Druid Tree Magick

Druids, the spiritual and magickal leaders of the early Celts, considered trees to be sacred. Neo-Druids still do. Trees, they believe, possessed wisdom that could be conveyed to receptive human beings. Druids usually performed their rites and ceremonies in groves of trees. The early Celts often burned the wood of sacred trees in ritual fires — a practice that continues today — especially at Beltane and Yule.

Each tree has certain characteristics that ancient Druids and today's Neo-Druids utilize. Oaks, which represent strength and endurance, have long been linked with the Druids. Rowan trees afford protection. Hardy holly that can survive harsh winters symbolizes courage. Poplars represent death and rebirth. Willows are associated with intuition; divining rods are often fashioned from their flexible branches.

Maya Magee Sutton, Ph.D. and Nicholas R. Mann, authors of Druid Magic, explain that in contemporary Irish dictionaries, the word draiocht means “magick.” Its root, draoi, translates as magician, sorcerer, or Druid. This suggests a strong connection between the Druids and the practice of magick.

The ancient Celts valued trees so highly that they even based their language Ogham (pronounced oh-am) on trees. Each of the 20 letters in the Ogham alphabet corresponds to a different tree. B or Beth, for instance, is linked with the birch; N or Nion represents the ash. The letters are composed of lines, or notches, cut along a central line or stave. A word or phrase written in Ogham looks like a tree limb with branches sprouting from it.

Gillian Kemp has created a colorful deck of cards called Tree Magick. Based on the mystical meanings of trees, the oracle consists of 52 cards illustrated with various trees from around the world. Each tree represents something different. You can do readings with the tree cards, just as you would with tarot cards, to gain information about your future.

Ogham letters also serve as mystical symbols that can be used in divination. You can inscribe Ogham glyphs on pieces of wood or stone and cast them like Norse runes to answer questions.

You can also draw a single Ogham letter on a slip of paper and put it in a magick amulet or talisman. For example, the letter L, which corresponds to the rowan tree, could be included in a protection amulet.

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