For making wands, talimans, shields, spellwork and so on, tree spirits can willingly give their energy to the endevour. Below is a listing of the Magical properties and association for different trees.
The Alder, like the Willow, is a water-loving tree. Its timber is oily and water resistant and therefore used extensively for underwater foundations: parts of Venice and many medieval cathedrals were built on Alder piling.
Bran the Blessed, or Benegeit Bran, is the god linked with this tree in the Ogham alphabet. He is reputed to have used his body to raise his followers above the dangerous waters, as the wood does when used as a building material. Mortally wounded in the battle with the Irish, Bran prophesied the events that would follow his death, instructing his followers to cut off his head and carry it with them. They travelled to Harlech, where the head sang for seven years; then to Gwales, he head remaining uncorrupted and prophesying the while. Eventually, they came to rest in London, Caer Llyndain, and buried Bran’s head at the White Mount, or Bryn Gwyn, now the site of the Tower of London. It was held that as long as the head remained concealed it would give protection against plague from across the sea. King Arthur, it is said, once dug it up; an unwise action, since the Saxons then invaded the country. Several shoots bound together by cordage, can be trimmed to the desired length for producing the note you want and used to entice Air elementals. The old superstition of “whistling up the wind” began with this custom.
Spirituality, teaching, weather magic, duty, mental prowess, protection and oracular powers
The Apple is the earliest cultivated tree.
In Norse myth, Idunna was the keeper of the ‘apples of immortality’ which kept the Gods young.
It is said that you may cut an apple into three pieces, then rub the cut side on warts, saying: “Out warts, into apple.” Then bury the pieces and as the apple decays, the warts will disappear.
Use apple cider in any old spells calling for blood or wine.
Apples are very loving and forgiving. They are always determined to do everything in their power to make you feel good. Apple indicates choice, and is useful for love and healing magic.
The Ash of the Ogham alphabet is the Cosmic Ash, or World Tree.
It also appears in Norse mythology as Yggdrasil, the tree of Odin, or Woden, who hung from it in order to gain enlightenment in the secrets of the Runes, and whose Celtic equivalent is Gwidion.
The Ash tree has deeply penetrating roots and sours the soil, making it difficult for other vegetation to grow beneath it. Its twigs are thick and strong.
In Norse mythology, this tree spans the universe — its roots in hell, its branches supporting the heavens and with Earth at its center.
In Celtic cosmology in particular it connects the three circles of existence – Abred, Gwynedd and Ceugant – which can be variously interpreted as past, present and future, or as confusion, balance and creative force; there being no hell, but only continual rebirth as passage is made from circle to circle until the Land of the Blessed is finally reached.
“The Good Servant” – Ash is very flexible and adaptable, but although able to carry out any task to perfection, needs to be told exactly what to do, as he doesn’t like to have to think for himself.
Ash can be used in spells requiring focus and strength of purpose, and indicates the linking of the inner and outer worlds.
Prosperity, protection, healing, astral projection, divination, image magic, love, past lives
“The Trembler” – Aspen is a natural pacifist who is a past master of passive defence. By trembling at the first sign of danger, he hides his strength and appears to be non-threatening. But don’t be fooled, he has the strength when he really needs it.
“The Wise Old Lady of the Woods” or “The Grandmother” – Beech is the wise ‘Old Granny’ who is the ideal refuge in times of crisis, for she is able to relax you, calm you down and then build up inner strength, for the next battle. A wise counsellor and ‘friend in need’ who will get you back onto a good emotional footing. Olive and Linden are also Grandmothers with very similar characteristics to Beech.
The Birch stands out as a graceful, slender tree with a characteristic white bole. The white indicates cleanliness and determination in overcoming difficulties.
The bark was used for purification, especially during childbirth. This tree starts the celtic tree calendar, and so represents the energies associated with new beginnings. Birch was associated with Thor, probably in recognition of his role as an agricultural and fertility deity.
Silver Birch “The Carer” and Downey Birch “The Nurse” – These two trees are marvellous at day to day nursing. They are also very dedicated when it comes to caring for people with long term illnesses or terminal conditions.
Protection of children, purification, creativity, fertility and healing spells, defence, exorcism, new beginnings, protection
Blackthorn is a winter tree. Its 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.
“The Constable” or “Law Enforcer” – The Monarch’s Deputy and Law Enforcer. He knows the rules and sticks to them, to the letter; and expects you to do the same. A stickler for detail and insists on doing everything, the ‘Right’ way. An absolute moralist, unable to see any other point view, but his own.
Fate, destiny, cursing
Also known as Scotch Broom or Irish Broom. It can be substituted for furze (gorse) at the Spring Equinox and burned to purify and protect.
The Irish called it the “Physician’s power” because of its diuretic shoots. Sweep your outside ritual areas with it to purify and protect. Burning the blooms and shoots calms the wind. Be cautious if you plant Broom however, it will quickly multiply….
