Sacred Trees and Woods

 
ALDER
This tree was sacred to the Druids. The pith is easily pushed out of green shoots to make whistles. Several shoots bound together by cordage, can be trimmed to the desired length for producing the note you want and used to entice Air elementals. The old superstition of "whistling up the wind" began with this custom.
 
The Alder is the tree of fire. In the battle of the trees, the Alder fought in the very front line. It is described as the very "battle witch" of all woods, the tree that is hottest in the fight. From the alder, you can make three different dyes, red from its bark, green from its flowers, and brown from its twigs; this symbolizes the elements of fire, water and earth. The Alder wood is the wood of the witches. Whistles may be made of this wood to summon and control the four winds. It is also the ideal wood for making the magical pipes and flutes. To prepare the wood for use, beat the bark away with a willow stick while projecting your wishes into it. The Alder is a token of resurrection. It is associated with Bran, as He used His body as a bridge to span dangerous waters. Alder indicates protection and oracular powers.

MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Controlling the four winds, banishing and controlling elementals, resurrection. Making magical dyes.

ALMOND
Almond has a very sweet natural being. Aids in self protection.
 
MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Fruitfulness, virginity.
 
 
 
 
 

APPLE
Another sacred tree to the Druids. It is said that you may cut an apple into three pieces, and then rub the cut side on warts, saying: "Out warts, into apple." Then bury the pieces and as the apple decays, the warts will disappear. Use apple cider in any old spells calling for blood or wine. Apple indicates choice, and is useful for love and healing magic.
 
The Apple is the earliest cultivated tree. A dense, fine-grained, rosy-colored wood with a slightly sweet smell, it is associated with choice. Used in love spells, divinations, and healing. It is an old English custom to drink to the health of the Apple tree with a good glass of cider all in hopes of encouraging the tree to produce a good crop next year. In Norse myth, Idunna was the keeper of the 'apples of immortality' which kept the Gods young. The 'fruit-bearing tree' refered to by Tacitus in his description of Norse runic divination may have been the apple.
 
MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Indicates choice which must be made between similar and equally attractive things; Fertility, love and healing magic.

ASH
A Druid sacred tree. Druid wands were often made of ash because of its straight grain. Ash wands are good for healing, general and solar magic. Put fresh ash leaves under your pillow to stimulate psychic dreams.
 
Branches used for wands and in protection spells. The Ash is sacred to Poseidon and Woden. The Ash is considered to be the father of trees. The Ash is the tree of sea power, or of the power resident in water. Special guardian spirits reside in the Ash; This makes it excellent for absorbing sickness. The spirally carved druidical wand was made of Ash for this purpose.
 
MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Ash can be used in spells requiring focus and strength of purpose, and indicates the linking of the inner and outer worlds. Sea power, karmic laws, magical potency, healing, protection from drowning.

BEECH
Beech wood is closely grained, very easy to work giving a smooth even surface. At one time Beech tablets were used as writing surfaces because of the above mentioned qualities. Beech and book have the same word origins. Beech is concerned with ancient knowledge as revealed in old objects, places and writings.
 
MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Beech indicates guidance from the past to gain insight which protects and provides a solid base upon which all relies.

BIRCH
Known as Lady of the Woods, Paper Birch and White Birch. Carefully gather strips of the bark at the New Moon. With red ink, write on a birch strip: "Bring me true love." Burn this along with a love incense, saying "Goddess of love, God of desire, Bring to me sweet passion's fire." The specific name of a god/goddess may be added. Or cast the bark into a stream or other flowing water, saying: "Message of love, I set you free, to capture a love and return to me." ***Remember*** It is unwise to use this incantation and ritual directed toward a specific person as that would violate the rule. If a love is to come to you, it must be of that person’s free will to do so.
 
Associated with Thor, probably in recognition of his role as an agricultural and fertility deity. Used in Purification rites. With the exception of the mysterious elder, the Birch is the earliest of the forest trees. The Birch is used extensively in cleansing rituals. Throughout Europe, Birch twigs are used to expel evil spirits. Birch rods are also used in rustic rituals to drive out the spirits of the old year. Long associated with fertility and healing magic, birch twigs were used to bestow fertility on cattle and newlyweds, and children's cradles were made from its wood.
 
MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Controlled by the Lunar influences. Birth, healing, protection, Lunar workings, fertility and healing spells .

BLACKTHORN
Blackthorn is a winter tree. Its white flowers are seen even before the leaves in the spring. It is black barked with vicious thorns and grows in dense thickets. The wood is used in the cudgel shillelagh and Blasting Stick. Its thorns are used to pierce waxen images.

 

MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Indicates strong action of fate or outside influences that must be obeyed.

BROOM
Also known as Scotch Broom or Irish Broom. It can be substituted for furze (gorse) at the Spring Equinox. The Irish called it the "Physician's power" because of its diuretic shoots. Sweep your outside ritual areas with it to purify and protect. Burning the blooms and shoots calms the wind. Be cautious if you plant Broom however, it will quickly multiply....

CEDAR
Also known as the Tree of Life, Arbor Vitae, Yellow Cedar. Ancient Celts on the mainland used cedar oil to preserve the heads of enemies taken in battle. To draw Earth energy and ground yourself, place the palms of your hands against the ends of the leaves.

COCONUT
The Coconut is feminine and very fertile. The shell represents the womb, and the milk, fertility.
 
MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Protection from negative psychic forces.
 
 
 

ELDER
Also known as Ellhorn, Elderberry, Lady Elder. Sacred to the White Lady and Midsummer Solstice. The Druids used it to both bless and curse. Standing under an elder tree at Midsummer, like standing in a Fairy Ring of mushrooms, will help you see the "little people." Elder wands can be used to drive out evil spirits or thought forms. Music on panpipes or flutes of elder have the same power as the wand. Remember the words of the Rede. Elder is the Lady's Tree, burn it not or cursed ye be!
 
A wood sacred to the faery folk. A waterside tree, the Elder has white flowers that bloom to their peak in midsummer (as is also true for the Rowan) thus making the Elder another aspect of the White Goddess. The Elder is also said to be the crucifixion tree. The inner bark and the flowers have long been famous for their therapeutic qualities. In Norse mythology, the Goddess Freya chose the black elder as her home. In medieval times it was the abode of witches and it was considered dangerous to sleep under its branches or to cut it down. Sticks of Elder were used as magical horses by Witches. Elder indicates the end in the beginning and the beginning in the end. Life in Death and Death in Life.
 
MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Witchcraft, banishment, magical art, waters of life.

ELM
A slightly fibrous, tan-coloured wood with a slight sheen. Elm is often associated with Mother and Earth Goddesses, and was said to be the abode of faeries, explaining Kipling's injunction; "Ailim be the lady's tree; burn it not or cursed ye'll be". Elm wood is valued for it's resistance to splitting, and the inner bark was used for cordage and chair caning.

 

MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Elm adds stability and grounding to a spell.

FIG
The Fig is androgynous. The fruit representing the feminine and the triple lobed leaves suggest the masculine force.
 
MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Balance

FIR
Fir is a very tall slender tree that grows in mountainous regions on the upper slopes. Fir cones respond to rain by closing and the sun by opening. Fir can see over great distance to the far horizon beyond and below. Fir indicates high views and long sights with clear vision of what is beyond and yet to come. Also known as the Birth Tree. The needles are burned at childbirth to bless and protect the mother and baby.

FURZE
Also known as Gorse, Whin. Its golden flowers are associated with the Spring Equinox. Wood and blooms are burned for protection and preparation for conflict of any sort.

HAWTHORN
Also known as May Tree and White Thorn. Wands made of this wood are of great power. The blossoms are highly erotic to men. Hawthorn can be used for protection, love and marriage spells.
A tree sacred to faeries and maiden goddesses. The Whitethorn or Hawthorn or May Witch takes its name from the May. It is a generally unlucky tree and its name, translated from the Irish Brehon Laws, had the meaning "harm". The Goddess, under the name Cardea, cast spells with the Hawthorn. In many cultures, the month of the Hawthorn (May) is a month of bad luck for marriages. The Hawthorn blossom, for many men, has the strong scent of female sexuality and was used by the Turks as an erotic symbol. The monks of Glastonbury perpetuated it and sanctified it with an approving tale that the staff of Joseph and the Crown of thorns were made of Hawthorn.
 
MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Purification, enforced chastity, male potency, and cleansing.

HAZEL
Wands made of this wood symbolize white magic and healing. Forked sticks are used to find water or buried treasure. If outside and in need of magical protection quickly draw a circle around yourself with a hazel branch. To enlist the aid of plant fairies, string hazelnuts on a cord and hang up in your house or ritual room. Magically, hazel wood is used to gain knowledge, wisdom and poetic inspiration.
 
The Hazel is a tree of wisdom. In England, all the knowledge of the arts and sciences were bound to the eating of Hazel nuts. Until the seventeenth century, a forked Hazelstick was used to divine the guilt of persons in cases of murder and theft. We have retained the practice of divining for water and buried treasure. In Celtic tradition, the Salmon of Knowledge is said to eat the 9 nuts of poetic wisdom dropped into its sacred pool from the hazel tree growing beside it. Each nut eaten by the salmon becomes a spot on its skin.
 
MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Hazel wood is used to gain knowledge, wisdom, intelligence, inspiration, and poetic inspiration.

HOLLY
A beautiful white wood with an almost invisible grain; looks very much like ivory. Holly is associated with the death and rebirth symbolism of winter in both Pagan and Christian lore and is important to the Winter Solstice. In Arthurian legend, Gawain (representing the Oak King of summer) fought the Green Knight, who was armed with a holly club to represent winter. It is one of the three timbers used in the construction of chariot wheel shafts. It was used in spear shafts also. The qualities of a spear shaft are balance and directness, as the spear must be hefted to be thrown the holly indicates directed balance and vigour to fight if the cause is just. Holly may be used in spells having to do with sleep or rest, and to ease the passage of death. A bag of leaves and berries carried by a man is said to increase his ability to attract women.
 
Holly means "holy". The identification of the pacific Christ with the Holly is poetically inept as it is the Oak king, not the Holly king that is crucified on a T shaped cross. In Arthurian legend, Gawain (representing the Oak King of summer) fought the Green Knight, who was armed with a holly club to represent winter.
 
MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Holiness, consecration, material gain, physical revenge, beauty. Used in spells having to do with sleep or rest, and to ease the passage of death.

IVY/VINE
The Ivy was sacred to Osiris as well as to Dionysus. Vine and Ivy come next to each other at the turn of the year, and are jointly dedicated to resurrection. Presumably, this is because they are the only two trees that grow spirally. The Vine also symbolizes resurrection because its strength is preserved in the wine.

MAGICKAL ASPECTS: (VINE) Faerie work, Joy, Exhilaration, Wrath, Rebirth. (IVY) Fidelity, Constancy, Love, Intoxication 

JUNIPER
Its berries were used with thyme in Druid and Grove incenses for visions. Juniper grown by the door discourages thieves. The mature berries can be strung and hung in the house to attract love.

LARCH
A light softwood, similar to spruce. Larch is one of the few conifers which sheds its needles in the winter. The larch plays an important role in Lapp and Siberian mythology where it takes the place of the ash as the World-tree. Their shamans use larch wood to rim their ceremonial drums.
 
MAGICKAL ASPECTS: The smoke from burning larch is said to ward off evil spirits. Larch may be used for protection and to induce visions.

MAPLE
A very hard, pale, fine-grained wood. Although the sugar maple has the highest sugar content in its sap, all maple species can be tapped to make syrup and sugar, making them a vital resource to early North American settlers. In north-eastern North America, the annual 'sugaring-off' usually coincides with the vernal equinox, making it one of the first signs of spring.
 
MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Maple can bring success and abundance.

MISTLETOE
Also known as Birdlime, All Heal and Golden Bough. It was the most sacred tree of the Druids, and ruled the Winter Solstice. The berries are poisonous! Bunches of mistletoe can be hung as an all-purpose protective herb. The berries are used in love incenses.
 
