Sacred Trees and
the Celts and many other peoples
of the old world, certain trees held special significance as a fuel for
heat, cooking, building materials and weaponry. In addition to this
many woods also provided a powerful spiritual presence. The specific
varied between different cultures and geographic locations, but those
to be "sacred" shared certain traits. Unusual size, beauty, the wide
of materials they provided, unique physical characteristics, or simply
the power of the tree's spirit could grant it a central place in the
and mythology of a culture. Even our modern culture finds that certain
trees capture our imagination. The mighty oak, the mystical yew and so
many others are reminders of the power that trees have on our lives.
are living things, filled with
the essence and energy and of the Elementals and Mother Earth with an
of power which is visible to those who are in total balance and
The lore which surrounds a particular tree or wood often reflects the
the old ones sensed and drew from their presence.
- This tree was sacred to the
Druids. The pith is easily pushed out of green shoots to make whistles.
Several shoots bound together by cordage, can be trimmed to the desired
length for producing the note you want and used to entice Air
The old superstition of "whistling up the wind" began with this custom.
- (Domestic) Another sacred tree
to the Druids. It is said that you may cut an apple into three pieces,
then rub the cut side on warts, saying: "Out warts, into apple." Then
the pieces and as the apple decays, the warts will disappear. Use apple
cider in any old spells calling for blood or wine. Apple indicates
and is useful for love and healing magic.
- A Druid sacred tree. Druid wands
were often made of ash because of its straight grain. Ash wands are
for healing, general and solar magic. Put fresh ash leaves under your
to stimulate psychic dreams.
- Known as Lady of the Woods,
Paper Birch and White Birch. Carefully gather strips of the bark at the
New Moon. With red ink, write on a birch strip: "Bring me true love."
this along with a love incense, saying "Goddess of love, God of desire,
Bring to me sweet passion's fire." The specific name of a god/goddess
be added. Or cast the bark into a stream or other flowing water,
"Message of love, I set you free, to capture a love and return to me."
It is unwise to use this incantation
and ritual directed toward a specific person as that would violate the
rule. If a love is to come to you, it must be of that persons free will
to do so. Please see the Love and the Use of Magick page for more
of this subject.
- Blackthorn is a winter
tree. Its white flowers are seen even before the leaves in the spring.
It is black barked with vicious thorns and grows in dense thickets. The
wood is used in the cudgel shillelagh and Blasting Stick. Its thorns
used to pierce waxen images. Blackthorn indicates strong action of fate
or outside influences that must be obeyed.
- Also known as Scotch Broom or
Irish Broom. It can be substituted for furze (gorse) at the Spring
The Irish called it the "Physician's power" because of its diuretic
Sweep your outside ritual areas with it to purify and protect. Burning
the blooms and shoots calms the wind. Be cautious if you plant Broom
it will quickly multiply....
- Also known as the Tree of Life,
Arbor Vitae, Yellow Cedar. Ancient Celts on the mainland used cedar oil
to preserve the heads of enemies taken in battle. To draw Earth energy
and ground yourself, place the palms of your hands against the ends of
- Also known as Ellhorn, Elderberry,
Lady Elder. Sacred to the White Lady and Midsummer Solstice. The Druids
used it to both bless and curse. Standing under an elder tree at
like standing in a Fairy Ring of mushrooms, will help you see the
people." Elder wands can be used to drive out evil spirits or thought
Music on panpipes or flutes of elder have the same power as the wand.
the words of the Rede. Elder is the Lady's Tree, burn it not or cursed
- A slightly fibrous, tan colored
wood with a slight sheen. Elm is often associated with Mother and Earth
Goddesses, and was said to be the abode of faeries, explaining
injunction; "Ailim be the lady's tree; burn it not or cursed ye'll be".
Elm wood is valued for it's resistance to splitting, and the inner bark
was used for cordage and chair caning. Elm adds stability and grounding
to a spell.
- Fir is a very tall slender tree
that grows in mountainous regions on the upper slopes. Fir cones
to rain by closing and the sun by opening. Fir can see over great
to the far horizon beyond and below. Fir indicates high views and long
sights with clear vision of what is beyond and yet to come.
(SILVER) - Also known as the Birth
Tree. The needles are burned at childbirth to bless and protect the
- Also known as Gorse, Whin. Its
golden flowers are associated with the Spring Equinox. Wood and blooms
are burned for protection and preparation for conflict of any sort.
