Tree-Lore


This compendium is researched using the internet, books and oral history.

It is a continously growing compendium and we hope a valuable resource for those that have an interest.

If you have any tree-lore you wish to share please get in touch.

 

Tree Lore Compendium.

Sacred trees with healing powers are found in almost every culture and age. They are seen as a gift from the Earth and a source of her continuing healing of those who come to the tree or sacred grove.

In India sacred trees are visited by petitioners seeking blessings, especially for health and fertility, from the indwelling spirit or deity who is usually regarded as female and a manifestation of the Earth Goddess? Food and flowers are left at the foot of the tree or shrine and ribbons of cloth or coloured wish bags are tied to the tree.

In Africa among the Northern Sotho people, the sacred Marula tree is known as the marriage tree. A woman who wishes to conceive a boy will drink the infused bark of the male tree. In many parts of f Africa women still carry bark from sacred trees to make them fertile.

In the folk tradition of Europe until the beginning of the twentieth century, trees were likewise attributed magical healing powers. For example children were passed nine toes though the cleft in an ash tree and the branches then bound together as a symbol of the healing process.

The Celtic Druids worshipped not in temples, but in groves of trees. These natural woodland sites may have predated the Celts. Those that have been identified are frequently centred on a convergence of earth energies. In former Celtic groves in Wales, Brittany, Ireland and Cornwall the trees are still adorned with ribbons, trinkets and petitions for healing and blessings.

The Australian Aborigines used healing remedies from trees such as tea tree and eucalyptus centuries before they entered more conventional medicine Tea tree leaves were inhaled by the Aborigines to prevent nasal, throat and chest congestion and ground into a paste to relieve burns and skin infections.

ALDER

The Alder has applications in magick done for spiritual decisions, duty, prophecy, oracular strength, intelligence, mental prowess, resurrection, air magic, water magic, strength, spirituality, teaching, weather magick, and protection from outside forces. Alder leaves or twigs can be carried in a pouch to act as a protection charm and as a powerful force in psychic battles. Talismans or charms can also be carried to aid in the preservation of ideas. The Alder is known as the “fairy’s tree” in Celtic lore, so is good for fairy magic. The faeries are said to like to dance under the trees when they are flowering. Carrying Alder twigs or flowers acts as a charm for communicating with the fey. Alder is often used in resurrection magic and also used in building/construction magic. Alder wood is often called the “wood of the witches”. Whistles, magical pipes and flutes for use in magickal ceremonies may be made of out of young shoots to entice Air elemental spirits. This gives the ability to summon, control and banish elementals or the four winds.Herbal usage: Alder is in the hazelnut family and was used by Native Americans as a medicinal plant. Tea can be made from bark and is useful in treating diarrhea, coughs, toothaches and the discomfort of childbirth. A potion made from the bark can also be used externally as an eye wash or for a wash for poison ivy, swellings and sprains.

APPLE


It is said that if the sun could be seen shining through the branches of an Apple tree on December 25, Christmas Day , then the owner, if a farmer, would reap a healthy crop the following summer. If the farmer wanted to ensure that this would happen he would have put a piece of toast (grilled bread) in the fork of the tree.

‘Wassail Parties’ were traditionally held by men of the area where cider was made, such as Somerset, England (UK). Celebrations focused on giving thanks to the wood spirits and all spirits that safeguarded the crop, culminating in songs and verses being chanted whilst the remaining cider was thrown over the trees.

Diviners in search of water hidden underground are known to often use forked branches taken from the Apple tree traditionally called ‘Wishing Rods’ (also Beech, Hazel and Alder). (See Mystical WWW Trees & Divining Methodology ).

The ‘Crab Apple’ tree was thought to indicate that there would be more births and marriages than deaths in a community if the tree grew near to, and overhung, a well whilst blossoming out of season.

 

Ash

In Norse mythology , the World Tree Yggdrasil is commonly held to be an ash tree, and the first man, Ask , was formed from an ash tree. Elsewhere in Europe, snakes were said to be repelled by ash leaves or a circle drawn by an ash branch.

Irish folklore claims that shadows from an ash tree would damage crops.

In Cheshire, it is said that ash could be used to cure warts or rickets. In Sussex the ash and elm tree were known as the Widow Maker because the large boughs would often drop without warning.

In Greek mythology , the Meliai were nymphs of the ash, perhaps specifically of the Manna Ash ( Fraxinus ornus ), as dryads were nymphs of the oak . Many echoes of archaic Hellene rites and myth involve ash trees.

The ash exudes a sugary substance that, it has been suggested, was fermented to create the Norse “Mead of Inspiration.”

Ash Wednesday gets its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of the faithful as a sign of repentance. The ashes used are gathered after the Palm Crosses from the previous year’s Palm Sunday are burned.

Ash gives courage and confidence and wider perspectives on life; helps digestion and the efficient functioning of the whole body; weight loss, bladder and bowel disorders. The ceremonial Yule log is often made of Ash – this log is kindled each Yule with a piece from last years fire and allowed to smolder for 12 days before it is ceremonially put out. Magickal usage: The Ash was one of the sacred Druidic three: ‘Oak, Ash & Thorn’, The Ash has applications in magick done for sea power, ocean rituals, karmic laws, magical potency, healing, protection from drowning, love, rain making, women’s mysteries, prophetic dreams, general protection, Prosperity, and health. Ash is often used for making both mundane and magical tools – it’s said that tools with handles of Ash are more productive than tools with handles of other wood. Ash wood was used for spears and shields since it was known as a protective wood. Placing Ash berries in a cradle was said to prevent a child from being traded for a changeling by an evil faery – and Ash talismans can be worn as protective amulets. Ash is used instead to keep away nasty people who are bitchy, quick to criticize, impatient, or psychic vampires. Special guardian spirits reside in the Ash; This makes it excellent for absorbing sickness. The spirally carved Druidic wand was made of Ash for this healing purpose. In years gone by, weak-limbed children were passed through split ash trees which were then bound up. If the tree grew straight, the child would as well. Ash can be used in medicine pouches or can be used in magick for wart remover: the wart is stuck with a pin that has first been thrust into an Ash, while these words are said: Ashen tree, Ashen tree, pray these warts off of me.” The pins are then stuck back in the tree and left. The druids attributed special powers over water to the ash tree. They used its wood to make it rain or to ward off water’s destructive power. The Ash is the tree of sea power, or of the power resident in water. Ash leaves placed under the pillow will induce prophetic dreams, and carrying an Ash totem will attract the love of the opposite sex.

Herbal usage: Ash leaves and the tender tops can be used in the spring to make a fasting tea that is a diuretic and can be used as a help for weight loss. Ash bark is known as a liver and spleen cleanser and can make the immune system stronger. The flowering Ash has sap that contains a sugary exudate called ‘manna’, which can be used as a laxative.

 

ASPEN


The leaves of the Aspen tree were believed to tremble continually, hence it also being known as the ‘shivering tree’. The Greek word ‘kepkis’, which means ‘shuttle’, was given to this tree because of the action of the leaves, quivering back and forth all the time. There are many legends connected with the Aspen.

One is thought to stem from the belief that the cross on which Christ was crucified was made from the wood of the Aspen tree. Belief has it that the tree was filled with grief and remorse at being connected with the Crucifixion. (See also Mystical-WWW : Easter ) The Aspen was the only tree reputed not to bend with compassion as the Passion and continues to tremble as a result.

A traditional legend from Germany is associated with the Holy Family. They were walking in a forest and all the trees bowed reverently. The only tree that didn’t was the Aspen. It is said that the Holy Child cursed the tree, and the leaves began to tremble. It is also said that the tree has continued to do so ever since.

Traditional German Poem ‘Once as our Saviour walked with men below,
His path of mercy through a forest lay;
And mark how all the drooping branches show
What homage best a silent tree may pay!
Only the aspen stands erect and free,
Scorning to join the voiceless worship pure;
But see! He casts one look upon the tree,
Struck to the heart, she trembles evermore!’

Sir Walter Scott

‘O woman! In our hours of ease
Uncertain, coy, and hard to please,
And variable as the shade
By the light quivering Aspen made.’

Traditional Russian Proverb

‘There is an accursed tree
which trembles without even a breath of wind.’

The movement of Aspen leaves have been associated by Gerarde with women’s tongues. A rather ungracious association as they ‘seldome cease wagging’. He also said the tongue itself has been made of the leaf itself. The Aspen has also been thought to help cure fevers being seen to have curative powers, but only if the following was carried out at night. The nail clippings of the sick person should be taken and placed in a hole cut in the trunk that should then be covered again to seal the tree.

 

Beech

The Beech Tree in the Victorian Language of Flowers meant – Prosperity
Ancient Romans revered the beech tree, as it was sacred to Diana. They carried the wood as a “good-luck” talisman, poured libations of wine over the trunk, and liked to lie in its shade.

Beech is a favourite wood for Yule logs.
The Celts saw Beech as the tree of learning, wisdom and the written word as well as a symbol of prosperity.

The Celtic “lesson of the Beech” is the importance of learning and the need to study and preserve our written knowledge for the benefit of generations to come. “rooted in the knowledge of the ancients, sustained by the ideas of the present, we will continue to reach for the stars.
It is said if you carve the words of a wish in a piece of beech wood and bury it in the soil, as the wood decays the wish will come to manifestation.
Variously the beech has been associated with Ogma, Hermes, Thoth, Mercury, Odin, & Cronos.

Brings unconscious wisdom, healing and a sense of connection with the earth and with others helpful for the stomach, for healing wounds, sores and ulcers
It is said that the God and Goddess Apollo and Athena sat in a beech tree having transformed into vultures. The legend tells of how the two Gods sat and watched the fight between the Trojans and the Greeks.

The sacred grove of trees of ‘Dodona’, in Epirus, Ancient Greece, is the place where a temple was erected to Zeus. The Beech tree was said to be able to convey the message from Zeus to the worshipper. Revered as the God of Thunder it is thought that the association with the tempestuous weather form stems from here as this place was alleged to have more storms than anywhere else in Europe.

The temple was situated by a great Oak tree. The presence of Zeus at the temple was thought to be signified by the rustling of the tree. Large bronze gongs were hung in the tree and the sound that came forth when the wind blew was said to resemble the sound of thunder rolling across the sky. The message from the oracle was thought to be given through other trees that were planted here.

