Woods: their types and uses
The ancient Celtic tree alphabet was used by the
followers of the Old Religion to construct a language of the
trees that could be used in conjunction with the occult
symbolism of each of the trees. When translated from the
ancient tongue we find the following trees referenced often:
Elm, Birch, Hazel, Oak, Aspen, Alder, Ivy, Yew, Rowan, Ash,
Pine, Willow, Elder, and Spindle. These trees, along with
others, will be covered. From early times, there have
been the sacred groves and the sacred tree.
Individual trees of particular species have
been revered, the kind varying with the divine force
represented. Oak and Cedar are obvious examples of father
emblems as Willow and Hazel are mother emblems. The
androgynous Pine and the world bearing Ash also have their
place in our folklore. The symbolism of the woods are very
important in the construction of any magical tool. A
complete description of the various woods and their uses is
impossible in a limited space but we will cover as much as
possible.OAK © The oak tree is the tree of Zeus, Jupiter, Hercules,
The Dagda (The Chief of the Elder Irish gods), Thor and all
other Thunder Gods. The royalty of the Oak needs no
enlarging upon. The Oak is the tree of endurance and
triumph, and like the Ash, is said to count the lightings'
flash. 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 midsummer fire is
always Oak and the need fire is always kindled in an Oak log.
OCCULT ASPECTS: Endurance, triumph, strength, power,
dominion, prosperity, sacrifice, guardian, liberator.
BIRCH © With the exception of the mysterious elder, the Birch
is the earliest of the forest trees. The Birch is used
extensively in cleansing rituals. Throughout Europe, Birch
twigs are used to expel evil spirits. Birch rods are also
used in rustic rituals to drive out the spirits of the old
year.OCCULT ASPECTS: Controlled by the Lunar influences. Birth,
healing, Lunar workings, and protection.
HAZEL © The Hazel is a tree of wisdom. In England, all the
knowledge of the arts and sciences were bound to the eating
of Hazel nuts. Until the seventeenth century, a forked
Hazelstick was used to divine the guilt of persons in cases
of murder and theft. We have retained the practice of
divining for water and buried treasure.OCCULT ASPECTS:
Wisdom, intelligence, inspiration, wrath.
ALDER © The Alder is the tree of fire. In the battle of the
trees, the Alder fought in the very front line. It is
described as the very "battle witch" of all woods, the tree
that is hottest in the fight. from the alder, you can make
three different dyes, red from its bark, green from its
flowers, and brown from its twigs; this symbolizes the
elements of fire, water and earth. The Alder wood is the
wood of the witches. Whistles may be made of this wood to
summon and control the four winds. It is also the ideal wood
for making the magical pipes and flutes. To prepare the wood
for use, beat the bark away with a willow stick while
projecting your wishes into it. The Alder is a token of
resurrection.OCCULT ASPECTS: Controlling the four winds, banishing and
controlling elementals, resurrection. Making magical dyes.
IVY / VINE © The Ivy was sacred to Osiris as well as to
Dionysus. Vine and Ivy come next to each other at the turn
of the year, and are jointly dedicated to resurrection.
Presumably, this is because they are the only two trees that
grow spirally. The Vine also symbolizes resurrection because
its strength is preserved in the wine.OCCULT ASPECTS: (VINE)
Faerie work, Joy, Exhilaration, Wrath, Rebirth.
(IVY) Fidelity, Constancy, Love, Intoxication.
YEW © The Yew is known as the death tree in all european
countries. Sacred to Hecate in Greece and Italy. Yew wood
makes excellent bows, as the Romans learned from the Greeks.
This strengthened the belief that Yew was connected with
death. Its use in England is recalled in Macbeth where
Hecate's cauldron contained:"... Slips of Yew,
slivered in the moon eclipse."The Silver Fir of birth and
the Yew of death are sisters.
They stand next to each other in the circle of the year and
their foliage is almost identical.OCCULT ASPECTS: Destructive
workings concerning death. Not recommended for magical tools
"...for I am the tomb to every hope.
ROWAN © The Rowan is seen as the tree of life. It is also
known as Mountain Ash, Quickbeam, The Witch or Witch Wand.
In the British Isles, Rowan is used as a protection against
lightning and magical charms of all sorts. 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. The Rowan is also used for many
healing purposes. The "Quickbeam" is the tree of quickening.
Another use was in metal divining. In Ireland, a Rowan stake
was hammered through a corpse to immobilize the spirit.OCCULT ASPECTS:
Divination, healing, astral work, protection.
