The Hazel tree…also known as “The Tree of Knowledge” is the ninth month of the Celtic Tree Calendar, 5th August – 1st September and is the ninth consonant of the Ogham alphabet named Coll.
Hazel tree people are known as “the know-ers” of the Celtic tree “zodiac”.
People born under the Celtic Hazel tree sign are highly analytical and intelligent. They are gifted in academics and are often the brightest students in the classroom. They are also artistic and can make motivating teachers. They tend to be profound in thought and philosophical by nature.
Their intellect gives them the talent to remember and repeat things with amazing accuracy. Hazel people are well versed in all topics which can make them seem as a know-it-all in social situations. They pay great attention to detail and like things to be just right.
The perfectionist tendencies of the Hazel tree zodiac will sometimes leave them with control issues if everything doesn’t turn out exactly how they pictured. Their ambitious standards can make it impossible for anybody to meet them. They can be perceived as someone who is very difficult to please because of their overly critical nature.
Their critical nature is just their way of trying to analyse a problem and find ways to fix it. They want situations and people to be at their best, but they need to realize that no one is perfect and very few, if any, will meet such high exacting standards.
The Hazel Druid Celtic tree sign often finds it hard to unwind and relax and can come across as too argumentative.
According to The Fairy Bible, by Teresa Mooney:
The Hazel Fairy is a mercurial sprite, deeply wise, a bringer of insight and flashes of inspiration. This fairy can help you to find knowledge in a very individual way, and to develop your intuition so that you can see deeply into many things.
Hazel holds the secrets of the earth and can teach about dowsing and the currents within the land, known as ley lines. She also encourages meditation and confers eloquence on those who respect and honour her.
Wisdom is at the heart of the Hazel tree. Druids, Poets, Bards, and Shaman have long sought wisdom through Hazel. Many early Irish tales describe poets and seers as ‘gaining nuts of Wisdom’, which is most likely a metaphor for such heightened states of consciousness, although the more literally-minded have argued that this expression could refer to a potent brew made from hazelnuts that had psychotropic effects. As to this theory, there are numerous references to drinking ‘hazelmead’ in early Irish literature and many references to Scottish druids eating hazel-nuts to gain prophetic powers.
Hazel woods frequently figure in the sacred landscape. In Ireland, hazel is coll, and the early triad of gods of the Tuatha Dé Danaan, MacCuill, (son of HazeI), MacCecht (Son of the Plough) and MacGréine (Son of the Sun) supposedly divided the island into three so that the country was said to be under the plough, the sun or the hazel, for ‘these were the things they put above all other’.
The Hazel’s association with wisdom extends to other cultures of the ancient world. In Norse mythology it was known as the Tree of Knowledge and was sacred to Thor; the Romans held it sacred to Mercury, who – especially in his Greek form, Hermes – was the personification of intelligence. Hermes’ magic rod may have been made from hazel. The English word derives from the Anglo Saxon ‘haesl’ which originally signified a baton of authority.
Finely powdered Hazel nuts steeped in hot water then with the addition of honey and lemon is thought to relieve a stubborn cough. The leaves brewed into tea can be used to treat such ailments as circulatory problems, fevers, diarrhoea, and excessive menstrual flow.
Hazelwood has been used for centuries to divine for water. For help from the faeries, tie hazelnuts onto a cord and hang in your room. Like Holly, Hazel protects your home against lightning. It is a wood used often for making wands and other magickal things such as talismans and amulets for purposes of gaining knowledge and wisdom.
Brandberg – the quartz crystals, the smoky quartz crystals, the amethyst crystals, and always a combination of the three – named for the soaring mass of granite known as “The Brandberg,” Namibia’s highest mountain located in Damaraland in the northwest Namib Desert near the coast. The Brandberg is considered sacred, a spiritual site of great significance to the San (Bushmen) tribes who sheltered there and rendered over 48,000 paintings and engravings within its caves and overhanging rocks. Brandberg crystals are found only in the Brandberg area and nearby Goboboseb Mountains, an inhospitable and dry section of the Namib, the world’s oldest desert.
Brandberg Quartz forms as clusters of pyramids on a geode base, as tall prismatic crystals, short stubby crystals, drusy aggregates, and in massive form. It occurs as a colourless crystal or in various shades and mixtures of purple, brown, grey, or yellow, and may be translucent with milky “inner worlds” to completely transparent. Each crystal is unique, often containing exceptional phantoms (ghosted image of a crystal within a crystal), enhydros (air bubbles in water-filled chambers), rainbows, pyramidal “windows,” or with inclusive flecks of Lepidocrocite, Goethite or even Epidote. Very rarely, Brandbergs can be found with solid inclusions trapped in water.