Near Tusculum there was a hill called ‘Corne’ where Pliny tells of a grove of Beech trees could be found. The grove was sacred to the goddess Diana, and it is said that all the trees looked as if they had been neatly manicured, as though ‘art had fashioned them’. The orator Crispus was often said to find peace and rest under the Beech trees, feeding the roots with wine.

Amongst other light shiny barked trees the beech has always been a favourite of lovers shown by the many carvings of names or symbols on the bark.

‘As You Like It’ : William Shakespeare

‘Oh Rosalind! These trees shall be my books,
And in their barks my thoughts I’ll character;
That every eye, which in this forest looks,
Shall see thy virtue witness’d every where.
Run, run, Orlando; carve on every tree,
The fair, the chaste, and unexpressive she.’


Diviners in search of water hidden underground are known to often use forked branches taken from the Beech tree traditionally called ‘Wishing Rods’ (also Apple, Hazel and Alder). (See Mystical WWW Trees & Divining Methodology ). (See Mystical WWW Tree Legend ‘Herne the Hunter’ ).

 

BIRCH

Birch is considered to be a Goddess tree, the symbol of summer ever-returning. The Birch is also a special tree to the Celts (“On a switch of birch was written the first Ogham inscription in Ireland, namely seven B’s, as a warning to Lug son of Ethliu, to wit, ‘Thy wife will be seven times carried away from you into fairyland or elsewhere, unless birch be her overseer.” – Robert Graves, The White Goddess) and Birch wood is one of the nine traditional firewoods to be added to the Belfire that is burned at Beltane. It is one of the three pillars of Wisdom (Oak, Yew, Birch) and often symbolizes the first level of Druid working. Birch trees often have Otherkin spirits attached to them and the “Lieschi” or “Genii of the Forest” are said to dwell in their tree tops. The Ghillie Dhu (pronounced “Gillee Doo or Yoo”) are guardian tree spirits who are disguised as foliage and dislike human beings. They prefer birch trees to all others, and jealously guard them from humans. If the spirit of the Birch tree touches a head it leaves a white mark and the person turns insane. If it touches a heart, the person will die. The Birch has applications in magick done for protection, creativity, exorcism, fertility, birth, healing, Forest Magic, Inner Authority/Self-Discipline, Lunar workings, love, and purification. Magickal protective uses of Birch include tying a red ribbon around the trunk of a birch to ward off the evil eye. Also, gently whapping someone with a Birch twig drives out negative energy, and Birch branches hung near a cradle will protect the newborn from psychic harm. In fact, cradles can be made from Birch wood to further protect a newborn. Many farmers plant Birch around their houses to protect against lightning. For magical parchment, gather Birch bark from a tree that has been struck by lightning (chosen by Thor) – and the Birch paper will keep the writings safe. Because Birch wood has the qualities of exorcism and protection, its twigs are traditionally used to make witches’ brooms. Brooms made of a mixture of Ash, Birch and Willow are said to be especially powerful in magick. Birch rods are also used in rustic rituals to drive out the spirits of the old year. Birch is also perfect to use to make a ‘Goddess’ wand, since Birch is the tree known as ‘the Lady of the Woods’ and a grove of Birch trees is an excellent place to communicate with the Goddess. Birch wood is also a good choice for making rune sets to use for divination. Be sure to harvest your branch for the rune set during the waxing moon, and make sure you ask Odin or Byarka to inspire your work. Also ask the tree if it will allow you to take a branch and be sure to leave the tree an offering of thanks when you are done. Birch trees especially appreciate gifts such as pretty stones, sea shells, flowers or herbs. (Please note: never take bark off a living Birch tree, since this will kill it.) Herbal usage: Birch leaves can be used to make an infusion that is good for breaking up kidney or bladder stones. Birch bark is an astringent and can be used to treat non-hereditary baldness. Birch tea can be made from the inner bark and leaves and this is good for rheumatism or as a sedative to aid sleep. Birch sap can be harvested the same way maple sap is, and then boiled down into birch syrup.

 

 

 

Cherry

The samurai warriors of Old Japan came to take the cherry blossom as their spiritual motif. They saw in the beautiful but brief life of the sakura their own fate. The sakura falls at the height of its beauty rather than withering away. This “death” is much in the same way the samurai wished to die:

The owner of a Cherry tree could be sure of having a rich crop of fruit if the first cherry to ripen was eaten by a woman who recently gave birth to her first child.

European folklore has it that if you repeat this short rhyme when counting the number of Cherry stones you have after a meal you will know if and when you are to marry.

1. ‘This year,
2. Next year,
3. Sometime,
4. Never.’ …and so on

 

Forest demons were believed to live in Cherry trees according to Danish folklore. In Lithuania the guardian of the Cherry was called ‘Kirnis’.

According to Serbian folklore the ‘Vila’ are beautiful female creatures similar to Fairies and Elves. These mystical creatures live in the hills and forests, often by Cherry trees loving to pass their time singing and dancing. Always clad in white, with long hair the only danger they cause is the breaking of men’s hearts as they fly over. When travelling through the forests the Vila make a sound similar to that of the woodpecker, and ride seven year old stags which are bridled with snakes. Folklore has it that should a parent discipline a child and indicate that they have the Devil in them, or should be sent to him, then the Vila are thought to have a right to take the child, perhaps to protect it

Wild cherry folklore has unusual associations with the cuckoo, whereby the bird has to eat three good meals of cherries before it may stop singing. Similarly, a children’s oracular rhyme from Buckinghamshire says:

‘Cuckoo, cherry tree,
Good bird tell me,
How many years before I die’,

with the answer being the next number of cuckoo calls the singer heard

 

 

Cedar

 

The Cedar tree touched so many facets of the life of the Northwest peoples that it was only natural and right for them to hold the tree in the highest respect and to believe deeply in it’s healing and spiritual powers.

 

At the heart of many native American creation myths the Cedar tree is renowned for healing, protection and connection with the spirit world. The Kwakiutui people at dusk would immerse a slender cedar branch into the river to help them listen for a song that would help in healing.

 

Tradition holds that the wood of the cedar tree holds powerful protective spirits for the Cherokee. Many carry a small piece of cedar wood in their medicine bags worn around the neck. It is also placed above the entrances to the house to protect against the entry of evil spirits.

Chestnut

The symbolic meaning of chestnuts deals primarily with prevention and foresight. This is due to the fact that the chestnut has long been recognized as a highly nutritious food that has a high-calorie punch in such small package.

This is key as we consider its roots in symbolism. Most primitive cultures (particularly nomadic groups) would honor such traits in a food. Imagine being sustained and nurtured by such a small (and tasty) morsel! So here we derive the attribute of foresight and prevention within the symbolic meaning of chestnuts because upon planning a journey, or providing for the body, the chestnut fulfills the human need.

The symbolic meaning of chestnuts also deals with:

  • fertility
  • provision
  • abundance
  • longevity
  • invigoration

Many Native American Indian tribes (indigenous to the northeast) held fertility & abundance as the prime symbolic meaning of chestnuts because of its prolific production of nuts.

The symbolism of longevity and provision were touted in the 12th century when Christian mystic Hildegard von Bingen extolled the virtues of the chestnut, including their propensity to prolong life when consumed in natural remedies.

Celtic druids were reputed to make handles and staffs out of chestnut tree branches as they believed touching these was a way do energetically draw out longevity and invigoration tree’s being.

Chestnuts drop [from their trees] in the fall. As such, they are considered a symbol of harvest, abundance and preparation. This serves as a message that now is the time to prepare for possibly tighter times ahead. It is also a message that now is the time to gather and rejoice in the bounty we have.

Chestnut symbolic meanings even have their place in dream interpretation:

If you are dreaming of picking chestnuts off the ground it is a message that you have shared trust in your love life. If you are picking the chestnuts off the tree, however, it is a sign of infidelity.

If in a dream you are observing a bunch of chestnuts, it is indicative of prosperous business opportunities.

Dreaming of sitting under a chestnut tree is symbolic of happy times on the horizon after enduring a spell of dissatisfaction.

When our minds continually encounter the chestnut, we may want to ask ourselves the following questions:

Have I properly planned for my goals?

Do I have the provisions to meet my needs or obtaining my desires?

Am I letting in enough nutrients (physical/spiritual/mental/emotional) into my life, or am I neglecting these aspects?

Am I prepared for the challenges ahead?

Am I giving thanks for all that I have available to me now

American chestnut trees provided sustenance to humans and animals in numerous ways. Chestnuts were a dietary staple of the American Indians who taught the Pilgrims to cook them in stews or grind them into flour for bread. The Iroquois enjoyed a hot beverage made of roasted chestnuts that resembled our coffee.

The Cherokees handed down a legend called “The Bear Man” from James Mooney’s History, Myths, and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees that tells of a bear that knew where to find a large mast of fresh chestnuts, during the years when they were becoming very scarce. He rubbed his stomach and instantly made paws full of chestnuts appear.

Native American Indians taught many American settlers how to remedy their ills using natural plants. They showed the Pennsylvania Germans how to treat whooping cough with the water left after boiling chestnut leaves, a liquid that the Indians also used as a tonic and sedative. The chestnut bark became their treatment for worms and provided a dye as well.

Those earthy, frugal country dwellers who lived among the American chestnut forests would sometimes use dried chestnut leaves to stuff their mattresses. You can imagine the crinkly, crepitating, and rustling noises emanating from their beds anytime they moved. The beds were jokingly referred to as talking beds.

An old Corsican wedding tradition was to prepare 22 different chestnut dishes to be served on the wedding day, a challenging feat even for today’s renowned chefs.

Because chestnuts contain a natural sweetness, they were very close to becoming an important source for producing sugar. During the late 18th century Antoine Parmentier, the French apothecary, or pharmacist, who taught France to woo the much-feared “poisonous” potato, discovered he could extract sugar from the chestnut. He then prepared an impressively large chestnut cake and sent it to the Academy in Lyon for consideration as a sugar source in place of regular sugar. Because Napoleon decided France ought to make its sugar from sugar beets, chestnut sugar never came to pass.

Throughout history chestnuts have evoked symbolic meanings and diverse practices in different cultures. In Japan, chestnuts symbolize both success and hard times. Served as part of the New Year’s menu, chestnuts symbolize mastery and strength. Apparently connoisseurs thought them worthy enough of flavor and quality to have them shipped from long distances for the festive occasion.

In Modena, Italy, chestnuts are soaked in wine must before roasting and serving as a special preparation on St. Martin’s Day. To the early Christians chestnuts symbolized chastity.

