The Wish Tree
A Wish Tree is an individual tree that is used as an object of wishes and offerings. These trees are identified as possessing a special religious or spiritual value. By tradition, believers make offerings in order to gain from that nature spirit, saint, or goddess, the fulfillment of a wish.
I have created a virtual Wish Tree for my readers. Make your wish and I will add it to the tree. You can find it towards the end of the page.
The Wishing Tree in Portland, Oregon
Types of Wishing Trees
Lam Tsuen Wishing Tree
The Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees
The Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees is one of the popular shrines in Hong Kong near the Tin Hau Temple in Lam Tsu. Two banyan trees are frequented by tourists and the locals during the Lunar New Year. Previously, they burnt joss sticks, wrote their wishes on joss paper tied to an orange, and then threw them up to hang in these trees, believing that if the paper successfully hung onto one of the tree branches, their wishes would come true.
This practice was discouraged by the authorities after 12 February 2005, when one of the branches gave way and injured two people. Instead, wooden racks are set up in place for the joss papers to be hung while a period of conservation is imposed to help these trees recover and flourish.
The Hong Kong Morris, a morris dancing team based in Hong Kong, dances at the Wishing Tree on 1 May each year to celebrate the arrival of summer.
Lam Tsuen Wishing Tree
Wish Tree in Hong Kong
Wishing Tree or Wart Remover?
One belief held regarding wish trees is in their power to heal. For example, this was a rhyme one had to sing whilst sticking a pin first into one's warts and then into the tree:
Ashen tree, ashen tree,
Pray buy these warts of me.
This photo of two Ash trees fused together in Eglinton, North Ayrshire, Scotland looks like they've taken on a lot of warts!
A Wish Tree for the Environment in Scotland
Yoko Ono: WIsh Trees for Pasadena (2008)
Wish Piece by Yoko Ono (1996)
Make a wish.
Write it down on a piece of paper.
Fold it and tie it around a branch of a Wish Tree.
Ask your friends to do the same.
Until the branches are covered with wishes.
Yoko Ono: "As a child in Japan, I used to go to a temple and write out a wish on a piece of thin paper and tie it around the branch of a tree. Trees in temple courtyards were always filled with people's wish knots, which looked like white flowers blossoming from afar."
The Wish Tree has been a part of many exhibitions by Yoko Ono since the 1990s. People are invited to write their wish on a piece of paper and hang it to a tree branch. It's like a collective prayer in a way. Some wishes are deeply personal, some global wishes for peace and better future for humankind.
Yoko Ono: "All my works are a form of wishing. Keep wishing while you participate."
Yoko Ono has used different kinds of trees at different exhibition venues, to fit the particular venue's nature.
The Wish Tree on Calton Hill, Edinburgh
In Hindu mythology
the Banyan Tree, called "kalpavriksha", meaning "wish- fulfilling tree", represents eternal life because of its seemingly ever-expanding branches.
The Hindu God of Wisdom Sits Under a Wish Tree
Dakshinamurthy is an aspect of the Hindu God Shiva that is the personification of supreme or ultimate awareness, understanding and knowledge. Shiva in this aspect is a teacher of yoga, music, and wisdom and is therefore worshiped as the god of wisdom.
How to Make a Wish Tree
The tree, with its branches reaching up into the sky, and roots deep into the earth, can be seen to dwell in three worlds - a link between heaven, the earth, and the underworld, uniting above and below. It is also both a feminine symbol, bearing sustenance; and a masculine, phallic symbol - another union.
For this reason, many mythologies around the world have the concept of the World tree, a great tree that acts as an Axis mundi, supporting or holding up the cosmos, and providing a link between the heavens, earth and underworld. In European mythology the best known example is the tree Yggdrasil in Nordic myth. In Norse mythology, Yggdrasil generally means "Ygg's (Odin's) horse".
More to Enjoy
Wish Tree Links
- Denise M. Alvarado is creating the Art of Conjure | Patreon
Become a patron of Denise M. Alvarado today: Read 31 posts by Denise M. Alvarado and get access to exclusive content and experiences on the world’s largest membership platform for artists and creators.
- The Magic of Wish Trees - Beliefnet
John Shors describes how, from Japan to Scotland to your own backyard, trees can help people turn their wishes into reality.
- Best 25+ Wishing trees ideas on Pinterest | Wedding wishing trees, Manzanita and Retirement wishes
Find and save ideas about Wishing trees on Pinterest. | See more ideas about Wedding wishing trees, Manzanita and Retirement wishes.
- Wish Tree- Record your Wishes
Online wish tree
- Wishin in Yoko Ono's Art
The Wish Tree has been a part of many exhibitions by Yoko Ono since the 1990s. People are invited to write their wish on a piece of paper and hang it to a tree branch. It's like a collective prayer in a way. Some wishes are deeply personal, some glob
My Virtual Wish Tree
Make your wish here and I will put it on the virtual Wish Tree.
© 2009 Denise M Alvarado