The Unknown (Or Perhaps Forgotten) Magic of the Trees

An Oak at My Mom's House; we believe fairies live in this tree.
An Oak at My Mom's House; we believe fairies live in this tree. | Source
Our Grapefruit Tree Out Back
Our Grapefruit Tree Out Back | Source
Beautiful palms in Cozumel
Beautiful palms in Cozumel | Source

Memories of Magical Trees

As a child, did you climb trees? Did you build tree forts? Did you play hide and seek, cleverly using the nearest, large pine in which to hide? Trees possess a magical quality for children, as well as for adults...most of us just tend to forget the woods' whispered secrets.

I grew up in a rural town in southern Maryland, in a two-story house with my grandparents. To this day, I have dreams about that house, more specifically about the yard and the magical trees within that yard. I remember hiding in a gigantic pine on the corner of the front yard, playing under a dogwood tree's limbs once they had blossomed with white blooms, and gazing down at a gorgeous holly tree from my second-story bedroom's window during Christmas-time. There was something more than special about the trees in that yard...something purely magical. When I played in these magical trees as a child, when I imagined fairy tales underneath of those trees...I felt a connection to the earth...a connection to the spirits of the trees. Now, as a child, I was strictly taught the Christian beliefs, so a belief that a tree could have its own spirit was unheard of in our household. However, I had a huge imagination as a child that I now believe was not just an imagination but a connection to Mother Earth that was merely brushed away and labeled as "my imagination."

My favorite thing to do at Christmas was to lay down with my head underneath of the tree and peer up inside of the tree. I would see the lights glistening but I wasn't necessarily paying attention to the Christmas lights and decorations so much as I was paying attention to the beautiful spruce itself. The branches and the foliage seemed enchanting to me...I felt like I wanted to live in that tree. My family had a difficult time pulling me out from underneath of the tree...even for present-time! I guess you could say that I felt comforted by trees and their magic...every different type. Many children have a connection to the trees and to nature that they don't even realize and unfortunately, once we grow up, we forget the magic...the knowledge and magic that trees hold, and are willing to give to us if we would only open our minds and listen.

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A Charm to Form an Alliance With the Trees:

Go out on a full moon night, cut one branch from an oak tree (with leaves and acorns both).
Go to the edge of a dense, dark forest and shake the bough and say:

With oak I lead
That ash may follow
Also alder
Elm and Willow
Cedar and Locust
Hickory, Larch,
Walnut, Chestnut,
Poplar, Birch,
Beech and Maple

Fir and pine
All these powers
So be mine.

Then hang the oak bough above the door, take one acorn to be sewn up in a chamois skin, safe to keep.

(Note: I did not write this, this was a charm recorded in one of my books, though I cannot find who the original author is now.)

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Threefold Wisdom of the Tree:

  • leaf wisdom - of change, ever releasing
  • branch wisdom - of growth, ever reaching
  • root wisdom - of endurance, ever deepening

Trees & Magical Associations:

  • Alder - evolving spirit, foundation, protection, and rebirth
  • Apple - happiness, faithfulness, harmony, love and strength
  • Beech - manifest intentions, stability
  • Birch - beginnings, blessings, change, growth and renewal
  • Elm - compassion, empathy, intuition, and love
  • Hazel - inspiration, introspection and wisdom
  • Holly - courage, divinity, luck and unity
  • Honeysuckle - fidelity, love, psychic abilities
  • Maple - abundance, balance, communiation and creativity
  • Oak - fertility, health, loyalty, self-confidence, success and wisdom
  • Palm - fertility and protection
  • Pine - good fortune, health, prosperity
  • Rowan - dedication, expression, imagination, insight and healing
  • Spruce - intuition, versatility, well-being
  • Vine - fertility, happiness, intellect and wealth
  • Willow - flexibility, connections, knowledge and relationships
  • Yew - change, divinity, longevity and strength


