The Magickal Boswellia Tree, or The Frankincense Tree

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram:  @iseabail_witchwriter

FrankincenseTree
Boswellia Tree ~ unknown photographer

Ah, the Boswellia sacra tree!  The sap of this tree is the most used resin in all of history for purification, protection, consecration, and healing.  It is most prevalent in northern Somalia and the Dhofar mountain range in Oman.  Boswellia serrata also produces frankincense and is native to much of India and the Punjab region that extends into Pakistan. The Boswellia Sacra tree is rather small as trees go and it grows to a height of  about 2 to 8 metres or 6 to 26 feet.  The most famous product of either Boswellia tree is its resin… it is what we have come to know as Frankincense.

We learn about Frankincense from a very early age.  As children, many of us were brought up in Christian households, but not relegated to being Christian; practically every religion has heard the story of the Three Wise Men visiting the Christ child and the gifts they brought to honour him, one of which was Frankincense. Frankincense was used long before Christianity as incense and oil for consecration, purification, and protection of sacred spaces and people. The Catholic religion was, as far as I know, the first Christianity-based religion to use Frankincense.  The Church of England used incense throughout its history, until the mid-1600s, when it fell into disuse generally and subsequently became illegal. From that time, though, it continued to be used in worship in isolated instances, such as in York Minster, and since the mid-19th century its use has spread and increased. It forms a normal part of ACC liturgy and worship.  Jewish rabbis use consecrated frankincense in ritual, particularly in the ceremony of Ketoret.

Our cherished Frankincense supply could be in decline over the next years.  Read more in this article by the BBC.

Magickal

For most of you reading today, I would be hard placed to give you any new information about Frankincense in magick.  You already are familiar with using the resin along with tree bark and herbs for different spells.  You already know the oil is fabulous for protection.  And, you most likely burn Frankincense joss sticks for purification of your home or any sacred space.  I’m particularly pleased that I can still burn Frankincense for as I’ve grown older my olfactory sense has become very sensitive to Dragon’s Blood, which I adore.  Now, I can regularly burn Frankincense as it is gentle on my poor nose.

But Frankincense does not need to be burned to be effective.  It is one of the nine herbs, flowers, resins, and woods we use in our Protection Witch Bottles and Necromancer’s Witch Bottles.  It is believed that carrying a piece of Frankincense is protective.  It can be held in a small bowl on your altar as an offering to your favourite Sun God or Goddess.  You can anoint yourself or another with the oil for protection as well as anoint your altar or witch tools.  I would be interested to learn of your uses for the resin or the oil. Please use the comments section below.

Correspondences

Planet:  Sun

Gender:  Male

Element:  Fire

Powers:  Consecration, Healing, Protection, Purification, Spirituality

Deity:  Ra, Apollonius, Hephaestus, Venus, Sol [Helios], Buddha, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva [Hindu]

Sabbat:  Yule

Other Names:  Dhoop [Sanskrit], Frankincense tree,  Olibanum-tree, Olibanus, Olibans, Luban, Mohor, Beyo, Maid

Health

Resin made from Boswellia extract has been used for centuries in Asian and African folk medicine. It’s believed to treat chronic inflammatory illnesses as well as several other health conditions such as arthritis, some cancers, osteoarthritis, asthma, and irritable bowel disease [IBS].  Boswellia is available as a resin, pill, or cream.

Boswellia products can differ greatly. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and remember to speak to your doctor before using any herbal therapy.

General dosing guidelines suggest taking 300–500 milligrams (mg) by mouth two to three times a day. The dosage may need to be higher for IBD.

The Arthritis Foundation suggests 300–400 mg three times per day of a product that contains 60 percent Boswellia acids.

Boswellia may stimulate blood flow in the uterus and pelvis. It can accelerate menstrual flow and may induce miscarriage in pregnant women.

Other possible side effects of Boswellia include nausea, diarrhoea, acid reflux and skin rashes.

Boswellia extract may also interact with medications, including ibuprofen, aspirin, paracetamol, and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs [NSAIDs].

Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x

Sources

BBC.co.uk

The Magic of Trees, by Tess Whitehurst

Wikipedia

The Magickal Dogwood Tree

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram:  @iseabail_witchwriter

Dogwood cornus-florida-flowers-treesonline dot co dot uk
Cornus Florida ~ treesonline.co.uk

Yes! We do have Dogwood trees in the UK! But many of you probably know this already.  When I was quite young and my parents upped sticks and moved away from the big city life into the “country” – which isn’t so much “country” anymore – they bought a detached house on a good sized plot of land and my father, ever the Druid at heart, planted at least one, sometimes three or four, of every tree he could.  And he certainly did plant Dogwood trees.  As far as I can surmise, he planted Cornus Florida [from North America] based on the colour and size of the trees that I remember.  But is another which lives happily

dogwood - kousa - gardeningknowhow dot com
Cornus Kousa ~ gardeningknowhow.com

in UK weather called Cornus Kousa [from China] and it has pointier flowers. However, there is also a Dogwood [Cornus sanguinea]  shrub which you mustn’t confuse with the American or Chinese tree  because they are ornamentally placed around homes and businesses and the

Cornus sanguinea is typically found growing along woodland edges and in hedgerows of southern England. Mature trees can grow to 10 metres.

