Linking your favorite traveling artists across the globe
The Magick Of Trees
Trees have been considered to be magickal for many centuries. They have
been the homes of wood spirits and the keepers of sacred circles. Many
tales of the part trees have played in witchcraft and the occult were
told to young children, such as the admonition to avoid old oak trees
groves of oaks. These were places witches met and were filled with much
power. Even today some of the old tales live on in superstitions such
'knock on wood'. So you may ask if there is any truth to these tales,
for all legends have some basis in truth. Well for the Wiccan or
Neo-Pagan trees are a source of power because they are rooted in the
Mother Earth and they reach to the heavens. This is the essential
posture we humans seek in trying to reach a state of balance during
meditation. We visualize a stream of energy from the Earth flowing up
into us, as a stream of energy flows into us from above. Trees are in
this state all the time and are therefore a very natural source of
for magick. Most any tree can be used for magickal purposes, though
certain trees seem better suited to certain forms of Magick.
There are lists called tables of correspondences, which contain
colours, smells, tastes, plants, and sounds associated with certain
emotions and concepts. There are also trees listed in some of these.
Examples of trees used in certain situations include the following:
APPLE...Healing, Prosperity, Love, Youth
BIRCH...Protection, Fertility New Beginnings
OAK...Healing, Strength, Money
PINE...Purification, Health, Prosperity
As you can see, for those of us who live on the Eastern Shore of
Maryland, there are many trees which we can use in magickal work. So
does one tap into this wealth of power. One way is to let the tree help
in 'recharging' you after a long day or after an extremely emotional
event. A simple procedure for doing this follows. Pick a tall, straight
tree such as a pine. Generally you should try to feel the tree's spirit
to see if it seems welcoming to you. Once you've found a tree you feel
comfortable with, walk once around it clockwise saying 'Great tree,
Ancient of the Earth, Will you grant and give my strength rebirth?' Now
sit on the ground with your back straight and pressed against the tree.
As you sit, feel the power running between the Earth and sky through
tree. See your body surrounded by the aura of the tree and feel this
power filling you with renewed strength. You may at this point even
begin to actually 'hear' the tree speaking to you. A wise person will
listen to it's wisdom. Once you feel rested and renewed, rise slowly
thank the tree for helping you regain your balance and strength. A gift
to the tree is not inappropriate. One way of doing this would be to
a coin or something of value at the base of the tree. Care should be
taken not to injure the tree in the process of burying the item. This
but one way of having trees aid you in your daily life. There are many
others to be found in various books on Earth/Nature magick. I hope you
will explore the many possibilities further. The only advice I can
is to remember you are dealing with a living spirit and that you should
avoid harming the tree. Have fun with your experiments and enjoy the
friendships to be found in trees.
Bre Geier 11:08in the evenin' Jan 24
When we "touch wood," we may not realize it, but we are using the last
remnant of ancient belief in the power of the Tree Gods. Every ancient
culture had its gods who lived in sacred groves, and who had to be placated
before the trees could be used for fuel, building, or tools. It is said that
at one time a squirrel could travel the length of England without descending
to the ground. Many trees had religious significance and many were believed
to have magical properties.
When the Christian religion was introduced things became more complicated,
for the tree-worshippers could not take the risk of ignoring the old gods,
even while embracing, in the main, the new deity. Christian beliefs and
Pagan rites and ceremonies became gradually fused together in a strange
mixture of superstition, faith, and fear of magic. Thus a tree like the
elder, for instance, said to be a witches' tree," and feared, could be used
as a magical preventive against evil, and then explained by the belief that
its powers were due to the fact that Jesus' cross was made from elder wood.
This kind of intermingling of Pagan and Christian belief appears over and
over again in old legends and stories.
The majestic oak was regarded as a very powerful magic tree, and people
believed that the tree would scream and moan if it was cut down. Charms and
spells used in divination often involved the oak tree and its acorns.
Hawthorn, too, was a tree of magic powers. Everyone knows the legend of the
Holy Thorn at Glastonbury, which blooms on Old Christmas Day. A Holy Thorn
would gush real blood if anyone attempted to chop it down. If you sit under
a hawthorn in May, the fairies will have power over you. Hawthorn and
blackthorn were often burned as firecharms as part of fertility rites. The
seeds of hawthorn, boiled in wine, were said to be able to draw out thorns
and splinters. Today it is still used as a cardiac tonic, and the young
blossoms make a very fine fragrant wine.
The rowan, or mountain ash, is a strong protector against evil. More
powerful still was the elder tree, home of the "Old Lady of the Elder," a
wicked spirit who waited to gain control over those who loitered beneath the
branches. Furniture made from elder wood would warp and crack, and if used
for a baby's cradle, the spirit would attack the child. But it could be
used for good purposes, too. As a charm, it could identify evil spirits.
It keeps flies from the house, and was used to treat snake bite, dog bites,
and toothache. It is still used medicinally today, in the form of
elderflower lotions and ointments, which are excellent for skin complaints,
and bruises and sprains. Both the berries and the flowers make very good
Lastly, if you ever need to dispose of Dracula, the stake driven through his
heat must be made of elder.