ASH © The Ash is sacred to Poseidon and Woden. The Ash is
considered to be the father of trees. The Ash is the tree of
sea power, or of the power resident in water. Special
guardian spirits reside in the Ash; This makes it excellent
for absorbing sickness. The spirally carved druidical wand
was made of Ash for this purpose.OCCULT ASPECTS: Sea power,
karmic laws, magical potency, healing, protection from drowning.
PINE © External symbol of life and immortality. It is one of
the few trees that are androgynous. It was also worshiped by
the ancients as a symbol of fire because of its resemblance
to a spiral of flame. It is regarded as a very soothing tree
to be near.OCCULT ASPECTS: Strength, life and immortality,
WILLOW © The Willow was sacred to Hecate, Circe, Hera, and
Persephone, all death aspects of the Triple Moon Goddess, and
was often used by the Witches in Greece. The moon owns it.
Female symbol. It is the tree that loves water most and is
sacred to the Moon Goddess who is the giver of dew and
moisture, generally. The Willow is the tree of enchantment.
Can be made into a tool to make wishes come true.OCCULT PURPOSES:
Moon magic, psychic energy, healing, inspiration, fertility
ELDER © A waterside tree, the Elder has white flowers that
bloom to their peak in midsummer (as is also true for the
Rowan) thus making the Elder another aspect of the White
Goddess. The Elder is also said to be the crucifixion tree.
The inner bark and the flowers have long been famous for
their therapeutic qualities.OCCULT ASPECTS: Witchcraft,
banishment, magical art, waters
HAWTHORN © The Whitethorn or Hawthorn or May Witch takes its
name from the May. It is a generally unlucky tree and its
name, translated from the Irish Brehon Laws, had the meaning
"harm". The Goddess, under the name Cardea, cast spells with
the Hawthorn. In many cultures, the month of the Hawthorn
(May) is a month of bad luck for marriages. The Hawthorn
blossom, for many men, has the strong scent of female
sexuality and was used by the Turks as an erotic symbol. The
monks of Glastonbury perpetuated it and sanctified it with an
approving tale that the staff of Joseph and the Crown of
thorns were made of Hawthorn. OCCULT ASPECTS: Purification,
enforced chastity, male potency, cleansing.
HOLLY © Holly means "holy". The identification of the pacific
Christ with the Holly is poetically inept as it is the Oak
king, not the Holly king that is crucified on a T shaped cross.
The Holly has many uses form making a dye from its
berries to being used as an aphrodisiac.OCCULT ASPECTS: Holiness,
consecration, material gain, physical revenge, beauty
WHITE POPULAR © The tree of the Autumn Equinox and of old
age, is the shifting leaved White Popular, or Aspen, The
shield makers tree. Heracles bound his head in triumph with
popular after killing the giant Cacus (the evil one). The
Black popular was a funeral tree sacred to the Mother Earth.
Plato makes a reference to the use of Black popular and
Silver Fir as an aid in divination. The Silver Fir standing
for hope assured and the Black Popular for loss of hope. In
ancient Ireland, the coffin makers measuring rod was made of
Aspen, apparently to remind the dead that this was not the
end.OCCULT ASPECTS: Hope, rebirth, divinations.This concludes
trees referenced to be in use in Europe.
However, I thought there may be interest in a few local
trees.ALMOND © Almond has a very sweet natural being. Aids in self
protection.OCCULT ASPECTS: Fruitfulness, virginity
APPLE © It is an old English custom to drink to the health of
the Apple tree with a good glass of cider all in hopes of
encouraging the tree to produce a good crop next year.OCCULT
COCONUT © The Coconut is feminine and very fertile. The
shell represents the womb, and the milk, fertility.OCCULT ASPECTS:
Protection from negative psychic forces.FIG © The Fig is androgynous.
The fruit representing the feminine and the triple lobed leaves suggest
the masculine force.
OCCULT ASPECTS: Balance
MISTLETOE © The mistletoe was sacred to the Druids and to the Norse.
It was considered to be the great healer and has both
male and female qualities. It was so well regarded by the
Norse (because it was sacred to Freya) that they refused to
fight in the vicinity of Mistletoe. The custom of hanging
Mistletoe in the house to promote peace comes from this.
Generally regarded today as a symbol of love and purity.OCCULT ASPECTS:
Love, fertility, sexual potency.PALM © Is regarded as particularly
powerful because of its incredible durability and because it is self
renewing, never changing its leaves. Aids in rejuvenation.
OCCULT ASPECTS: Resurrection, and the cycle and matrix of
PEACH © The Peach is an emblem of marriage.OCCULT ASPECTS:
Abundance, fruitfulness, happinessThis concludes this short treatise
on the various woods, their types and uses. This information was
passed to me through various sources, and no claim is made as to its
their types and uses. This information was