This is a special book.

According to its back cover, The Hoop and the Tree “…explains for the first time the power of these ubiquitous symbols to bring us a whole new understanding of ourselves and our place in the world.” The author gives examples of the use of these two powerful symbols of human transformation (the tree) and human relationship (the hoop) by diverse cultures and through time. He explains much more than that. What impresses me is the author’s attempt to connect and unify psychology, spirituality and ecology, an ambitious task. He does this by using numerous illustrations and illuminations. There are so many meaningful proverbs, poems, observations, insights and analyses that one needs to read this volume mindfully , to absorb each new revelation before continuing. Testifying to the authenticity of the many presented revelations and ideas, and the author’s scholarly effort, are 327 source citations that are collated in 18 pages of “Notes”. Although the addition of an index would have facilitated access to the many unique ideas, concepts and references presented throughout the book, fortunately the author provides an elaborate Contents section that helps to make that possible.

Here a few gems excerpted from the book—

“With your Tree dimension fully developed you would recognize that the axis of the universe runs mysteriously through the center of your own body. You would instinctively honor trees and mountains as images of the Tree at the center of your being……You would take responsibility for being upright, for honoring your roots, and for being fruitful….” (p. 173)

“A useful way to think about our relationships with other people is through a psychological Hoop concept called the ‘social atom.’ The social atom graphically depicts our sense that connections between people involve a factor of closeness or distance: significant people are ‘close’ to us, others more peripheral or distant….” (p. 37)

“How do you find your own genius? The bardic tradition of the Celts instructs you to go to nature. Develop ‘an eye that can see nature, a heart that can feel nature, and a boldness that dares follow it.”… (p. 149)

“Albert Einstein certainly was a genius in the modern sense of the word. Einstein’s intellectual power puts him at a high stage of development on the Tree axis….”

The author’s skill and creativity in interweaving his many findings and insights has resulted in a gem of a book, useful to psychologists, spiritualists and ecologists and everyone else interested in learning something new and refreshing, fromthe novel perspective of the hoop-and-tree.

By Chris Hoffman. Council Oak Books. 229 pages
Shimon Schwarzschild is a member of EarthLight’s Editorial Board. He is a writer, editor and nature protection advocate. He has written articles published in Audubon, Sierra, Creation, San Francisco Examine r and other publications. He has reviewed books for the Review section of the San Francisco Chronicle. Formerly he was Technical Publications Editor for the U.S. Forest Service. He founded Assisi Nature Council, later renamed Action for Nature, and co-founded Native Yew Conservation Council.
all rights reserved © 2005 - 08 Shimon Schwarzchild