A Short Story About Cranes and the Power of Cypress in Grieving

A Short Story About Cranes and the Power of Cypress in Grieving

There are so many stories about animals who can turn into people and live among us. Maybe they marry a widower and help him raise his family or they appear as a much longed for child. In one of my favorite versions of the Crane Maiden, a Japanese folktale, a rescued crane transforms into a beautiful young girl and returns to the elderly childless couple who helped her. She becomes their adopted daughter.

The couple is extremely poor. The crane girl seeks to remedy the situation by weaving her feathers into a beautiful cloth. She does this in secret and the cloth is sold for riches beyond the imagination. But the caveat is that they must leave her alone in the room and not peek. The story continues that once a month, she transforms into a crane and strips the feathers from her own body to weave into this luxurious cloth. 

Naturally, the village is curious about the daughter and the questions begin to eat away at the mother. How can she weave such fine soft luxurious cloth? What is the source? In the end, the curiosity overwhelms the mother. Surely a little peek won’t hurt?!  She looks in upon her beloved adopted daughter and sees the crane she helped rescue pulling feathers out to weave. Upon the discovery, the crane flies away never to return.   

When I first heard the story, I wondered, “why did the mother have to look?” But of course, knowing the truth is often preferable even when it results in loss. In Japanese culture cranes represent longevity and gratitude. But they are also migratory birds that have great resilience to adjust to rapid altitude and temperature changes. They live their lives hunting in waters, living on land, and flying in the air. I see them as facilitators of transitions.   

Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could wander out and find a plant that would help us when we are stuck?  Help us when we are grieving. The essential oil from cypress trees helps to move blood and lymph where excesses have built up. It also helps with spiritual and mental transitions and is one of the top oils that helps my clients with emotional and physical pain. The pain of something stuck that needs to move.

Many of my clients report how my blends reduce their anxiety and physical pain, and this helps with acceptance and transitions. My goal for all my blends is to find that synergistic balance which maximizes the plant’s potential healing. This gives you the space to heal and breathe, so you can add in your own efforts and meet the herb halfway in your healing journey.