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Old 05-24-10   #1
feranaja
 
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Default Symbolic Meanings of Trees

I thought we had a thread like this, but it seems we don't. I've been working with tree magic much more deeply this past year, and thought a thread about the symbolic meanings and magic of trees might be useful for others doing the same. Here are a few basic meanings - any good resources would be very welcome here.

Nature scenes including trees and forests contain multiple mythic and symbolic qualities. The deep-rooted meaning of trees is apparent in common metaphors such as the Tree of Life and our ancestral heritage depicted in family trees. In Vedic philosophy, wood is viewed as the primal material of the universe. Christians see Christ as the cosmic carpenter and His ultimate sacrifice is represented by a wooden cross.


Specific trees in art symbolism also have their own meanings. The oak is the mightiest of trees and symbolizes strength and courage. The ancient Romans thought oak trees attracted lightening and connected the oak tree to the sky god, Jupiter and his wife, Juno, the goddess of marriage. Thus, the oak is used in art symbolism as a symbol of conjugal fidelity and fulfillment. The oak tree was regarded by Socrates as an oracle tree. The Druids likewise ate acorns in preparation for prophesying. In addition, the Druids believed the leaves of the oak tree had the power to heal and renew strength.


The apple tree is symbolic of magic, youth, beauty and happiness. The cedar tree represents healing, cleansing and protection. Palm trees are symbolic of peace and opportunity. The symbolism associated with many other trees is summarized below:


Apple- magic, youth, beauty, happiness
Ash- sacrifice, sensitivity and higher awareness
Aspen- determination, overcoming fears and doubts
Beech- tolerance, past knowledge, softens over criticism
Birch- new beginnings, cleansing of past, vision quests
Cedar- healing, cleansing, protection
Cherry- death and rebirth, new awakenings
Cypress- understanding the role of sacrifice
Elder- birth and death, fairy realm
Elm- strength of will, intuition
Hazel- hidden wisdom, dousing, divination
Heather- healing from within, immortality, initiation
Holly- protection, overcoming of anger, spiritual warrior
Maple- balance, promise, practicality
Palm- peace and opportunity
Pine - creativity, life, longevity, immortality
Willow- magic, healing, inner vision, dreams
Choose an image of tree based on its symbolism to decorate your home or office. This will serve as an effective visual reminder of your goals and help you to fulfill your dreams and visions for your life.
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Old 05-24-10   #2
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Default Re: Symbolic Meanings of Trees

There's an awful beetle killing off all the Ash trees on my campus back in Ohio. I'm sure it's just a coincidence, but it seems the traits of the Ash tree you listed are also going down on my campus as well :/
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Old 05-24-10   #3
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Default Re: Symbolic Meanings of Trees

What is your birthday tree? And is it accurate for you?

http://www.wowzone.com/whattree.htm
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Old 05-24-10   #4
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Default Re: Symbolic Meanings of Trees

Thanks for this Fera. I have seen it before, but always like the reminder. Trees have been on my mind a lot this last week, so this was good to see and find some I was bonding with and their meaning.
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Old 05-24-10   #5
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Default Re: Symbolic Meanings of Trees

I was surprised to see that Oak was not on this list....
I LOVE great big oak trees
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Old 05-24-10   #6
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Default Re: Symbolic Meanings of Trees

Excellent topic! I can add some of my favourite tree lore here as well if that is ok. Here are some not covered in your list. I will add the rest later. I have to type and summarize it from the book. Secrets of the Runes by Nigel Pennick. Whole chapter deals with tree lore. I left out most parts of where he relates tree qualities to runes. However, it still has some interesting general tree lore.

Alder (Almus Glutinosa)

Grows near water. Wood resistant to water and used for supports of building and bridges in the past. Main symbolism of Alder has to do with foundation.

Bay (Laurus Nobilus)

Protective. According to lore never struck by lightning. Plant by door to ward off illness. Plant in tub in home or store for protection. Bay leaf under a pillow will bring pleasant useful dreams. Often garlanded with ribbons as a sacrifice to the tree spirit.