While many Native American Indians hollowed out birch trees to make their canoes, those who lived in the southern regions of New England found no birch trees. Instead, they turned to the mighty chestnut trees.

The Cherokee treated heart disease with a tea made of old American chestnut leaves, while a cold tea made of tree bark and buckeye was given to women to stop their bleeding following childbirth. They made a cough syrup of chestnut leaves, brown sugar, and mullein and applied chestnut leaves dipped into hot water to sores.

In the U.S., when we spoke of the poor subsisting on a diet of bread and water, the equivalent French expression was “fasting on water and chestnuts.”

 

Chestnut used to be fed to loved ones as an enchanting love spell

 

 

 

ELDER

Herbal usage:

The Elder has many medicinal uses, and can be used to treat over 70 conditions. The bark can be used fresh for headaches and to promote labor, or can be dried and powdered and used in small doses as a diuretic. The leaves and flowers can be made into drinks, poultices and salves. Elderberry flower water is useful for soothing sunburns. The berries are safe to eat when eaten ripe, and they can be used to make wines, jams and teas.

Magickal usage:

Elder has the Magickal powers of Healing, Visions, Faery Magick, Spirituality, Cleansing, Sleep, Exorcism, Offering, Love, Protection, and Prosperity.

Elder is often used to produce visions. At Samhain, the last of the Elderberries were picked with solemn rites. The wine made from these berries was considered the last sacred gift of the Earth Goddess, and was valued and drunk ritually to invoke prophecy, divination and hallucinations.

Elder twigs were woven into head-dresses to enable the wearers to see spirits. The Elder is very useful in Magick dealing with Nature Spirits and the Fae. Wood spirits are said to live in Elder forests, and wood elves are said to come to listen to music played by flutes made with Elder wood.

The Elder has strong protective qualities. Tiny twigs of Elder or dried Elderberry can be worn in a bag around the neck as a charm for protection against physical or psychic attack. As a protection against evil (and later against witchcraft) Elder branches were hung in doorways of houses and cowsheds.

Elder can be used to bless a person, place or thing by scattering leaves and berries to the four directions, and over the thing or person being blessed.

It is said that if you stand under an Elder tree, you will never be struck by lightening.

Elder was also buried in graves to ward off evil spirits, and is considered protection against earthbound, “physical” spirits like vampires. Elder as Vampire-Repellent is older folklore than the lore about garlic.

When you put Elder on a threshold or windowsill, you can force a vampire to count over the thorns and the berries until morning comes, because vampires are obsessive-compulsive about counting things.

, Elder blossom were worn at Beltane to signify witchcraft and magic, and Elder twigs can be used to undo evil magic.

Elder is a traditional wood for making Magickal tools, like besoms and wands.

Justice was often dispensed under an Elder, so the hilt of a coven sword was often made of Elder wood.

Elder is also a good wood to use to make Protective Wands. There are very strong superstitions about not cutting down or burning an Elder (maybe caused by a fear of releasing the tree’s Hylde-moer – or maybe out of a deep respect for the tree), so be sure to remember to ask the tree if it will allow you to take a branch. It is traditional to say this before you cut a branch:

Lady Ellhorn, give me of thy wood,
And I will give thee of mine,
when I become a tree.”
Some people like to leave a small gift of some kind when they do harvest a branch – or you can do something practical like untangling the tree’s ivy, clearing up around the trunk, watering in dry weather, or tidying up trash from around the tree.

The association of the Elder tree with Judas, who is believed to have hanged himself from such a tree, may give rise to why it is reputed that it is never struck by lightning in a storm in fear of reprisal.

‘And faste by, is zit the Tree of Eldre that Judas henge him self upon, for despeyr that he hadde, whan he solde and betrayed oure Lord.’
Sir John Maundeville : The Voiage and Travaille
Traditionally in Sicily the Elder is the preferred wood for driving out serpents and warding off thieves. Some believe that St. Patrick used a branch of the Elder in the form of a sacred rod to remove all the serpents from Ireland.
A European belief also indicates that branches of the Elder should never be taken into a house or used for fire wood, again perhaps because of the negative forces at work when it is present.

In ancient times it was believed that negative forces would be attracted by someone falling asleep under an Elder tree. Whilst asleep the person would suffer from horrific nightmares, and would become delirious when waking

 

Elm

 

The ancient Germanic peoples who came to inhabit much of Europe, believed that three gods, Odin, Vili and Ve, created the world.

According to the myth, these three gods were walking by the sea examining their handiwork when they came upon two fallen trees. One was an ash, the other an elm. Odin imbued them with the spark of life. Vili endowed them with spirit and a thirst for knowledge. Ve gave them the gift of five senses.

When they had finished, the fallen trees resembled the gods themselves. Out of the ash came man. Woman was created from the elm and her name was Embla.

Greek mythology tells the tale of Orpheus, who rescued his wife, Eurydice from the clutches of the underworld by enchanting all that lived there with the sound of his harp. He paused to play her a love song and it was on this spot that the first Elm grove sprang up. Celtic mythology also mentions elm trees and their link with the ‘underworld’. Elves are said to have a special affinity with the elm tree as apparently it is this tree that guards the burial mounds of their dead as well as the passage into the underworld

 

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 adds stability and grounding to a spell.

In England the tree was associated with elves and sometimes known as “elven.” At Lichfield, England, choristers of the cathedral used to deck the cathedral, close, and houses with elm boughs on Ascension Day.

It was believed that the falling of the leaves of an elm tree out of season predicted a murrain (disease) among cattle. The elm was also used to cure cattle disease by means of the “need fire,” when two pieces of wood were rubbed together until they ignited and a bonfire was built, through the smoke of which the cattle were driven. The leaves were used medicinally as a poultice for swellings, and the inner bark of the tree was used for skin and venereal infections. The slippery elm ( U. fulva or rubra ), mixed with milk, is still used by herbalists as a demul-cent drink.

 

Elm —-Tree of sleep

 

- European legends often refer to the elm’s association with elves. So much so that the tress gained the folk-name of ‘elven’. Elves have through myth and legend been strongly associated with burial mounds and elms, therefore, also became used as wood for coffins. It is said that meditation with elm aids the development of communication with the devas (spirits of the plant world) and the elves, and that by pricking an elm-leaf with a pin before placing it under the pillow, divinatory dreams can be obtained

 

The tree of sleep. Elm signifies dignity, strength and power.

 

Fir

Tree of the day of the Winter Solstice

Latin name: Abies alba.

Celtic name: Ailim (pronounced: Ahl’ em).

Folk or Common names: Common Silver Fir, Balm of Gilead Fir, Balsam Fir, American Silver Fir.

Parts Used: Needles, wood, sap.

Herbal usage: The Silver Fir is one of the tallest trees native to Europe, sometimes exceeding 160 feet tall. The wood of the Fir is beautiful and is often used in making musical instruments and in the interior of buildings. The sap from the Silver Fir can be manufactured into a turpentine like oil that is a pale yellowish or almost water-white liquid of a light, pleasant fresh turpentine like odor. It is a diuretic, and stimulates mucous tissues if taken in small doses. In large doses it is purgative, and may cause nausea. The oil also has some uses as perfume and in essential oils that can be added to homeopathic bath and beauty products.

  • Magical History & Associations: The Silver Fir is associated with the moon and with the planet of Jupiter. Its colors are piebald and light or pale blue. Its birds are the eagle and the Lapwing, and its animal association is the red cow. Its stones are Tourmaline and Amber – and it is a feminine herb. This tree belongs to the triple aspect Goddess in Celtic lore, offering learning, choice and progress. The tree is sacred to many Goddesses: Artemis (the Greek Goddess of Childbirth), Diana and Druantia among them. It is also sacred to the Gods Osiris and Attis, both who were imprisoned in Fir/Pine trees.
  • Magickal usage: the Silver Fir is used for magick involving power, insight, progression, protection, change, feminine rebirth, and birth. The Silver Fir and the Yew are sisters standing next to each other in the circle of the year and their foliage is almost identical. However the Yew is known as the tree of death and the Silver Fir is the tree of birth or rebirth. The Silver Fir was a sacred tree to the Druids who felt that it stood for hope. The Silver Fir wood is used for shape-shifting and magic involving change, since it offers a clear perception of the present and the future. The wood chips are sometimes used as incense and the wood can be used in the construction of magickal musical instruments. Burning the needles of the Silver Fir or sweeping around the bed with a branch that has been blessed will protect a new born baby and its mother. In the Orkney area of Scotland, the new mother and baby are ‘sained’ by whirling a fir-candle three times around her bed. For a ‘Weather Witch’ the cones of the Silver Fir warn of wet weather and foretells when a dry season approaches. Charms made of Fir can be given as good luck tokens to departing friends. In its appearance (and in its current, and undoubtedly ancient, use) the Silver Fir is the quintessential Yule tree. Its branches can be used as decorations at Yule time either as wreaths or as garland, where it will provide protection for the household and its occupants.

 

Hazel

9th Moon of the Celtic Year – (Aug 5 – Sept 1)

Latin name: European hazel – corylus avellana; American Filbert – corylus americana.

Celtic name: Coll (pronounced: Cull). Coll means “life force within you”.

Folk or Common names: tree of Wisdom, Lamb’s Tails Tree, Collo or Coslo (Gailic), The tree’s name shares a common root with the walnut tree and its nut, or cnu and hnot in Europe and Nux in latin.

Parts Used: Nut, leaves, branches, wood.

Herbal usage: Hazel can be used as a drainage remedy and can help restore elasticity to the lungs. Hazelnuts, of course, can be eaten, and are a good source of phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, copper, protein and fatty acids. The nuts can be powdered and be mixed with mead or honeyed water to help a cough.

Magical History & Associations: The bird associated with this month is the crane, the color is brown, and the gemstone is band-red agate. The Hazel, a masculine herb, is associated with the element of air, the planet of Mercury, the day of Wednesday, and is sacred to Mercury, Thor, Artemis, Fionn, Diana and Lazdona (the Lithuanian Hazelnut Tree Goddess). Hazel wood is one of the nine traditional firewoods that is part of the Belfire that the Druid’s burned at Beltane – it was added to the fire to gain wisdom. In fact, in ancient times the Hazel was known as The Tree of Wisdom. It is often associated with sacred springs and wells and salmon. Celtic legend tell of a grove of Hazel trees below which was a well, a pool, where salmon swam. These trees contained all knowledge, and their fruit contained that knowledge and wisdom in a nutshell. As the hazelnuts ripened, they would fall into the well where they were eaten by the salmon. With each nut eaten, the salmon would gain another spot. In order to gain the wisdom of the Hazel, the Druids caught and prepared the salmon. But Fionn, the young man stirring the pot in which the salmon were cooking, accidentally burned his thumb with the boiling stew. By reflex, he put his thumb into his mouth and thus ingested the essence of the sacred feast; he instantly gained the wisdom of the universe.

