the properties of wood

Trees are living things, filled with the essence, energy and of the Elementals of Mother Earth with an aura of power which is visible to those who will see them. The lore which surrounds a particular tree or wood often reflects the power our ancestors sensed and drew from their presence.


In ogham, Fearn. This rune invokes astral and physical protection, and can open the mind to the deep wisdom of the watery element in the form of dreams. Alder is a durable wood that can withstand long submersion in water.  It is particularly potent for works involving protection from drowning or disaster by storm or flood. t can protect one from the emotions of others, especially  anger or bloodlust .Its use in bridges, half submerged, symbolizes  its power as a bridge between worlds, physical and spiritual,  the overt and the hidden. Magical operations most applicable to Alder include: protection against drowning and death, death curses and protecting against them blocking ill omens and destructive emotions, cultivation of the vision of inner and outer worlds, bridging of the above and below, preparation for conflict, protecting oneself from unwanted intrusions from beyond.


Quert. The ancient Celts had the Silver Branch, whose apples rang with music that would induce a trance. An apple cut across the middle shows a pentagram. Apple is a great wood for wands to be used in shamanic magic. Use apple cider in any old spells calling for blood or wine. Apple indicates choice, and is useful for love and healing magic.


Nion. Druid wands were often made of ash. Ash wands are good for healing, general and solar magic. Put fresh ash leaves under your pillow to stimulate psychic dreams. Ash is a wood associated with many divinities. The tree of life is often said to be a great Ash from which all the worlds spring. In this respect it is the pathway by means of which the wizard may travel among the worlds. Ash signifies the Astral dimension.  Hanging upside down on the Ash tree, Odin drank of the spring of destiny at its roots and the runes were revealed to him  Odin, and Thor each wielded a spear of Ash, a symbol of a powerful magical will and protection. An ash wand is a symbol of divine justice. Ash is in harmony to Elemental Water and Earth, and is the wood of spiritual growth, and the joining of opposites. Great for works of shamanic magic, protection, and the hoening of ones skills at art and craft. Use an ash wand for magic involving the finding of roots or workings involving plant roots, horse magic and workings invoking Epona, of oceans, conquest, justice, and weather working.


Eadha. Aspen is much interchangeable with birch. It is a tree of beginnings, and of change. It is a tree of knowledge and seeing. use an aspen wand for works regarding learning the truth. Use it for works of divination and seeing the future.


Beth.  Birch is used for the purging of negative energies. Young birch branches were used  for beatings to drive out the “bad” that caused the transgression. Birch is a symbol of beginnings, and of apprenticeship. Use a birch wand for works involving the beginning of a new academic endeavor.


Straif. Blackthorn is a winter tree. Its white flowers are seen even before the leaves in the spring. It is black barked with vicious thorns and grows in dense thickets. The wood is used in the cudgel shillelagh and Blasting Stick. Its thorns are used to pierce waxen images called poppets. Blackthorn indicates strong action of fate or outside influences that must be obeyed. Blackthorn is not a common tree in the U.S. though other plumbs with thorns have much the same properties as Blackthorn, which is known as a tree of dark omen, strong in protective magic. It is a  fruit wood, and  bears powers of fertility, love and giving, but its thorns evoke powers of protection, and the setting of boundaries and barriers. its elementals are those of creative fire. The wood itself is harder than Apple, usually with much natural variation in color, the branches are tough, knotty.. Because of all of these things , it makes the perfect wand.


also known as the Tree of Life, Ancient Celts on the mainland used cedar oil to preserve the heads of enemies taken in battle. To draw Earth energy and ground yourself, place the palms of your hands against the ends of the leaves. Cedar wood though soft, is very durable. Use cedar wands for all general purpose works.


Ruis. Elder is the Lady’s Tree. Use an elder wand in rituals regarding the Summer Solstice. It is used to both bless and curse. Standing under an elder tree at Midsummer, like standing in a Fairy Ring of mushrooms, will help you see the "little people." Elder wands can be used to drive out evil spirits or thought forms. Music on panpipes or flutes of elder have the same power as the wand. Remember the words of the Rede. Elder is the Lady's Tree, burn it not or cursed ye be!