Ash was another highly prized tree, and could also repel evil spirits, as
well as killing snakes. It was considered to have great curative powers. A
lock of the sufferer's hair pinned to the tree would cure whooping cough,
a live mouse or shrew nailed up in a little hole in the bark would cure
sheep diseases. To cure toothache, you should sit under an ash tree and cut
Ash was also used in love charms and divination, and to find an ash leaf
with an even number of "leaflets" was extremely fortunate. An ashen bundle
was often burned as a Yule log. Medicinal uses of the ash included
poultices of the leaves to cure snake bite, decoction of the leaves to cure
jaundice, dropsy, and gout, and the seed kernels for kidney stones.
Holly trees are a good source of domestic protection if you have one in the
garden, and yew and hazel were both considered magical trees. Hazel
protects from lightning and shipwreck. Cows' milk yield can be increased by
giving them hazel leaves to eat. Hazel twigs are used by water diviners
Birch, from which witches' broomsticks were made, was another "magic" tree.
Brooms made of birch, or birch twigs in the house, could give protection.
But some care was needed, for if an unmarried girl were to step over the
birch broom, she would become pregnant. The tars and oils derived from
birch are still used in the treatment of eczema and other skin complaints,
and a fine wine can be made from the sap, if the tree is tapped in the
spring when the sap is rising.
One of the best trees to plant in your garden is the bay tree, which will
protect from all kinds of harm, and which is a healthy influence on your
home, your family, and pets. It is well known for its culinary uses, and
used to have a variety of medicinal uses, including inducing a speedy
delivery in childbirth. The berries produced an oil which was good for the
joints, the nerves, and the arteries, but now it is only used as a remedy
Fruit trees and orchards have a wealth of folklore all to themselves.
Sacrifices were made to the gods who lived in them, and special fertility
rites were carried out to ensure good crops. A last memory of these remains
in the apple howling or wassailing ceremonies still carried out in parts of
the West Country.
Further back in time, at Christmas, and Twelfth Night, Easter, Beltane, and
at Midsummer, great fire festivals were held--a mixture of Pagan and
Christian beliefs and ceremonies. Their purpose was to save the crops from
evil spirits, and to safeguard from hail, lightning, and storms. Fires and
feasting also served to welcome back the Sun God at the end of the dark
winter, for with his coming the cold Earth would reawaken and bring the
renewal of fertility associated with the coming of spring. Powerful magic
Trees have been revered as sacred monuments since the prehistoric era. Our ancestors may well have been inspired by their annual cycle of decay in the autumn followed by a luscious rebirth in the spring. To the primitive mind, these trees became symbols of life, death and rebirth.
There was one tree in particular which achieved mythical status throughout all world cultures. It is known today as the 'World Tree' and according to our ancestors, it was truly epic in scale. Its branches were said to reach as high as the heavens, while its roots plunged deep into the abyss of the underworld. Because of their association with celestial realms, these trees were regarded by many priests as gateways to other dimensions.
• Yggdrasil was said to connect middle earth (Midgard) to eight other realms (some made of fire and ice, others of darkness and light)
• The World Tree of Mesoamerica was seen as a gateway (aka axis mundi) connecting the planes of the Underworld and the sky with the terrestrial world
• The 'Sky Tree' from Hungarian mythology had a series of branches which reached out to seven worlds. Each branch was said to touch the sun, the moon, the clouds and other celestial spheres.
• The Dawn Tree from Baltic mythology was depicted with a golden trunk, copper roots and silver leaves. The trunk represented life in the present, while the past was embodied in its roots (life that has passed). The branches, however, represented future choices yet to be made
It should be noted that in nearly all depictions of the ‘World Tree’, a great serpent is said to reside at its base. These serpents typically guard a forbidden knowledge which only a select number of mortals have ascertained:
• It was Adam and Eve who attained wisdom by eating fruit from the tree of Knowledge (Judaism/Christianity)
• It was under the Bodhi tree that the Buddha was said to have gained enlightenment (Buddhist mythology)
• The Kabbalah represents the tree of life (the other legendary tree of Christian mythology). Legend says that to learn the secrets of this mystic tree is to know the secrets of life itself
• The Druids were priests of the natural world whose name was said to mean 'knower's of the oak' (Celtic mythology)
• The Cosmic Tree of Latvia was a highly symbolic image. It was said to hold birds in its branches (enlightenment), mammals at its base (instinct) and serpents in its roots (wisdom)
The most common theme found in world mythology is the 'Tree of Life' which is said to both create and prolong life. In many cases, our ancestors believed that these great trees gave birth to the Gods and even to to humanity itself. Many pilgrims have searched for this mythical tree throughout the ages, but only the most worthy have been able to find it:
• In Tengrinism, it is said that humans were descended from Trees, as well as other spirit entities and lesser gods who lived for hundreds of years.
• A tree of life belonged to the Goddess Iusaaset who was said to have conceived the lineage of Egyptian Gods through the trees life giving properties
• The Kalpavriksha tree from Vedic mythology was said to produce an abundance of life giving fruit for those who wished for it