Magickal usage: The Hazel has applications in magick done for manifestation, spirit contact, protection, prosperity, wisdom, divination-dowsing, dreams, wisdom-knowledge, marriage, reconciliation, fertility., intelligence, inspiration, and wrath. Hazel is a good herb to use to do magick associated with asking for wisdom and poetic inspiration since the Hazel is known as the Tree of Immortal Wisdom. In England, all the knowledge of the arts and sciences was thought to be bound to the eating of Hazel nuts. Hazel also has protective uses as anti-lightning charms. A sprig of Hazel or a talisman of two Hazel twigs tied together with red or gold thread to make a solar cross can be carried as a protective good luck charm. The mistletoe that grows on hazel protects against bewitching. A cap of Hazel leaves and twigs ensures good luck and safety at sea, and protects against shipwrecks. In England, the Hazelnut is a symbol of fertility – a bag of nuts bestowed upon a bride will ensure a fruitful marriage. The Hazel is a tree that is sacred to the fey Folk. A wand of hazel can be used to call the Fey. If you sleep under a Hazel bush you will have vivid dreams. Hazel can be used for all types of divination and dowsing. Until the seventeenth century, a forked Hazel stick was used to divine the guilt of persons in cases of murder and theft. Druids often made wands from Hazel wood, and used the wands for finding ley lines. Hazel twigs or a forked branch can be used to divine for water or to find buried treasure. The wood of the Hazel can help to divine the pure source of poetry and wisdom. Hazelnuts can be used for love divination. Assign the name of your passion to a nut and throw it in the fire while saying:

  • “A Hazelnut I throw in the flame,
    to this nut I give my sweetheart’s name,
    If blazes the nut, so may thy passion grow,
    For twas my nut that did so brightly glow.”

    If the nut burns brightly you then will know that your love will burn equally as brightly. Hazels are often found at the border between the worlds where magickal things happen, and therefore Hazel wood is excellent to use to make all-purpose wands. Any Hazel twigs, wood or nuts should be gathered after sundown on Samhain since it will be at the peak of its magickal energy. Hazel must not be cut with a knife, but with a flint.

 

HOLLY

8th Moon of the Celtic Year – (July 8 – Aug 4)

Latin name: English Holly (also called Scarlet Oak) – ilex aquilfolium; American holly – ilex opaca. The Holly is an evergreen tree.

Celtic name: Tinne (pronounced: chihn’ uh

Folk or Common names: Holly, Scarlet Oak, Kerm-Oak, Holy Tree. Holly actually means “holy”.

Parts Used: Leaf, berry, wood.

Herbal usage: The leaf of the Holly can be dried and used as teas for fevers, bladder problems and bronchitis. The juice of the fresh leaf is helpful in jaundice treatment. Holly can be used homeopathically as a substitute for quinine. Note: Holly berries are poisonous!

Magical History & Associations: The Holly, a masculine herb, is associated with the element of fire, and is an herb of Saturn and Mars. The bird associated with this month is the starling, the color is green-gray, the gemstone is yellow caingorm, and the day of the week association is Tuesday. Holly is the first moon of the dark half of the year, and the Holly is sacred to both the Winter and Summer Solstices. Summer Solstice is the time when in mythology, the Oak King is slain by his twin, or tanist, the Holly King, who rules until the Winter Solstice, when he in turn is slain by his tanist, the Oak King. Tanist is related to the tannin found in an Oak tree; Oak and Holly are two sides of the same coin, the end of one cycle and the beginning of the next. The Holly is also sacred to the deities of Lugh, Habondia, Tina Etruscan and Tannus. There are special spirits that dwell within Holly trees: the Holly Man lives in the tree that bears prickly Holly, and the Holly Woman dwells within that which give forth smooth and variegated leaves. Holly is also associated with unicorns, since the unicorn is one of the Celtic symbols for this tree – the other symbol is the Flaming Spear.

Magickal usage: The month of Holly is a good time to do magick designed to help bring about a successful harvest. The Holly has applications in magick done for protection, prophesy, healing, magick for animals, sex magick, invulnerability, watchfulness, good luck, death, rebirth, Holiness, consecration, material gain, physical revenge, beauty and travel. Holly also has the ability to enhance other forms of magic. As a symbol of firmness and masculine energy, Hollywood was used by the ancients in the construction of spear shafts, which were thought to then have magickal powers. Uses of Holly in protective magick includes hanging a sprig of Holly in the home all year to insure protection and good luck. Holly is also an excellent charm to wear for protection. ‘Holly Water’ can be made by soaking Holly overnight in spring water under a full moon. This water can then be sprinkled over infants to keep them happy and safe. Holly Water can also be used to sprinkle around the house for psychic cleansing and protection. Holly leaves can be cast around outside to repel unwanted spirits or animals and a Holly bush can be planted close to houses to protect against lightning. Ensure that the Holly has a place in your garden because its presence wards off unfriendly spirits. Do not burn Holly branches unless they are well and truly dead, for this is unlucky. Holly, intertwined with ivy, is traditionally made into crowns for the bride and groom at weddings/handfastings. Holly and Ivy also make excellent decorations for altars. Holy is also a traditional decoration for Yuletide as in sung in the traditional Yuletide song:

  • “Deck the halls with boughs of Holly, fa la la la la, la la la la.”
    If you gather nine Holly leaves in complete silence on a Friday after midnight, wrap them up in a white cloth, use nine knots to bind the cloth, and then place them under your pillow, your dreams will come true. When harvesting the leaves from the Holly, remember to ask the tree if it will allow you to take the parts and be sure to leave the tree an offering of thanks when you are done. Holly favors red and yellow stones as gifts.

HAWTHORN

6th Moon of the Celtic Year – (May 13 – June 9)

Latin name: crataegus oxyacantha (from the Greek ‘kratos’ – hardenss, ‘oxus’ – sharp, and ‘akantha’ – thorn). In other words Hawthorns have

Celtic name: Huath (pronounced: Hoh’ uh)

Folk or Common names: Bread and Cheese Tree, Gaxels, Hagthorn, Halves, Haw, Hazels, Huath, Ladies’ Meat, May, Mayblossom, May Bush, Mayflower, May Tree, Midland Hawthorn Quick, Thorn, Tree of Chastity.

  • Parts Used: Berries, wood, branches, seeds, flowers.
  • Herbal usage: The berries are used as a cardiac tonic. Since this is a powerful herb it is best not to be used alone, so mix it with borage, motherwort, cayenne, garlic & dandelion flowers. Hawthorn leaves can be used as a substitute for oriental green tea, the seeds can be roasted and used like coffee. Hawthorn makes a light, hard, apple-like wood. Hawthorn usually doesn’t grow much bigger than a shrub, and is popular in England as a hedge plant. The wood from the Hawthorn provides the hottest fire known. Its leaves and blossoms are used to create a tea to aid with anxiety, appetite loss and poor circulation. The pink or white star-shaped blossom gives off a musky scent – for many men, a strong scent of female sexuality. They are edible, sprinkled on desserts. Young leaves (country name – pepper and salt) can be eaten in salads and sandwiches.
  • Magical History & Associations: The bird associated with this month is the night crow, the color is deepest black, and the gemstone is Lapis Lazuli. The Greeks and Romans saw the Hawthorn as symbolic of hope and marriage, but in medieval Europe it was associated with witchcraft and considered to be unlucky. This seeming contradiction is to be expected from a tree with such beautiful blossoms and such deadly-looking thorns. Hawthorne has a strong association with water. It is a Masculine herb, associated with the planet of Mars and the element of Fire. Hawthorn is so strongly associated with the Celtic May Eve festival of Bealtaine (Beltane) that “may” is a folk name for it. Whitethorn is another name popular in Brittany, where the tree marks Fairy trysting places. Sacred hawthorns guard wishing wells in Ireland, where shreds of clothing (“clouties”) are hung on the thorns to symbolize a wish made. The Roman goddess Cardea, mistress of Janus who was keeper of the doors, had as her principal protective emblem a bough of Hawthorn. “Her power is to open what is shut; to shut what is open.” Hawthorn is also associated with the deities of Flora (orgiastic use), the White Goddess Maia, and Hymen. There is an old legend which says that the first Hawthorn bush grew from the staff of St Joseph. The Burning Bush of Moses is a variety of hawthorn, Crateagus pyracantha. Hawthorn is one of the nine woods that is traditionally placed on the Bale-fire: “Hawthorn is burned to purify And draw faerie to your eye…”
  • Magickal usage: The month of Hawthorn is a good time to do magick designed to clear away old habits and spiritual cobwebs. Hawthorn can be used for protection, love and marriage, health and prosperity, Fertility, Purification, Chastity, male potency, Fishing Magic, purity, inner journeys, intuition, female sexuality, cleansing, and Happiness. The fey are said to especially like Hawthorn groves, since the Hawthorn is sacred to them. Hawthorn is one of the tree fairy triad of Britain: ‘Oak, Ash and Thorn’, and where all three trees grow together it is said that one may see fairies. The flowers are supposed to “bring fairies into the house. Solitary Hawthorn trees growing on hills or near sacred wells act as ‘markers’ to the faery realm. It is said that a person should never cut a blooming Hawthorn, as the fey will become angry. It is also said that sitting under a Hawthorn tree in the month of May might mean being lost forever to the unknown, mystic faery world. Even today, in parts of Ireland and Wales, it is a spring custom to braid crowns of Hawthorn blossoms and leave them for faeries, who come at night and dance around them. This custom brings blessings to whoever left the crown. The Hawthorn blossom, for many men, has the strong scent of female sexuality and was used by the Turks as an erotic symbol. Uses of Hawthorn in fertility/sexual talismans include using the leaves under the bed to preserve virginity (a good thing for those of us with teenaged daughters (LOL). Hawthorn has long been used to increase fertility, and because of this power it is incorporated into weddings, especially those performed in the spring. In many parts of Europe it was customary in the spring or early summer to go out to the woods and cut down a Hawthorn and bring it in back to the town. There the Hawthorn was set up with much celebration. Branches of the Hawthorn were also fastened to all the houses. This custom was said to bring the blessing which the Hawthorn tree-spirit has in its power to bestow into the village. Hence the custom in some places of planting a May-tree before every house, or of carrying the village May-tree from door to door so that every household may receive its share of the blessing. May poles used to be decorated, and sometimes even made from Hawthorn. Hawthorn has strong protective qualities. Hawthorn can be attached to a cow barn and the cows will stay healthy and produce an enormous milk supply. A globe made of Hawthorn can be placed in the kitchen for fire protection. Hawthorne in the rafters of a home is good for protection against spirits, and ghosts. In the past most witch’s gardens contained at least one Hawthorn hedge for protection, as well as being one of the ingredients in the famous Flying Ointment. Leaves can also be used as a charm to protect a newborn child and a thorn carried in a pouch can bring good luck while fishing and can also ward off depression. A Hawthorn branch hung from the roof or chimney of a house will protect it from lightning. Worn or carried, Hawthorn promotes happiness in the troubled, depressed or sad. It also can be used to promote beauty. At dawn on Beltane a young woman who wants to remain beautiful for the rest of the year, can go bathe in the dew of the Hawthorn tree while chanting this rhyme:
  • “The fair maid, who on the first of May,
    Goes to the fields at the break of day,
    And bathes in the dew from the hawthorn tree,
    Will ever strong and handsome be”.