Divination, prophetic dreams, attracting faeries, protection, purification, wind
Also known as the Tree of Life, Arbor Vitae, Yellow Cedar.
Ancient Celts on the mainland used cedar oil to preserve the heads of enemies taken in battle.
To draw Earth energy and ground yourself, place the palms of your hands against the ends of the needles.
Banishing, cleansing, fortune, good luck, justice, money, wealth, protection, purification, releasing, spiritual healing
A Druid sacred tree. Chips of the wood or bark were burned at Celtic festivals.
Love, divination, insight, animal care, focus, and psychic energy
Also some of the other Oaks share the same ‘Wise Woman’ characteristics – Sessile, Red , Pin , Moss , Turkey, American, and Evergreen. See other Oaks below
“The Goodwife” or “Village Wise Woman” – Very capable and mature. She is the local Mid-wife, who brings the children of her community into the world; does her best to keep them healthy throughout their life and when they die, she is the one who prepares them for burial.
The Elder is linked to the eternal turnings of life and death, birth and rebirth. It represents the end in the beginning and the beginning in the end; life in death and death in life; the casting out of devils of the old year and the renewal and creativity of the new; the timelessness of the cycle by which the fading of old age is always balanced by the start of new birth.
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.
A Druid sacred tree. Sacred to the Celtic White Lady and the Summer Solstice. The Druids used it both to bless and curse.
Elder wands drive out evil and negativity.
Standing under an elder tree at Midsummer, like standing in a Faery Ring of mushrooms, will help you see the Little People.
“The Look-Out” or “Officer of the Watch” – A very protective ‘Babysitter” with a Luna mind in a Sola body, who keeps a constant look-out for danger, and will not allow any of her wards to come to harm.
Exorcism, prosperity, banishing, healing, blessing, cleansing, purification, consecration, cursing, enchantment, energy, fidelity, attracting faeries, wealth, money, power, releasing, sleep, repel snakes, strength
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.
“The Supporter” or “Crutch” – Exhibits strength and a supportive energy in abundance, whatever the situation “Lean on me and I will give you the strength you need!”
Stability, grounding, to stop gossip, love, sorcery
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.
Inspiration, wisdom, divination
A Druid sacred tree. Burning the needles or sweeping around the bed with a branch blessed and protected a mother and new baby. Also known as the Birth Tree.
Inspiration, defense, wisdom, protection
Also known as Gorse. Its golden flowers are associated with the Spring Equinox. Wood and blooms are burned for protection and preparation for conflict of any sort.
Wealth, money, protection
According to the Ogham calendar, May, the month of the female Hawthorn, leads up to the fertile Oak month following on from Mayday, or Beltane.
The Hawthorn is a small tree that grows with a dense, many branched and twisted habit. Due to its impenetrable growth, it is mainly used as hedging, and the origin of her present name comes from the Anglo-Saxon ‘haegthorn’, meaning hedge-thorn. Other common names are whitethorn and may.
Whitethorn originates from the contrast of her smooth grey bark with the powdery black bark of the Blackthorn; the name may from the time of her flowering, when the blossom is used to form garlands on houses and maypoles for Mayday.
She also has thorns for defence. The wood from the Hawthorn provides a very hot fire.
“The Nun” or “The Vestal Virgin” – Very active in promoting Healing. Teaching and Self-Development as part of her devoted service to ‘Our Lady’, the Goddess.
Fertility, peace, prosperity, binding, chastity, defence, goddess, happiness
According to Celtic lore, Fintan ‘the White Ancient’ was able to take the form of animals, one of which was the salmon. Salmon are associated with the Hazel in Irish legend, swimming in the River Boyne under the overhanging hazel tree from which the nine nuts of poetic wisdom fell. These were eaten by the salmon who absorbed the inspiration they encapsulated. Each nut eaten by the salmon becomes a spot on its skin.
The Hazel is also strongly associated with meditation and mediation.
The Druids were the inheritors of the knowledge of measurement and calculation of the earlier ‘dodmen’, the prehistoric surveyors of the ley lines and trackways portrayed in the ancient chalk-cut figure of the Long Man of Wilmington, shown holding staves or rods.
Also skilled in the law, the Druids were called upon to mediate in disputes concerning property and land boundaries, much as present-day surveyors.
Faeries are attracted to hazel. Healing wands are made from its wood, as are water divining sticks.
“The Magician” or “The Whizz-Kid” – A natural Shaman, very into Magick, Healing and Mental Development. A very good teacher who makes things happen and gets thing done.
Manifestation, spirit contact, protection, fertility, clairvoyance, defence, divination, inspiration, luck, mental powers, wisdom, wishes
A Druid sacred tree sacred to the Winter Solstice because of its red berries and evergreen leaves.
