Dryad is the name given to the “Spirit of the Tree”. These Tree spirits or Dryads are a parallel but a completely different lifeform to ourselves. They use trees and other plants to anchor their energy to the physical plane.
In days of old they were known as ‘The Hooded Ones’ but with the passing of time, they acquired many new names, such as, ‘The Many-eyed or Many-handed Ones”. Each tribe gave Tree Spirits a different name, which caused a lot of confusion, for many centuries.
However, during the last two or three hundred years, one name has become more popular than all the rest put together.
The ancient Aegean people named them as Dryads. It is said that this name has vibrations very similar to the name the Tree Spirits use to describe themselves and is therefore very acceptable to them. By some the word Dryad is even considered to be a word of power.
Although trees can appear to be either male or female, they are in fact bisexual (Hermaphrodite), with the ability to produce clones of themselves. However the physical form of a tree relates to a vast non-material form – the Dryad.
A Group “Soul”
Trees don’t have their own personal Dryad. It is not a one to one relationship between trees and tree spirits. It is closer to think of a Dryad as having one, or more trees, in the physical realm. It is a group being.
This becomes very evident once you become a “tree hugger”. If you experiment, you will discover that all the trees in each Tree-Tribe have the same type of energy.
Being a group entity, it is quite normal for a Dryad to embody a grove, or even a whole forest of trees, as the multiple facets of its physical body.
This means, that in a forest of thousands of trees, there may only be a small number of Tree Dryads.
There will be one for each of the tree species in the wood, (i.e. Beech, Ash, Oak, Hazel, Yew, etc). Also any separate species of tree – or even individual trees – planted in the forest by mankind, or brought in as seeds by birds or animals, may have a separate Dryad.
In forest plantations the natural balance can be upset resulting from an overcrowding of Dryads. Whereas in a natural woodland the Dryads are able to co-exist more harmoniously within the same space and time. The different atmosphere generated in a natural woodland versus a plantation forest is very tangible.
The Life of a Dryad
Though trees seem to have an overall male or female energy, Dryads are dioecious, meaning there is only one sex. Or more to point no sex. They reproduce by cloning themselves. In this way a newly cloned Dryad has all the ancient memories of the host. So with the connection to its host it is all knowing and all being of its ancestral line. Dryads are timeless beings that are both venerable and immortal.
Working with Dryads
These Tree Spirits live along side of other beings, and are certainly aware of their presence, but by and large Dryads are mostly disinterested.
Though it has been noted that Dryads that have their physical form, that is the tree, located on a leyline are much more human oriented and friendly. It’s not really known why this might be. Perhaps due to the accessibility of earth energies on these locations.
Being given a Wand
When working rituals or Earth Acupuncture for Geomantic reasons, or spellwork, or any use of wood that is connected to a Dryad then one needs to ask that livewood be given to you. That is, form a connection with the Dryad before cutting the wand.
Livewood being a part of the tree or plant that has a clone from the host Dryad. In this way the Spirit of the plant agrees to come and be with you and aid you in your endeavours.
Done correctly you can achieve a living working relationship, one-on-one with a Dryad that has the ancestral knowledge of its tree lineage spanning back to antiquity.
As distinct from livewood, fallen wood or the dead trees is just dead wood. It has no Dryad link to it and so no living energy.
A wand where a Dryad has departed, maybe through lack of care, will no longer feel like a livewood wand, but goes back to being the deadwood of a stick.
Conversely a “stick” with a Dryad attached can feel like livewood for many years after harvesting it from the tree.
Wood that is cut from trees without the cooperation of the Tree Spirit, or perhaps suddenly and violently is called Greenwood. In this case the Dryad pulls it energy from the tree suddenly and deserts the physical form of the wood.
If felling trees or cutting off branches from tree for any purpose, it is a kind and conscious act to announce your intentions so that the Dryad can withdraw its energy peacefully.
Rituals with Dryads
Trees are connected to a boundless source of energy that is easily accessable to humans.
Working rituals with Dryads can be very beneficial and easy. For example, a Dryad might step up and act as guardian for a portal during a ritual.
Working rituals in parkland, or better still in natural woodland, means you have a readymade setting and ally in your work.
For working particular Esbats it is great if you can find a grove that corresponds to the energy of the particular full moon.
This is especially good if you are working with a large group. Large groups of people can exhaust the energy of a “poorly supported” Dryads. This is where the substantial experience of a more established Dryad, such as you might find in an ancient Oak Forest, can take the lead and empower and sustain the ritual.