Elf Merchant

There is a greenman (profile on the right). On the left side there is an elder with an overhanging lip who is part of a merchant elf below.

A bird spirit image on the right is part a Native American below.

A monkey is at the bottom.

Greenman Scholar

There are other spirits on other sides of the tree – all sides are used by tree spirits as well as up high and at the roots. An elder greenman from the other side of the trunk is shown here. (The Greenmen’s leaf facial armor becomes flaccid in old age, as is seen here).

This is – was – a magnificent old tree that I have much admired over the many decades I’ve traveled from my family’s summer home to the small village of Conway, NH, along what was once a quiet dirt farmer’s road.

Alas, in recent years this property changed hands several times and the energy changed as well. Very recently the Council left this tree, which has died.

Which came first – the transitions of ownership or the imminent death of the tree – I don’t know.

I do know that everything on earth is transient, even nature spirits, and the needs of the nature spirit community for judicial oversite has now been moved to a different location.



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