Dogwood Cornus Sanguinea flowers woodlandtrust
Cornus sanguinea   ~ woodlandtrust.co.uk

The Dogwood tree is said to live about 80 years under optimal circumstances.  I don’t know if Dad’s trees still exist as he moved away from this house a few years after my Mum died.  Truth be told, I haven’t been able to bring myself to go there again as I’m sure the changes may not please me.  But if they please the current owners that is all that matters, I suppose.  I’m not one to hang on to the past.

Magickal

The writer Tess Whitehurst, in her book The Magic of Trees, likens the Dogwood to – well, a dog! She says the Dogwood gives you protection from what you wish to exclude and, like a dog, helps you determine whom and what should be excluded from your life.  Rather than growling at someone or something as would a dog, the Dogwood wood gives you the feeling you should step away from the person or situation if you carry it as an amulet.  It is said that a Dogwood tree is excellent protection if planted around your home.  This is exactly what my father did… as a defence in front of our new home he planted three Dogwood trees… he clearly knew the power of three as we never had a time so bad we could not pull through it.

The origin of the name comes from the smooth, straight twigs [daggerwood] which were used to make butchers’ skewers. Skewers used to be called ‘dags’ or ‘dogs’, so the name means ‘skewer wood’.  Tess Whitehurst in her book kind of got the meaning wrong way round as she says the name came from using the wood for knife handles.  But the point is [see what I did there?] is that the Dogwood is thought to be as loyal as a dog and is said to help humans communicate with them.  It is also believed that using pieces of Dogwood bark and its flowers in the kennel of a convalescing dog will ensure its health will mend rapidly.  In the Victorian language of flowers, the Dogwood flower means endurance.  Another good reason to plant one the lovely species of tree in your garden.

The tree’s name “Dogwood” also carries associations with the Celtic Irish hero Cuchulainn, whose name meant “the dog of Cuchulainn” referring to his loyalty.  Uncertain about this as I have no way of knowing if the Dogwood existed in the early Pagan Celtic Ireland.

Sitting under a Dogwood, particularly if you’re feeling melancholy and having a good cry is thought to be very cathartic. It is believed that the Dogwood helps you to get your grief out more thoroughly.

Place the sap of the Dogwood onto a handkerchief on Midsummer Eve. This will grant any wish you have if you carry it faithfully. Dogwood leaves or wood can be placed in protective amulets.

Correspondences

Planet:  Saturn

Gender:  Masculine

Zodiac:  Capricorn

Element[s]:  Spirit

Powers:  Empathy, Love, Loyalty, Miracles, Protection, Secrets, Sympathy, Wishes

Deity:  Saturn, Jesus, Venus, Hecate

Other Names:  Dagwood, Bitter Redberry, Box Tree, Boxwood, Budwood, Cornejo Florido, Cornel, Cornelian Tree, Cornouiller Américain, Cornouiller d’Amérique, Cornouiller à Fleurs, Cornouiller à Fleurs d’Amérique, Cornouiller de Floride, Cornus, Cornus florida, Dog-Tree, Dogwood, False Box, Green Ozier, Osier, Rose Willow, Sanguiñuelo Florido, Silky Cornel, Swamp Dogwood,

Health

Historically, American Dogwood was sometimes used for treating malaria instead of the drug quinine. American Dogwood is still used today as medicine, but not very often. People use American Dogwood for headaches, fatigue, fever, and ongoing diarrhoea. It is also used to increase strength, to stimulate appetite, and as a tonic.  Some people apply American Dogwood directly to the skin for boils and wounds.

Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x

Sources

Experience

The Magic of Trees, by Tess Whitehurst

Wikipedia

Woodland Trust

The Magickal Walnut Tree

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram:  @thewandcarver

When I chose to write about the Walnut tree, I immediately thought of the stocking fillers we had for Christmas as a child.  There was always an orange.  And of course, the obligatory stick of Rock. Then some assorted sweets wrapped in crinkly cellophane.  And Walnuts! And that was our lot in those days.  To a child growing up in the sixties’ it was a veritable cornucopia of goodies! I know nowadays it is much different, but I started my own five out on “nuts and fruits and sweeties” ‘til they cottoned on to the fact that their friends got chocolate bars and mini-gifts wrapped up in paper inside their stockings…oh the good old days!  Of course, things got much more expensive then!

