Tree Magic: Magical Properties of Trees, Celtic Ogham, and More
We hear so much about the magic of herbs and crystals, but what about tree magic? Did you know our Celtic ancestors worshiped trees? Our ancestors believed trees housed powerful spirits and sometimes even gods themselves. Let’s dive into tree magic of the Celts, including the magical properties of trees and Ogham – the sacred tree alphabet. We’ll learn how to harness the potent energy of trees to make our own unique, green magic come to life.
Our Ancestors’ Tree Magic
Do you have an undying love for trees? As a child, did you climb trees and spend hours playing in the forest? People in modern times spend 2/3 of their lifetime inside, which means most of the time they are away from nature. They’re away from the trees. Trees not only provide us with shade and oxygen, they also provide food, medicine, therapy, and magic. Our ancient Celtic ancestors knew it. I believe our connection with trees is in our DNA and tree magic is reawakening within us.
Celtic Tree Magic
The Celts believed trees had consciousness. The Druid priesthood met in forest groves to perform their rituals. Moreover, the word “druid” is originally came from “dryad” which was the Greek term for tree nymphs. Because the Druids were so connected to the trees, it makes sense other cultures would refer to them as tree spirits. Ancient woodhenges are all over England and Ireland, which is essentially the wooden equivalent of Stongehenge. They’re rings of wooden beams or trees used as sanctuaries. According to the Celtic tree calendar, the Celtic people honored 21 sacred trees. These were: the alder, ash, apple, aspen, birch, blackthorn, elder, gorse, hawthorn, hazel, heather, holly, ivy, mistletoe, oak, reed, rowan, scots pine, vine, willow, and yew trees.
Yggdrasil & The World Tree
Trees are the center of hundreds of myths and creation stories worldwide. Yggdrasil is an ash tree in Norse mythology on which Odin hung himself and received the wisdom of the runes. The holly and evergreen boughs we use to decorate at Christmas-time is a nod to the old beliefs in the immortality and longevity of trees. Yggdrasil and The World Tree is a symbol of the three realms – the branches extend into the world of the gods, the trunk is the realm of the living, and the roots go underground into the world of the dead. Shamans work closely with tree magic on the spiritual planes when they “travel” up or down the World Tree to speak to the gods or retrieve lost souls.
Just as the Norse were given the elder futhark runes as a sacred alphabet, the Celts were given the Ogham tree alphabet. The Norse god Odin was given the Elder Futhark, while the Celtic god Ogma was given the Ogham. Following this divine gift, the Ogham was used as an alphabet and has sacred spiritual meaning. Each “letter” is representative of a sacred Celtic tree. In contrast to the Elder Futhark runes with their distinctive markings, the Ogham is a series of slashes. Both are used today for divination purposes. Find Ogham and runic divination sets online or in metaphysical shops.