    Hawthorns are a favorite tree of Witches, and we are said to be able to transform ourselves into a Hawthorn tree at will. Hmmm, I haven’t tried that one yet, but it might come in handy next time the Jehovah’s Witnesses come knocking on my door and I want to hide. Hawthorn is also a good wood to make brooms and wands out of because of its strong bond with Witchcraft. Just make sure that if you are going to cut off a limb of a Hawthorn tree for this use, that you do it on Beltane, since to cut it at any other time is unlucky. It is also bad luck to pick Hawthorn flowers before the first week of May”, and it also was considered “a sign that death is on its way if brought into the house, except for the first of May”. In ancient Britain, destruction of a Hawthorn tree might bring on tragedies such as the death of one’s cattle or children and a total loss of well-being.

 

Lime

Lime flowers are used in colds, cough, fever, infections, inflammation, high blood pressure, headache (particularly migraine), as a diuretic (increases urine production), antispasmodic (reduces smooth muscle spasm along the digestive tract), and sedative. [ 3 ] New evidence shows that the flowers may be hepatoprotective . [ 4 ] The flowers were added to baths to quell hysteria, and steeped as a tea to relieve anxiety-related indigestion, irregular heartbeat, and vomiting. The leaves are used to promote sweating to reduce fevers. The wood is used for liver and gallbladder disorders and cellulitis (inflammation of the skin and surrounding soft tissue). That wood burned to charcoal is ingested to treat intestinal disorders and used topically to treat edema or infection, such as cellulitis or ulcers of the lower leg

 

The lime tree is a national emblem of Slovakia , Slovenia , the Czech Republic and the Sorbs , [ citation needed ] where it is called lipa (in Slovak , Polish , Sorbian , Bulgarian (????), Croatian , Ukrainian , and Slovenian ) and lípa (in Czech ). The Zolota Lypa , or “Golden Lime (Linden) Tree River”, is river running in western Ukraine that is a tributary of the Dniester . The tree also has cultural and spiritual significance in Hungary, where it is called hars ( fa ).The Croatian currency, kuna , consists of 100 lipa , also meaning “linden”. The lime tree is also the tree of legend of the Slavs . In the Slavic Orthodox Christian world, limewood was the preferred wood for panel icon painting. The famous icons by the hand of Andrei Rublev , including the Holy Trinity (Hospitality of Abraham), and The Savior , now in the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow , are painted on limewood. Limewood was chosen for its ability to be sanded very smooth, and for its resistance to warping once seasoned .

The national poet of Romania, Mihai Eminescu , was known to receive poetic inspiration from a linden tree in the Copou Gardens under which he would compose.

The most famous street in Berlin , Germany is called Unter den Linden or Under the lindens , named after the linden trees lining the boulevard. In German folklore, the linden tree is the “tree of lovers.”

[ edit ] Germanic mythology

The tilia was also a highly symbolic and hallowed tree to the Germanic peoples in their native pre-Christian Germanic mythology .

Originally, local communities not only assembled to celebrate and dance under the lime-tree to hold their judicial thing meetings there in order to restore justice and peace. It was believed that the tree would help unearth the truth. Thus the tree became associated with jurisprudence even after Christianization , such as in the case of the Gerichtslinde , and verdicts in rural Germany were frequently returned sub tilia (under the lime-tree) until the Age of Enlightenment .

In the Nibelungenlied , a medieval German work ultimately based on oral tradition recounting events amongst the Germanic tribes in the 5th and 6th centuries, Siegfried gains his invulnerability by bathing in the blood of a dragon. While he did so, a single linden tree leaf sticks to him, leaving a spot on his body untouched by the blood and he thus has a single point of vulnerability.

[ edit ] Greek mythology

Homer , Horace , Virgil , and Pliny mention the lime-tree and mention its virtues. As Ovid tells the old story of Baucis and Philemon , she was changed into a linden and he into an oak when the time came for them both to die.

Herodotus says:

The Scythian diviners take also the leaf of the lime-tree, which, dividing into three parts, they twine round their fingers; they then unbind it and exercise the art to which they pretend.

 

Maple

 

In China and Japan the Maple Leaf is an emblem of lovers.

North American settlers used to place the Maple leaves at the foot of their beds to ward off demons and encourage sexual pleasure as well as peaceful sleep.

Also in the North American region, the stork can be observed weaving Maple branches in nests – as such, the Maple became a symbol of the love found in welcoming a new child in the

Oak

  • 7th Moon of the Celtic Year – (June 10 – July 7)
  • Latin name: white Oak – quercus alba; red Oak – quercus rubra; black Oak – quercus velutina; etc.
  • Celtic name: Duir (pronounced: dur). Duir means ‘door’.
  • Folk or Common names: Duir, Jove’s Nuts and Juglans.
  • Parts Used: Wood, leaves, bark, acorns.
  • Herbal usage: Oaks are known for astringent tonics and therefore tea made from Oak is a good remedy for hemorrhoids (EWWWW!). White Oak bark tea helps in sinus infections since it helps unglog congestion. Acorns can be peeled and used to make various homeopathic potions used to treat alcoholism, bad breath and constipation.
  • Magical History & Associations: The word Duir, comes from the Sanskrit “Dwr” meaning “door”, and is the door to the three worlds of the Shaman. The Oak is associated with the element of fire and is ruled by the sun. The bird associated with this month is the wren, the color is black, and the gemstone is white carnelian or moonstone. Oak has been considered sacred by just about every culture that has encountered the tree, but it was held in particular reverence by the Celts and the Norse because of its size, long life, and acorns. The Druids were said to have worshipped in Oak-groves in Gaul. In Druidic times at “Yule” all fires were extinguished, the Druids then lit the new season fires using Oakwood as Yule logs, and all of the people would start their fires from this source. The Oak tree is sacred to Brighid, the Dadga, Dianus, Janus, Rhea, Cybele, Hecate, Pan, and Erato. In the Vatican, there are statues of the goddess Artemis (often as a perpetual youth) wearing a necklace of acorns. The acorn was under the protection of Cybele (the goddess of Nature). The Oak is also frequently associated with Gods of thunder and lightening such as Zeus, Jupiter, Thor, and the Lithuanian God Perkunas. This association may be due to the oak’s habit of being a lightening-magnet during storms. Specific oak trees have also been associated with the ‘Wild Hunt’, which is led by Herne in England and by Wodin in Germany. King Arthur’s Round Table was said to have been made from a single slab of a giant oak tree.
  • Magickal usage: The month of Oak has summer solstice occurring within it, and Oak is a powerful symbol of Midsummer. In general, Oak can be used in spells for protection, strength, success and stability, healing, fertility, Health, Money, Potency, and good luck. The different varieties of Oak will lend their own special ‘flavor’ to the magic: Red Oaks energy is a bit lighter and more ‘firey’ than the other oaks; White Oak is useful for spells requiring strength and solidity; and Brown oak has a very earthy feel, and is useful for grounding. Acorns can be used specifically for magick done to attract the opposite gender, increase income and prosperity, or can be used for their divinatory powers. Oak is the tree known as “The King of the Grove” and was one of the sacred three: ‘Oak, Ash & Thorn’. The worship of the Oak tree may have come from the fact that the acorn was one of the main food sources of the nomadic tribes of prehistoric Europe. In mystic lore the acorn often represented the supreme form of fertility – creativity of the mind. Acorns are used to increase fertility (of projects or ideas, or in matters of human reproduction) and to ease pain. Symbolic of immortality, acorns are especially sacred to the Samhain season, and they can be used to decorate the altar in the fall. The Oak is a holy tree and is the lord of truth. There is a tradition that the voice of Jupiter may be heard in the rustling of its leaves. It is said that at the summer solstice the future can be divined by listening to the wind as it blows through the branches of an Oak tree. Oak is also a very powerful herb for protection. The Oak has protected England through the use of its timbers for the building of ships. Oaks are also used as boundary markers for their protective qualities. Acorns placed in a window can ward off lightning or creatures that go bump in the night. Acorns can be carried in a pocket or charm bag to protect the bearer from storms, from getting lost and from evil intent. An oak leaf can worn at the breast, touching the heart, and it will protect the wearer from all deception and the world’s false glamour. A handful of Oak leaves put in the bath water will cleanse the bather both in body and in spirit. Acorns are carried for immortality and longevity, to preserve youthfulness, for fertility, and against illness. Three acorns can be made into a charm for youthfulness, beauty and attainment in life. The three acorns should be tied and bound with the mage’s own hair, blessed under the new moon and the full moon, every month of the year, and then the charm should be worn. It is said that if you can catch a falling Oak leaf you shall have no colds all winter. When a sick person is in the house make a fire of Oakwood and warm the house with it to ‘draw off’ the illness. Acorns can be planted in the dark of the moon to bring financial prosperity. Acorns can also be placed near windows or hung from window shade pulls to bring luck to a house. This custom originates from the Vikings and Druids because of the strength of the oak tree and its ability to attract lightening. They can also be carried to bring good luck. 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 wood of an Oak tree can also be used to make staves, or Religious Idols. The midsummer fire is always Oak and the need fire is always kindled in an Oak log. When gathering Oak, be sure to pour wine on the roots of the tree to thank it for allowing you to take a part of it. Acorns should be gathered in the daylight, and leaves and wood by night. A waning moon is the correct time to harvest Oak.

