Tree Magick


Having looked at the components of spells and
magical workings, it is now time to turn our
attention to magical woods and trees. Natural
objects, such as trees, are such an integral part
of magic that any practitioner worth their salt
has to have a fairly extensive knowledge of
their meanings and properties.

We can gain a clear picture of the role of trees
in the sacred life of the people of ancient Europe
by looking at the myths and stories dealing with
mystical states of consciousness. The following
quote, from the ancient Scandinavian Poetic
Edda, refers to the archetypal journey into
shamanic knowledge undertaken by the god
Odin. The story is that, in order to acquire
eternal wisdom, Odin hung for nine days
upside down on the Tree of Knowledge:
I know that I hung on the windswept tree.
The wisest know not from whence
Spring the roots of that ancient tree.
To the peoples of the old world, the trees
around them provided building materials and
weaponry and also fuel for heat and cooking.
Many woods, however, also provided a
powerful spiritual presence. Those believed to
be sacred shared certain traits, though different
cultures accorded their trees varying
significances. The great oak, the mystical yew
and so many others, are reminders of the power
that trees have on our lives – the power of the
tree’s spirit could grant that tree a central place
in the folklore and mythology of a culture. Even
today we find that certain trees capture our
imagination and our thoughts. Once we accept
that trees are living things, filled with the
essence and energy of the Elementals and of
Mother Earth, we sense power, which is often
visible to those who have taken the trouble to
The lore that surrounds particular trees or
woods often reflects the power the old ones
sensed and drew from their presence, and this
can be seen in the combination of oak, ash and
thorn. All three trees are counted as sacred in
the Druidic tradition and are part of the Celtic
Tree Calendar (as is elder). They are often called
the ‘Fairy Triad’ because groves that include all
three of them are truly magical places where it
is said you can spot fairies.
Traditionally, if you take wood from a tree for
magical purposes, make sure you ask the tree for
permission to do so and leave a gift in its place.
The trees listed below are those which were –
and indeed still are – considered to have
magical properties.

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