Blackthorn (Prunus Spinosa)

Fruit, the sloe used to make sloe gin. Forms impenetrable thorny thicket. Deals with protection and warding (like the rune Thurisaz/Thorn). Good wood for wands due to its "projective power"

Bramble (Rubus Fruticosa)

Blackberry. Bramble leaves believed a remedy for scalds, burns and skin inflammation. Nine leaves are floated in water from a holy well. In turn each leaf is drawn over the burn. Say this spell three times for each leaf:

Three angels came from out the east
One brought fire and two brought frost
Out fire, and in frost
Out fire, and in frost

Branches from Bramble can be used for Sprite flails. Tie Bramble branches together and sweep a path with them to clear unwanted energy.

Buckthorn (Hippophae Rhammoides)

Thorny garlands to ward off illness.

Fairy Tree (Ash, Oak, Thorn ingrowth)

Contact with the otherworld. Rare and indicates a place of power. Some say that you should not take wood from such a tree.

(more later...)
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Old 05-25-10   #7
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Default Re: Symbolic Meanings of Trees

Quote:
Originally Posted by moonbride View Post
I was surprised to see that Oak was not on this list....
I LOVE great big oak trees
That was just the first site I found that had any sort of credibility - I'm looking for a Celtic Tree Oracle now, which does of course include oak! Several key trees missing here - I have several balsam poplars on my property, which produce the aromatic buds we call Balm of Gilead...no correspondences here but I see them as a healing tree, and I use the buds in everything from potpourri to anointing oils.

I'll see what else I can find online.
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Old 05-25-10   #8
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Default Re: Symbolic Meanings of Trees

http://www.joellessacredgrove.com/Celtic/tree.html
Celtic Tree Calendar
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Old 05-25-10   #9
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Default Re: Symbolic Meanings of Trees

Is there a particular tree (or trees) you feel a close relationship with? I mentioned the Balsam Poplar for myself, as a healing tree - I love the oak of course, and I'm working with White Pine as an ally (some progress on my staff too, finally). But I'd say the rowan, trembling aspen and the silver maple are especially dear to me. Love the willows, too.

Early in the AMS course on Sacred Magic, Mara has us do various exercises with tree imagery (and real trees!) and it greatly enhanced my sense of connection with them. While I've always had a deep connection to animals and birds, and to various sacred plants, such as the rose and juniper, I had not formed the depth of relationship with trees I have recently been able to cultivate. of course I enjoyed their beauty, but the sense of spirit had evaded me. When one becomes very focused on a path it's easy to miss some of the treasures that line the way.
But now, some magic has occurred here; the beautiful trembling aspen in my back yard, that shelters the fairy garden and holds the main birdfeeder, seems to have "come alive" as it were, almost as if she has things to tell me. She seems larger somehow; and full of birds this year as never before, many of them almost tame as they visit the large and now the smaller feeders, morning and night. we have the same chickadees and goldfinches and blue jays as always, but lately I've had an oriole day and night, several thrushes (uncharacteristically close for them) two Hairy Woodpeckers who seem to be battling for supremacy there, and a stunning array of warblers. A wonderful bit of magic, since my tree meditations have deepened, so too have my actual trees filled with more beauty and song.

The trembling aspen seems, superficially, to represent fear, but it is a strong and tenacious tree that brings much music to the outdoor landscape, I can often lie in my room in the afternoon with the windows wide open and just soak in the fairylike sound of the rustle. I can't imagine my yard without that sound. The species is very hardy and seems to grow anywhere it can take root. What the aspen truly represents is tenacity, perserverance, and the overcoming of fears. All of which have been key themes in my life of late. Perhaps the many birds here this year are simply there to reward me for allowing my inner contact with the natural world, so deep and so integral to my magic and my life, to encompass these magical beings we take for granted, the noble and beautifuil tree.
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Old 05-25-10   #10
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Default Re: Symbolic Meanings of Trees

I have a very strong connection with chestnut trees, sweet chestnut and horse chestnut alike, ever since I was a kid I was drawn to this tree. The street where the apartment block where I grew up is had a long row of horse chestnut trees, so could come out onto a balcony and see them all around. My daughter was born in time of flowering of horse chestnut, the windows of the maternity ward overlooking a grove. And chestnut is actually my birth tree, so I guess it fits

Oh, last night did a grounding Metatron meditation part of which was walking through the woods and finding your tree to then access the energy of Metatron through it, and surprise surprise, it was the ancient sweet chestnut tree that I was drawn to.
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