The Holly is male, and so symbolizes paternity and fatherhood. With the Ivy and the Mistletoe, the Holly has always been regarded as a potent life symbol, both for his year-long foliage and for his winter fruits.
In Arthurian legend, Gawain (representing the Oak King of summer) fought the Green Knight, who was armed with a holly club to represent winter. Concealed within the verses of the ‘Song of Amergin’, chanted by a chief Bard as the landed on the shores of Ireland, is the line “I am a battle-waging spear” – the wood of the Holly was used in fashioning spear shafts and is one of the three timbers used in the construction of chariot wheel shafts.
Holly is often used in spells having to do with sleep or rest, and to ease the passage of death.
“The Priest” or “Spiritual Leader” – The enthusiastic ‘Sky-pilot’ or religious leader, determined to promote a positive mental attitude in everyone he meets. He was also the Celtic ‘Winter Lord’.
Protection, prophecy, magic for animals, sex magic, defence, divination, dream magic, energy, god, luck, lunar magic, power, prophetic dreams, strength
“The Strong Right-Arm” or “The Henchman”- A faithful attendant and staunch supporter, who understands what you are trying to achieve and will do his best to fix it for you. Very protective and trustworthy
A Druid sacred herb. Connected with the Winter Solstice.
The Ivy grows, spreads and flourishes in many conditions – cultivated land and wasteland, in light or in near darkness, in fertile soil or on rubble and stones. It will push its way through tiny cracks and crevices to reach the light and it is strong and difficult to destroy.
Since ancient times, the Vine and the Ivy have been regarded as enemies. If the Vine, through intoxication, releases prophetic powers, the Ivy, in contrast, puts you in touch with your own inner resources, giving you the ability to see through the eyes of the soul beyond the everyday world.
Healing, protection, cooperation, exorcism
A Druid sacred tree. Its berries were used with thyme in Druid and Grove incenses for visions.
Juniper grown by the door discourages thieves. The mature berries can be strung and hung in the house to attract love.
Divination, exorcism, health, love, protection, repel snakes, spiritual healing, guard against theft
“The Sports Coach” – Uses gentle but persistent persuasion to bring the best out of you. Builds you up, step by step, with a series of small victories until you feel unbeatable. Very good at helping you to develop your self-confidence and self-esteem in the right way.
Also known as Birdlime, All Heal and Golden Bough. It was a most sacred tree of the Druids, and ruled the Winter Solstice. The berries are poisonous! Bunches of mistletoe can be hung as an all-purpose protective herb. The berries are used in love incenses.
Activator, defense, divination, dream magick, exorcism, health, lhunting, invisibility, open locks, love, protectionOak
English, Cork and Holm Oaks
Every house has a front door. If you wish to enter, the door must be approached and your presence made known. The door may then be opened. The very word ‘door’ comes from the Gaelic and Sanskrit ‘duir’, a word for solidity, protection and the Oak tree.
In the essential forest, the Oak is King. He stands mightily solid with great branches, matched only by still greater roots.
He is often struck by lightning. The force of the strike and the heat bursts the sap and stem apart leaving the trunk gnarled and withered. Yet he still manages to survive, over the years, decades and centuries. His growth is slow but sure. His children grow into magnificient replicas of himself and he is a marker point, a cornerstone and a refuge in the forest.
Magic wands were made of its wood. Oak galls, sometimes called Serpent Eggs, were used in magical charms. Acorns gathered at night held the greatest fertility powers. The Druids and other magical practitioners listened to the rustling leaves and the wrens in the trees for divinatory messages.
“The Goodman” or “Salt of the Earth”- Strong, reliable and trustworthy, but doesn’t like to think for himself. Always does as he is told and can be relied on to work well without supervision. Never seems to get tired, as he knows how to pace himself and maintain a constant level of activity for long periods.
All positive purposes, magic for men, fidelity
“The Home-Maker” – She concentrates and focuses all her energy on turning her living space into a very happy and supportive home.
“The Long Lover” – These popular fruits are very loving and forgiving. They are always determined to do everything in their power to make you feel good..
The Pine tree is an evergreen, its old title was “the sweetest of woods.”
Sacred to the Druids, it was known to the Druids as one of the seven chieftain trees of the Irish.
Mix the dried needles with equal parts of juniper and cedar and burn to purify the home and ritual area.
The cones and nuts can be carried as a fertility charm.
A good magickal cleansing and stimulating bath is made by placing pine needles in a loose-woven bag and running bath water over it. To purify and sanctify an outdoor ritual area, brush the ground with a pine branch.
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.
“The Macho Show-off” or “Poser” – A strong leader with no apologies. “Follow me! If I can do it — so can you!” Carries out orders to the letter but doesn’t feel any responsibility for his actions Big and tough, the traditional folk hero.
