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Wood Information from Califer.

Latest update 2 November 2015.


Keeping Moonlight's Child Alive
The Poem of the Nine Woods

Nine woods in the cauldron go, burn them fast and burn them slow.
Birch into the fire goes, to represent what the Lady knows.
Oak gives the forest might, in the fire brings the God's insight.
Rowan is the tree of power, causing life and magic to flower.
Willows at the waterside stand, to aid the journey to the Summerland.
Hawthorn is burned to purify, and draw faery to your eye.
Hazel, the tree of wisdom and learning, adds its strength to the bright fire burning.
White are the flowers of the apple tree, that brings us the fruits of fertility.
Grapes that grow upon the vine, giving us both joy and wine.
Fir does mark the evergreen, to represent immortality unseen.
Elder is the Lady's tree, burn it not, or cursed you'll be.

Alder  Ash  Birch  Rowan  Willow


Alder
Energy Male
Celtic Name Fearn
Celtic Birth Correspondance 18 March to 14 April
Point of Interest The Alder tree (Alnus glutinosa) is one of the sacred trees of Witchcraft and was a favoured tree of the ancient Druids. According to the Celtic Tree Calendar the Alder tree is the fourth tree of the year. As such, it is associated with Ostara, one of the Lesser Witch’s Sabbats. Druids associated this tree with the fox. The deity Bran considers this tree to be sacred. In folklore, the Alder tree is known as the “King of the Waters” and has the “Willow” tree as its Queen. This association is due to their natural habitat near lakes, rivers and streams. The Alder tree is native to the British Isles and continental Europe where it flourishes in temperate and cold climates. The leaves of the Alder are broadly ovate, stalked and usually smooth. It produces catkins that are formed in the autumn, the fruiting ones having scales rather like tiny fir cones. The tree’s flowers appear in early spring before the leaves are fully out and its woody, nearly globular, female catkins are its so-called berries.
Elemental Alignment Water
Historical Note Italian witches used to mix the sap from the Alder tree with that of the madder plant, a Eurasian plant (Rubia tinctorum of the family Rubiaceae) to produce red dyes. These were then used to colour ribbons, cords and sashes for use in magick and ritual. Ritual bags made of wool and dyed red have been highly prized by Italian witches since classical times. Also, in Italy, the wood of the Alder was used to light the fires for the spring festival at Ostara. In dyeing, the Alder’s bark is used as a foundation for blacks with the addition of copperas. Alone, it dyes woollens a reddish colour (Aldine Red). The Laplanders chew it and dye leathern garments with their saliva. The young shoots of the Alder dye yellow, and with a little copper a yellowish-grey, which is useful in the half-tints and shadows of flesh in tapestry. The shoots cut in March will dye cinnamon, and if dried and powdered produce a tawny shade. The fresh wood yields a pinkish-fawn dye and the catkins a green dye. The leaves have been used in tanning leather. They are also clammy and, if spread in a room, are said to catch fleas on their sticky glutinous surface.
Magical Properties: The Alder is used to attract the powers needed for Protection, Divination, Oracles, Healing and anything to do with the element Water.
RitualUses Alder wands are used for rituals concerning charisma, journeys, self confidence, bravery, supervision skills, and spiritual growth. Also used in shielding the astral self from unwanted intrusion from other realms.