The Druids & The Trees

The belief that trees were magical and had their own spirits goes back to the time of the Celtic Druids. Who were the Celtic Druids? The Celtic Druids were the religious holy-men and women of sorts for the Celtic tribes occupying much of Europe and Great Britain before and after Christ. Celtic Druids were thought to have acquired their name from tree spirits, also known as "dryads". The dryads were said to have shared their knowledge of the Gods and Goddesses with certain deserving and worthy people within the Celtic tribes. I believe that these were the folks that tended to have a deep connection with the earth...people that could be found roaming the forests at any given moment...talking to the magical trees and the animals of the wood.

Certain types of magical trees were especially sacred to the Druids. Whether these were the types that the Dryads were said to congregate, we do not know for certain but can assume that the answer to that question is - Yes! The oak being the most highly sacred tree to the Druids, it was considered to be the strongest, magical tree and constantly sought for protection and luck. As mentioned in my previous hub about Midsummer's Magic, the Oak King is a well-known and revered figure in modern day Paganism...could the Oak King be directly related or maybe passed down to us from the Celtic Druids? Possibly so.

Who were these magical tree spirits that so willingly instilled their earthly and spiritual knowledge with the Celtic tribes? For starters, the word "dryad" is actually an ancient Greek word for tree nymphs...and being that some of our only documentation about the Celtic Druids comes from Greece, it is easy to say that the name Druid also came from the Greeks. So what did the Celts call their holy men and women? We do not know. Unfortunately, most of the practices and beliefs of the Celtic Druids has been lost through time because the Druids did most of their teaching and spiritual rites through the spoken word...not the written. Because trees were so precious to the Druids (and also to the ancient Greeks), one must not cut down a tree without first asking for permission from the Dryads. Bad luck or ill fate would fall upon one who did not ask permission for use of the tree's gifts. (Sadly, today we feel no need to ask permission from the earth, nor do we feel we should thank her for her gifts to us.)

The Druids knew the inner-workings of magic and healing and would use it for those of the Celtic tribes who were in need. Both women and men made up the order of the Celtic Druids, though women were said to have more of a connection with the Dryads, simply because the tree nymphs were believed to be female.

Whether the Druids did receive their knowledge of the spiritual realm from the magical trees will never be known for sure; however, we can use their beliefs and reverence towards trees as a guide for how we should treat the trees in modern times.

Magic To Atone for Cutting Down a Tree:

Whether fear or foolish thought
Or mere necessity has brought
The haughty elm or poplar down,
for its expense you must atone:

Face the mourning field or wood or barren space where once it stood,
And offer penance to the tree, lest blight and sorrow fall on thee:

Poor spirit hurled from proud estate, I rue the deed I did of late:
Forgive me my axe that thee did vex,
And spare my life thy grievous fate.

The Ogham

Example of the Tree Alphabet
Example of the Tree Alphabet | Source

The Ogham's Magic

The Ogham is one of the first known Irish alphabets in existence. It consisted of twenty specific line-and-slash markings corresponding to certain types of magical trees. "It consisted of angular markings, signed out using the different joints of the fingers, and incorporated a complex grammar for transmitting secret wisdom and lore." (Eason, The Giant Book of Magic). The Ogham's origins is not known but there are theories as to when it was invented. One of these theories is engrained in Irish folklore and tells the story of the Ogham coming into existence upon the fall of the Tower of Babel. Another tale attributes the Ogham to the intelligent poet (or bard) named Ogma mac Elathon. Still others believe that the Ogham comes only from the warrior God Ogma, who created and offered the Ogham alphabet to the people in the fourth century AD.

My hub, http://hubpages.com/hub/Scrying-Ancient-Forms-of-Divination, goes into much more detail on the magical Ogham, but here is a breakdown of the mystical symbols posted here to the right.

The Ogham Markings in sequential order, as pictured to the upper right:

Birch: Sunday; The Birch is the symbol rebirth and purification.