Regardless of colour, each Brandberg crystal carries and combines the resonance of Amethyst, Smoky and Clear Quartz within its formation, and each brings its unique assistance to the whole:
Amethyst Brandberg engenders unconditional love and Divinity at the centre of the universe. It brings profound healing, especially in matters of the heart. It is excellent for dissolving past-life heartbreak or soul-contracts, and frees one to manifest a partner who supports one in their fullness and spiritual being. Brandberg Amethyst is a master healer, speeding recovery from illness or injury, providing aid in overcoming harmful addictions, and restoring balance, health and vitality to the system. Amethyst protects against psychic attack, paranormal harm or ill-wishing, and returns the energy back to the universe after being transformed into positive, loving energy. Amethyst is a wonderful talisman for use in the creative arts, especially in darker shades. It assists endeavours where new, original results need to be created using tools and methods of the past. It is often used as the Artist’s Stone, the Composer’s Stone, the Inventor’s, Poet’s and Painter’s Stones. Keep an Amethyst crystal or cluster in the area to focus and amplify the creative elements of the Universal Life Force. An excellent crystal for work with spirit guide/guardian.
Clear Brandberg works on multi-dimensional levels, reconnecting one to the purity of their being. It is a powerful healing and energy amplifier, attuned to the specific requirements of the user and takes one’s energy to the most perfect state possible. Brandberg Quartz crystal is attuned to the white flame of pure consciousness, emanating infinite compassion and is the perfect crystal tool to use for deep soul healing and forgiveness. Brandberg Quartz is an effective tool to aid healing work on all levels, rapidly linking to multi-dimensions and assisting in looking inward or climbing the vibrational ascension ladder. Brandberg Quartz facilitates conscious awareness when travelling to dimensions and instils brainwave combinations that enhance meditation, regression, and auric healing. It is a brilliant crystal for astral projection.
Smoky Brandberg is an ideal stone for deep Earth healing, with marvellous energy for restoring the earth grid back to a more perfect state and realigning its chakra and meridian systems. It cleanses and re-attaches one’s cosmic anchor for gaining access to past-life knowledge and progression, and in understanding one’s current situation as “exactly right” for spiritual evolution in this life. Smoky Brandberg facilitates understanding the gifts you seek. It assists in facing the remainder of your current life with equanimity and joy knowing it is right for your spiritual growth. Brandberg crystals with a visible blend of Amethyst and Smoky Quartz, either as phantoms or body colour, are the finest tools for removing implants, attachments, spirit possession, or mental influences. It is particularly supportive for conscious transformation or transition, especially through death.
We have offered crystals in the past, however, these won’t be sold as they are my personal working crystals. I highly recommend buying Brandberg crystals if you have not done already for they are excellent for all they claim they can do. Better still, using a clear quartz with any of the others for a particular purpose gives much more energy to the other crystals and boosts the properties they give exponentially. Right out of the box you’ll know you have something quite special in your hands!
Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x
The Crystal Bible, by Judy Hall
The Encyclopaedia of Crystals, by Judy Hall
The Book of Stones, by Robert Simmons & Naisha Ahsian
The Cypress Tree has already been written about in an earlier blog, however, many do not think about how magickal Cypress wood is when it comes to making poppets, potions, and other spell-work.
Cypress wood may be used to consecrate ritual tools in its smoke. It can also be powdered and used as an incense for those who work with the magick of the legendary King Stag of the forest. Of course, many already know that it may be carried in a pocket to help aid in longevity of the bearer. And, it is said to give a happy hereafter to a loved one whom has died if you throw a handful of Cypress in upon the coffin.
All parts of a Cypress tree may be used in magick. Cypress oil is a very sought-after oil for protection and longevity. However, we may not always have every oil that we wish for so here is a recipe for an oil that is rich in magickal properties for longevity, protection, and comfort. It may be used as candle dressing, annointing, and any spellwork that involves longevity, protection, and comfort for grief.
Longevity and Protection Oil
You will need:
Cypress wood, cut fine or powdered (small chunks are fine) about 1/8 tsp
Maple wood, cut fine or powered, about 1/8 tsp
Lavender, dried about 1/8 tsp
1/8 cup Olive Oil
3 drops Rosemary Oil (for protection)
3 drops Lavender Oil (for longevity, protection)
3 drops Lemon Oil (for longevity)
1 tiny Amethyst chip (for healing, protection)
1 tiny Citrine chip (for protection & charging of oil)
1 tiny rose quartz chip (for receptivity, harmony)
Firstly, enchant your Cypress, Maple and Lavender. Mix all ingredients into a bottle that will accept all items, cork or cap bottle, and shake 3 to 9 times, putting your intent into what you are doing. Use for all magickal workings to do with protection, healing, and longevity. May be used for anointing.
**This is our own recipe and is not to be made for sale by anyone but Wytchencrafts, all rights reserved. Please feel free to make and use it for your personal workings only.
Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x
This one could prove to be a bear to write, especially when you realise that there is no one school of thought, or belief system alone, to write about. There are too many! Still, I shall endeavour to give the best synopsis of it all – interspersed with my own beliefs, as you do – so that those confused by the Planes of Existence, Summerland, and Spirit Guardians will hopefully not be so much…hopefully not worse, anyway! It’s a bit of a quantum physics nightmare, really.