Poplar

  • Tree of the Fall Equinox – (Aprox. September 22)
  • Latin name: Common Poplar – Populus Balsamifera; Trembling Poplar – Populus Tremuloides; Balm of Gilead – Populus Candicans; Black Poplar -
  • Celtic name: Eadha (pronounced: “Eh’ uh”).
  • Folk or Common names: All Poplar – Popple, Alamo, Aspen; Trembling Poplar – American Aspen, White Poplar, or Quaking Aspen; Balm of Gilead – bombagillia.
  • Parts Used: Bark and buds (sap)
  • Herbal usage: Poplar can be used as a tonic, chiefly used in treating fevers. The infusion has been found helpful in treating chronic diarrhea. Balm of Gilead buds can be used as a stimulant or tonic. A tincture of them is useful for complaints of the chest, stomach, and kidneys, and for rheumatism and scurvy. The sap collected from the buds can be used to make a healing ointment and can be used as an external application in bruises, swellings, and some skin diseases. Teas can be made from the Poplar buds and are useful in helping treat arthritis and rheumatism.
  • Magical History & Associations: In Gaelic tongue the tree was called Peble and Pophuil in the celtic way. Poplar is generally a plant of Jupiter, Saturn and the Sun and is associated with the element of water. Its color is rufous (red) and the bird associated with Poplar is the Whistling Swan. The stones associated with Poplar are Amber, Citrine Quartz, Sapphire and Swan Fluorite. The Anglo-Saxon rune poem seems to refer to the Poplar as being associated with the rune “berkano”. Heracles wore a crown of Poplar leaves in triumph after killing the giant Cacus (the evil one) and retrieving Cerberus from Hades. The upper surface of the Poplar leaves was thus darkened from Hades’ smokey fumes. Poplar trees are sacred to the Mesopotamian goddess Ua-Ildak. The Grass King of Grossvargula, who was seen as having fertilizing powers, went on horseback wearing a pyramid of Poplar branches and a crown. He led a procession of young men about the town and was then stripped of his branches beneath the Silver Lindens of Sommerberg. Poplar (Aspen) is said to be the tree of the Autumn Equinox and of old age, and is known as the shield makers’ tree. The Black Poplar was a funeral tree sacred to Hecate as death goddess, to Egeria, and to Mother Earth. Plato makes a reference to the use of Black Poplar and Silver Fir as an aid in divination. The Silver Fir standing for hope assured and the Black Poplar for loss of hope. The Grove of Persephone in the Far West contained Black Poplars and old Willows. In ancient Ireland, the coffin makers measuring rod was made of Aspen, apparently to remind the dead that this was not the end. 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.
  • Magickal usage: The Poplar’s ability to resist and to shield, its association with speech, language and the Winds indicates an ability to endure and conquer. The Poplar is known as the “Tree that Transcends Fear”. Poplars symbolize the magick of joy, the aging of the year, resurrection and hope – and are connected to the Otherworld. Poplar can be used in magick done for success, passage and transformation, Hope, rebirth, divinations, shielding, endurance, agility in speech and language, protection, and love – and as an aid in astral projection. Balm of Gilead buds can be carried in tiny red bags to help mend a broken heart. These buds should be kept as close to the heart as possible. Balm of Gilead buds can also be placed under the pillow and slept on to heal a broken heart. It may take several days to feel relief, but this really works. Balm of Gilead is also effective for grief, homesickness and the blues. Poplar can be used in protection charms of all kinds. Poplar is a good wood to burn in balefires and ritual fires since it offers protection. Shields can be made of Poplar since the wood is thought to offer protection from injury or death. Add some Balm of Gilead resin to your tinctures to enhance the “fixing” of the scent and to offer some added protection to the tincture. Carrying Poplar helps to overcome the urge to give way under the burden of worldly pressures, and aids in determination. Poplar buds can also be carried to attract money and can be burned as an incense to create financial security. Siberian reindeer-hunting cultures carved small goddess statues of Poplar (Aspen) wood. Groats and fat were then offered to the figures with this prayer:
  • “Help us to keep healthy!
    Help us to hunt much game!”

    Poplar buds are also sometimes added to flying ointments and was also used in astral travel. A medieval recipe for a flying ointment called for Cinquefoil, Poplar leaves, soot and bat’s blood obtained at the wake of the new moon. The trembling leaves of the Poplar tree can be ‘read’ to divine messages from the God and Goddess, and also from spirits that drift into woods. The Poplar is the sacred World Tree of the Lakota nation. For the sun dance ceremony, a Poplar is carefully cut and lowered, then is re-erected in the center of the dance circle. While being carried the Poplar must never touch the ground. Green branches, a buffalo skull and eagle feathers were used to decorate the Poplar for this ceremony.

 

ROWAN

  • 2nd Moon of the Celtic Year – (Jan 22 – Feb 18)
  • Latin name: Rowan/American Mountain Ash – sorbus americana; Rowan/European Mountain Ash – sorbus aucuparia
  • Celtic name: Luis (pronounced: loush)
  • Folk or Common names: Mountain Ash, Ran Tree, Witchwood Tree, Quickbeam, The Witch or Witch Wand Tree, Whispering Tree, Sorb-Apple, Service Tree
  • Parts Used: Wood, berries. Caution: do not eat the seeds
  • Herbal usage: Rowan bark has astringent qualities and can be used as a decoction for helping cure irritable bowels. Rowan berries can be made into a juice which can be used as a laxative. The berries are also an important food for grouse, cedar waxwings, grosbeaks and other hungry birds.
  • Magical History & Associations: The bird associated with the month of Rowan is the duck. The Druid Dhubh (Blackbird) also has an association with the Rowan tree since Blackbirds are fond of Rowan berries. Since each Rowan berry carries a minute pentagram, eating these berries is said to give the blackbird the ability to connect us with his healing song to the balancing and regenerative powers of the Otherworld and the Unconscious. The Celtic symbol of the month of Rowan is the Green Dragon. The color is red, and the gemstone is yellow chrysolite or the ruby. The Rowan is a Masculine herb that is associated with the element of fire, and is a tree of the sun and the planet Uranus. The tree is sacred to the deities of Rowan, Thor and Brighid (triple goddess of inspiration, healing and smithcraft). Rowan is also sacred to Oeagrus (father of Orpheus, who belonged to the sorb-apple cult) and to the White Goddess Aphrodite; Akka/Mader-Akka/Rauni (Finnish goddess of the harvest and of female sexuality); and the river goddess Halys/Alys/Elis (Queen of the Eleusine Islands). Irish Druids held Rowan trees sacred like Oaks and sometimes called it the ‘Tree of Life’. Rowan wood is one of the nine traditional firewoods to be added to the Belfire that is burned at Beltane. In folklore the Rowan is regarded as the godmother of milk cows. When a calf is due to be named, the farmer goes to the wood before daybreak to cut a Rowan branch with a piece of copper just as the sun rises. He smacks the calf on the back with it and calls it by its name. After that he tethers it to the cowshed door, decorated with white ribbons and eggshells, and the calf stays safe and well. The Rowan is a favorite tree of the Otherkin. A Slavic tree spirit known as Musail, the forest tsar, king of the forest spirits, is associated with the Rowan tree. Rowan also has a vampiric association since it is, along with Garlic and Hawthorn, one of the most popular herbal vampire repellents.
  • Magickal usage: The month of Rowan is a good time to do initiations, especially during Imbolc. The Rowan has applications in magick done for divination, astral work, strength, protection, initiation, healing, psychic energies, working with spirits of the dead, psychic powers, personal power, and success. Uses of Rowan in protective magick include carrying Rowan twigs on sea voyages to protect the ship from storms. A Rowan can be planted near a new house to protect it from lightning and evil influences. Walking sticks made of Rowan will protect there user from harm. A charm made of two small twigs of Rowan wood tied together to form a cross using red thread or yarn can be carried to protect against bad spirits. Its branches were used by Norsemen as rune-staves upon which to carve runes of protection. The Celts believed that no witches or evil spirits could cross a door over which a branch of Rowan had been nailed. In some legends, the Rowan has also been called the whispering tree because it has secrets to tell to those who will listen. Rowans also can be planted on graves to prevent the haunting of the place by the dead. In Ireland, a Rowan stake was sometimes hammered through a corpse to immobilize the spirit. 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. Should you happen upon a flourishing Rowan which is most bountifully hung with cluster upon cluster of delicate red berries, then you may be sure that some saintly soul lies buried close by. Rowan is often called The Wizard Tree or The Witch Tree, partly because Rowan berries have a small pentagram at the point where they are joined to the stalk. Indeed, Rowan berries were often regarded as magickal and were the food of the Tuatha De Danaan. As attractive as Rowan is to the Fey, Rowan wood is often used in butter churns so that the butter would not be overlooked by evil Faeries. In Scotland, fires made from rowan wood were used to protect the cattle against those same type of evil fairy spirits, and it is said that ‘Bewitched’ horses may be controlled by a Rowan whip. Witch-wands for divining metal are often made of Rowan wood, and Rowan branches may be used to dowse for water or can be made into wands. The best time to harvest a Rowan branch for a wand or staff is at Beltane. Remember to ask the tree if it will allow you to take a branch and be sure to leave the tree an offering of thanks when you are done.

Sycamore

It was this beautiful, slow-growing tree which acted as the boundary marker between Upper and Lower Egypt.

Several types of trees appeared in Egyptian mythology. The sycamore was particularly important. Two of them, called the “sycamores of turquoise” stood at the eastern gate of heaven from which the sun emerged each morning. These sycamores were especially associated with the goddesses Nut , Hathor and Isis , each of whom were called “Lady of the Sycamore”. Nut and Hathor were often shown to reach out from the tree to offer the deceased food and water. Sometimes the tree was anthropomorphized, having arms itself which offer the sustenance to the dead. In the example shown at right, the deceased is suckled by such a tree. The sycamore was sacred to Re

 

Walnut

Folklore
The Romans associated the walnut with the Juno, the Roman goddess of women and marriage and the wife of Jupiter. This association led to the unique wedding practice of throwing walnuts at the bride and groom as a symbol of fertility. Women often carried walnuts to promote fertility.