Ash
Energy Male
Celtic Name Nuin
Celtic Birth Correspondance 18 February to 17 March
Point of Interest The Ash tree (Fraxinus excelsior) is one of the sacred trees of Witchcraft revered by contemporaries and ancients alike. It is often referred to in verse by the phase “by oak, ash, and thorn,” which is used as a blessing during ritual or to affirm a charge of power in spellcraft. The Druids believed that oak possessed masculine energy and the thorn feminine energy, the polarities of which were balanced and focused by ash allowing the energies to be readily tapped and directed. In folklore it was believed that the fairies could be seen and conversed with by mortals wherever the three trees grew together.
Elemental Alignment Fire
Historical Note In folklore and mythology the ash tree has many associations with the gods, such as: Uranus, Poseidon, Thor, Odin, Oceanus, Nemesis, Mars, and Gwydion. The Greek goddess Nemesis carried an ash branch as the symbol the divine instrument of the justice of the gods, the scourge. In iconology she is also depicted with an eight-spoke wheel symbolic of the solar year. The wheel is also a symbol of the Fates who dispensed her justice under and through the ash tree, metering out happiness or misery and ensuring that fortune was shared and not cosseted by the few. If anyone hoarded the favours she had given or didn’t sacrifice some or part of it to the gods, or didn’t try to alleviate the poverty and misery of fellow man. Nemesis would step in and withdraw what was given dispensing justice through humiliation with a scourge made of ash. In later Greek myths Nemesis was identified as Andrasteia, daughter of the sea god Oceanus and goddess of the “rain making ash tree”. In this aspect her scourge was used for ritual flogging to bring fruitfulness and productivity to the trees and crops. This association with Oceanus the god of the sea through his daughter Andrasteia, connects the ash tree with thunderstorms, which waters the earth and fertilizes the land. The ash tree is said to attract lightening. As well as the ash branch, wheel and scourge Nemesis also carried an apple branch as a reward for heroes. Odin is said to have hung from an ash tree in order to gain enlightenment before reading the runes. In Norse mythology and to the ancient Teutons the ash tree represented Yggdrasill, also known as the World Tree. This was their concept of the universe and revered as the tree of Time and of Life. In Scandinavian myth the first man was formed from the ash and the first woman from rowan. The Druids associated this tree with the adder. The Welsh associated this tree with the God Gwydion.
Magical Properties: Ash is an excellent wood for promoting brain power, aids in communication, intelligence, wisdom, and promotes curiosity. Use this wood to remove mental blockages and aid in the promotion of word use and understanding. It is the wood of the writer, poet, and scholar. Promotes spiritual love and health. Protects against unwanted change. Brings balance to the mind. The Ash tree is also associated with Divination, Prophecy and Inspiration.It is said that warts rubbed on the bark will be absorbed into the tree.
RitualUses protection from drowning, magical effectiveness, sea power, and healing. Ash is also used for protection, finding special roots, horse magic, enhances skills of arts and crafts, justice, weather magic, and for working with the magic of cave and wells.




Birch Birch is a tree or shrub of the genus Betula. The one most commonly seen in our native woodlands is Betula pendula, the Silver Birch
Energy Female
Celtic Name Beth
Celtic Birth Correspondance 24 December to 20 January
Point of Interest One of the first trees to naturally establish in cleared forests, the common birch tree (Betula pendula alba, also B. pubescens, and B. verrucosa) is one of the sacred trees of Witchcraft. Coleridge (the English poet and critic 1772–1834) spoke of the birch as the “Lady of the Woods”, due to its lightness, grace, elegance and fragrance particularly after rain. The wood of the birch is soft and not very durable but being cheap and the tree being able to thrive in any situation or soil, it is grown all over Europe and used for a wide variety of purposes. In country districts the lighter twigs are used for thatching, wattle fencing and brooms. Bobbins for thread-mills, herring-barrel staves and various fancy articles are made from birch, as is the manufacture of cloth. The tree is also a source from which asphyxiating gases have been manufactured, and its charcoal was and still is used for gunpowder.
Elemental Alignment Water
Historical Note The Druids associated this wood with the white hart, a magical white stag and protector of the forest. The Druids placed the birch at the start of the Celtic tree calendar and it became associated with inception and new beginnings and twigs of the birch were use at Beltane celebrations to light the festival fires marking the beginning of a new season. The birch was also associated with the spirits of the dead and the Underworld. An old folk-ballad known as “The Wife of Usher’s Well” tells of souls returning from the realms of the dead wearing hats and clothing of made of birch.
Magical Properties: It is a tree of new beginnings and establishments.The Birch wand is used in many cleansing rituals. Birch is a symbol of rebirth, renewal, and diligence. Some use this wood to aid in the calming of emotions. The bark helps to heal wounds and burns. Many European communities use or have used, birch twigs to expel evil spirits. Some cultures utilize birch rods in rituals designed to drive out spirits of the old year. Controlled by Moon influences to include; birth,Lunar spells, healing, and protection. Birch by tradition has been linked to youth and new beginnings.
RitualUses Any ritual that signifies the start of any venture.