A slightly fibrous, tan-coloured wood with a slight sheen. Elm is often associated with Mother and Earth Goddesses, and was said to be the abode of faeries.. Elm wood is valued for it's resistance to splitting, and the inner bark is used for cordage and chair caning. Elm adds stability and grounding to a spell. Elm's spirit is majestic and expansive, rooted and wise. use it for to magic of Earth and invocation of the Goddess, healing, fertility, gardening, rebirth, destiny, wisdom., passage from one life (or phase of life) to another, metamorphosis, endurance.


Ailm. The Pine tree is an evergreen, its old title was "the sweetest of woods." It is known to Druids as one of the seven chieftain trees. The norse bring branches of fir/pine into their homes in winter to pring peace to the home. Mix the dried needles with equal parts of juniper and cedar and burn to purify the home and ritual areas. The cones and nuts can be used in fertility charms. A good magical cleansing bath is made by placing pine needles in a loose-woven bag and running bath water over it. To purify and sanctify an outdoor ritual area, brush the ground with a pine branch.Use Fir/pine wands to help one see over great distance to the far horizon beyond and below. Fir/Pine can evoke  high views and long sights with clear vision of what is beyond and yet to come. The needles are burned at childbirth to bless and protect the mother and baby.


 Huath. Also known as May Tree and White Thorn. Wands made of this wood are of great power. Use them in all general purpose works. The blossoms are highly erotic to men. Hawthorn can be used for protection, love and marriage spells.


Coll.Wands made of this wood symbolize white magic and healing. Forked sticks are used to find water or buried treasure. If outside and in need of magical protection quickly draw a circle around yourself with a hazel branch. Magically, hazel wood is used to gain knowledge, wisdom and poetic inspiration.


Tinne. A beautiful white wood with an almost invisible grain; looks very much like ivory. Holly is associated with the death and rebirth symbolism of winter in both Pagan and Christian lore and is important to the Winter Solstice. In Arthurian legend, Gawain (representing the Oak King of summer) fought the Green Knight, who was armed with a holly club to represent winter It was used in spear shafts also. Holly may be used in spells having to do with sleep or rest, and to ease the passage of death.


Its berries were used with thyme in  incenses for visions. Juniper grown by the door discourages thieves. The mature berries can be strung and hung in the house to attract love.


 lilac is for works involving energy of  intellectual and spiritual growth and prosperity. Lilacs intoxicating fragrance speaks of erotic and creative power ,hospitality, sexual pleasure, delight, mystic union.  Use a lilac wand for works involving the mysteries of gifts and giftedness, talent, and the communication of love through delight. Lilac wood is close-grained, with creamy white sapwood, and purple/red heartwood excellent for carving intricate detail.  Well suited to magic of joining,  attraction, enhancement of sexual pleasure, sex magic, intellectual pursuits, mental concentration, travel, divination.


Use maple wands for rituals at Alban Elved. In North America, especially in its northern parts, the Maple is a dominant tree with many varieties, including the sugar maple from which maple syrup was made by the Native Americans. As such it is associated with the life-giving sap of the trees, providing food and sweetness for those who treat it with respect and care. Maple is a strongly masculine wood, somewhat rebellious and tough, but with a beautiful smooth grain; hard, yet excellent for carving. Use it for spells of sending and communication, binding, transmutations, creation, revolution, rebirth, healing, beauty, art, and abundance, and general purpose.


Duir. Oak has been considered sacred by many cultures that have encountered the tree, but it was held in particular esteem by the Celts. The oak was the "King of Trees" in a grove. many magic wands are made of its wood. Acorns gathered at night held the greatest fertility powers. Burning oak leaves purifies the atmosphere. It can be used in spells for protection, strength, success and stability; the different varieties will lend their own special 'flavour' to the magic. Use an oak wand for any Green world Celtic rituals. An acorn placed at the tip of a wand lends an extra potency to any wand.


