Trees and Creation

In the Norse Tradition, Yggdrassil, the world tree, supported the nine realms of existence. At the top was Asgard, the home of the Aesir, the principle deities, led by Odin and his consort Frigg. This level also contained Vanaheim, the kingdom of the wind, fertility and sea gods, with whom the Aesir fashioned an uneasy peace, and Alfheim, home of the light elves. On the middle level was Midgard, the land of the humans. They shared this level with Jotunheim, the land of the Frost Giants and Nidavellir, the realm of the dwarves, who guarded their treasure and made artifacts for the deities. The lowest realm was divided between Niflheim and Hel, realms of the dead and Svartalafheim, home of the Dark Elves.

In Eastern Europe as well as in Asia the mythological world tree was considered the axis of the world with the pole star at the top. Shamans, the magickal Priests or Healers of indigenous people worldwide, climb this tree in a trance to reach other realms. Look up through the branches of a very tall tree on a starry night and you will see how this belief came into being.

The tree appears in numerous creation myths. In one Maori legend, the tree was the first thing to appear at creation and on it grew countless buds that contained all created life. A number of Nature North American creation myths tell how the first humans climbed pine or fir trees from the underworld and broke through on to the Earth. In Viking myth the first man was fashioned by Odin and his brothers from an Ash (Aesc)and the first woman from an Elma tree (Embla). The Gods found the trees while walking on the seashore.

Tree Magick

Sacred and magickal trees are found in the religions and mythology of almost every culture. Trees form the link between earth and sky, because they have their roots in soil and their branches in the air and were originally regarded an a creative form of the Earth Mother.

In early forms of religion, people believed that trees were themselves deities, a belief that gradually gave way to the idea that the spirits of deities or nature essences lived within the tree. In Japan, temples have been built around sacred trees for more than two thousand years. Here it is believed the Mononoke, the magickal life force, is concentrated in trees and rocks. The Japanese Cryptomeria and the evergreen sakaki trees are especially rich in this force and are often used for building sacred shrines. The tree itself is incorporated into the central pillar so the indwelling power of the nature deity might bless the site.

In parts of Sweden until quite recently, a guardian tree, often elm, ash or lime, was planted close to farms or small settlements and it was forbidden to take even a leaf from this tree. Pregnant women used to embrace the tree to ensure an easy delivery.

Trees have also been associated from Africa to Eastern Europe with the spirits of fertility, who regulated rain, sunshine and good harvests. In Germany and France, in some agricultural areas, a large leafy branch or even a whole tree, decorated with corn ears or the last corn sheaf, adorns the last wagon of the harvest. It was traditionally set on the roof of the farmhouse or barn for a year to ensure future good harvests.

In India, sacred trees are still visited in order to ask for blessings, especially for fertility, from the indwelling spirit or deity; food and flowers are left at the tree shrine and offering ribbons are tied to the tree.

The Celtic Druids worshipped not in temples, but in groves of trees. These natural sites may have predated the Celts by thousands of years; and still in Wales, Brittany and Cornwall the trees are hung with ribbons, trinkets and petitions for healing and blessings.

Trees By Days/Entities

Use for wand selection, divination tools (runes/ogham), days to work specific magick with wood chips, wood bits to place in spell pouches along with herbs, etc.

Elder/Willow          Monday           Hecate/Crone Goddesses

Holly/Elm/Cedar    Tuesday           Hunter Gods/Elves

Hazel/Rowan           Wednesday      Goddess & God

Oak/Pine                   Thursday         The God

Birch/Apple/Myrtle   Friday             The Goddess

Alder/Hawthorn         Saturday         Fairies/Witches

Ash/Birch/Laurel       Sunday            Elves/The Goddess

Ash-Oak-Hawthorn     Fairie Triad    Haven Sacred to the Fair Folk