Walnut tree Woodland Trust
Walnut Tree ~ photo by Woodlandtrust.org.uk

The Walnut [nut proper] was said to be introduced into England from its native Iran by the Romans.  Juglans regia, the Persian Walnut, English Walnut, Circassian Walnut, or especially in Great Britain, common Walnut, is an Old-World Walnut tree species native to the region stretching from the Balkans eastward to the Himalayas and southwest China.  Archaeologists have found that black Walnuts were a popular food with Roman people.  Another name for the Walnut is Juglans which is thought to mean Jove’s/Jupiter’s acorn, however, “Juglans” comes from its Latin name, Juglans nigra  i.e. Black Walnut, which is an American Walnut tree and Black Walnut being native to eastern north America was introduced to Europe in 1629.  For our purposes they both are used in the same way magickally and in healing.

Magickal

Money and Prosperity:  Always keep a bowl of **Walnuts on your table. Replace when eaten. The Walnuts radiate the power of Jupiter all over your home, bringing new opportunities, fertility, and wealth.

A spell to bring forth what you desire:  Crack open a walnut. Break the nutmeat in half. Put the one half back in the walnut. Write on a piece of paper what you desire “I attract more money” or  “every day I become more beautiful”.  Fold the piece of paper and put it in the walnut.  Close the walnut and wrap it with red cord. Seal it with red wax. **Eat the other half of the nutmeat while you inscribe outside of the walnut “to grow”. Taste the magick of the walnut and its power. Your wish becomes one with you. You can bury the walnut or carry it with you.

You can use Walnuts and Walnut wood and bark in rituals and meditations that deal with life transitions, rituals of initiation, manifesting intention into the physical realm, and weather magic.

The Romans once buried coins underneath Walnut trees as an offering to the Roman Goddess of fruit trees.

Because of its resistance to decay, Walnut wood is fabulous for wands, however, it is not a wood I find lying about very often so it could be some time before that happens! The young Walnut tree can be devastated by the grey squirrel. It also susceptible to Walnut leaf blotch.

** WARNING:  If  you or anybody in your home has a nut allergy, DO NOT attempt this spell. I am sure I don’t need to tell you; however, I feel honour-bound to do so anyway.

Healing

Western science has shown that the fruit husks of the black Walnut contain juglone – a compound that inhibits bacterial and fungal growth, and may be valuable in controlling dermal, mucous, and oral infections in humans. It is also being tested for its anticancer properties.

Walnuts Inside
Walnut fruit ~ Google Images

I have, in my readings, come across media saying that whatever body part a fruit or vegetable looks like is what it is useful in healing.  When you lay the fruit of the Walnut out side by side it looks like a pair of lungs or, if you put the fruits together, a brain.  “The Walnut tree and its wood help us with our mental gifts. Even the Walnuts themselves resemble little brains! Intelligence, wisdom and inspiration all come under its realm. It has also been said that Black Walnut contains medicinal properties. Walnut holds the powers of the breath and inspiration. Symbolic of confidence and mental wisdom.  Black Walnut wood has medicinal properties that are useful in the prevention and treatment of disease. Walnut teaches us clarity and focus, using our mental gifts wisely and how to best use our intelligence.” ~ Dr Kyle D Christensen

Black walnut has been used by native people for thousands of years. Native American ethnobotany has revealed many medicinal uses for the bark, leaves, husks, and nuts of black walnut, including its utility as a mosquito repellent, a dermatological aid, an anti-diarrhoeal, a laxative, and an anthelminthic. In one form or another, this species has been used to relieve the symptoms of fever, kidney ailments, gastrointestinal disturbances, ulcers, toothache, syphilis, and snake bite, among others.

Correspondences

Planetary:  Jupiter, Sun

Zodiac:  Gemini, Leo, Virgo

Element[s]:  Air, Fire

Powers:  Change, Fertility, Healing, Inspiration, Intentions, Protection, Wealth

Gender:  Masculine

Deity:  Aphrodite, Artemis, Astarte, Carmenta, Carya, Diana, Pomona, Rhiannon, Apollo, Zeus, Jupiter, Thor, Vishnu

Other Names:  White Walnut [butternut], Ball Nut, Ban Nut

As always, I thank you kindly for reading my blog.  Warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x

Sources

Witchipedia

Whispers from the Woods, by Sandra Kynes

The Magic of Trees: A Guide to Their Sacred Wisdom & Metaphysical Properties, by Tess Whitehurst

Woodlands Trust

Experience

The Magickal Chestnut Tree

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram:  @thewandcarver

sweet-chestnut-habit-woodland trust
Sweet Chestnut tree ~ woodlandstrust,co.uk

The Sweet Chestnut [Castanea sativa] tree lives to be about 700 years old and interestingly, does not bear fruit until around its 25th year of life.  It is native to Europe, western Asia and north Africa, and is thought to have been introduced to the British Isles by the Romans; today it can be found commonly throughout Britain in woods and copses, especially in parts of southern England, where it is still managed to form large areas of copping. If you remember my last writing about a nut-bearing tree, The Magickal Walnut Tree, it was believed that the Romans brought those to Britain as well.  Would we have had no nuts if not for the Romans?  Apparently not, as it is beginning to seem!