Rowan
Energy Female
Celtic Name Luis
Celtic Birth Correspondance 21 January to 17 February
Point of Interest The Rowan tree (Sorbus aucuparia) is one of the sacred trees of Witchcraft and was a favoured tree of the ancient Druids. the Rowan tree is the second tree of the ancient Celtic Tree Calendar. As such it is associated with Imbolc one of the four Greater Sabbats sacred to the Goddess Bridget. Native to the cooler temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, the greatest density of the species can be found up in the mountainous areas of western China, the Himalayas, Russia and the Caucasus mountain ranges - for this reason the Rowan tree is more commonly known as the Mountain Ash. It is also known by many other names: Lady of the Mountains, Delight of the Eye, Ran Tree, Roynetree, Roden Quicken, Quickbane, Sorb Apple, Thor’s Helper, Whitty, Wicken-Tree, Wiky, Wiggin, Wiggy, Wild Ash, Witchwood, Witchbane and Witchen. Botanically the Rowan tree is of the rose family Rosaceae, and of the genus Sorbus.
Elemental Alignment Fire
Historical Note Tying two small twigs of Rowan together with red thread in the form of an equal-armed cross is an age-old protective amulet. Cornish peasants carried these in their pockets for protection. Scottish Highlanders sew them into the lining of their kilts before going into battle. Highland women made necklaces of the berries threaded with red thread for protection.
Magical Properties: Rowan wood can be carried and used to increase psychic powers, and its branches used for making dowsing rods or magical wands. The leaves and berries of the Rowan can be added to incense to aid divination and increase psychic powers. The bark and berries carried on the person will also aid in recuperation, and was added to health and healing sachets, as well as power, luck and success charms.
RitualUses Rowan is the wood to use for making any magical tool which has anything to do with divining, invocation and communication with the spirit realms. It will help you to discriminate between what will do you harm and good and help you deal with anything which threatens you. Staffs made from Rowan are excellent tools for those who roam the fields or woods by night, as well as an aid to walking; they offer protection from lightning. Similarly, When a family member dies, planting a Rowan tree over their grave would prevent their souls from haunting the place. This is why you see many church yards with Rowans planted. The red berries of the Rowan have a five-pointed star (pentagram) from where it was attached to the stalk. The pentagram is an ancient symbol of protection and so carrying the berries in a pocket would protect a person from harm.


Willow
Energy Female
Celtic Name Saille
Celtic Birth Correspondance 15 April to 12 May
Point of Interest The Willow tree (Salix alba) has long had associations with Wicca/Witchcraft and figures in the folklore and mythology of many cultures. The botanical name of the Willow 'Salix' comes from the Celtic word 'sal' - meaning near, and “lis” - meaning water. Due to the Willow growing rapidly and having deep tough roots, they are widely planted to check soil erosion particularly on the banks of rivers and streams. It also flourishes in the moist ground found in many temperate regions throughout the world. As the Alder tree is known as the 'King of the Waters' so the Willow became known as its 'Queen'.The Druids associated this tree with the hare. Diana, Hecate, Astarte, Ceridwen, Arianrhod, Rhiannon, and Omulan all consider this to be a very sacred tree.
Elemental Alignment Water
Historical Note The Willow was also sacred to poets, for the sound of the wind through the Willow is said to have a potent influence on the mind which results in inspiration. Orpheus the Greeks most celebrated poet is said to have received his gifts of eloquence and communication from the Willow by carrying its branches with him while journeying through the Underworld. Due to his talents as a poet the god Apollo presented him with a lyre and asked him to make music, he in turn instructed the Muses in its use. It was said that when he played music he not only enchanted wild beasts, but also that the trees and rocks of Mount Olympus moved from their places to follow the sounds of his harp. Upon his death with the intercession of Apollo and the Muses, Zeus placed the lyre of Orpheus amongst the stars. Orpheus was depicted in bas-relief in the temple at Delphi leaning against a Willow tree touching its branches.
Magical Properties: Magical Properties: Willow wands are strong in the cycles of life dealing with death and rebirth, change, the will. It is a very emotional wood. Willow can add vital energy to the sick and elderly. Some say that burning willow can soothe and guide the souls of the recently deceased. Willow wood is the very essence of magic, not just the mere making a tool into a magical one, willow makes the tool magical. Willow will align itself to the inner will of the party that shares its energy. The stronger the will, the more effective the wood.
RitualUses Willow wands are used whenever there is a need to connect with intuition, dreams, seer-ship, visions and poeticly inspired writing or images. They are also used to deal with emotional numbness or emotional excess, or where there are negative emotional feelings which need to be worked through. Like the wand, talismans and charms can be made in the same way, perhaps using the natural shape of the wood to suggest and inspire a carving. Talismans may be worn round the neck or as a brooch, or carried within a pouch and kept close. Like the wand, runic symbols can be carved on a talisman representative to their uses.Willow is extremely useful in healing. It is also good for love spells and rituals involving emotion. It strengthens the third eye, and is a great tool for divination as well.




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