Willow: Monday; represents intuition, listening to your inner voice and wisdom.

Holly: Tuesday; the Holly tree was regarded as sacred because it symbolized the Waning year in Celtic culture; the holly symbolizes domestic security and concerns.

Hazel: Wednesday; the Hazel tree symbolizes official wisdom and justice, following the law.

Oak: Thursday; The Oak in Celtic culture symbolized the King of the Waxing year - from winter to summer solstice.

Apple: Friday; The apple symbolizes fertility and immortality.

Alder: Saturday; The alder tree was used to build bridges and foundations to buildings. The Saturday tree symbolizes security, firm foundations and a bridge between two lives.

Celtic Ogham sticks are available for purchase on amazon (link below). I have a set in my possession and have to admit that they have been quite accurate in every reading. Also, they are not a frightening form of divination and tend to be very gentle and wise during use.

It truly saddens me to know that we, the human race, have almost totally lost our connection to the earth's magnificent trees and their undying magic. Many of us have magical trees in our own yards that we have never taken the time to connect with, much less even study. This summer, make a goal to connect with one of the magical trees in your backyard. If you don't have a backyard or yard at all, go to the nearest park to find one. Park yourself underneath of the tree and just relax. Open yourself up to experiencing the beauty of that tree...maybe you will even hear it whisper to you...

Written and copyright ©Kitty the Dreamer (May Canfield), 2012. All Rights Reserved.

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© 2011 Author Nicole Canfield

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Comments 49 comments

Lilleyth profile image

Lilleyth 15 months ago from Mid-Atlantic

I read this Hub again today. My favorite tree is a Mimosa, where I spent my childhood summers among the fragrant pink blooms, watching the butterflies flitter among my Grandma Jennie's iris and various other flowers.


Kildare05 23 months ago

Hi Kitty,

I really love this hub! Like you, I've always been in love with and felt connected to trees. They always seemed magical to me. The first poem I ever memorized was "Trees". Also, I truly loved "The Giving Tree" growing up and made sure my children had it as well. I enjoy sending loving energy to trees and speaking to them. When I moved to a new town I immediately sought out the arboretum. I am fortunate to live in the northwest and am surrounded by a host of beautiful trees. I have come across many that have left me enraptured. I even found one I was sure was a dryad. I would love to send you a photo of it and you can tell me what you think!


Gail White profile image

Gail White 2 years ago from Breaux Bridge, Louisiana

I had an elderly relative who told me that she formed a friendship with an oak tree when she was a child. Once when she was heartbroken over something she threw herself on the roots of the tree to have a good cry, and the tree began to rustle and bend its branches down over her. This frightened her at the time, but later she realized the tree was trying to comfort her. Years later, as a new bride, she brought her husband home and introduced him to the tree, and the tree bent its branches over both of them. True story.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

This is such a beautifully written hub. I am so glad Ruby found it and brought it back out and so glad you wrote it. I love trees, always have -- each tree has its own magical personality and use. There is a faery tree out behind my apartment that I love to visit. And I so understand what WillStar said about the whispering pines -- I love to sit out on the patio at night and listen to the pines whisper to each other. Thank you for this hub, Kitty.


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 2 years ago from the Ether Author

Thanks, Ruby!


Ruby H Rose profile image

Ruby H Rose 2 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

Sparkled my interest, so glad I read this. Wonderful world of trees, I would be lost without them. Reading this was enlightening, wow.


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 3 years ago from the Ether Author

six0clocktea - Awesome name! Thanks for the read and lovely comment.


six0clocktea profile image

six0clocktea 3 years ago

One of the coolest hubs ive ever read. I can see that you really enjoy this magick and put alot of effort into sharing it with us. Thanks ^^


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 4 years ago from the Ether Author

Daughter of Maat - It is real. I found it by doing a google search for dryad...I think. I can't quite remember now. It is beautiful, isn't it? Thanks for reading again.


