mystical and magical uses have been found for the thirteen trees which
symbolize the months of the Celtic lunar year, and it is likely,
considering the popularity of Celtic Paganism, that many more will be
discovered. However you choose to observe the lunar months, it can be
helpful to first imbibe a magical brew designed to attune your body and
spirit to the occasion. Magickal Uses of Woods
Taken from the ancient Celtic tree alphabet.
trees of particular species have been revered, the kind varying with
the divine force represented. The symbolism of the woods are very
important in the construction of any magical tool.
description of the various woods and their uses is impossible in a
limited space but we will cover as much as possible.
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 lightning's' flash.
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.
MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Endurance, triumph, strength, power, dominion, prosperity, sacrifice, guardian, liberator.
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.
MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Controlled by the Lunar influences. Birth, healing, Lunar workings, and protection.
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.
MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Wisdom, intelligence, inspiration, wrath.
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.
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.
MAGICKAL 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.
MAGICKAL ASPECTS: (VINE) Faerie work, Joy, Exhilaration, Wrath, Rebirth. (IVY) Fidelity, Constancy, Love, Intoxication.
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.
ASPECTS: Destructive workings concerning death. Not recommended for
magical tools "...for I am the tomb to every hope."
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.
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 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.
MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Divination, healing, astral work, protection.
The Ash is sacred to Poseidon and Woden.
The Ash is considered to be the father of trees.
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
The spirally carved druidical wand was made of Ash for this purpose.
MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Sea power, karmic laws, magical potency, healing, protection from drowning.
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.
MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Strength, life and immortality, rejuvenation
Willow was sacred to Hecate, Circe, Hera, and Persephone, all death
aspects of the Triple Moon Goddess, and was often used by the Witches
The moon owns it.
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.
MAGICKAL PURPOSES: Moon magic, psychic energy, healing, inspiration, and fertility
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.
MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Witchcraft, banishment, magical art, waters of life.
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.
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
MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Purification, enforced chastity, male potency, and cleansing.
Holly means "holy".
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
The Holly has many uses from making a dye from its berries to being used as an aphrodisiac.
MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Holiness, consecration, material gain, physical revenge, beauty
The tree of the Autumn Equinox and of old age, is the shifting leaved
White Poplar, or Aspen, The shield makers tree.
Heracles bound his head in triumph with popular after killing the giant Cacus (the evil one).
The Black poplar 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 Poplar 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.
MAGICKAL 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 has a very sweet natural being. Aids in self protection.
MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Fruitfulness, virginity
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.
MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Fertility
The Coconut is feminine and very fertile.
The shell represents the womb, and the milk, fertility.
MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Protection from negative psychic forces.
The Fig is androgynous. The fruit representing the feminine and the triple lobed leaves suggest the masculine force.
MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Balance
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.
custom of hanging Mistletoe in the house to promote peace comes from
this. Generally regarded today as a symbol of love and purity.
MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Love, fertility, sexual potency.
regarded as particularly powerful because of its incredible durability
and because it is self renewing, never changing its leaves. Aids in
MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Resurrection, and the cycle and matrix of life
The Peach is an emblem of marriage.
MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Abundance, fruitfulness, happiness.
very few of the recipes actually contain any part of the trees to which
they are attributed, they work quite well because their ingredients
rely on using herbs and juices which share magical affinities with the
properties of the tree. These properties are listed after the name of
each tree so that, if you choose to, you can make substitutions based
upon this knowledge. Depending upon the particular Celtic tradition you
follow, the lunar year starts with either the first new moon closest to
Samhain or the one just before Yule.
Matters of beginnings and children; purification.
3 parts ginger
1 part lemongrass
pinch of dill
splash of lemon juice
Empowerment, clairvoyance, air magic, exorcism.
1 part valerian root
3 parts peppermint
pinch of eyebright
pinch of ginger Warning: Valerian is a powerful sedative. Use a very small amount of this herb at first to determine how it affects your body chemistry.
Matters of the intellect; magic, healing.
2 parts angelica
1/2 part sage
1/2 part black cohosh
pinch of rosemary
Spirituality, wholeness of being.
1 part linden
1 part hibiscus
2 tablespoons of cream or milk
splash of cranberry juice
Matters of the Otherworld; healing, love, water magic, feminine mysteries.
2 parts willow bark
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 part dried apples or a splash of apple juice
pinch of rosemary
Peace, sleep, dreams, prosperity, happiness.
1 part hawthorn
1 part catnip
1/2 part rue
1/2 part chamomile
Lust, strength, energy, endurance, fertility, fire magic, male mysteries.
1 1/2 parts white oak bark
1/2 part mint
1/2 part orange peel
pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg
Matters of animals; magic, prophecy.
1 part kelp
1/2 part rose petals
1/2 part raspberry
pinch of yarrow
Manifestations, protection, healing, fertility.
2 parts ginseng
1/2 part mugwort
pinch of savory
splash of any noncitrus juice
Earth magic, sex magic, overcoming difficulties.
1 part blackberry
1 part dandelion
splash of currant wine or grape juice
pinch of hibiscus
Healing, cooperation, binding.
1 part mullein
1/4 part eucalyptus
1/2 part barberry
Fertility, love, protection.
1 part red clover
1 part hyssop
1 part boneset
pinch of slippery elm
Exorcism, prosperity, astral travel, finding faeries.
1 part ginko
1 part mugwort
1 part valerian -- (see note under Rowan Moon)
1 part spearmint
pinch of anise (may substitute extract)
pinch of allspice