Magical Properties of Trees
The magical properties of trees differ depending on the tree and culture. If you want to learn tree magic, learn the magical properties of trees in your yard, neighborhood, and local land. Here’s a list of a few trees and their magical properties:
- Alder: banishing, divination, healing, protection, psychic intuition, resurrection
- Apple: underworld, love, healing, goddess, garden, immortality
- Ash: balance, communication, fertility, harmony, healing, knowledge, love divination, prophecy, protection from drowning, transition
- Aspen: ancestry, astral planes, eloquence, endurance, healing, money, peace, rebirth, success
- Banyan: abundance, divine connection, immortality, longevity, luck, protection
- Bamboo: fortune, flexibility, longevity, luck, protection
- Beech: ancestry, creativity, friendship, protection, second sight, wisdom
- Birch: birth, blessings, creativity, crafting, fertility, goddess, healing, inspiration, love, protection, renewal
- Blackthorn: authority, protection, strength, truth
- Bottlebrush: abundance, banishing, energy, fertility, love, purification
- Camphor: banishing, cleansing, divination, exorcism, healing, love, lust, prophecy
- Cedar: balance, dreams, healing, immortality, longevity, prosperity, protection, purification, wisdom
- Cypress: grieving, healing, longevity, protection, solace
- Driftwood: not a tree necessarily, but important to include here. Driftwood has spent time merging earth with water. It takes on the sea’s magick, as well as retaining it’s earthly powers: grounding, moving, intuition, dreams, ancestor work
- Elder: blessings, creativity, fairies, good fortune, healing, magic, prosperity, protection, sleep, transition
- Elm: birth, compassion, grounding, healing, intuition, love, protection, rebirth, wisdom
- Fig: ancient ancestry, divination, enlightenment, fertility, good luck, love, prosperity
- Fir: birth, far-sightedness, protection, prosperity, rebirth, vitality
- Gorse: divination, fertility, prosperity, protection
- Hawthorn: ancestry, cleansing, fairies, family, fertility, happiness, love, marriage, prosperity, protection, purification, wisdom
- Hazel: creativity, divination, fertility, healing, knowledge, luck, protection, wisdom
- Heather: changes, healing, luck, passion, protection, spirituality
- Hemlock: cleansing, mysteries, shadow work
- Hickory: abundance, discipline, flexibility, kindness, protection, strength, transformation
- Holly: courage, death, divinity, healing, luck, protection, rebirth, unity
- Juniper: cleansing, healing, love, protection
- Magnolia: clarity, dreams, love, protection, truth
- Maple: abundance, communication, divination, grounding, love, money, wisdom
- Mimosa: happiness, love, protection, purification, sensitivity
- Oak: ancestry, fertility, health, luck, prosperity, protection, strength, success, wisdom
- Palm: abundance, fertility, flexibility, healing, potency, protection
- Pine: abundance, emotions, fertility, good luck, healing, immortality, love, prosperity, protection, purification, regeneration
- Rowan: blessings, centering, expression, fertility, grounding, healing, luck, music, protection, strength, writing
- Sequoia: enlightenment, eternity, growth, valor, wisdom
- Spruce: enlightenment, grounding, healing, intuition, protection, versatility
- Willow: birth, fertility, flexibility, grieving, healing, intuition, knowledge, motherhood, protection, relationships, wisdom, wishes
- Witch Hazel: healing, protection
- Yew: ancestry, death, divination, flexibility, immortality, rebirth, strength
Many of the magical properties of trees are the same, including: healing, love, and protection. This is because trees have been used for thousands of years as food and medicine, as well as for shade and shelter.
NOTE: Do your research on each tree before handling as some can be toxic.
Making Your Own Tree Magic
First, in making your own tree magic, learn the trees in your area. Visit your yard, garden, or neighborhood and identify the trees there. Don’t know the trees around you? Take photos and research online. Record your findings in your journal. Learn the trees’ magical properties, medicinal qualities, and scientific facts. Then try meditating on the tree’s image. Find guided tree meditations for free on YouTube and elsewhere online. Record your experiences and visions in your journal.
Foraging, Altars and Crafts
Forage for berries, needles, thorns, bark, seeds, cones, acorns, etc. from local trees and use these items in your magic. Place on your altar. Put in spell bags. Weave into arts and crafts. Branches of trees can be fastened together to make symbols like stars, runes, and more. Or carve a branch into a wand or staff. Your creativity with tree magic knows no bounds! Then don’t forget to take time and get to know the tree’s energy. Visit it on your walks, sit under it, give it offerings. By placing your hands on the trunk and feeling the tree’s energy, you’ll forge a connection with the tree.
Read More about Tree Magic:
- Whispers from the Woods by Sandra Kynes
- The Magic of Trees by Tess Whitehurst
- Celtic Tree Magic by Danu Forest
- Ogam: Weaving Word Wisdom by Erynn Rowan Laurie
- Tree of Salvation by G. Ronald Murphy