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 Sacred trees

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Posts : 126
Join date : 2009-05-27
Age : 30
Location : West Texas

PostSubject: Sacred trees   Tue Sep 22, 2009 5:53 am

Sacred Woods and the Lore of Trees

ALDER (Alnus spp.) This tree is a water lover. The oily water
resistant wood has been used extensively for underwater foundations
and pilings in Venice and elsewhere. It is used in dairy vessels and
the branches in making whistles. It is associated with Bran, as He
used His body as a bridge to span dangerous waters. It is used in the
construction of bridges. Bran's Head was oracular. Alder indicates
protection and oracular powers.

APPLE* (Malus spp.) A dense, fine-grained, rosy-coloured wood with a
slightly sweet smell. The Apple is the earliest cultivated tree. It is
associated with choice. At Somerset, an auction was held for single
acre plots on two pieces of common land. Plots were marked and
matching marks made on the fruit. The apples were then placed in a bag
and commoners were allocated land by the distribution of the fruit.
All the acres of land were similar, as many times today choices must
be made between similar and equally attractive things. Regardless, the
choice must be made. In Norse myth, Idunna was the keeper of the
'apples of immortality' which kept the Gods young. The 'fruit-bearing
tree' refered to by Tacitus in his description of Norse runic
divination may have been the apple. Apple indicates choice, and is
useful for love and healing magic.

ASH* (Fraxinus spp.) A strong, straight-grained wood; sometimes has
'olive' streaks or stripes in the grain. The European variety
(fraxinus excelcior) was referred to in the Eddas as the species of
Yggdrasil - the 'World-Tree" . The first man, named Ask, was created
from an ash log. Ash was commonly used to make spears because of its
'springiness' and straight grain. In North America, strips of black
ash were split along the grain to make splints for baskets and hoops.
It is used in weaver's beams. Women would weave cloth and
intermingling threads together in a tight pattern as the microcosm and
the macrocosm are united. Ash can be used in spells requiring focus
and strength of purpose, and indicates the linking of the inner and
outer worlds.

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

BIRCH* (Betula spp.) A lovely pale, fine-grained wood. Long associated
with fertility and healing magic, birch twigs were used to bestow
fertility on cattle and newlyweds, and children's cradles were made
from its wood. Birch is one of the first trees to grow on bare soil
and thus it births the entire forest. Criminals were at one time
birched to drive out evil influences on them, to renew them for the
new year. Birch was associated with Thor, probably in recognition of
his role as an agricultural and fertility deity. Birch is an
incredibly useful tree - nearly every part of it is edible, and it's
sap was an important source of sugar to Native Americans and early
settlers. The inner bark provides a pain reliever and the leaves are
used to treat arthritis. It's bark was used for everything from paper
to canoe hulls, and axe handles were also made from Birch. Birch is
most useful for fertility and healing spells.

BLACKTHORN (Prunus spinosa) Blackthorn is a winter tree. The sloe, its
fruits ripen and sweeten only after the nip of the frost. White
flowers are seen even before the leaves in the spring. It is black
barked with vicious thorns and grows in dense thickets. The wood is
used in the cudgel shillelagh and Blasting Stick. Its thorns are used
to pierce waxen images. Blackthorn indicates strong action of fate or
outside influences that must be obeyed.

ELDER (Sambucus spp.) The Latin name sambucus is derived from a Greek
word for a wind instrument made from elder. The pith can easily be
removed from the small branches to make a flute. Elder regrows damaged
branches with ease and can root rapidly from any part. A tea for
purifying the blood can be made from the flowers and wine from the
fruit, but in general the tree is poisonous. In Norse mythology, the
Goddess Freya chose the black elder as her home. In medieval times it
was the abode of witches and it was considered dangerous to sleep
under its branches or to cut it down. Sticks of Elder were used as
magical horses by Witches. Elder indicates the end in the beginning
and the beginning in the end. Life in Death and Death in Life.

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

FIR (Abies spp.) Fir is a very tall slender tree that grows in
mountainous regions on the upper slopes. Fir cones respond to rain by
closing and the sun by opening. Fir can see over great distance to the
far horizon beyond and below. Fir indicates high views and long sights
with clear vision of what is beyond and yet to come.

HAWTHORN (Crataegus oxyacantha) 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 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. Hawthorn can
be used for protection, love and marriage spells.

HAZEL (Corylus avallania) Hazel is another food tree. In Celtic
tradition, the Salmon of Knowledge is said to eat the 9 nuts of poetic
wisdom dropped into its sacred pool from the hazel tree growing beside
it. Each nut eaten by the salmon becomes a spot on its skin. The Hazel
tree provided shade, protection and baskets. In Europe and North
America, hazel is commonly used for 'water-witching' - the art of
finding water with a forked stick. Magically, hazel wood is used to
gain knowledge, wisdom and poetic inspiration.