There is a legend that presumes walnuts were one of the gifts presented to Jesus by the three wise men.

English merchant sailors transported walnuts across the globe during Medieval times. Walnuts became so associated with the English that they were often called English walnuts, a name that is still used today.

One custom in Poitou, France is to have the bride and groom dance around the city’s gigantic walnut tree. The villagers believe that by participating in this dance the bride will produce an abundance of milk for her baby.

In the French countryside, it was tradition to hang a bag of walnuts from the ceiling beam in the kitchen to represent abundance. Walnuts also represented longevity.

Some young men in the French countryside believed the walnut tree to possess aphrodisiac powers and attempted to sneak a leaf into the shoe of a young woman they admired.

Along with some items of amusing folklore, the walnut tree holds a few dark superstitions. In seventeenth century Italy there was a walnut tree, the Tree of Benevento, that was believed to be the place where witches gathered. According to a legend, the Bishop removed the tree, roots and all, but another witch-haunted tree grew where the original stood.

Another legend warns it is unlucky to plant walnut trees too close to a stable because it might bring illness and death to the animals. Even travelers along the road were warned not to choose the walnut tree as a refuge for the night, fearing they may become ill.

Superstitions and fears also surrounded the shade of the walnut tree. A passage in Pliny’s writings states that the shadow of the walnut tree dulled the brain. He also considered the walnut tree a nuisance wherever it was planted.

Another superstition warns that one should not try to grow anything near the walnut tree, because it contains evil or poison.

The medieval Doctrine of Signatures stated that because the shape of the walnut resembled the brain, the nut would be beneficial for all ailments associated with the head and brain, including headaches. Later, toward the end of the fourteenth century, walnuts were thought to cause headaches.

One superstition held that if a walnut were dropped into the lap of a person suspected of being a witch, she would be unable to rise from a sitting position as long as the walnut remained in her lap

Willow

  • 5th Moon of the Celtic Year – (April 15 – May 12)
  • Latin name: Weeping Willow: salix babylonica; black Willow: salix nigra
  • Celtic name: Saille (Sahl’ yeh)
  • Folk or Common names: Willow, Witch’s Tree, Pussy Willow, Salicyn Willow, Saille, Sally, Withe, Withy, Witches’ Aspirin, Tree of Enchantment, Osier, Tarvos Tree, and Sough Tree. The Anglo-Saxon ‘welig’ from where the name ‘willow’ is derived, means ‘pliancy’.
  • Parts Used: Bark, sap, twigs, branches, wood.
  • Herbal usage: The bark of the Willow has been used as a pain killer… the bark contains a glusoside called salicin that forms salicylylous acid which is the ‘active ingredient’ in aspirin. The bark has astringic qualities and can be used for rheumatic conditions, heartburn and as a diuretic. The sap gathered from the tree when it is flowering can be used to treat facial blemishes and dandruff.
  • Magical History & Associations: The bird associated with this month is the hawk, the color is haze, and the gemstone is blood-red carbuncle. The Willow, a Feminine herb, is associated with water, and is an herb of the moon. The bird associated with this month is the hawk, the color is haze, and the gemstone is blood-red carbuncle. The Willow is associated with water, and is an herb of the moon. Willow wood is one of the nine traditional firewoods to be added to the Belfire that is burned at Beltane – as the tree of death that is Sacred to Hecate, Willow is added to the fire as a celebration of death. The Willow is sacred to Minerva who invented numbers and also to Artemis, Ceres, Persephone, Brigid, Hera, Helice, Mercury, Belili, and Circe. The Sumerian goddess Belili was a goddess of trees, and Willows in particular. The Willow is also associated with Orpheus, regarded by the Creeks as the most celebrated of poets. It is said that Orpheus received his gifts of eloquence and communication by carrying Willow branches on his journey through the Underworld. A bas-relief in a temple at Delphi portrays Orpheus leaning against a Willow tree, touching its branches. Pagan associations with the Willow have always been strong, for they are often revered as trees of the MoonGoddess, she who reflects her moon magic upon the waters of Earth. Willow was often the tree most sought by the village wise-woman, since it has so many medicinal properties, and eventually the Willow’s healing and religious qualities became one and the tree became called ‘witch’s tree’. The Willow is also associated with the fey. The wind in the Willows is the whisperings of a fairy in the ear of a poet. It is also said that Willow trees can uproot themselves and stalk travelers at night, muttering at them.
  • Magickal usage: The Willow has applications in magick done for enchantment, wishing, romantic love, healing, protection, fertility, magick for women, death, femininity, love, divination, friendship, joy, love, and peace. Placed in homes, Willow branches protect against evil and malign sorcery. Carried, Willow wood will give bravery, dexterity, and help one overcome the fear of death. If you knock on a Willow tree (knock on wood) this will avert evil. A Willow tree growing near a home will protect it from danger (I know this to be true. When the tornado hit our farm, the only reason we only lost part of the roof, rather than the whole house, was because the grove of Willows around the house protected us. Our poor Willows got pretty battered by the storm, lost most of their leaves and quite a few branches, but have recovered fully now!). Willows are also a good tree to plant around cemeteries and also for lining burial graves for its symbolism of death and protection. Willows can be used in rituals for intuition, knowledge, gentle nurturing, and will elucidate the feminine qualities of both men and women. If a person needs to get something off their chest or to share a secret, if they confess to a Willow, their secret will be trapped. Also, wishes are granted by a Willow tree if they are asked for in the correct manner. Willow leaves, bark and wood add energy to healing magick, and burning a mix of Willow bark and sandalwood during the waning moon can help to conjure spirits. Uses of Willow in love talismans include using the leaves to attract love. Willow leaves or twigs can also be used in spells to create loyalty, make friendship pacts, treaties, or alliances. A rejected lover can wear Willow as a charm to win back the love. To determine if you will be married in the new year:
  • “Throw your shoe high up
    into the branches of a Willow tree;
    If the branches catch and hold the shoe,
    you soon will married be.”

    Willows have many uses to Witches, the most common is that the wood is used to make wands for moon magick. Willow wands can also be used to dowse for water (underground), earth energies, and buried objects. (The Witch should be careful to ask for the tree’s blessings before taking a branch to make a wand.) The supple long ending branches of the Willow make good weaving materials to use to weave circlets and wreaths. Willow wood is good for making magical harps.

 

Ashoka Tree

The Ashoka Tree is one of the most sacred and legendary trees of India, and one of the most fascinating flowers in the Indian range of flower essences. The beautiful, perfumed flowers of the Ashoka Tree are used in temple decoration. Prized for its beautiful foliage and flowers, the Asoka Tree has many religious significances. This tree is revered by the Hindus, Buddhists and Jains . It is said that Lord Buddha was born under this tree in Lumbini. Some says that Lord Mahavira renounced the world under the Ashoka tree in Vaishali. The Hindus worship this tree because it is dedicated to “Kama Deva” (God of Love). The Ashoka tree gets a mention in the epic Ramayana as the “Ashoka Vatika” ( garden of Ashoka trees) where Hanuman first meets Sita. Literally meaning “the “sorrowless tree” , it is believed that drinking the water in which the flowers have been washed is widely considered a protection against grief among the Indians.

 

Banyan

Like the Peepal Tree, the Banyan Tree also symbolizes the Trimurti-Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma. The tree also symbolizes life and fertility in many Hindu cultures. That is the reason, banyan tree is worshiped by those who are childless and this tree should never be cut. The tree can grow into a giant tree covering several hectares. The Great Banyan in the Indian Botanic Garden , Howrah , is considered to be the largest tree in the world. Lord Dakshinamurthy , who is worshiped as the “ultimate guru”, is usually depicted beneath a banyan tree. He symbolizes Lord Shiva and is seen as the the destroyer of ignorance and embodiment of knowledge.

Bael Tree

In India, Bael tree is considered to be very sacred because it is associated with Lord Shiva. It is said that Lord Shiva is pleased by offerings of leaves from the Bael Tree, also known as bilva or bel tree. Thus, the Brahmanas worshiped Lord Shiva by for a period of one fortnight by offering bel leaves and that way satisfied Lord Shiva greatly. The fruit, flowers and leaves of the tree are all sacred to Shiva. Planting these trees around home or temple is sanctifying and is equivalent to worshiping a Linga with bilva leaves and water. The trifoliate leaf or tripatra of the bael tree is believed to symbolize the three functions of the Lord-the creation, preservation and destruction as well as his three eyes . The offering of the leaves is a compulsory ritual while worshipping Lord Shiva all over India . The Beal tree is also sacred to the Jains. It is said the 23rd Tirthankara, Bhagwan Parasnathji attained “Nirvana” enlightenment under a Bael tree. Besides religious significane, almost all parts of the tree have medicinal qualities Bael is an ingredient in many Ayurvedic and Siddha formulations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bamboo

The common names of Lord Krishna-Venugopal, Bansilal, Murali and Muralidhar reflect His association with Bansuri or Venu , His constant companion. Bansuri is actually a flute made of bamboo. That is the reason, bamboo is revered in India because it is associated with Lord Krishna.

Banana

Though banana is not a tree but it is considered a tree because of its structure and size. It is a very sacred tree and all parts of the tree are used for some purpose or the other. For example, the trunk of banana is used to erect welcoming gates. The leaves are used to make the ceremonial pavilion. In some pooja, the leaves are used to serve “prashad” . Just as leaves of bel tree are customarily offered to Lord Siva, it is believed that offering of the leaves of banana pleases Lord Ganesa. Banana as a fruit is offered to Lord Vishnu and Laksmi. Infact, the eleventh day of the bright half of Pausa (December-January) is considered to be very auspicious to offer banana to Lord Vishnu and Goddess Laxmi and sixth day of the bright fortnight of Kartika (October-November) is considered auspicious to offer banana to the Sun god. In some regions, banana tree is worshipped while performing Kadali Vrata or fast. According to tradition, during Vaisakha, Magha or Kartika sukla caturdasi, a banana tree is planted and nurtured till it bears fruit. It is said that worshiping the tree with flowers, fruit, etc. will help in the welfare of one’s family.

