The Magick of Elm

By Isabella @TheWandCarver
Instagram: @thewandcarver

With the blooming of new daffs and bluebells trying valiantly to peek through patches of snow in some parts; Ostara having just brought us the hope of Spring and sunnier days, it makes me wonder why I would want to write about Elm. Because Elm’s and Yew’s mythology are twinly bound to Death and the Underworld…Elm has been used for many years to build coffins and Yew is a staple tree in most graveyards. It was found in the Underworld and at the crossroads leading to the faery world. Elm is very popular with the Elves. So, why would I bring such a downer into the Spring forecast? Well…

Magickal

Elm at Blackness by MJ Richardson
Elm at Blackness ~ photo by MJ Richardson

Elm is carried to bring love. Isn’t Spring about love? Right you are! Elm energises and balances the mind and heart. It not only attracts love, but it also protects love and all. Elm is also used in fertility spells and rebirth. You can use the wood and flowers in love spells. The wood is best-used ground up finely and used in your loose incense for love. The flowers are used in poppets or sachets.

A wood of femininity, Elm draws from the element of earth and is a strong, neutral wood that can be used for protection or hexes. It seeks a companion of strength and is excellent for destructive spells, protection, and defensive magick.

“Because of its rich foliage and sap, the Elm is sacred to Saturn, Roman god of agriculture. Representing fertility, it foretells that your wish will meet with success. Its other meaning is their need to give way and let nature run its course, to sacrifice what you have for what could be. Elm wood is flexible and durable and does not rot when wet. You probably know in your heart that your wish will be granted. A hopeful sign is that Elm twigs are used as divining rods. The Elm tree stands at the entrance to the underworld as a living connection between the living and the dead. What comes to you is blessed by heaven. It may be that all you need do is wait and have faith in nature.” By Gillian Kemp, Tree Magick

Other spell work to use Elm: Dark Moon and initiation rituals, grounding after ritual, seeking comfort.

Healing

Elm’s legendary associations are of death and the Underworld, but funnily enough, people looked to Elm for medicinal cures. The inner bark was particularly effective when chewed or boiled into a syrupy liquor to treat colds and sore throats, coughs, diarrhoea, internal bleeding, and fever whilst the boiled bark was also used to treat burns. Can be applied to external wounds for healing or drink to ease menstrual problems.

A medical manuscript from 1509 [in the library of the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin] mentions cures that included hitting an afflicted person with a rod marked with the Ogham. It was believed that this action would release the illness from the person’s body. The type of wood depended on the cure needed, for example, Elm for impotence. The Ogham inscription on the rod consisted of the person’s name or, according to sources, a spell.

Here is where I might mention that Elm is a secondary Ogham tree, associated with the Ogham “ailm” and Fir is the first and mainly used. I suppose if you can’t have Fir, Elm will suit. It is not a Celtic Birth Tree.

Correspondences
Gender: Feminine
Planet
: Mercury, Saturn
Zodiac
: Capricorn
Element: Air, Water, Earth
Powers: Compassion, Empathy, Intuition, and Love
Symbolism: Communication and Relationships
Colour: Turquoise
Gemstone: Moss Agate
Birds: Lapwing, Ruffled Grouse
Deity: Dionysus, Odin, Loki, Hecate, Cerridwen, Danu, Gaia, Hel / Holle, Ran
Folk Names: Sweet Elm, Elven, English Elm, European Elm

Many thanks for reading this offering. I hope you have enjoyed reading about Elm and have taken away some useful knowledge. Warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x

Sources
Tree Magick, by Gillian Kemp
Whispers from the Woods, by Sandra Kynes

The Magic of Yew

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram: @thewandcarver

Originally posted on 5 Sept 2017 via speakingofwitchwands.net

yew5
Yew leaves and berries, courtesy of Google images

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.

handle of my wand
My Yew wand with crow fetish, photo by i.macy

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.

5000 yr old yew in dafynnod wales graveyard
5,000 year old Yew in Defynnog, Wales

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

Yew Necromancer Witch Bottle
Necromancer’s Witch Bottle Necklace ~ photo by i.macy

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.

Correspondences:

Planet: Saturn and Pluto

Element: Earth and Water

Symbolism: The Tree of Life, Immortality, Rebirth, Protection, Longevity, Change, Divinity, Strength

Metal: Lead

Stone: Olivine

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.

~Tennyson

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