This symbol of "All The Worlds" connects the land of the living with the Above and Below worlds. We can see this as Heaven and Hell, Future and Past, or as the Higher Realms and the Lower realms of the Earth Elementals. Either way we look at it, we can use this concept in Magick.
We can work with the beings in the Upper or Higher realms, as well as with the beings or Earth Elementals like Gnomes, in the Lower realms. Perceiving it as Past and Future, it can be helpful in reminding us to always consider the lessons of the Past, and to consider the effect on the Future, of any Magickal act we undertake. It is also a reminder that we are not the only Realm, we are not alone.
To see the World Tree is to see it's branches reaching far up into the sky worlds. I see the reaching of these branches as an example of how we, too, can reach for the sky, while remaining grounded here on Earth. The roots of the World Tree, reach far down into Mother Earth, which is a reminder to sink our own roots deep into Mother Earth, and find that Fire at Her center, and pull healing energy up into our lives and our world.
Trees as Symbols
Trees are great symbols, in many areas, not just as a reminder of "All The Worlds". We can emulate them when we ground ourselves, sinking our own roots deep into the Earth. We can work with them, and the Elements they embody, Air and Earth, to work Magick. There are also many lessons we can learn from Trees.
One in particular that comes to mind for me is the lesson I learned from a Pecan tree. This Grandfather taught me that a tree can lose a limb, and still carry on as before. This loss does not affect it's ability to provide for those who call it home, such as the birds, squirrels, and other creatures. We could learn a lot from that! Pecans, or any nut for that matter, are symbols of Wisdom, so much contained in such a small space. The ancients believed that one could absorb some of that wisdom by ingesting the nut, or working with it magically. Nuts are a favorite offering on Winter Solstice and Yule, because they embody the wisdom we'd like to bring into our lives, during the going within period of the Winter months.
Trees work with the Wind Brothers, a part of the Air element. To work with the wind magically, can assist us in blowing away the things in our lives we no longer need, in releasing injuries and illnesses, and to ask for help in bringing much needed rain, among other things. Trees are the doorway to these magickal workings, and working with them can only increase our abilities.
Different trees have different meanings for us. The Oak is a majestic provider, steeped in history, from the Druids to the present. Strength is one of it's many assets. Growing on the Oak, we find Mistletoe, another Winter offering. Sacred to the Druids, Mistletoe is a parasite, meaning, it feeds completely on, and is totally dependent upon, the tree in which it grows, in this case, the Oak. Druids worshipped in Sacred Oak Groves. I can't dispute the power of this, I've tried it. An Oak Grove is a very sacred place!
Cottonwoods are a favorite tree of mine. Here in the desert, they are sacred, as seeing one let's you know that there is water available there. Cottonwood is the western form of Cypress, magically. Little people live in and around these sacred trees. Hopi carvers use Cottonwood root to make their sacred Katchina dolls, and Pueblo Peoples often use their wood for drum making. These majestic creatures live for a hundred years or more. I've learned quite a lot from Cottonwood. I've always respected the trees by asking for their help, and making offerings to them, when I asked anything of them. They work well with us, when treated in this manner.
Trees are also used to make wands, as incense, to construct shelters, altars, furniture, to build fires, and provide us with the oxygen we need to breathe. So not only can they be used magically, they are a necessity of life on this planet.
Here is a site that protects the rainforest that I hope you will check out:
And there are many other organizations out there that plant trees and protect forests. Give them a hand any way you can.
To work with a tree magically, begin by getting to know the tree. Spend time with it, talk to it, make offerings of tobacco or other sacred herbs to the tree. Ask for its permission to use parts of it to make your magickal tools or to gather it's wood or leaves for a magickal act. Tell it why you need parts of it. This will help the tree to understand your intentions. Give thanks to the trees. And always ask the Grandfather's permission before entering it's sacred space. When we begin by showing respect to the tree, it is more than willing to work with us.
Trees change with the seasons. We see them bloom in the Spring, when our lives are starting to move forward again after the Winter months. In the Summer, they are full of leaves, full of energy, and home to many creatures. In the Autumn, their leaves change color, as if they are getting dressed up in all their glory, before going away in the Winter. But it is the state of the tree in the Winter that can teach us the most. Trees, like many animals, hibernate in the winter time. They pull their energies inward, keeping to themselves. In the winter months, we, too, have the ability to go inward, delving down deep within ourselves, to find that which we will pull out of ourselves come Spring Equinox, and release. Finding those parts of ourselves we no longer need, lessons and teachings that no longer work for us, or never did, digging out the pain of the past, healing it, so we can move forward in our lives, lighter and healthier, each time we go through the cycle.
Other trees stick around in the winter, like Cedar, another sacred tree. This tree, when burned like incense, can remove negative energy from a space, and will then bring in good vibrations. The berries of a Cedar will keep evil spirits away. Wearing or carrying parts of the Cedar on one's person, will keep negative energy away from you.
Pine is a favorite altar offering for Winter Solstice, or Yule. It's evergreen qualities represent eternal life and immortality. The White Pine is called the Peace Tree by Native Peoples. To sit under it is to find the peace one needs in one's life. And Pinecones, let's not forget their importance. They represent fertility, and the Spiral of Life.
It is said that we can learn everything we need from Nature. The energies of trees can teach us much, if we but pay attention to them. There is much I could tell you about my lessons from trees, but then, you wouldn't have the pleasure of learning those lessons for yourself :) Get outside, ground yourself, and sit and watch some trees, and see what they would like to teach you.
Walk in Beauty, Michelle
Michelle the Cottonwood Crone
The Lunar Gazette is an online blog/zine with thoughtful articles, creative writing, artwork and magickal crafting. It is a place of open-mindedness and thoughtfulness. We are geared towards Pagan communities, with an emphasis on Wicca and witchcraft. We are curious about spirituality, the supernatural, magick, and how to improve our lives through creativity, thought, and spirituality.