Daughter Of Maat profile image

Daughter Of Maat 4 years ago from Rural Central Florida

Kitty, that last tree photo is AMAZING! I have to ask, is it a real tree? lol It looks just like the Goddess dancing. I have to inquire as to where you got the picture as well, it's absolutely beautiful! Your hub was awesome too lol ;)


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 4 years ago from the Ether Author

Tenkay - Wow! Those are some spooky fairy tales, my friend. These fairies sound more malevolent than good, huh? I find the one particularly interesting - a being that resembles humans but lives in the trees and can't eat salt? Very strange and intriguing. Thanks for sharing!


TENKAY profile image

TENKAY 4 years ago from Philippines

Most common Acacia dweller, and thanks God I haven't seen one (I wouldn't survive to tell this tale if I did) is a big black hairy tobacco smoking 'man', looks more like the neanderthal than modern man. He is 7+ feet tall, with arms longer than his legs. He can be seen only in a moonlit night sitting on a big branch waiting for a human being to scare or talk to. According to the tales of the old folks (most of them are gone now), if you could befriend this creature, he could give you wealth and magical powers.

Another dweller is an entity who could assume looks just like us human beings. You would know that they are not human beings because, again according to grandma, they don't have shadow, and they don't eat food with salt in it. They love to entice people to live with them in their tree and if they succeed, the person who will go with them will suddenly die physically but spiritually is with them living in the tree.


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 4 years ago from the Ether Author

Tenkay- I'm so happy to meet you, too! Your acacia trees sound absolutely magical. Can you describe the spirits who live in them if you don't mind? I'm very curious! What types of fairies other than sprites? Thanks for sharing. Blessings to you.


TENKAY profile image

TENKAY 4 years ago from Philippines

I am so glad to find a kindred spirit in you, thank you kittythedreamer for this hub. My childhood is full of stories regarding the different entities that cannot be seen with the naked eye from my grandma (my mother's mom). She kept on admonishing us to be careful not to anger these entities living in trees. Up to now, I still ask permission to allow to share their domain when I am near trees, specially the big and old ones. My father's ancestors were pagans and they believe in the spirit of the trees. It was only on my father's generation that Christianity was introduced, but still the ancestor's belief on the different spirits that abounds in nature was passed down to us, the next generation.

The acacia tree is one of the trees that grows easily here in our country and is believed to be the abode of fairies, sprites, and other unseen creatures. Cutting one down is believed to put a curse on the person who will do such 'heinous' crime. The new/tech generation don't believe in this anymore, hence, the big trees are slowly becoming part of the past.


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 5 years ago from the Ether Author

Millenium - Sounds very similar to my childhood. Thanks!


Millenium profile image

Millennium 5 years ago

I have been known to hug a tree when no one's looking. As a child, I used to love my alone time with my tree in the backyard. It gave me comfort and I felt I could lay on the branches forever.


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 5 years ago from the Ether Author

goodkarma2come - do this:

Magic To Atone for Cutting Down a Tree:

Whether fear or foolish thought

Or mere necessity has brought

The haughty elm or poplar down,

for its expense you must atone:

Face the mourning field or wood or barren space where once it stood,

And offer penance to the tree, lest blight and sorrow fall on thee:

Poor spirit hurled from proud estate, I rue the deed I did of late:

Forgive me my axe that thee did vex,

And spare my life thy grievous fate.


goodkarma2come 5 years ago

how can i make peace i had to cut down all my trees they were rotten and damaging my house. Had to take them down or my roof would have been destroyed. I feel the land is mad at me. This was also Lenapi Indian territory in the 1600's so I feel like I am getting attacked.


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 5 years ago from the Ether Author

Paradise7 - I agree, trees are lovely creatures and are usually looked over and destructed mindlessly. The tree does look like a ballerina! How lovely. Thanks for reading and commenting. :)


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York

I also love trees. It pains me to see one hurt. The tree in that picture looks like a ballerina, how very beautiful.