It’s a wonderful tree to grow if you have the room for the flowers provide an important source of nectar and pollen to bees and other insects, and red squirrels eat the nuts.

Horse Chestnuts [Aesculus hippocastanum] are easily mistaken for Sweet Chestnuts.  Horse Chestnut trees originated in the Balkans and were introduced to the UK in the 1600’s as an ornamental tree.

Horse Chestnuts are one of the first trees to come into leaf each year.  The leaves are made up of 5 to 7 leaflets.  These trees look at their best in springtime, when they are covered with clusters of either pink or white flowers, known as ‘candles’.  The flowers are normally pollinated by the early flying bumble bees.

horsechestnut uk safari
Conkers ~ photo by C. Bradley, 2004 uksafari.co.uk

Shortly after pollination the seeds of the tree appear encased in a prickly green shell about 1cm in diameter.  Through the summer they grow to about 5cm in diameter and then in September the prickly casing splits open to release the shiny brown seed, known as a ‘conker’, which is something any child in Britain can spot miles away.

The sweet chestnut is the delicious, edible chestnut that most people are familiar with around the holidays.  An edible chestnut is easiest to spot if it is still in its husk, which is spiny and needle-sharp. The toxic, inedible chestnut, the horse chestnut, has a husk that is much smoother, with only a few ‘warts’. Horse chestnuts are the ones commonly found in forests.  If you are a wild-gatherer of foods and herbs in the forests or roadside lay-by’s, please take care in gathering the correct Chestnuts.

Magickal

Chestnut trees and its respective parts are often used in purging,  banishing rituals spellwork, however, I have not used them in any of these kinds of spells, so I have no knowledge to offer here.

For blessing a new home to attract abundance and prosperity place a bowlful of Sweet Chestnuts in each room of the new home. Keeping a bowl of Chestnuts close to you is also good for peace of mind.  You can carry a couple or handful in your pockets for the same effect.

Chestnuts can be eaten to encourage fertility and desire and may be carried as a charm by women who wish to conceive. Keeping chestnuts around the house (and eating them) encourages abundance. **

Staves made from chestnut wood are said to encourage longevity, increase energy, enhance intuition, and help with grounding and centring of energy. Chestnut wood can also be used to make talismans for justice, success, to gain the sympathy of your audience and to encourage your mind to take in information.

Druids often made staffs from Chestnut wood, because the physical connection to the wood allowed the user to draw longevity and invigoration from the wood.

Sitting under a Chestnut tree will help ground and clarify the mind during periods of meditation.

Place a Chestnut piece of wood or carving under a troubled couple’s bed to ease disputes and relationship problems.

** Warning:  As always, take care not to eat of use any kind of nut in your home if you or anyone has nut allergies.

Healing

Native Americans may have used a tisane of chestnut leaves to treat severe coughs and heart disease, a poultice of the leaves for sores and a decoction of the bark to treat worms.

Horse chestnut  is a traditional remedy for leg vein health. It tones and protects blood vessels and may be helpful in ankle oedema related to poor venous return. It is used extensively throughout Europe as an anti-inflammatory agent for a variety of conditions, in addition to being used for vascular problems. The plant is taken in small doses internally for the treatment of a wide range of venous diseases, including hardening of the arteries, varicose veins, phlebitis, leg ulcers, haemorrhoids and frostbite.

Horse chestnut is an astringent, anti-inflammatory herb that helps to tone the vein walls which, when slack or distended, may become varicose, haemorrhoidal or otherwise problematic. The plant reduces fluid retention by increasing the permeability of the capillaries and allowing the re-absorption of excess fluid back into the circulatory system.

The seeds are the source of a saponin known as aesc in, which is the compound that has been shown to promote normal tone in the walls of the veins, thereby improving circulation through the veins and promoting the return of blood to the heart.

Correspondences

Planetary:  Jupiter, Sun

Zodiac:  Cancer, Gemini, Sagittarius, Virgo

Element[s]:  Air, Fire, Water

Gender:  Masculine

Powers:  Healing, Love, Prosperity, Abundance, Attracting Animals, Relieving Worry, Transforming Karma

Deity:  Artemis, Diana, Boann

Other Names:  Sweet Chestnut, Candle Tree

As always, I thank you kindly for reading my blog and warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x

Sources

Witchipedia

Whispers from the Woods, by Sandra Kynes

The Magic of Trees: A Guide to Their Sacred Wisdom & Metaphysical Properties, by Tess Whitehurst

Woodlands Trust

Experience