Planes of Existence
In esoteric cosmology, a plane other than the physical plane is conceived as a subtle state of consciousness that transcends the known physical universe. Yes, first sentence in Wikipedia, because it is the only way to say it. There are thought to be seven planes of existence, at the very least [Thirty-one planes of existence in Buddhism]. More worrying is that there are ten different concepts or theories of the planes of existence: Theosophy, Rosicrucian, Thelema, Hermeticism, Surat Shabda Yoga, Jainism, Sufism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Gnosticism, Kabbalah, and Fourth Way. I won’t try to explain them all or even point out the differences and similarities; this would become a book instead of a blog.
Let’s just keep it simple for our purposes. The Seven Planes of Existence are:
Mental Plane [or Causal Plane] also called Elemental Plane by some
Buddhic [or Mental] Plane
Spiritual [or Unity] Plane
Logoic [or Monadic] Plane
The Physical Plane is what it sounds as though it would be and that is the World we know, the physical “reality”. The Astral Plane is believed to be where we go immediately upon physical death. It is also believed to be where we reside when awaiting birth into a new body, as well. Occultist George Arundale wrote:
“In the astral world exist temporarily all those physical entities, men and animals, for whom sleep involves a separation of the physical body for a time from the higher bodies. While we “sleep”, we live in our astral bodies, either fully conscious and active, or partly conscious and semi-dormant, as the case may be, according to our evolutionary growth; when we “wake”, the physical and the higher bodies are interlocked again, and we cease to be inhabitants of the astral world.”
Indeed, we can visit the Astral Plane either by Astral Projection, meditation, near-death experience, or in lucid dreaming. It is my personal belief that not all dreams are a result of what you had for supper the evening before but an Astral visit where you may be given clues to what may be happening next in your life and how to prepare for it. It can also be a place in lucid dreaming where you can spend time with dead friends, family, even pets. Their energy still exists, the same as ours, only no longer in the same body as before. And, as a practitioner of Astral Projection it is a place where you can do nearly anything you wish. Still being tethered to your Earthly body, you can fly, you can speak to your ancestors, go to different countries, if so desired.
In Hinduism, Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami wrote:
“The Causal/ Mental Plane is the world of light and blessedness, the highest of heavenly regions, extolled in the scriptures of all faiths. It is the foundation of existence, the source of visions, the point of conception, the apex of creation. The causal plane is the abode of Lord Siva and His entourage of Mahadevas and other highly evolved souls who exist in their own self-effulgent form–radiant bodies of centillions of quantum light particles.”
This is what some Occultists call The Elemental Plane…it is here where the thoughts of the Physical Plane spirit in a human being becomes imprinted in the Mental Plane or Elemental Plane, then created and sent back to the Physical Plane. The blueprint for all ideas, all things, is cast in the Elemental Plane, then becomes reality in physical existence at some future point in time.
The Buddhic Plane is said to exist to resolve all problems with the Ego, to become unselfish, and is a realm of pure consciousness. The Spiritual Plane is split into many sub-planes and that on these planes live spiritual beings who are more advanced in development and status than ordinary man. The goal is to gain spiritual knowledge and experience. According to some occult teachings, The Divine Plane is where all souls are born and then descend through the lower planes; however, souls will work their way back to the Divine Plane. On the Divine Plane souls can be opened to conscious communication with the sphere of the Divine known as the Absolute and receive knowledge about the nature of reality. Rosicrucianism teaches that the Divine Plane is where Jesus dwelt in Christ consciousness. As I believe in a Mother and Father “God”, this is where the Divine Parents would reside. I would also believe this is where the Gods and Goddesses, the original children of the Divine Parents would have been born and reside between reincarnations. Of course, everyone has their personal beliefs of whom resides in the Divine Plane and that is quite as it should be, for we all have much we can learn from each other. The Logoic Plane is the highest plane, it has been described as a plane of total oneness, the “I AM Presence”. Joshua David Stone describes the plane as complete unity with God. The Monadic Plane (hyperplane) or continuum/universe, enclosing and interpenetrating grosser hyperplanes, respectively is the plane in which the monad or holy spirit or oversoul is said to exist. Could this just be the “Universe” we refer to when we say, “The Universe isn’t ready to bless me with more money [insert desire of choice]”? I don’t really know. To be fair, until recently I have only been familiar with the Physical, Astral, Elemental, and Divine Planes. Perhaps because my meditations rarely result with me feeling as if I have achieved virtual enlightenment.
In Theosophy, Summerland is thought to be a part of the Astral Plane. It is the place where souls whom have been “good” go to await new incarnations and some believe it to be the Heaven similar to the Christian view of afterlife. Those whom have been bad go to Hell. And there was me thinking Hell was entirely a Christian concept! Apparently, the Norse of Viking times believed in such a place as there are nine realms under Yggdrasil, with Hell or Hel being much further under the more favourable region to be after death, namely Valhalla, but certainly not Niffleheim, realm of the dishonoured dead which is distinct but closely connected to Hel. Hel is actually a place of not necessarily dishonoured dead, but not honoured, either. Must be pretty boring!