Luis. Also known as Mountain Ash, Sorb Apple, Witchwood, Witchen or Witchbane. Rowan has been considered the enemy of evil witchery. Called Quickbeam for its powers of bestowing and enhancing life. and has long been known as an aid and protection against enchantment. Sticks of the Rowan were used to carve Runes on. Its lovely red berries feed the birds in winter. The Rowan is sacred to Druids and the Goddess Brigit. It is a very magical tree used for wands, rods, amulets and spells. A forked Rowan branch can help find water. Wands are for knowledge, locating metal and general divination. It bears the power of the Dark Goddess, the Crone aspect of Mother Earth, of mountain, and metalwork. Rowan flowers and bright orange berries are marked by the pentagram. The Rowan tree enhances protection and control of the senses. The berries, often retained through Winter, symbolize the endurance of Life through the dark of the year. A tree of astral vision and protection, particularly good for warding off evil spirits, Rowan traditionally is said to avert storms and lightning, and bring peace.  Plant a rowan tree near the entrance of your home to bring peace and keep the house from harm. The fondness of songbirds for Rowan berries, gives the tree a link to the bards, and the Goddess Brigid in her role as Muse of poets. It is a tree associated with sacred places. Rowan embodies primal energy, a strong force of creativity. Especially suited for magical ritual, growth, fertility, protection.


Saille.. The willow is a Moon tree of the White Lady, Its groves are considered so magical that bards, seers, students and all types of artisans can sit and meditate among willow trees to gain eloquence, inspiration, skills and prophecies. The Elementals of the willow are those of the water, and are strongly feminine. A light and flexible wood that makes a wonderful general purpose wand for beginners and seasoned practitioners alike.

I use many types of wood whose properties are not well known in folklore. Some of these are listed below.


Apricot  is not included in the sacred tree lists of the Celts, however, it is closely related to the Plum, as a fruit wood, it bears powers of fertility, love and giving, but The Elementals that dwell within the apricot are strongly creative, fiery, and  emotional. The wood itself has much natural variation in color, the branches are tough, knotty, and sometimes thorny, and often riddled with the little burrows of tree dwelling insects. Apricot is the perfect wand wood for the creative artist or anyone desiring to focus on magic that will enhance creativity. Use apricot wands also for love and lust spells and other spells involving the harnessing of negative energy.  



This is a very dense wood, that takes a polish nicely. It has a beautiful meandering grain with hints of red and yellow redder towards the heart, yellower in the sapwood. A very giving tree. In the spring it perfumes the air, in the summer it offers its cooling shade to the sun baked earth, in the fall it delivers copious edible seed pods, in the winter it adds interest to a dull landscape with its gnarly shape and texture. Elementals in the wood are full positive energy. Associated with the east, with communication and the elements of air, with the hawk and the falcon, with the color yellow, great for works of healing, and gaining of knowledge. And for enhanced communication, spiritual and earthly.


The cherry is not included in the sacred tree lists of the Celts. It is however, closely related to the Plum, and as a fruit wood, it bears powers of fertility, love and giving. The Elementals that dwell within the cherry are strongly creative and firtile. The wood itself is hard, ridged and can have natural variation in color, though usually a reddish brown tone with some lighter and some darker. the branches are tough, knotty, and sometimes thorny, Cherry is the perfect wand wood for the creative artist, or anyone desiring to focus on magic that will enhance creativity. Use cherry wands also for love and friendship spells.


A very flexible but dense wood, with a beautiful meandering grain. Very thorny and evergreen. It evokes protection and concealment. It is very slow growing. Elementals in this wood are creative and secretive, and full of concentrated purpose. This is an excellent wood for any general purpose.


Sumac is a very abundant tree. It grows quickly and is very prolific in its reproduction. It is a very masculine tree, full of male creativity.  It casts a dense shade and seems to give off a lot of moisture cooling the surrounding air. It has a light strong wood that when polished has a glossy shiller to it. the Elementals that dwell within the tree are strong and powerfully masculine. It makes a very good general purpose wand that directs the magicians power and helps add grounding energies.


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