While holiday consumers are out purchasing trees and decorations, my husband and I decided to take a different route —one that required no shopping, cutting down trees, or adding to landfills.
This year, instead of going with a traditional tree, we put our use-what-we-have minds to the test and asked, “What do we already own that will bring the spirit of Solstice into our home?” We took in our surroundings and started a mental list of the items we might use.
Items like tarot decks and books instantly made the list, as did a string of white lights and a bag of gift bows. Great stuff that we had plenty of, but how could we go about creating a holiday tree out of books and decks? For the answer I turned to one of my favorite oracles, Google Images and typed in the following combination of words: holiday tree decorating, making holiday trees using books, and card/deck trees. It didn’t take long for the answer to reveal itself. There were about 450,000,000 results with several featuring holiday book trees. Apparently book trees are a growing trend that many non-traditionalists are adopting and are best described as stacked books that are shaped and decorated to give the look of a holiday tree. This was the perfect fit for our needs and an easy one at that.
Inspired by what we saw we went to work using our materials list and created what we coin our Holiday Tree of Knowledge. We took about 100 books of varying sizes and topics to construct our tree. Towards the top of the tree we added a few tarot decks, and for the topper itself we chose Le Monde, the World card from the Marseilles deck by Jean-Claude Flornoyare. To give it that holiday glow we wrapped the tree in white lights and le voilà! A tree was born.
What we love about our tree is the overall feel it provides. Although it’s not a tree in the traditional sense, it does what most holiday trees set out to do. It warms our home, brings a smile to all who see it, and serves as a great conversation piece. In addition, we not only have the option to view the tree, but we can also read it. And that’s not all.
This being the season for giving we decided to make our tree interactive and created an activity that includes divination. Had to! Circulated throughout the tree are oracle cards that a querent can select from and take home as a holiday reminder. For this we used the Card and Rumi Book Pack created by Eryk Hanut and Michelle Wetherbee. Each card features lines from Rumi’s finest verses. At the tree’s base we fanned out two tarot decks that include brief card descriptions printed on each card. For this we chose a U.S. Games Rider, Waite, Smith deck titled Tarot Affirmations, with text by Sally Hill, Ph.D. The second deck is the Rumi Tarot by Nigel Jackson, which is a beautiful blend of Jackson’s art with Rumi’s poetry printed onto the cards.
As winter reaches its peak, we’re discovering the Holiday Tree of Knowledge to be spot on in its divination. So much so that people are coming back for more and calling it the Giving Tree. We feel we’ve adopted the makings of a new Solstice tradition and encourage you to consider trying one for yourself.
The project took less than an hour to assemble and requires no tools or pages of instructions. Simply begin by placing your larger books in a wide circle on the floor (tabletops are also an option) and start stacking upward making the spiral smaller as you reach the top by using smaller books followed by decks. Decorate to your liking and be one of many who are changing the way we approach the season by not giving into holiday consumerism and giving with what we already own.
Here’s is a message for you from our Holiday Tree of Knowledge to yours:
The world grows green again, and runs with gardens.
Jewels from the mines glitter in each tree.
Souls open like suns and link with one another. ~Rumi
Tarot decks adorning our Holiday Tree of Knowledge can be found at my favorite tarot source, The Tarot Garden: