Tree Lore

Many people forget that trees are also herbs – and very powerful herbs. The information contained in this article will teach you the properties of these magnificent and powerful plants. Three informative lists introduce you to the Nine Blessed Trees, the Magickal Power of Trees, and the Magickal Properties of Wood. Working with the properties of wood can be helpful to you in many areas – not the least of which is creating a wand for a specific use, or a powerful set of runes.

The Nine Blessed Trees
The Nine I sing, the Nine blessed trees
Which were empowered of old:
Oak, thou druid’s door, open the way for us.
Apple, thou knowledge-giver, break our circle of blindness.
Ash, thou world-supporter, drive away ill powers.
Birch, thou tree-mother, help in our healing.
Hawthorn, thou branch of May, give us light and hope.
Willow, thou soul-leader, grant us safe passage.
Holly, thou forest king, be our safe refuge.
Hazel, thou wise-one’s branch, give us true vision.
Alder, though river’s love, let us flow outward.
In peace, let us flow outward; in power let us flow outward;
in beauty let us flow outward.

Magickal Powers of Trees
ALMOND: Divination, Clairvoyance, Wisdom, Money, Loans, Business
APPLE: Healing, Prosperity, Love, Perpetual Youth
ASH: Protection
APRICOT: Love
ASPEN: Protection
BIRCH: Protection, Purification, Fertility, New beginnings
CEDAR: Prosperity, Longevity
COCONUT: Purity, Chastity, Healing
CYPRESS: Past life workings, Protection
ELDER: Healing, Protection, Prosperity
ELM: Protection
EUCALYPTUS: Healing
FIG: Fertility, Strength, Energy, Health
HAWTHORN: Cleansing, Marriage, Love, Protection
HAZEL: Divination, Marriage, Protection, Reconciliation
JUNIPER: Protection
LEMON: Divination, Healing, Chastity, Neutrality
LIME: Divination, Healing, Chastity, Neutrality
LINDEN: Protection
MAPLE: Divination, Love
MULBERRY: Knowledge, Divination, Wisdom, The will
OAK: Healing, Strength, Money, Longevity
OLIVE: Peace, Fruitfulness, Security, Money, Marriage, Fidelity
ORANGE: Love, Marriage
PALM: Strength

The Magical Properties of Wood
BIRCH
(Beth) from December 24 – January 20:
White Stag, the Sun, Arthur, Taliesin, the sun god Hu, the invisible creator Celi: The Birch Tree represents inception. The rebirth of the Sun from winter’s solstice. The first tree that takes away the decay of the mysterious elder. Both the Birch and the Elder stand on either side of the one Nameless day. They both represent a link between life and death, with the Birch being the beginning of all things. It is associated with the training of Druids. The birth of new life. Energetic and spontaneous.

ROWAN
(Luis) from January 21 – February 17:
The Green Dragon, Duck. Insight and Blessing the Planet Uranus (flame), The Fire Festival of Brigantia Brigid and Brigantia: The Rowan tree was believed to be magical tree which grew red berries that were the food of the gods. These berries were so sacred that it was believed that the Gods guarded them jealously and kept them from man. The Druids believed that the Creator, Celi who was an invisible god, manifested in nature including the restless elements such as lightning, which was also associated with Dragons. Dragons are associated with new life and thus this period of time is also associated with the coming of new life out of the dark winter.

ASH
(Nion) from February 18 – March 17:
The Trident or Sea Horse, Snake, Connections the Planet Neptune (Lir), Lir and Manannan: Related to their Irish Gaelic word for Heaven, Nionon, the Ash has special sacred meaning. Three of the five trees planted to establish the five provinces. In Celtic mythology the ash is known as the tree of enchantment and it is said the Welsh magician Gwydion fashioned his wands from ash wood. The Celts believed that they came from the Great Deep or the Undersea land of Tethys. It is this reason that the Ash is associated with the sea.

ALDER
(Fearn) from March 18 -April 14:
The Pentacle or The Hawk, Red Fox, Ram, Stallion, A strong foundation, the Planet Mars (Maurth), The Vernal Equinox, Bran, Arthur, Airem and Teutates: The Alder is associated with courage and it represents the evolving spirit. Bran was a mighty warrior of ancient Britain. Not always the victor, but never defeated. In one battle Bran fights the Ash King on behalf of the Alder King. Though he loses the battle, he is still recognized as a great warrior. The period of the Vernal Equinox is an extremely important period in the Celtic year. as it represents free will and liberty in a moral context. It is still considered a crime to cut down a sacred Alder tree and he who does is considered the cause of any trouble in the village.

WILLOW
(Saille) from April 15 – May 12:
The Sea Serpent, Cat or Hare, Intuition, The Moon (Llun), The Fire Festival of Beltane Ceridwen, Morrigan, Morgan le Fay, and Dana: The Willow tree since ancient times has always been associated with death. In Northern Europe, the word witch and wicked is derived from the name of the Willow. It is considered to be a tree of enchantment. In Celtic mythology it is associated with the creation myth of two scarlet sea serpent eggs which contained the Sun and the Earth. These eggs were hidden in the boughs of the Willow tree until they hatched, thus bringing forth earthly life. The Willow is also associated with death as it is the obvious conclusion to birth and life.

HAWTHORN
(Uath) from May 13 -June 9,
The Chalice, Vulcan (Govanna), Govannan or Goibniu: The Hawthorn tree associated with the sacred and the unlucky. To destroy a Hawthorn was to incur great peril to the person responsible. The Hawthorn tree is embodied in the character of the chief giant Yspaddaden in a Welsh romance of Kulhwch and Olwen. A guardian figure who tries to protect the virginity of Olwen. He is felled and the blooms of summer soon open, thus symbolizing the advance of summer defeating winter at last. It is associated with Govanna (Vulcan) a smith god that is the custodian of the celestial fire and higher powers of the mind. Thus it is symbolize as the Chalice as it too represents divine secrets and everlasting life.

OAK
(Duir) from June 10 – July 7:
The White Horse, The Golden Wheel, the Planet Jupiter (Jovyn), Summer Solstice, Dagda: The principal sacred tree of the Druids, the Oak Trees symbolized the turning of the year. During this time of year the Druids would carve a circle in to the tree for protection against lightning. The Oak represents the trial we all go through in life while changing and becoming that whom we are meant to be we must also consider the greater good and moral responsibilities. It represents the soul, which in Celtic terms is the “eye of god.” Change, sacrifice, and understanding. It is a time when the sun starts his movement into darkness and is sacrificed to darkness as the earth begins to move back into winter.

HOLLY
(Tinne) from July 8 – August 4:
The Unicorn, War Horse, The Flaming Spear, Balance, Earth (Abred) The Fire Festival of Lammas Danu: A symbol of luck and good fortune. In Celtic mythology the Holly is the evergreen twin of the Oak. It is called a kerm-oak. The Oak rules the light part of the year while the Holly rules the dark part. The Unicorn represents a horse with a horn that resembles the flaming spear. The Celtic symbol of the Flaming Spear is associated with the Celtic month of Tanist because the Celtic T is shaped like a barbed spear. Both the Oak and Holly are symbolized with the Summer Solstice and the White Horse of the Oak becomes the The Unicorn of the Holly in transformation. The Fire Festivals that took place during this time were usually in honorof the Earth. Therefore, the Holly also represents those eternal, ever-green aspects of mother earth.

HAZEL
(Coll) from August 5-September 1:
The Rainbow Salmon, the planet Mercury (Mugher), Ogma and Manannan: The Hazel nut is the emblem of concentrated wisdom. One could gain knowledge simply eating nuts. In this aspect it is associated with the Salmon, a sacred symbol of wisdom. In Irish Lore it is the Hazel was the Bile Ratha where in which the poetic Fairy lives. It was a capital crime to felling a Hazel tree. Ogma, who is credited with creating writing, is associated with great “knowing.” It is he who is credited with mandating that the Oral tradition of the Celts be closely guarded and preserved, yet through his creativity he created the alphabet based on tones and sounds.

REED
(Ngetal) from October 28 – November 24:
The White Hound, The Stone, the Planet Pluto (Pwyll), The Fire Feast of Samhain Dis, Pwyll, Arawn: Identified with the submerged or hidden dryad, The Reed represents the mysteries of death. In fact the Fire Feast of Samhain celebrates the dead and on Samhain, the boundary between the Otherworld and this world dissolve. It is a night of great divination. Or in another fashion, it represents the hidden roots to all life. The Reed is associated with with being both a savior and custodian. Pwyll, the Celtic ruler of the Otherworld was given “The Stone” , one of four treasures given to him for safekeeping. The Stone represents the right of the kings and queen to have divine power. Thus the Reed is also the symbol of Royalty. The White Hounds represent the dogs that guard the lunar mysteries.

ELDER
(Ruis) from November 25 – December 22,
The Black Horse, The Raven, Badger, Healing, the Planet Saturn, The Winter Solstice (Alban Arthuan) Pryderi, Bran: The Symbol of both death and rebirth. Like the Winter Solstice, it highlights a time of evolution. The Celts believed that it was during this time that their sun or solar spirit was held prisoner. Just as Pryderi was forced into exile. It is also a time of trouble and struggle for supremacy. In deed what is now will one day be no more, and that which is to come, will also, one day be no more.

Yew
(Idho) – symbolizes death, rebirth and reincarnation. Change and regeneration.

Apple (Quert)- represents beauty and youthfulness. All things innocent and fresh. Eternity.

Blackthorn (Straif)- member of the Rose Family it is the Fairy Tree. Guarded by Fairies, if harmed or cut on the wrong day misfortune will follow he who fells the tree (bush). Strength in adversity.

Silver Fir (Ailm)- a tall tree associated with the Yuletide and Solstice.

Furze or Gorse (Onn)- a thorny shrub associated with the Spring Equinox. Symbol of fertility.

Heather (Ur) – a large shrub – another name for Venus or Guinevere. Generosity and persistence.

Poplar or Aspen (Eadha)- Courage and endurance.

Mistletoe – Graves makes a case for an additional blank ogham, the unhewn dolmen arch, which he associated with mistletoe. Mistletoe had great ceremonial importance to the Celts and is associated with birth and rebirth.

Sequoia – represents wisdom and longevity.

Beech – the symbol of stability and evenness.

Dogwood – symbolizes Glamour and refinement.

Cedar – represent protection from harm and evil forces.

Cypress – symbolizes sadness and morning.

Hazelnut – represents elation, loss of inhibition and exhilaration.

Elm – symbolized the dark side of the psyche.

Fir – represents change and shape shifting. Objectivity.

Pine – symbolizes continuation and hardiness.

Sycamore – symbolizes development, perseverance and vitality. They are often able to grow where no other tree can Spruce – represents versatility and symbolizes coldness.

VINE
(Muin) from September 2 – September 29:
The White Swan, Lizard, Unlocking, the Planet Venus (Gwena), The Autumn Equinox Branwen, Guinevere, Etain: The Vine is the symbol of sensuality and emotions. A hardy, long lived plant. It’s symbol, the White Swan represents the radiant divinity of the Gods who are said to go to their underground forts during the Autumn Equinox. The White Swan is also associated with the White Ghost or the White Phantom – Gwenhwyvar. To the Celts, the Autumn Equinox is a time when the light will eventually give up its hold to the darkness, but for a brief moment all is in balance. The light and the dark hold equal positions. To the Celtic mind it represents the balance of the mundane and the supernatural; the mortal and the immortal.

IVY
(Gort) from September 30 – October 27:
The Butterfly, The Mute Swan, The Boar, Progress and tenacity, the Veiled Moon, the Planet Persephone which is said to exist just beyond Pluto Rhiannon and Arianrhod: In contrast to the the Vine, Ivy is evergreen, and it represents the perennial aspects of the human psyche. The Celts associate Ivy with their lunar goddess Arianrhod and their ritual to her marked the opening of the portal to the Otherworld. Thus the dark side of the moon. This door symbolizes an entrance to the world of the Faery People. The Butterfly is the the symbol of the Faery Faith. Thus Ivy represents mysterious and the mystical.

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