- Also known as May Tree and
White Thorn. Wands made of this wood are of great power. The blossoms
highly erotic to men. Hawthorn can be used for protection, love and
- Wands made of this wood symbolize
white magick and healing. Forked sticks are used to find water or
treasure. If outside and in need of magickal protection quickly draw a
circle around yourself with a hazel branch. To enlist the aid of plant
fairies, string hazelnuts on a cord and hang up in your house or ritual
room. Magically, hazel wood is used to gain knowledge, wisdom and
- A beautiful white wood with
an almost invisible grain; looks very much like ivory. Holly is
with the death and rebirth symbolism of winter in both Pagan and
lore and is important to the Winter Solstice. In Arthurian legend,
(representing the Oak King of summer) fought the Green Knight, who was
armed with a holly club to represent winter. It is one of the three
used in the construction of chariot wheel shafts. It was used in spear
shafts also. The qualities of a spear shaft are balance and directness,
as the spear must be hefted to be thrown the holly indicates directed
and vigor to fight if the cause is just. Holly may be used in spells
to do with sleep or rest, and to ease the passage of death. A bag of
and berries carried by a man is said to increase his ability to attract
- Its berries were used with
thyme in Druid and Grove incenses for visions. Juniper grown by the
discourages thieves. The mature berries can be strung and hung in the
to attract love.
- Also known as Birdlime,
All Heal and Golden Bough. It was the most sacred tree of the Druids,
ruled the Winter Solstice. The berries are poisonous! Bunches of
can be hung as an all-purpose protective herb. The berries are used in
- Oak has been considered sacred
by just about every culture that has encountered the tree, but it was
in particular esteem by the Celts because of its size, longevity, and
acorns. The oak was the "King of Trees" in a grove. Magick wands were
of its wood. Oak galls, known as Serpent Eggs, were used in magickal
Acorns gathered at night held the greatest fertility powers. The Druids
and Priestesses listened to the rustling oak leaves and the wrens in
trees for divinatory messages. Burning oak leaves purifies the
It can be used in spells for protection, strength, success and
the different varieties will lend their own special 'flavor' to the
- The Pine tree is an evergreen,
its old title was "the sweetest of woods." It was known to the Druids
one of the seven chieftain trees of the Irish. Mix the dried needles
equal parts of juniper and cedar and burn to purify the home and ritual
area. The cones and nuts can be carried as a fertility charm. A good
cleansing and stimulating bath is made by placing pine needles in a
woven bag and running bath water over it. To purify and sanctify an
ritual area, brush the ground with a pine branch.
- Also known as Mountain Ash,
Witchwood and Sorb Apple has long known as an aid and protection
enchantment. Sticks of the Rowan were used to carve Runes on. Rowan
and crosses were placed over cattle in pens and over homes for
Its lovely red berries feed the birds in winter. The berries have a
pentagram on them and are especially poisonous. The pentagram is the
symbol of protection. The Rowan tree indicates protection and control
the senses from enchantment and beguiling. The Rowan was sacred to the
Druids and the Goddess Brigit. It is a very magical tree used for
rods, amulets and spells. A forked Rowan branch can help find water.
are for knowledge, locating metal and general divination.
- Also known as White Willow,
Tree of Enchantment and Witches' Aspirin. Once of the seven sacred
of the Irish, a Druid sacred Tree. The willow is a Moon tree sacred to
the White Lady, Its groves were considered so magickal that priests,
and all types of artisans sat among these trees to gain eloquence,
skills and prophecies. For a wish to be granted, ask permission of the
willow, explaining your desire. Select a pliable shoot and tie a loose
knot in it while expressing what you want. When the wish is fulfilled.
return and untie the knot. Remember to thank the willow and leave a
- Also known as English Yew and
European Yew. Another important tree to the Winter Solstice and the
of death and rebirth. It is a beautifully smooth, gold-colored wood
a wavy grain. The Irish used it to make dagger handles, bows and wine
The wood or leaves were laid on graves as a reminder to the departed
that death was only a pause in life before rebirth. All parts of the
are poisonous except the fleshy covering of the berry, and its
uses include a recently discovered treatment for cancer. The yew may be
the oldest lived tree in the world. Ancient yews can be found in
all over Britain, where they often pre-date even the oldest churches.
are some convincing arguments for it being the original 'World-tree' of
Scandinavian mythology. The Yew may be used to enhance magical and
abilities, and to induce visions.
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