It is also believed by the Theosphians that each religion on Earth has its own area in Summerland to fit that religion’s concept of afterlife. If you are Jewish, you go to the Jewish Summerland, if you are Christian, a Christian Summerland….but! What about people who interfaith marry? What about your friends of different faiths? Would you no longer be able to see them in afterlife because of a difference in practised religion? I think differently. My belief is that religion does not supersede ones’ acceptance into one place, whatever you wish to name it. I don’t believe in division of religions or colours. In fact, in Summerland or Heaven or Valhalla, or wherever, I think we won’t be in need of religion. We will be without the things which caused us to fight here on Earth. It is to be a place of peace, after all, and one where we can be with our friends, family, and pets, regardless of what religion they ascribed to in the Physical Plane.
Spirit Guardians / Guardian Angels
Which brings me to Spirit Guardians, Guardian Angels…call them what you wish, but do call them! Many people of different religions believe we are each assigned a Guardian Angel at birth. I believe so and all with the exception that we are assigned our Guardian from first birth and he or she is with us throughout each reincarnation until such time we become whatever it is we are to be in afterlife. My belief is also that your Guardian will not go out of their way to advise you on any matter – unless you form a relationship with him or her first. It’s simple enough to do but requires a length of time where you can remain undisturbed by anyone or anything. You may use various crystals/stones to help facilitate your experience such as Angelite or Petalite – both excellent for helping with conversating with your Spirit Guardian. You must be able to let go of all Ego, all expectations, and do not force anything to happen. Simply be. From this point on I could only relate my personal experience but that would be of no use to you and it is, after all, my personal and private experience. Yours will be the same for you, so just let it flow and listen.
Once you have established a rapport with your Spirit Guardian you can talk about many things together. It’s a little like when we had our “imaginary” friends as children [in my case some were not so imaginary] …but with your Guardian you will know the difference as he or she is very real. Mine is absolutely wonderful. Not only has my life been saved numerous times by my Guardian but my Guardian also helps me to meditate and do chakra cleansing. And, a little-known fact is that your Guardian is an accomplished Reiki master. As I am in chronic arthritis pain with my spine, knee, and hips, my Guardian has relieved my pain on many occasions so I could carry on with work. Your Guardian will have a name as does mine, but it’s my decision to not share that with anyone. What you do is up to you, of course. But whatever you do, once you have met your Guardian and form a relationship, do remember they have always been here for you and have already kept you out of harm’s way for many years. Do respect and listen to their advice. As a matter of fact, it would be in all our best interests to heed our Guardian’s advice. And do speak to him or her often, thank them for what they do…they are after all, the best friend you’ll ever have.
I’m also of the opinion that the Spirit Guardians inhabit the Astral Plane with us when we die. And I have actually enjoyed some adventures with mine in lucid dreaming. You really aren’t alone in the World, should you ever think so. And so, concludes my little thesis on Planes of Existence on through to Spirit Guardians. I hope it hasn’t been terribly confusing! There is truly so much more to be said but then, as I always say, there are books for that 😊 Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x
PS…Would welcome comments from anybody wishing to share their experiences!
It is a tree I’ve long admired. To sit and watch the Willow gently blown by a soft wind is mesmerising and soul-lifting. Willow can truly put you into a state of zen without trying very hard.
Perhaps that is best explained in The Faces of WomanSpirit, A Celtic Oracle of Avalon by Katherine Torres, Ph.D. (see below)
Trust All is here and now.
Connect with the Hand of Goddess.
Let Divine Mother Transform you.
Be an Example in the World.
Willow asks you to bend with her into the path of retrieval.
Follow the labyrinth trail, connect with the power of wisdom and the rhythm of your soul, and return to your ordinary world strengthened. You will find that your awareness of your purpose is stronger and your intent cannot be broken by the spell of someone else’s desire.
Could not say it better myself. The Willow tree can put you into a state of rightness with the world, only by observation. Imagine what it can do it in magick!
Willow is the Fifth month of the Celtic Tree calendar, 15th April – 12th May and is the Fifth consonant of the Ogham alphabet – Saille being its alphabetical name. If you are a Willow sign, you are ruled by the moon, and so your personality holds hands with many of the mystical aspects of the lunar realm. This means you are highly creative, intuitive [highly psychic people are born under the sign of the Willow] and intelligent. You have a keen understanding of cycles, and you inherently know that every situation has a season. This gives you a realistic perspective of things, and causes you to be more patient than most tree signs. With your intelligence comes a natural ability to retain knowledge and you often impress your company with the ability to expound on subjects from memory. Willow Celtic tree astrology signs are bursting with potential, but tend to hold themselves back for fear of appearing flamboyant or overindulgent. It is your powers of perception that ultimately allow your true nature to shine, and what leads you to success in life. Willow signs join well with the Birch and the Ivy.
Willow’s Medicinal Value
It is a tree of many, many uses. Most well-known is its active ingredient in aspirin, salicylic acid, contained in Willow’s inner bark. But it has been used for centuries for all sorts. These very bark scrapings were made into astringents and used to reduce fever. Willow was also used as a diuretic, a gargle for sore throats and gums, an external wash for sores, skin problems, wounds and burns.
White Willow was commonly used. Purple Willow has the same general properties as White and may even be more effective in lowering fevers. Black Willow has these same properties and can also be used as a sexual sedative. The Black Willow has also been used to treat gonorrhoea, and to relieve ovarian pain. Goat, or Sallow, Willow eases indigestion, whooping cough, and catarrh and is used as an antiseptic for disinfecting bandages. All varieties of this Tree can be utilised as an eyewash, clearing up of skin problems, and a decoction of leaves and bark, simmered, can be used to treat dandruff. All can also be utilised to prevent recurring fevers and as a digestive tonic, especially for dyspepsia.
The Willow tree is one of the seven sacred Irish trees and is a sacred tree to Druids.
Willow is used for the enhancement of psychic abilities. Orpheus, the poet, was said to have received his Gift by touching the Willows in a grove sacred to Persephone. Groves have been used by many types of artisans to gain eloquence, inspiration, skills and the gift of prophecy. This Tree is held sacred, also, to Minerva, the ancient Great Goddess whose bird, the Wryneck, nests only in the Willow. Cranes are also known to nest here and a grove of Willows with nesting cranes is a symbol of extremely happy domesticity.
Magickal uses are extensive. The Besom, the Witches Broom, is traditionally made from three trees. The stave is made from Ash, for protection; Birch twigs are used for the broom itself to expel evil spirits. The Besom is bound with Willow to honour Hecate. Willow branches are said to be the best for divining Water, channelling Earth energy, and finding lost objects.
“Clootie” – Scottish or “cloutie” wells are places of pilgrimage in Celtic areas. They are wells or springs, almost always with a tree growing beside them, where strips of cloth or rags have been left, usually tied to the branches of the tree as part of a healing ritual. In Scots nomenclature, a “clootie” or “cloot” is a strip of cloth or rag, a prayer rag, if you will. These can be tied to any tree when asking for a nurturing love or a release of grief; Willow will serve this purpose best. By the same token, for a wish to be granted, ask permission of Willow, explaining your desired goal. Select a pliable shoot or branch and tie it into a loose knot while expressing your wish, leaving the branchlet on the Tree! When the wish is fulfilled, return and untie the knot, remembering to thank your Friend and leaving a gift of gratitude.
Symbolism: Resonance and Harmony
Birds: Hawk, Snowy Owl
Deity: Persephone, Hecate, Cerridwen,
Artemis, Selene, Luna, Diana, Brigit
Alone with myself
The trees bend
to caress me
The shade hugs
– Candy Polgar
Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x
The Birch tree is symbolic of starting over, new beginnings, a clean slate, if you will. It is also the first letter of the Ogham as it is the first month of the Celtic Tree Calendar 24th December to 20th January. Its name is “Beith” and is often called “The White Lady of the Wood”.
The characteristics of those born during this Celtic “astrological” sign are risk-takers, high achievers, and movers and shakers. They are renowned as innovators and can easily be caught up in their ambition and extreme passion to always strive for more. Birch people are also revered for their beauty and gracefulness, just like their tree counterpart.
These are the people that will be the inventors, leaders and motivators who always strive for perfection. They are goal- oriented, strategists, and exceptional organisers with a strong will to succeed.
In the Druid religion, this tree represents the beginning of possibility and of growth that is not hindered by obstacles and setbacks.
The Gauls used Birch twigs in marriage ceremonies by lighting them during the ceremony to invoke good luck for the bride and groom’s marriage and for a long and happy marriage.
Ancient Europeans brought Birch twigs and branches inside the home for protection.
In ancient times, brooms made of Birch twigs were commonly used to drive out the spirits of the old year and to ‘beat the bounds’ of property for protection. Thus, broomsticks made of Birch have the added benefit of these protective qualities.
It is said that a small piece of Birch carried upon a person will prevent the kidnapping of the individual by the Sidhe, or the Faerie Folk.
Nowadays, as in the past, Birch is one of the nine sacred woods with which to light the Beltane fire.
Medicinal properties: The oil from Birch bark is used for treating skin conditions, and insect repellent. The sap is a natural shampoo and can be a remedy for dysentery and urinary tract infections. An infusion of Birch leaves is an antiseptic and diuretic.
Magickally, Birch wood is believed to ward off evil, banish fears and build courage.
Element: Air, Water
Symbolism: Renewal, Protection
The Tree of Inception and of New Beginnings.
Birds: Eagle, Pheasant, Egret
Deity: Freya, The White Goddess Brigid, Venus, Thor
Sabbat: After the Winter Solstice, as the days begin to lengthen again…
I’d like to go by climbing a birch tree,
And climb black branches
up a snow-white trunk
till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top
and set me down again.
That would be good
both going and coming back.
One could do worse than
be a swinger of birches.
– Robert Frost, Birch Trees
Many thanks for reading and warm blessings to all whom this way wander x
Originally posted on 19/09/2017 at speakingofwitchwands.net
They get very bad press, crows do. Some farmers would as soon to shoot one as to suffer its existence in many cases and people, in general, are afraid of them simply because of the rhymes, poems, and stories that have caused superstition to run rampant over the course of time. The fact is, crows are amongst the most intelligent of birds, with the Australian crow being the cleverest of all. And, they have been found to be more of a saviour of crops than harm for they indeed eat many pests which cause harm to growing fruit and veg.
The crow, or Corvus, the genus which comprises all crows, ravens, and rooks are part of the Corvidae family, which includes jays, magpies and nutcrackers. There are more than thirty species but the science and biology of corvids is not why I’m writing this.
I simply love crows and ravens. Watching them live their lives and learning the meaning of what they do and say [or caw?], is a favourite past-time of mine. I’ve had a murder, or probably should say “family” of crows, living in a nearby Oak tree for a very long time. Their cheery morning caws when I walk outside with a cup of tea on a nice morning makes me feel special, in a way. Of course, I say “Good morning, crows!” and they stop cawing. Coincidence? I don’t believe in it. It has been proven that crows recognise faces. And if they see one they aren’t familiar with or who looks like a bad character, they will kick up a right old fuss and in some cases, mob the dodgy so-and-so if he seems to be a real and present danger. The main reason for the cawing down of said suspect is so the other crows will remember this ones’ face if seen again. How clever are they?
Crows, like many birds, predict the weather as well. Many have been the times when “my” crows would leave their roost in the Oak tree ahead of severe weather. Generally, when crows leave the roost, they have a call that alerts the rest of the murder and then leave at dusk. Predictably, they stay away for several days until the danger has passed. There is an old saying that if a crow is the first bird you hear of a morning, you will have rain that day. Not so with my crows…they are almost always the first bird I hear and it does not always rain that day.
And a good time was had by all?
Did you know that the North American crow will literally stand on an anthill to allow the ants to climb all over them? Then, the bird will rub the ants into their feathers. This behaviour is called “anting” and is used to ward off parasites. Ants can also cause birds to get drunk from the formic acid released from the ant’s bodies. Not my idea of a night out!
Why are crows thought to be unlucky?
Because of superstition, I say. After battles, the crow was usually the first to pitch up after the battle was finished to feast on the dead. Mind you, the crow was only doing its job – to clean up! But for ages now the crow has the symbology of death hanging above it. And I love the old rhyme “One for sorrow, two for joy, three for girl, four for boy…” Who knows? I count one crow as lucky as two, personally. They are not harbingers of death and doom. At least, if they are around, I know the weather will not be horrible! It’s more likely when they leave you should worry.
Perhaps the reason one crow seems to be associated with dreadful things is the story of the Morrigan where she is mentioned in the Tain Bó Cuailnge, Queen Medbh’s famous Cattle Raid of Cooley. Here she shape-shifts into the form of an eel, a wolf and a cow, as well as her more habitual crow. She has various interactions with hero Cúchullain, finally showing him an omen of his own death. Mortally wounded, he ties himself to a standing stone so that he can die on his feet; she alights on his shoulder in her crow form to show his enemies he is dead.
I think it only makes sense she should take on the form of the crow as I very much doubt Cúchullain would have liked her in cow form sitting upon his shoulder!
There are many reasons crows are thought to be unlucky but they really are not. They are amongst the cleverest birds around. Just take the time to observe them; get to know them! They can teach you some pretty wonderful things, my crows 😊
Some may not think of Maple as being magickal, particularly if they live in Europe or the UK. There are mainly two Maple genus’ which are native and almost native in the UK and those are the Acer Campestre or Field Maple which is native to Britain, and the Acer Platanoides, or Norway Maple which is a naturalised tree in the UK. Both are quite different from the Acer Sapindaceae which is native to North American countries, the US and Canada, and can produce the sap from which Maple syrup is made. If I’m correct in thinking, there are still around 127 other Maple species in the region. However, whether they all produce sap for syrup, I do not know.
Sticking to North America for a short bit [and to tempt your taste buds] the Native American symbolism of the Maple, Acer Sapindaceae, is that of offering, generosity, balance, promise, and practicality. The Maple tree was of importance to the Algonquian tribes of the north-western United States and western Canada, who developed the art of processing Maple sap into Maple sugar, Maple syrup, and taffy candy.
Maple trees hold the wisdom of balance, promise, love, longevity, money, and practical magick. Special for its sugar and syrup it represents success and abundance, most likely because the Native Americans used it in trade and could purchase goods with their syrup when no coin could be made or spared.
Maple has both feminine and masculine energy. Libra and Virgo consider this tree to be sacred. Associated with the elements of Spirit and Water. Planetary Associations: Moon, Jupiter.