Bhang Tree

To all Hindus, the Bhang Tree is a very Holy Tree. There are many beliefs associated with the Bhang Tree. It is believed that a guardian lives in the Bhang leaf. To see in a dream the plant or water or leaves of Bhang is considered lucky as it brings wealth and prosperity into the dreamer’s power. To meet someone carrying Bhang is a sure sign of success. Bhang is a popular drink made of the leaves and flowers of the Bhang tree and considered to be a “prashad” . It is must for every devotees to have bhang on Mahashivratri . It is also said that nothing good can come to the man who treads underfoot the holy Bhang leaf. A longing for Bhang is a sign of happiness. Since ancient times, Yogis take deep draughts of Bhang so that they can center their thoughts on the Eternal without any disturbance because bhang has that intoxicating power in it. Infact, the students of ancient scriptures at Benares are given Bhang before they sit to study. Bhang has also many medicinal virtues. It is also believed that no god or man is as good as the religious drinker of Bhang. It is also said that to restrict the use of such a holy and gracious herb as the hemp or Bhang would cause widespread suffering and annoyance.

Coconut

In Sanskrit, the name for the coconut palm “Kalpa vriksha” , which means “the tree which provides all the necessities of life” or “wish-fulfilling tree” . The coconut tree is given a special place in most Hindu households and great care is taken to nature the tree. In the southern part of India, it is a must for every household to plant coconut trees. There is a popular saying, “Water the plant for five years, reap coconuts for life” . The coconut is used for all religious purposes. Infact, it represents the main “sthapana” of any pooja. The whole pot filled with water, mango leaves and coconut, also known as “Purnakumbha” is a symbol of Goddess Laksmi or Fortune and the coconut represents divine consciousness. To break a coconut in the beginning of any event is considered to be very auspicious. Coconuts are offered in Temples to worship to various Gods and Goddesses. The fruit is also believed to represent Lord Shiva and the three black marks on the coconut shell, symbolizes his eyes.

Mango

The mango tree is another sacred tree of the Hindus. The significance of this finds mention in the Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Puranas . The mango as a fruit is a symbol of love and fertility. The leaf of the tree is used during most religious and social ceremonies of the Hindus. A “Purnakumbha” is a pot filled with water and topped with fresh mango leaves and a coconut and considered to be the “staphna” of the puja. The pot symbolizes Mother Earth, water is the life giver, coconut the divine consciousness and the mango leaves symbolizes life. The whole “Purnakumbha” is symbolizes Goddess Lakshmi and good fortune. On various auspicious occasions, mango leaves are used to adorn entrances at home to signify good fortune. Mango blossoms are used on Basant Panchami day in the worship of Goddess Saraswasti. The tree is also sacred to the Buddhists because it is believed that Lord Buddha performed during his lifetime the instantaneous creation of a large mango tree from the seed at a place called Shravasti.

Neem

It is said that on the first day of Chaitra, after Amavasya, it is very essential to worship the neem and eat its leaves, mixed with pepper and sugar, as a safeguard from fever. The neem tree besides having various medicinal benefits is a highly revered tree among the Hindus because it is a manifestation of “Goddess Durga” or “Maa Kali”. That is why the tree is sometimes referred to as Neemari Devi . The Tree is worshiped very intensely. Tamil Ladies, while worshiping Maa kali dress in red, carry branches of the Neem tree, and dance in public places swishing the branches as an act of exorcism and to purify the world. The multi-headed occult goddess Yellamma (a highly revered goddess in south Indiai) sometimes assumes the appearance of a young neem tree. Young maidens worship this Goddess by cladding themselves all over in neem branches. In Bengal, neem is considered to be the tree which is the abode of “Sitala” (the great Pox-mother who can cause or cure disease). The customary treatment of pox is therefore to rub the body with neem leaves while making prayers to Sitala . It is also said that the smoke of burning neem protects both the living and the dead from evil spirits.

Peepal

The Peepal Tree also known as “Ashvattha” in Sanskrit, is a very large tree and the first-known depicted tree in India. A seal discovered at Mohenjodaro, one of the cities of the Indus Valley Civilisation depicts the peepal being worshiped. According to the Brahma Purana and the Padma Purana , when the demons defeated the gods, Lord Vishnu hid himself in the Peepal Tree and that is why it is believed that the Peepal Tree is a symbol of Vishnu and is worshiped since a long period of time. There is another belief that the tree represents the Trimurti -the roots being Brahma, the trunk Vishnu and the leaves Shiva. Some says that Lord Krishna is believed to have died under this tree, after which the present Kali Yuga started. According to another belief, Goddess Lakshmi also inhabited the tree, specially on Saturday and hence it is considered auspicious to worship it. Infact women worship the tree to bless them with a son tying red thread or red cloth around its trunk or on its branches. According to the Skanda Purana , to cut down a peepal tree is considered a sin. Even Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment under the peepal tree and the peepal is also sacred to Buddhist. Hence it is also called the Bodhi tree or “tree of enlightenment” .

Red Sandalwood Tree

Besides being used in fragrance industry, fine woodworking and aromatherapy, Sandalwood is commonly used for incense and religious ceremonies. The Red Sandalwood Tree is considered to be a very sacred tree and is like a sage among many people. It is said that all other trees are considered ordinary trees and are like ignorant men in front of a Red Sandal wood. Popularly known as Chandan , Sandalwood has an extraordinary fragrance. Sandalwood paste is used in all religious rituals. The paste is smeared on the foreheads of devotees of Vishnu and Shiva and it is said that the sandalwood paste is meant to cool and protect the “Agna chakra” present between the eyebrows. In India, the death pyre is made using sandalwood branches for centuries. According to legend, Lord Ganesha was created by Goddess Parvati out of sandalwood paste that she used for her bath and breathed life into the figure. According to Indian mythology, sandalwood tree is depicted as being entwined with serpents. Sandalwood remains cool and aromatic even when the poisonous serpent coils around it. This also has another meaning that the basic nature of an individual cannot change because of outer effects.

Tulsi

Tulsi is always associated with purity and a highly revered and used for all religious purposes among the Hindus. It is considered very auspicious to have a Tulsi plant in the front courtyard of many Hindu households. Tulsi beads can always be seen around the necks of serious yogis and mystics in India, worn to purifying the mind, emotions and body. Dispelling the unwanted influences of others, gross and subtle, is one of the many benefits bestowed by Tulsi plant and hence worshipped by all. Tulsi plants are also prized in Ayurveda, where they are considered an integral part of that sophisticated healing system. In practically every temple in India, no puja can be started without few Tulsi leaves. There is always a special place reserved for this sacred plant. The qualities and amazing powers of this plant are found throughout the oldest writings on Earth, the Sanskrit Vedas of ancient India, where it is stated that simply touching the wood is purifying at many levels. Tulsi plant is most loved by Lord Vishnu and Vrinda Devi, the Goddess ruling Tulsi is known as the personification of bhakti or devotion to the Supreme Being.

Yew

  • Tree of the day before the Winter Solstice (Aprox. December 21)
  • Latin name: Taxus baccata.
  • Celtic name: Idho (pronounced: Ih’ huh).
  • Folk or Common names: English Yew.
  • Parts Used: Needles, wood, berries.
  • Herbal usage: CAUTION – THIS PLANT IS POISONOUS AND SHOULD BE USED WITH CAUTION. The needles and branch tips have been used to treat lung diseases and bladder problems. recently a new cancer drug, Taxol, has been derived from its bark and berries.
  • Magical History & Associations: The name “Yew” is a corruption of the Anglo-Saxon word ‘eow’. The word ‘Taxus’ is from the Greek word ‘Taxon’, meaning ‘bow’. The 5000 year old “Ice Man”, discovered in the Alps, had a bow and axe handle made of Yew. The Yew is known as the ‘Tree of Death’ through out Europe and is associated with the season of winter. It is sacred to many Dark Goddesses: Banbha, Amalthea (mother of the horned Dionysus), Morrighan, The Erinyes, Cailleach Beara, Berchta, and Hekate. Shakespeare recognized the relationship of Yew and Heckate and referred to the contents of her cauldron as “slips of yew, silver’d in the moon’s eclipse…” (Macbeth) – and elsewhere Shakespeare makes ‘hebenon, the double-fatal yew’ the poison which Hamlet’s uncle pours into the king’s ear. Heckate’s sacred tree of death is said to root in the mouths of the dead and release their souls, and also absorbs the odors of death itself. Bulls are associated with this tree, as are female goats. The bird associated with Yew is the eaglet, since the eaglet’s appetite is insatiable, and the bones of its nest are white like the snow on its cliff-ledge. The Yews colors are white and silver and it is associated with the element of water. The Yew is associated with the planet Saturn and with the metal lead. In Old England the Yew was known as “The Witches Tree” since it is associated with sorcery and magick.
  • Magickal usage: The time of Yew is known as a time of death, and so on the day before Yule it said that is not a good idea to do actual spell work, instead it is suggested to do rituals of the season concerned with reincarnation. Because the Yew grows to such an old age, it has become a symbol of stability in Celtic areas of the world and so is often used as the central “World Tree” in ritual spaces. As one of the three magickal trees (along the Alder and the Black Poplar) associated with death and funerals, the Yew has often been planted in graveyards. Yew sends up new trees from its roots, so is a powerful symbol of death and reincarnation. Yew wood is appropriate for magickal tools such as wands and staves. In ancient times Yew sticks were carved with the Ogham characters as tools of divination. The Futhark features a 13th Rune, which is considered one of the most powerful Runes and represents a stave cut from a yew tree. This Rune is regarded as the stave of life and death. Yew can be dried and burned as an incense to contact spirits of the dead – and even to raise the dead

Yew Tree – An old folk tale tell why yews are ‘dressed’ so darkly: When the yew was a yound species, in times when there were few people, it thought that all other trees were more beautiful, for their colourful leaves could flutter in the wind, until its stiff needles. The tree pined, thinking that the faieries had deliberately made in unattractive. Yet the faeries wanted to please the yew, and one sunny morning it found its needles had changed to leaves of gold and its heart danced with joy. But robbers came and stripped the tree bare, leaving it confused and sad. The faeries then gave it leaves of purest crystal and the yew loved its sparkle, but a storm of hail fell and the crystals shattered. Then it was given broad leaves and it waved them in the air, only for them to be eaten by goats. At this the yew gave up, for it realised that its original dress was the best, for it was of permanence, of long ages and deep knowledge, and in this the tree found comfort.

Yew sticks were used by the Celts for divination by reading the signs that were formed as they were thrown on the ground.

 

If youv’e got any tree-lore to add, any advice to give, any books to recommend anything at all, please get in touch.

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