This was a great hub, thank you very much.


Lea Williams 5 years ago

I love this article! Though I am a grown up, I still feel the magic of trees. =)


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 5 years ago from the Ether Author

I love oak trees! They have so much spirit to them! That's so nice that they planted saplings in order to make up for the lost oak. Your parents must be lovely people! I love your two cents...keep it coming! And for the 1950s' hub...I'm going to HAVE to check that one out! :) Thanks, Rod.


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

By the way kitty, I examine the 1950s in my hub REDS AND ROCK.


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

Oak I believe. And yes the trees had character but I always took the character to be the animals and birds they attracted. My dad is a born naturalist. I think he was the one who decided the second tree should stay. Both my parents enjoyed the tree. It was eventually struck by lightning and that was the end of it but it was still good that its life was extended for decades. The tree was probably not a couple of hundred years old. More like a hundred or a hundred and fifty. My parents were in tears over its destruction and planted two young saplings in memory so I suppose, in a way, the tree does live on. It brought joy and the saplings will do the same when they grow up. Glad to put my two cents in kitty.


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 5 years ago from the Ether Author

Rod - Thanks for voting up! What type of tree were these trees at your parents' home? Sometimes the oldest most gnarled trees have the most character and could tell us stories that we could never imagine! I'm glad that they left at least one of the trees for the animals. It seems that many animals loved living in that tree. I wonder how old the tree was? A couple hundred years? Maybe more? Thanks for sharing your experience with me.


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

I will vote up.

When my parents retired they built a home for themselves near a national forest. There was one tree that had to come down in order for them to do so. There was another tree that could have come down but they left it. It was fortunate that they did. In the morning they'd get a great many birds visiting that tree and in the evening the possums would arrive.

There were three types of possum. Included was a possum that was tiny and would cork-screw down the tree. It had a cute little face with bandit eyes. Needless to say my parents did not regret not chopping down this tree.

Mind you it was never what you would call an attractive plant, this tree. It was gnarled and old but it did collect beauty and that was enough.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

I spent much of my early childhood up in trees. Loved to climb them and spend time there. Also loved walking in the woods. Seems somehow not only natural but sacred. We have 3 large oak trees and a redbud tree in our yard where we now live. Very interesting article about the magic of trees. Voted beautiful and useful.


amymarie_5 profile image

amymarie_5 5 years ago from Chicago IL

I absolutely love this hub! I always have loved trees and also noticed at a young age how magical trees can be. I can certainly feel their energy. I always get emotional when trees are torn down. It's a shame that so many people have list touch with nature.


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 5 years ago from the Ether Author

That is crazy and sad, at the same time. Growing up I was always in love with trees...I used to also go camping with my grandparents and in our pop-up camper, the ceiling would zip open...so I would lay in my bed, and read, and gaze up through the trees. I love listening to the leaves whisper in the wind, too.


Muldanianman 5 years ago

I think maybe people dislike something that is totally natural, and therefore not under the control of man. A garden, although using nature is the creation of man. I know of someone, who refuses to live in a road, if there is even a single tree in it, claiming that they terrify her.


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 5 years ago from the Ether Author

Muldanianman - That is so very sad! We see it happening in the US, too. A lot of people (namely government) seem to not care about trees...while others really do care! Why would people have a fear of trees, do you think?


Muldanianman 5 years ago

I can understand your love for trees. It is very sad, that so many people today dislike them. Where I live, in Birmingham, the council is soon to start cutting down hundreds of mature trees to widen the road, just so people in their cars will not have to wait an extra few minutes to pass this part of the road. No one seems to care, and I truly believe the English have a very real fear of trees. Everywhere I look, they are being chopped down.

Ever since a child I have loved trees, and even talk to them, when no one is looking. So, it really is upsetting to see Birmingham losing so many of its trees.


