“And the moral of that is—’Oh, ‘tis love, ‘tis love, that makes the world go round!’”
The handfasting wedding ceremony is the tradition of tying the hands of a couple together using fabric or plants to bring couples together as “One”. Romans and Greeks used garlands of magnolia, elder and roses for handfasting (4). Ancient Celtics 7000 years ago (3) “tied the knot” with fabric, inviting wedding guests to tie the ribbon around the couple to help seal their vow.
“To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part” is a vow imparting a sense of responsibility for each each other. This then becomes the beginning of a symbiotic (Mutually beneficial) relationship.
One of worlds first bonds of love has been shared by trees and fungi.
Mycrorrhizal relationships is the term we use stemming from the Greek myco-(fungus) and rhiza (root) to explain the harmonious exchange that roots of a tree and fungus share.(2) 95% of plants have a mycorrhizal relationship with fungus thus it being a very common bond. (2)
Here is an excerpt from The Hidden life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben that explains how the relationship forms between a tree and fungus:
“To enter into a partnership with one of the many thousands of fungi, a tree must be open-literally-because the fungal threads grow into its soft root hairs. There’s no research into whether this is is painful or not, but as it is something the tree wants, I imagine it gives rise to positive feelings. However the tree feels, from then on, the two partners work together (1).”
Here are some of the ways Fungus and Trees work together.
Fungi, uses a third of the trees total food production (1). This large toll is balanced by the fungi’s assistance filtering pollutants that could otherwise effect the tree. A great example is prior to the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl, mushrooms (a type of fungus) were found to be high in radioactive Cesium(1).
Fungi protect and nourish their host tree a great example seen in Laccaria bicolor a common fungus in Pine trees. During Nitrogen deprivation (Nitrogen which is crucial for Pine tree survival) Laccaria bicolor uses a toxic enzyme causing neighboring springtails to release nitrogen (despite causing the springtail to die) and thus acts as natural fertilizer benefiting the tree. (1)
While the tree and fungal symbiotic relationship proves very practical fostering healing with protective and nourishing benefits we should never forget that loving relationships also include play.
Mythology in Europe speaks of rings of mushrooms as a place for fairies to frolic. (2) At this point we haven’t understood the emotionality and sensuality of trees and their fungal hosts, but perhaps behind “closed doors” there is a space for play and frolicking a bit among trees and their fungal allies.
There are so many loving, symbiotic (mutually beneficial) relationships in our world one example being our largest known fungal networks in Oregon state which is over 2,400 years old (1). As nature’s connections continue to deepen and flourish, lets us take the lessons of cohesion and expansion toward deepening our connections to love using bonds that engender a certain amount of responsibility toward changing our world.
1) The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate―Discoveries from a Secret World by Peter Wohlleben and Jane Billinghurst September 13th 2016
2) Fungi (Materia Medica Clinica) (Volume 2) Oct 6, 2017 by Massimo Mangialavori, Krista Heron, Betty Wood and John Sobraske