today's societies the value of trees is little more than their market
value in landscaping, food production, building, construction, and so
on. Our ancestors though knew a great deal about the world they lived
in, and they applied that knowledge accordingly. With our growing awareness
and scientific investigations, some of that ancient knowledge has again
come to light.
We all know that trees are alive and that they are a very
vital part to the Earth and all of its inhabitants, but not everybody
realizes that trees have spirits. There are differing theories about
these spirits. Trees may just be a home for wandering entities. Or,
as I believe, the trees have their own spirit. A spirit that keeps on
growing until it is time to move on.
There are many old laws and legends about trees and their
spirits. Practically everywhere in the world there has been one form
of tree-worship or another. In pre-Christian Europe, trees and forests
were widely worshipped. The early Celtic and Nordic people of western
and northern Europe especially. Druids would select sacred tree groves
as the best sites for their rituals. Robert Graves, author of the famous
book The White Goddess, observes that trees were widely associated
with arcane wisdom and ritual magic among early European peoples. He
suggests that the Celtic term druid may be traceable to the
Sanskrit taru-vid which means "tree-knowing."
Celtic people valued every kind of tree and plant. They
would associate the trees and plants with a particular character or
properties. Here is a list of the most popular properties:
Alder ~ The spirit of the alder tree
is very protective, and it has great knowledge about prophetic scrying
with the use of water and mirrors. When it leaves the tree, it will
often take the form of a raven.
Apple ~ The apple tree is the home to
one of the fantastic creatures found within the faerie realm - the unicorn.
Traditionally, the unicorn lives beneath the apple tree. The apple blossoms
draw out great numbers of flower faeries in the spring who promote feelings
of happiness in those who are near. The spirit of this tree holds the
knowledge of eternal youth and beauty.
Ash ~ The ash tree has great mysticism
and power associated with it. In Norse tradition, it was called Yggdrasil,
the great tree of life. It is a doorway to many dimensions of the faerie
realm. Its spirit is strong and holds the knowledge of how events and
people are linked together. It can teach the magick of poetry and how
to weave words into powerful effects.
Cedar ~ This tree and its spirit are
both protective and healing. It also has ties to the unicorn of the
faerie realm - as the unicorn keeps its treasures in boxes made of cedar.
This spirit brings calm and balance to emotions and can stimulate inspiring
Cherry ~ Just as the apple tree is the
home of the unicorn, the cherry tree is home to yet another of those
fantastic creatures of the faerie realm - the pheonix. The spirit of
this tree is often fiery in appearance. It has the ability to bring
individuals to the threshold of a new awakening.
Elder ~ The elder tree is sacred to the
Druid and Celtic traditions. It was the tree of birth and death, beginning
and ending. Its spirit is that of transaction. It teaches how to awaken
opportunity to cast out the old and bring in the new. The tree's spirit
has knowledge of great magick. She can provide protection and add power
to even the slightest of wishes.
Hawthorne ~ The Hawthorne is sacred to
the faeries and elves. They hold great love for this tree and its spirit.
This is the tree of magick. This tree can stimulate growth and fertility
in all areas of your life, making it seem enchanted to others.
Oak ~ The oak tree is also sacred to
the Celts and the Druids. It is home to a very powerful spirit, which
has great strength and endurance. It holds the ancient knowledge of
the continuity of life, and just being near it is strengthening to the
entire auric field. It is a natural doorway to the faerie realms and
their mysteries. Every acorn has its own little faerie and bringing
an acorn into your home is a way of inviting more intimate contact with
the faeries for brief periods. The oak tree is always home to great
populations of elves and faeries.
Pine ~ The pine tree has an ancient spirit.
It has ties to the Dionysian mysteries and it was the sacred tree of
Mithra. It is also sacred to Poseidon. Pine trees found along shorelines
are often gathering spots for water spirits and sprites. This tree spirit
is healing and balancing, especially to emotions. It can show how to
express our creative energies without feelings of guilt. It is protective
against all forms of negativity.
Rowan ~ The rowan is another ancient
and magical tree. Its spirit holds the knowledge of the omens of nature
and how to read them without becoming superstitious. This spirit is
protective and visionary, and it can be used to connect with all goddesses.
The wisdom of this spirit is so strong that when linked with, it can
teach you to call up magick spirits, guides and elementals. It is tree
spirit who helps prevent intrusions bt outside forces. It is grounding
and prevents becoming lost in the faerie realms.
Sycamore ~ The sycamore was sacred to
the Egyptians and is still a doorway into those realms where beings
and forces associated with Egypt can still be connected. It can teach
how to receive from the universe - be it in the form of assistance,
compliments, or any other form. It holds the knowledge of the laws of
abundance and supply and how to utilize them to your greatest benefit.
It also has knowledge of hidden treasures. Attuning to the sycamore
will augment all connections to nature.
Willow ~ The willow is a magickal tree
with great mysticism and life to it. It was associated with Orpheus
in the Greek traditions and the goddess Brigid in the Celtic traditions.
It has a long association with the faerie realm. its spirit and the
elves that live under it are keepers of the knowledge of herbology.
The willow tree can speak audibly to us if we learn to quiet ourselves
and listen. It is the most discernible at night. The willow spirit often
leaves the tree at night and follows travelers muttering and speaking
to them. Not understanding, most travelers were frightened by this.
The willow spirit has the knowledge of how to make and use magick wands.
The willow tree opens vision, communication and stimulates dream activity.
The best time to attune to it and its energies and spirit is at night.
Trees and their spirits were revered. So highly revered
that in most cultures felling a tree that still had its spirit meant
losing your life. For instance, the old German laws had ferocious penalties
for anyone who so much as dared peel the bark of a standing tree. The
culprit's navel was to be cut out and nailed to the part of three which
he had peeled, and he was to be driven round and round the tree until
his guts were wound about its trunk. The intention of the punishment
clearly was to replace the dead bark by a living substitute taken from
the culprit. A life for a life. The Lithuanians prominently worshipped
trees until their conversion to Christianity towards the close of the
fourteenth century. Some maintained holy groves about their villages
or houses, where even to break a twig would have been a sin. They thought
that he who cut a bough in such a grove either died suddenly or was
crippled in one of his limbs. The prevalence of tree-worship in ancient
Greece and Italy are abundant. In the sanctuary of Aesculapius at Cos,
for example, it was forbidden to cut down the cypress trees under a
penalty of one thousand drachms. Nowhere in the ancient world was this
antique form of religion better preserved than in the heart of the great
metropolis itself. In the Forum, the busy center of Roman life, the
sacred fig tree of Romulus was worshipped down to the days of the empire,
and the withering of its trunk was enough to spread panic and concern
throughout the city. On the slope of the Palatine Hill grew a cornel
tree which was esteemed one of the most sacred objects in Rome. Whenever
the tree appeared to be drooping, a cry was echoed through the town
and soon a crowd was seen running in from all directions with buckets
of water, as if they were trying to put out a fire. In Moluccas, when
the clove trees are in blossom, they are treated like pregnant women.
No noise may be made near them; no light or fire may be carried past
them at night; no one may approach them with his hat on, all must uncover
in their presence. These precautions are observed lest the tree should
be alarmed and bear no fruit, or should drop its fruit too soon, like
the untimely delivery of a woman who has been frightened in her pregnancy.
Sometimes it is the souls of the dead which are believed
to animate trees. The Dieri tribe of Central Australia regard as very
sacred certain trees which are supposed to be their fathers transformed;
hence they speak with reverence of these trees, and are careful that
they shall not be cut down or burned. Some of the Philippine Islanders
believe that the souls of their ancestors are in certain trees, which
they therefore spare. If they are obliged to fell one of these trees,
they excuse themselves to it by saying that it was the priest who made
them do it. The spirits take up their abode, by preference, in tall
stately trees with great spreading branches. When the wind rustles the
leaves, the natives fancy it is the voice of the spirit; and they never
pass near one of these trees without bowing respectfully, and asking
pardon of the spirit for disturbing its repose.
Trees and their spirits are believed to give rain and
sunshine. The make the crops grow. They make the herds multiply and
bless women with offspring. We are connected to trees in more ways than