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 5 years ago from the Ether Author

Hi Neil! Thanks so much! Trees have an energy all their own. :)


Neil Sperling profile image

Neil Sperling 5 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

awesome hub - i love trees and feel their energy as i walk by them in a park or through them in the woods - great hub


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 5 years ago from the Ether Author

Oh, and LeeLee - I'm Oak and Willow.


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 5 years ago from the Ether Author

Hi, Deborah! So nice to meet you! I totally agree with your thoughts on tree energy. Blessed be.


Deborah Demander profile image

Deborah Demander 5 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

Very well written. I do believe that trees house not only wisdom, but huge healing energy. Thank you for a great hub.

Namaste.


Mrs. J. B. profile image

Mrs. J. B. 5 years ago from Southern California

Well Miss Kitty: You got me again... You know I love this kind of stuff!!! I am Birch and Pine.............. YOU??


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 5 years ago from the Ether Author

Druid Dude - thanks so much! What a wonderful compliment. :)


Druid Dude profile image

Druid Dude 5 years ago from West Coast

cool hub. Went down easy, like spring water. Thank you.


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 5 years ago from the Ether Author

Morning, Marshacanada! So lovely to see you again! Thanks for the votes. I would love to see a picture of that douglas fir. They are gorgeous trees too! I bet it is absolutely beautiful?

WillStarr - ohh, pines! My Dad's house in MD has a slew of them in the backyard. And they are all very tall...they do seem to talk to one another!

Chatkath - Great idea with the hollowed out tree home! I feel like I've seen a real house like that somewhere...but I might be thinking of a home built up in the trees...sort of a treehouse but a very fancy one! Thanks for the comment and vote. :)


Chatkath profile image

Chatkath 5 years ago from California

Loved this one Kitty, Trees are so spiritual and magical, I absolutely love them. When I was little, I used to want to live in a huge tree hollow like all the little animals in the cartoons, throw rugs, stove, fridge....well, you get the idea. Beautiful! Rated up.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Hi Kitty

They were mostly tall pines.


marshacanada profile image

marshacanada 5 years ago from Vancouver BC

Beautiful Hub Kitty the Dreamer.Voted up and awesome. I was very impressed by your homage to trees, the detailed information and by your photos. About 25 years ago I planted a Douglas Fir in my back yard and now it is taller than my house and growing up.


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 5 years ago from the Ether Author

I love dogwoods, too Lilleyth. Their blooms are just so stinkin' pretty. Very fairy tale-like tree! I would love to have a willow tree in my yard, though my favorite are the weeping willows. Tell your garden devas I say hello!

WillStarr - What a beautiful story! What types of trees are present there? I picture oaks, maybe maples?


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

We used to live in the piney woods of South Carolina, where I was lulled to sleep each night by the tall trees whispering their secrets, one to the other.


Lilleyth profile image

Lilleyth 5 years ago from Mid-Atlantic

Hi! I am a tree lover. I actually do embrace trees and also enjoy placing my hands in warm soil because of my belief in nature spirits or garden devas. My absolute favorite trees are Japanese maples and dogwoods. Those grow in my yard as well as a black walnut, many dogwoods, white and pink, a silver maple, gum, pussy willow and white pine.


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kittythedreamer 5 years ago from the Ether Author

Hi, Lilleyth! So great to hear you say that you connect with this hub. That must mean that you are a tree lover! Tell me a little bit about the trees where you live and what makes them magical to you! Wonderful to meet another person from the MD area. :)


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Lilleyth 5 years ago from Mid-Atlantic

I connect with everything you say in this article. Great hub. By the way, I'm from the Delmarva peninsula.

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    Author Nicole Canfield (kittythedreamer)1,893 Followers
    430 Articles

    Kitty has been following a pagan spiritual path for over sixteen years. Because of this she encourages others to follow their own paths.



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