The mistletoe was sacred to the Druids and to the Norse. It was considered to be the great healer and has both male and female qualities. It was so well regarded by the Norse (because it was sacred to Freya) that they refused to fight in the vicinity of Mistletoe. The custom of hanging Mistletoe in the house to promote peace comes from this. Generally regarded today as a symbol of love and purity.
 
MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Love, fertility, sexual potency.

OAK
Oak has been considered sacred by just about every culture that has encountered the tree, but it was held in particular esteem by the Celts because of its size, longevity, and nutritious acorns. The oak was the "King of Trees" in a grove. Magic wands were made of its wood. Oak galls, known as Serpent Eggs, were used in magical charms. Acorns gathered at night held the greatest fertility powers. The Druids and Priestesses listened to the rustling oak leaves and the wrens in the trees for divinatory messages. Burning oak leaves purifies the atmosphere. It can be used in spells for protection, strength, success and stability; the different varieties will lend their own special 'flavour' to the magic.
 
The oak tree is the tree of Zeus, Jupiter, Hercules, The Dagda (The Chief of the Elder Irish gods), Thor and all other Thunder Gods. The royalty of the Oak needs no enlarging upon. The Oak is the tree of endurance and triumph, and like the Ash, is said to count the lightnings flash. The Oak is a male wood which is ideal for the construction of any tool that needs the male influence such as Athames, certain wands and staffs. The midsummer fire is always Oak and the need fire is always kindled in an Oak log.
 
MAGICKAL ASPECTS:Used in spells for stamina, lust, and fertility; endurance, triumph, strength, power, dominion, and prosperity. A wood of sacrifice; the guardian and liberator.

PALM
Is regarded as particularly powerful because of its incredible durability and because it is self renewing, never changing its leaves. Aids in rejuvenation.
 
MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Resurrection, and the cycle and matrix of life.
 
 
 
  
 

PEACH
Useful in love magic, the Peach is an emblem of marriage.
 
MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Abundance, fruitfulness, happiness.

PINE
The Pine tree is an evergreen, its old title was "the sweetest of woods." It was known to the Druids as one of the seven chieftain trees of the Irish. Mix the dried needles with equal parts of juniper and cedar and burn to purify the home and ritual area. The cones and nuts can be carried as a fertility charm. A good magical cleansing and stimulating bath is made by placing pine needles in a loose-woven bag and running bath water over it. To purify and sanctify an outdoor ritual area, brush the ground with a pine branch.
An evergreen, it's old title was "the sweetest of woods". External symbol of life and immortality. It is one of the few trees that are androgynous. It was also worshiped by the ancients as a symbol of fire because of its resemblance to a spiral of flame. It is regarded as a very soothing tree to be near.

MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Strength, life and immortality, rejuvenation. The scent of Pine is useful in the alleviation of guilt. Dreaming of pine trees indicates issues of guilt.

ROWAN
Also known as Mountain Ash, Witch wood and Sorb Apple has long known as an aid and protection against enchantment. Sticks of the Rowan were used o carve Runes on. Rowan spays and crosses were placed over cattle in pens and over homes for protection. Its lovely red berries feed the birds in winter. The berries have a tiny pentagram on them and are especially poisonous. The pentagram is the ancient symbol of protection. The Rowan tree indicates protection and control of the senses from enchantment and beguiling. The Rowan was sacred to the Druids and the Goddess Brigit. It is a very magical tree used for wands, rods, amulets and spells. A forked Rowan branch can help find water. Wands are for knowledge, locating metal and general divination.
 
The Rowan is seen as the tree of life. It is also known as Mountain Ash, Quickbeam, The Witch or Witch Wand, and has long been known as an aid and protection against enchantment. . In the British Isles, Rowan is used as a protection against lightning and magical charms of all sorts. In ancient Ireland, the Druids of opposing forces would kindle a fire of rowan and say an incantation over it to summon spirits to take part in the battle. The Rowan is also used for many healing purposes. The "Quickbeam" is the tree of quickening. Another use was in metal divining. Sticks of the Rowan were used to carve Runes on. It was also used in the art of metal divining. Rowan spays and crosses were placed over cattle in pens and over homes for protection. Its lovely red berries feed the birds in winter. The berries have a tiny pentagram on them, the ancient symbol of protection.

MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Used as a psychic enhancer and for healing magic. Also, for divination, astral work, protection. and control of the senses from enchantment and beguiling.

WHITE POPLAR 
The tree of the Autumn Equinox and of old age, is the shifting leaved White Poplar, or Aspen, The shield makers tree. It is commonly referred to as the talking, whispering and quivering tree. Heracles bound his head in triumph with poplar after killing the giant Cacus (the evil one). In Christian lore, the quaking poplar (aspen) was used to construct Christ's cross, and the leaves of the tree quiver when they remember this fact. The Black poplar was a funeral tree sacred to the Mother Earth. Plato makes a reference to the use of Black popular and Silver Fir as an aid in divination. The Silver Fir standing for hope assured and the Black Popular for loss of hope. In ancient Ireland, the coffin makers measuring rod was made of Aspen, apparently to remind the dead that this was not the end.

MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Hope, rebirth, divinations, shielding, endurance, agility in speech and language, and as an aid in astral projection.

WILLOW
Also known as White Willow, Tree of Enchantment and Witches' Asprin. Once of the seven sacred trees of the Irish, a Druid sacred Tree. The willow is a Moon tree sacred to the White Lady; its groves were considered so magical that priests, priestesses and all types of artisans sat among these trees to gain eloquence, inspiration, skills and prophecies. For a wish to be granted, ask permission of the willow, explaining your desire. Select a pliable shoot and tie a loose knot in it while expressing what you want. When the wish is fulfilled return and untie the knot. Remember to thank the willow and leave a gift.
 
The Willow was sacred to Hecate, Circe, Hera, and Persephone, all death aspects of the Triple Moon Goddess, and was often used by the Witches in Greece. In western tradition it is a symbol of mourning and unlucky love. The Latin name for the weeping willow refers to the psalm in which the Hebrews mourn their captivity in Babylon by the willows. A Female symbol, the moon owns the willow. It is the tree that loves water most and is sacred to the Moon Goddess who is the giver of dew and moisture, generally. The Willow is the tree of enchantment. Can be made into a tool to make wishes come true.
 
MAGICKAL PURPOSES: Used in love, healing, and fertility rites and spells. A wood of Moon magic, psychic energy, healing, and inspiration. Being a feminine wood, Willow indicates cycles, rhythms and the ebb and flux.

YEW
Also known as English Yew and European Yew. Another important tree to the Winter Solstice and the deities of death and rebirth. It is a beautifully smooth, gold-coloured wood with a wavy grain. The Irish used it to make dagger handles, bows and wine barrels. The wood or leaves were laid on graves as a reminder to the departed spirit that death was only a pause in life before rebirth. All parts of the tree are poisonous except the fleshy covering of the berry, and its medicinal uses include a recently discovered treatment for cancer. The yew may be the oldest-lived tree in the world. Ancient yews can be found in churchyards all over Britain, where they often pre-date even the oldest churches. There are some convincing arguments for it being the original 'World-tree' of Scandinavian mythology. The Yew may be used to enhance magical and psychic abilities, and to induce visions.
 
Long associated with magic, death, rebirth and the runes, the yew may be the oldest-lived tree in the world. The Yew is known as the death tree in all european countries, and the original 'World-tree' of Scandinavian mythology. Sacred to Hecate in Greece and Italy. Yew wood makes excellent bows, as the Romans learned from the Greeks. This strengthened the belief that Yew was connected with death. Its use in England is recalled in Macbeth where Hecate's cauldron contained:"... Slips of Yew, slivered in the moon eclipse."The Silver Fir of birth and the Yew of death are sisters. They stand next to each other in the circle of the year and their foliage is almost identical.

MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Destructive workings concerning death. Yew may be used to enhance magical and psychic abilities, and to induce visions. Not recommended for magical tools.
 
 
 
 
 
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