Nine Sacred Woods
Merry Meet :))) How many of you are familiar with the Nine Sacred Woods? There is a line in the Wiccan Rede that refers to them: "Nine woods in the Cauldron go, burn them fast and burn them slow."
You will see them called for in some rituals, I've mainly been taught to use them in ritual fires when possible to increase the energy.
So where do the nine types of wood come from? They are actually from the first nine types of wood on the celtic tree calendar. An ancient pagan calendar that has 13 lunar cycles to it.
So let's take a closer look at these Sacred trees. Here they are as stated in the Wiccan Rede:
"Nine woods in the Cauldron go,
Burn them fast and burn them slow.
Birch in the fire goes
To represent what the Lady knows.
Oak in the forest towers with might,
In the fire it brings the God's insight.
Rowan is a tree of power,
Causing life and magic to flower.
Willows at the waterside stand
Ready to help us to the Summerland.
Hawthorn is burned to purify
And to draw faerie to your eye.
Hazel - the tree of wisdom and learning
Adds its strength to the bright fire burning.
White are the flowers of Apple tree
That brings us fruits of fertility.
Grapes grow upon the vine
Giving us both joy and wine.
Fir does mark the evergreen
To represent immortality seen.
Elder is the Lady's tree
Burn it not or cursed you'll be."
For those of you who read that closely, you might notice there are 10 :)))) The last tree mentioned in the Rede, The Elder Tree, is considered sacred to the Goddess. In some traditions it is said to not burn wood from an Elder tree, however, this tree is usually still considered Sacred.
First I want to mention that there is as with most old traditions, variation and debate on the interpretation of the Nine Sacred Trees. The way I am writing of, is the way I was taught. I've read research supporting many different theories, and this has been the one I am most comfortable with. If you have learned a different order that you are more comfortable with, as always I encourage you to follow your personal traditions. :)))
Now if we are going to have a proper ritual fire, it's quite helpful if you can identify these trees and know what they represent right? Let's take a closer look. :)))
Birch - The birch tree is probably the easiest tree to recognize given that it's trunk is covered in a very distinctive white bark. :)) I use to love drawing pictures on scraps of it that had fallen when I was little. The Birch Tree is known as the Goddess tree. It is said the wood from this tree will help you to call upon the Goddess and have her aid you in your magickal workings. It is also said to be protective and to help one build courage.
Oak - I absolutely adore old Oak trees. There is something about their energy that just calls to me and is amazingly calming. The picture above is of one of the oldest and most famous ones, the angel oak tree, in South Carolina. One of the easiest ways to identify this tree is by looking for acorns. Did you know that Oak trees are the only trees to have acorns? So study the wildlife and since many animals and birds love acorns, they may help you to locate one of these beautiful trees. :)) The Oak represents the God and will help you to draw his wisdom and blessings. This wood also helps to boost our energy and manifest our goals.
Rowan - The magickal Rowan tree :)))) This tree is considered one of the most sacred trees of witches and druids. It has a long history of being known as a magickal tree. The Rowan tree is usually rather slender, having a silvery bark. It has white flowers in the spring, and red berries in the fall. The leaves are usually grouped together in pairs with one on the end for a total of 15. See the pic :)) This tree will contribute to your magickal workings.
Willow - I absolutely adore the Willow :)))))) It's one of my favorite trees to lay under and watch the branches blow in the wind. This tree is pretty easy to identify as well with it's long soft branches that hang down and sway in the wind. Willows are known as the Tree of Enchantment. They represent love, emotions, healing and inspiration.
Hawthorn - It is associated with Beltane, and was originally known as the May tree because it bloomed in May. Hawthorn, also known as thornapple or Crataegus is part of the rose family. They average in height from 16 - 49 feet in height. The most common variety has a gray bark and thorny branches. Some species have a bright red fruit that resembles crabapples. This tree will cleanse the heart of any negativity, it's a purification tree. It is also known to be the tree of the Fae :)))
Hazel - How many of you love Hazel nuts? :))) I use to, unfortunately for some reason I became extremely allergic to them about 15 years ago out of nowhere. I remember they tasted amazing though :)))) The Celts believe that 9 of these trees hang over the well of wisdom on the other side. This is a tree of wisdom and as such will help you to gain wisdom in your work. The nuts are an amazing way to recognize this tree.
Apple - I bet ever one of us can identify the apple tree :)))) I absolutely love picking apples in the fall :))))))) One of my favorite things to do. So most trees, albeit we have some green and yellow apples too, but the fruits are red. :))) The color of love. This tree represents love and fertility in our magickal workings. It will also help to improve your health and aid you to trust in your magickal work.
Grape - So this is the wood that people tend to disagree on. :) I was taught that the vines of grapes is the eight wood. If you think about it, some vines can get big enough to look like trees. Grapes, like apples, have been around since ancient times and have a long history of being associated with magickal properties such as fertility, health, and prosperity. Wine has also been used as an offering to the Deities since ancient times.
Fir - The fir tree is a variety of Evergreen tree. The way these trees remain green, even through harsh winters, is a sign of immortality. It represents our lives continuing on no matter what the circumstances are. This tree you may see listed as a Pine tree. Both are evergreens. It depends on the tradition you follow.
And that concludes our tour of the Nine Sacred Types of Wood :))))) In case you did not before, you now know how to build a magickal fire for rituals. :))))
Much Love and Many Blessings,
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