Cleansing, purification, binding, chastity, defence, exorcism, fertility, happiness, healing, luck, money, protection, spirituality, wealth
“The Tutor”- A typical University Tutor, who knows how to help his students achieve good exam results.
Thin and slender is the Reed. He stands in clumps at the edge of the river and between his feet hides the swift pike awaiting an unsuspecting minnow to come his way. In his thinness the reed resembles arrows that fly, silver-tipped, up into the unknown air to land at the very source that one had searched for all these years.
Firing arrows off into the unknown is an expression of the desire to search out basic truths. If you loose off without direction, the place of landing will be random. If the firing off is carried out with the correct conviction, determination and sense of purpose, then the act becomes secondary to the event that comes both before and after the moment.
Fertility, protection, love, family concerns, wisdom
Sacred to the goddess Brigit. The Rowan has long enjoyed its reputation to protect against enchantment.
Its name is linked with the Norse ‘runa’, a charm, and the Sanskrit ‘runa’, meaning a magician. Rune staves, sticks upon which runes were inscribed, were cut from the Rowan tree. Rowan played a central role in Druid ceremonies.
Even in more recent times, these beliefs have been upheld in practices from different parts of Britain. In the North, for example, sprays of Rowan were fixed to cattle sheds to protect the animals from harm, and in Strathspey farmers drove their goats through hoops framed from branches of Rowan.
Sprigs were also placed over the main door of the house and also worn on the person to ward off false enchantment — the ‘evil eye’.
In Wales or Cymru, Rowans used to be planted in churchyards to watch over the spirits of the dead, as Yew is elsewhere.
Its seeds are poisonous. A very magical tree used for wands, rods, amulets, and other spell objects.
A forked rowan branch can help find water. Said to be powerful charms against evil spirits.
“The Quicken” or “The Yuppie” – Another Magical Whizz-Kid like Hazel. Also very good at teaching difficult lessons and bringing out the best in people.
Healing, personal empowerment, divination, astral projection, binding, clairvoyance, defence, inspiration, past lives, power, protection, psychic powers, success, wisdom
The Vine of the Ogham alphabet is the grape vine. Though obviously a more recently imported, cultivated species, unlike the other Ogham trees and shrubs, there is no doubt that the Vine has been known and propagated in the British Isles for a long time, its distinctive fruits and foliage appearing frequently on Bronze Age artefacts.
Fertility, inspiration, prosperity, binding
“The Leader of the Pack” – He is always very competitive, feels he must be first in everything. Will not allow anybody or anything to get in his way or hold him back. Is always very determined and highly aggressive; but needs to be beaten occasionally to spur him on.
Also known as White Willow, Tree of Enchantment and Witches’ Aspirin.
The willow is a Moon tree sacred to the Goddess. Its groves were considered so magical that priests, priestesses, and all types of artisans sat among these trees to gain eloquence, inspiration, skills, and prophecies.
The Willow in the Tree alphabet stands for the female and lunar rhythms of life. She is water-seeking, thriving from preference on the damp margins of lakes and streams or across the low-lying water meadows. Water and the tidal movements of the sea are governed by the pull of the moon. The moon in its monthly rhythms is female, contrasting with the male sun’s daily and yearly turnings.
On the material level, women were property owners, and whoever controlled the property controlled the marriage. Women of all types and ages appeared in the Celtic pantheon, the spiritual strength and life-giving qualities given by both female and male recognized equally. There were may colleges of Druidesses – learned women and teachers – respected equally for their gifts of see-ship, often expressed through dreams, or night visions.
“Sympathetic Sally” – If you hurt yourself, she will cry with you! She is very empathic and caring, and willing to help you to overcome your problems. She knows what you are going through, as she (like an Alcoholics Anonymous Leader) has been there herself. A bit ‘weepy-wailey’ but very sincere. All the Willows appear to have these characteristics.
Romantic love, healing, protection, fertility, magic for women, goddess, divination, prophetic dreams, spiritual healing, sorcery, banishing (Black Willow)
Also known as English Yew and European Yew. Another important tree to the Winter Solstice and the deities of death and rebirth.
It is a beautifully smooth, gold-coloured wood with a wavy grain.
The Irish used it to make dagger handles, bows and wine barrels.
The wood or leaves were laid on graves as a reminder to the departed spirit that death was only a pause in life before rebirth.
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.
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 arguments for it being the original ‘World-tree’ of Scandinavian mythology. The Yew may be used to enhance magical and psychic abilities, and to induce visions.
“The Wise Old Man of the Woods” or “The Grandfather” – Very much a ‘Merlin’ type character, able to explain Right-brain concepts in Left-brain terms, like a teacher of Maths, Science or the Humanities. Very much into Healing, Magick and Philosophy.
Psychic awareness, visions, wisdom, to honour the dead