Planting of the Cedar of Lebanon
On August 30th, at the beginning of the new moon, we planted a seed of a cedar of Lebanon in a park in Fountaine de Guyon, a village located near La Source, a spring flowing with water from the largest aquifer in northern France just outside Chartres.
There is a grove of cedar trees there, the oldest of which dates back to 1735. One of the ancient trees died recently. We delivered the new seed. It came through a line of women, initially offered by Hala Makaram, a Chartres Academy student from Lebanon, who gave it gave it to Kate Genevieve, another student from England, who with Vivian Falk, a PhD student from the US, and Marylou Belle, a local French citizen from the Philippines, found the place for the seed to be planted. Kate and Marylou, with Jim Garrison from the US and Banafsheh Sayyad from Persia, co-Directors of the Chartres Academy, participated in the planting. The three French people were representatives of the mayor’s office. All joined together to consecrate the planting of the seed. Messages of support came from many others in the Chartres community.
Called The Hope Tree of Lebanon, the seed was planted in gratitude for all life on this precious planet of ours. May it flourish and grow healthy and strong, fed by our hope in the future. Hope may seem challenging with the Amazon burning and the world in peril, but it is precisely hope in times such as ours that empowers us to live into the future whatever the obstacles or constraints.
May we all hold the tiny seed, now deeply buried in watered earth, and may the energies of the rising moon lead it to sprout into the fullness of a mighty tree. If the seed can do that, if we can hold and protect it enough to achieve its fullness, then we will have sustained life with the very hope that now beckons us in its fragile potential.
As one of our students, Kate Genevieve, said of the event:
“The Wisdom School at Chartres is truly the sanctus sanctorum of the University: our origin and foundation. Both directors - Jim and Banafsheh - are currently in Chartres dreaming into the next phase of the seven year cycle of the Liberal Arts beginning in 2020.
The forests and jungles of the planet are burning and all of us are feeling an excruciating awareness of the suffering and destruction of the biosphere. The University came together to give a heart-felt prayer today towards finding ways to work together in true service to the earth at this time.
We planted a tree on August 30, 2019 at Chartres full of hope for a better future and you - wherever you are on the planet - are a part of that story.
The seed was gifted us by friend of the University - Hala Markarem - who received the seed as a gift from one of the Guardians of the Cedars of Lebanon. Having heard Jim teach on the story of Gilgamesh and the fateful destruction of the Lebanon cedars whilst she was studying with us at Chartres, she gifted a Cedar seed to the University at the completion of the 7 year cycle of the Liberal arts. Human history is coloured with so much unnecessary suffering, but let's take some time to hold space for the new story wanting to come through.
As you read this, pause for a few minutes in silence and join us in a prayer for the earth and the creative force of nature.
What of the 7 years ahead? What is the new that is emerging? What are the life-giving potentials?
It’s something we will find out together. Let’s set our intentions and weave hope and creative action.
We stand strong with people around the world standing up for the better potentials and committing to action.”
Lebanese cedar choir
by Alphonse de Lamartine
Eagles that pass over our heads,
Go tell the raging winds
That we defy their storms
With our roots.
Let them rise, these tyrants of the wave,
Let their wing riot and growl
To assail our nervous arms!
Come on! their fiercest vertigo
Will only rock our stems
And whistle in our hair!
Son of the rock, born of us,
His divine hand planted us;
We are the green diadem That
he cast at the summits of Eden.
When the water of the flood is waved,
Our hollow sides will be the refuge
Of the whole race of Adam,
And the children of the patriarch
In our woods will carve the ark
Of the nomadic God of Abraham!
It is us when the captive tribes will have
seen the heights of Hermon,
who will cover with our joists the
immense ark of Solomon;
If, later, a Word made man
Of a holy name adore and name
His father from the top of a cross,
Altars of this great sacrifice,
Of the instrument of his torture
Our branches will provide the wood.
In memory of these wonders,
men inclining their foreheads
will adore our remains,
stick their lips to our trunks.
The saints, the poets, the wise will
hear in our foliage
noises like the great waters,
and under our prophetic shades will
form their most beautiful hymns
Whispers of our branches
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