The Story of the Cottonwoods

The Bosque is a forest that grows in river valleys, alongside the River, in the American West. It is comprised mostly of Cottonwood Trees, although other trees and plants do grow there. Here in Albuquerque, we have the Rio Grande Valley State Park, which encompasses all of the area around the Rio Grande, on both sides of the river, from the north side of town at Sandia Pueblo, to the south side of town, at Isleta Pueblo. The river and the bosque are accessible from any major street that crosses the Rio Grande.

In addition, there is the Acequia, which is an irrigation ditch that follows the river, on both sides, that is used, of course, for irrigation, with branches of it running off in many directions, at times.The above photo shows the Acequia in both summer and winter, taken in the same place. You can see the fishing pier at the top left of the Acequia. The Acequia is stocked with fish.

Water is life in this desert, and here we see how green everything grows along the river, with the Cottonwoods in the distance. Cottonwoods are a sign of Water. Looking across the flat, arid plains of the desert, if you see Cottonwoods growing, you'll find water there. They sink their roots deep into the soil, to pull up the water so they can grow. Because they are a Sign of Water, they are considered to be a Water Element tree, akin to the Cypresses that grow in the swamps of the Southeastern U.S.

It is said that the Little People live in the Cypresses, and in the SW, they live in the Cottonwoods, sharing their magick with those who are Caretakers of the Earth and Water, and who make offerings to them. Notice the mushroom-shaped knot above the entrance to the Little People home in the Cottonwood tree, above.

There are spirits that live in the Cottonwood trees, also, such as this one above, whose image was left in the bark.

They are the Matriarchs of the Bosque, the Elders of the River, holding much knowledge and wisdom, that they share with us all, year round.


Canadian Geese
Blue Herons
Swallow Nests

They also provide habitats for a wide variety of wildlife, birds, an assortment of bugs, including Moths, Dragonflies, Butterflies, and Beetles, and small mammals, including Beavers. In the Bosque, wildflowers grow abundantly, frequented by all of the birds and bees of the area. Lichen grows on the sides of the trees. And Fairy Mounds are common throughout the area.

Yellow Cone Flowers
Native Puebloans used the wood of the Cottonwood to make drums, and the roots are used for Kachina carvings. The bark can be prepared as a tea to treat fevers, arthritis, and diarrhea, and an infusion of the leaves makes a good diuretic, while the spring leaf buds can be made into a massage oil to treat arthritis and other body and muscular pains. Many of the plants that grow in the Bosque can be used as Medicine, such as the yellow cone flowers above, which are an immune stimulant, as well as an antibacterial and an antiviral.

Then there are the roots... and I want to share with you a lesson I learned from the Cottonwood roots in the Bosque. They taught me that they are all connected, beneath the surface of the Earth, and they are connected to all of the other living and dead plant and tree roots that have ever existed. This is in the Root Layer of the Earth, the layer that we can reach through our Earth Star Chakra, to give us a very deep grounding, or connection to the Earth. When we connect to these Roots, we are connecting to everything that has ever lived, tying our spirit to these roots, which will keep us connected, always.

The trees are always changing, dropping limbs in wind storms, yet continue growing, and reaching for the sky worlds, while deeply rooted in ours. They have many lessons to teach us, and have taught me so very much. I am honored to share some of their history, stories, and teachings with you.

I will be sharing more about these magnificent Matriarchs as they share with me.
Thank you for joining us on this magickal journey!

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