The great horned owl is the sacred bird of this tree.
Magickal Properties: Some cultures primarily use Maple wands for spiritual healing. Maple is a traveller’s wood. It enhances intellectual pursuits, acquiring knowledge, and communication. Spells concerning art, beauty, binding, and abundance should consider using this wood. The gipsies [travellers] believe Maple brings gold and that eating the seeds draws love.
A peaceful wood used for purity and healing. Seeks a strong, devoted companion who cares for others. Excellent for cleansing spells, for use in money and luck spells as a base for loose incense, inside a poppet or in witch bottles. Maple reveals the options – even those that are hidden in plain sight – which lay before you. It enables you to make sound choices rather than rely on blind luck. It is also a wonderful wood for divination, and therefore, we shall soon be making pendulums with Maple.
Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x
Some sources include:
Encyclopaedia of Magickal Herbs by Scott Cunningham
She may provide a potent link with the Mother Goddess and facilitates contact with spirits of other trees. In a sense, she acts as a mother figure within the woodland. She carries the wisdom of the Crone, and is mistress of the deepest magic. ~ The Fairy Bible by Teresa Mooney
The Elder tree, or Lady Ellhorn, as we lovingly call her, is a tree of beginnings and endings, of birth and death, so the elder faery is a spirit of transformation and the crossing of thresholds. The Elder faery, seen as a crone, advises on what to cast away and what to take up.
In the Celtic Tree Calendar, The Elder is 13th month, November 25 – December 21, and 13th consonant of the Ogham alphabet – Ruis. Elder marks the darkest time of year and so is associated with death and the Crone aspect of the triple Goddess. Indeed, funerary flints have been found in megalithic long barrows in the shape of elder leaves and in others, an Elder leaf-shaped portal has been carved out between two slabs of stone showing that its association with death goes back beyond the Celts into pre-history.
Born during the Elder month?
Elder archetypes among Celtic tree astrology tend to be freedom-loving, and sometimes appear to be a bit wild to the other signs of the zodiac. In younger years, you may have lived life in the fast lane, often identified as a “thrill-seeker.” At the time of your birth, the light of the sun was fast fleeting and so you take the same cue from nature. You are often misjudged as an outsider as you have a tendency to be withdrawn in spite of your extroverted nature. In actuality, you are deeply thoughtful with a philosophical bent. You also tend to be very considerate of others and genuinely strive to be helpful. These acts of assistance are sometimes thwarted by your brutal honestly (which you openly share solicited or otherwise). Elder Celtic tree astrology signs fit well with Alder’s and Holly’s. ~ Celtic Tree Astrology
Like the Willow, Elder seems to have strong feminine associations. In Denmark, peasants would not cut down an Elder for fear of Hyldemor, the Elder-mother, who dwelt in its trunk. This belief is also found in Eastern England. In Lincolnshire until quite recently, it was important to ask permission of the ‘Old Lady’ or ‘Old Girl’. The correct way to approach the tree was to say: ‘Old Woman, give me some of thy wood and I will give thee some of mine when I grow into a tree.’ If this procedure was not adopted, ill luck could befall. In Ireland, Elder was a sacred tree and it was forbidden to break even one twig. In other parts of the British Isles, the Elder was less feared but still retained its magickal associations. If the eyes are bathed in the green juice of the wood, you might see faeries and witches. If you stand under an Elder tree at Samhain in Scotland, you can see the faery host riding by. Elderberries plucked on Midsummer’s Eve confer magickal powers. In the Isle of Man, Elders are the main dwelling-place for elves.
In Ireland, it was one of the magical trees carried in procession at Beltane. If you celebrate this merry month, let the EIder-Mother once more take her place in summer’s bouquet as this ancient Beltane song declares:
“Holly and hazel
eIder and rowen
and bright ash
from beside the ford“
Symbolism: Judgment, Transformation, Death & Regeneration, Fate, The Inevitable
Five: each elderflower has 5 petals, 5 yellow stamens, and 5 sepals which form a tiny green star.
Thirteen: Elder is associated with all superstition surrounding the number 13.
Stone: Olivine, Jet (Black Amber)
Birds: Pheasant, Raven, Rook
Colour: Black, Dark Green, Blood Red
Deity: Hel, Hela, Holda, Venus, Hilde, The White Lady
Folk Names: Alhuren, Battree, Boure Tree, Eldrum, Elhorn, Hylder, Lady Ellhorn, Old Gal, Old, Lady, Pipe Tree, Rob Elder, Sweet Elder, Tree of Doom
Traditionally all parts of Elder are useful medicinally. The berries and the leaves are both rich in vitamin C. The leaves can be made into ear drops to treat pain and inflammation. The flowers make a tea that is good for treating coughs and irritable throats, as well as being made into a skin cleanser and lotion. The bark of the new small twigs can be made into a laxative. The bark, roots, berries and leaves can all be used as a dye. And the berries are good for making jam, wine, vinegar, and syrups.