HOLLY* (Ilex aquifolium) A beautiful white wood with an almost
invisible grain; looks very much like ivory. Holly is associated with
the death and rebirth symbolism of winter in both Pagan and Christian
lore. In Arthurian legend, Gawain (representing the Oak King of
summer) fought the Green Knight, who was armed with a holly club to
represent winter. It is one of the three timbers used in the
construction of chariot wheel shafts. It was used in spear shafts
also. The qualities of a spear shaft are balance and directness, as
the spear must be hefted to be thrown the holly indicates directed
balance and vigour to fight if the cause is just. Holly may be used in
spells having to do with sleep or rest, and to ease the passage of death.

LARCH (Larix europaea) A light softwood, very similar to spruce. Larch
is one of the few conifers which sheds its needles in the winter. It
is closely related to the North American tamarack (larix laricina).
The larch plays an important role in Sami (Lapp) and Siberian
mythology where it takes the place of the ash as the World-tree. Their
shamans use larch wood to rim their ceremonial drums. The smoke from
burning larch is said to ward off evil spirits. Larch may be used for
protection and to induce visions.

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

OAK (Quercus spp.) Red Oak* (Quercus rubra) A strong,
straight-grained, slightly porous wood with a slight reddish hue. Its
energy is a bit lighter and more 'firey' than the other oaks.

White Oak* (Quercus alba) Darker and denser than red oak. It's
strength and density have led to its being used in barrel-making and
shipbuilding. Useful for spells requiring strength and solidity.

Brown (English) Oak* (Quercus robur) A richly-coloured dark brown
wood. 'Bog oak' is brown oak which has fallen into a peat bog and been
preserved there for hundreds of years until it begins to have the
consistancy of coal. Brown oak has a very earthy feel, and is useful
for grounding. Oak has been considered sacred by just about every
culture that has encountered the tree, but it was held in particular
esteem by the Norse and Celts because of its size, longevity, and
nutritious acorns. The oak is frequently associated with Gods of
thunder and lightening such as Zeus, Thor, and the Lithuanian God
Perkunas. This association may be due to the oak's habit of being hit
by lightening 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. In general, oak can be used in spells for
protection, strength, success and stability; the different varieties
will lend their own special 'flavour' to the magic.

PINE (Pinus spp.) The Pine tree is an evergreen, its old title was
"the sweetest of woods". Its needles are a valuable source of vitamin
C and can loosen a tight chest. The scent of Pine is useful in the
alleviation of guilt. The Bach's flower remedies lists it for dealing
with feelings of guilt. Pine indicates issues of guilt within you.

POPLAR (Populus spp.) The White Poplar flourishes beside rivers, in
marshes and in other watery areas. The pith is star shaped. The upper
leaves are green, the underside is silver. The wood was used in the
making of shields. Leaves move with every puff of wind. It is commonly
referred to as the talking, whispering and quivering tree. 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 when he
retrieved Cerberus from Hades, and the upper surface of the leaves was
thus darkened from Hades' smokey fumes. In Christian lore, the quaking
poplar (aspen) was used to construct Christ's cross, and the leaves of
the tree quiver when they remember this fact. The Poplar's ability to
resist and to shield, its association with speech, language and the
Winds indicates an ability to endure and conquer.

ROWAN (Sorbus aucuparia) The Rowan tree (also called Mountain Ash) is
long known for aid and protection against enchantment. Sticks of the
Rowan were used to carve Runes on. It was also used in the art of
metal divining. Rowan spays and crosses were placed over cattle in
pens and over homes for protection. Its lovely red berries feed the
birds in winter. The berries have a tiny pentagram on them. The
pentagram is the ancient symbol of protection. The Rowan tree
indicates protection and control of the senses from enchantment and

WILLOW (Salix babylonica) The willow is another water loving tree.
Willow bark contains Salicin which is used in the treatment of
rheumatic fever and various damp diseases. Her catkins, which appear
in early spring before her leaves, attract bees to start the cycle of
pollination. In western tradition it is a symbol of mourning and
unlucky love. The Latin name for the weeping willow refers to the
psalm in which the Hebrews mourn their captivity in Babylon by the
willows. Willow indicates cycles, rhythms and the ebb and flux.

YEW* (Taxus baccata) A beautifully smooth, gold-coloured wood with a
wavy grain. All parts of the tree are poisonous except the fleshy
covering of the berry, and its medicinal uses include a recently
discovered treatment for cancer. Long associated with magic, death,
rebirth and the runes, the yew may be the oldest-lived tree in the
world. Ancient yews can be found in churchyards all over Britain,
where they often pre-date even the oldest churches. There are some
convincing arguements for it being the original 'World-tree' of
Scandinavian mythology. In Europe, yew wood was used for making bows,
while on the northwest coast of North America, the Pacific yew (Taxus
brevifolia) is used by the Haida and other tribes for making masks and
boxes. Yew may be used to enhance magical and psychic abilities, and
to induce visions.

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