Tree Ceremony


Poetry workshop and culinary ritual celebrating the arrival of Autumn

The shifting colours of withering leaves tell us that Autumn has arrived. The inner centre of the tree is filled with sap, bestowing a sacredness to its life force. 

In the eternal cycle of nature, Autumn stands for both abundance, death and decay. Nature slows down and prepares for a period of rest and stillness. If we pay close attention, we can feel the transition of the seasons in our own bodies too.


The Tree Ceremony was a poetry workshop and culinary experience created in collaboration with designers Maya Merhi and Mamiko Yamazaki. In a ritual for the Autumn, poetry was exchanged for the sap of a sacred tree.


The workshop took place in October 2017 at ArtnShelter, combined art space, residency and hostel in Tokyo. Visitors were first asked to select a sheet of paper which we had dyed with natural Japanese earth pigments. In exchange for 10 personal Autumn kigo, seasonal words, they were invited to take part in a poetry workshop inspired by surrealist techniques, while sipping on the Sap of a Sacred Tree, a drink made with fresh nashi pears, green lemon, maple syrup and smoked cinnamon, with a twig stirrer collected from a sacred place in Naoshima. Two seasonal sweets accompanied the drink, one made with fresh chestnuts, and one with kaki fruit and cinnamon.

During the afternoon and early evening, a tree of poems took shape in the hostel bar, forming a collective exploration of the feelings, aesthetics, flavours and patterns of Autumn, inside and outside of our bodies.