Exorcism, Prosperity, Banishment and Healing
The leaves and berries are used for protection and in breaking spells that were cast against you or to undo spells of evil intent. Growing an elder in your garden will protect your property from misfortune and harm. In Europe, they planted elder in cemeteries to keep away the evil spirits
Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x
Originally posted on 5 Sept 2017 via speakingofwitchwands.net
Yew is a tree that commands much respect. If you don’t, it can kill you. Harsh? Not at all. Yew is a very poisonous tree, every part of it from bark to berry seeds, however, the fleshy fruit of its berries is not poisonous but the seed within is. This is because of Taxine, a toxic alkaloid component in the leaves, bark, wood, and seed of the Yew. Even when the Yew tree has died, its toxicity is still there. Handle with care.
So, how is it that you see so many lovely objects made from Yew? Everything from boxes to wands! As a matter of fact, my personal wand is Yew and I’m still here. The people who make objects from Yew wood know chapter and verse on how to protect themselves during construction of their beautiful items. It is essential to wear a good respirator mask, especially whilst sanding Yew wood, and gloves. It is also best to wear long sleeves and trousers and shoes…. this is not a job for wearing your shorts and vest top on a hot day. You don’t want the dust from sanding settling on your skin. Of course, most people would bath or shower after working in this way, however, it is very likely if you have a pet that the pet could lick your hand before you had a good clean up. This would end in tears, I’m afraid. Yew is as toxic to pets as it is to humans so please don’t give Yew to your dog as a chew stick. If you have a Yew wand, keep it in a place where pets can’t get at it.
Hoping I have made my point about the dangers, let’s talk about the magick! The Yew is one of the most magickal trees for protection, reincarnation/rebirth, necromancy, and longevity spells. It is the 5th vowel of the Ogham alphabet, Ioho. It is called “Tree of Resurrection” or “The Tree of Eternity”. It is the Ogham of Winter Solstice and the Dark Half of the year. Yew is a wood of great strength.
Yew is wonderful for connecting with your ancestors. As it is the only biological creature capable of living indefinitely, possibly forever, it is much sought-after for longevity spell work. It is also exalted as a tree of rebirth which gives way to a Breton legend that the tree is said to grow a root into the open mouth of each corpse buried in the graveyard. This root is a symbol of rebirth with the spirit reborn in much the same way as the tree itself is reborn. And, so it may be as so many graveyards have Yew trees growing in them.
“Just as the Yew tree possesses an immortal ability to renew itself, so too do you. Living for centuries, it is a silent witness to the passing of time. Evergreen, its red, waxy cup-shaped berries, enclosing a small poisonous seed, predict protection. A good thing in your life will continue, just as a branch grows down inside the hollow trunk, embedding itself in the soil to sprout a new tree. If you remain working quietly at what you want, like the inconspicuous small green female flowers, you will attract your aim. Communication will surprise you in the same way that the large bright yellow flowers on male trees throw out clouds of yellow pollen when ready to mate.” ~ Tree Magick by Gillian Kemp
Because of the possibility of poisoning, some witches or practitioners of delving into the past and connecting with their ancestors or other forms of necromancy, are not comfortable with using Yew outside of some form of containment. One of the things I have fashioned for myself as a hedge witch, travelling the hedge between Worlds to connect with my ancestors, is my Necromancer’s Witch Bottle Necklace. It is a simple glass bottle, filled with enchanted herbs and Yew, then sealed, not to be opened. I won’t divulge every item that goes inside this witch bottle but it has herbs which summons Spirit, help Spirit to manifest, eases the souls of the dead, appeases and relaxes any traumatised Spirits, to make the Spirit manifested tell the truth, and tobacco to show hospitality to the Spirit(s). The small stick of Yew is included to banish malevolent Spirits. We do offer these in our Etsy shop. This witch bottle is also effectively worn when doing any spell work which may concern longevity or for doing any kind of past-life regression work. It is very protective and helpful in the case of the latter. It is also said to be a bringer of dreams and helpful in overcoming fear of our own death. Yew teaches death as transformation, not an end. The witch bottle also can facilitate connection with your Spirit Guardian.
Planet: Saturn and Pluto
Element: Earth and Water
Symbolism: The Tree of Life, Immortality, Rebirth, Protection, Longevity, Change, Divinity, Strength
Birds: Eagle, Hummingbird
Colours: Black, Dark Green
Deity: Banbha, Dione, Artemis, Persephone, Hecate, Astarte, Odin. Yew embodies the crone aspect of the triple Goddess. Yew is one of the Guardians of the Underworld that assist in guiding souls from one world to the next.
Old Yew, which graspest at the stones
That name the under-lying dead,
Thy fibres net the dreamless head,
Thy roots are wrapt about the bones.
Many thanks for reading, be safe when handling Yew, and warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x
PS… please don’t forget to follow us here on Wytchencrafts as the SpeakingofWitch blog will be removed once we have all our blogs transferred over. x