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The Magical Properties of Wood.

Updated on May 1, 2019
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ASP52 has written on HubPages for many years and covers a wide range of subjects. These include History, the Natural World and Paganism.

The Knowledge of Those who Came Before.

The construction of magical and personal items relies upon using the right material to fully reconcile the original design with its physical manufacture. Most people happily dismiss the idea of wood having any special attributes and just see it as a sterile building material. Wood is anything but a sterile material and we must remember that the wood we use in our daily lives, once was a living organism that stood proudly under the same sunlight that ultimately powers everything on this planet.

Wood or lumber is a very generalized term. Each type of tree has both physical and mystical characteristics that make it different to other species. Our ancestors in a more natural age, figured out the best uses for the different timber in both the physical world and in service to a mystical realm that few have any understanding over.

The following woods have had medicinal, spiritual and physical use throughout the last few thousand years.

The Ash Tree

An Ash Tree.
An Ash Tree.

The Willow Tree.

The Willow is often found alongside the banks of fresh water, where it dips its leafy branches towards the essential life giving substance that we cannot live without.

The bark from the willow tree possess medicinal properties that make it a natural pain reliever. Over the passage of human history, this bark has been used to treat gout, cramps, arthritis, headaches and muscle pain.

Even the leaves are used in Chinese medicine to help skin conditions, reduce fever, and ease toothache.

The wood of the Willow has been used to create baskets, crates and some items of furniture. Its most common use in the modern world is that of being the prime wood used in the construction of cricket bats. Although the tree is classed as a hardwood, it has good shock resistance but is ultimately quite weak.

The Blackthorn Tree.

The Blackthorn Tree is a tree with many spiritual and real world applications. It is a tree with deep connections to witchcraft and it plays a large part in the local folklore wherever this tree grows. Blackthorn wood is keenly associated with Irish folklore and the Shillelagh. The Shillelagh is often depicted with lephrechauns, as it is the walking stick that the mythical creature is often seen with.

Aside from being the main material in the construction of the shillelagh, the wood is used for canes and walking sticks due to its solid strength.

Modern world applications for the Blackthorn can be seen in the production of gin and some wines. The berries from the Blackthorn are called sloe and sloe helps to create one of the most popular alcoholic beverages at the moment.

Blackthorn is closely tied to Samhain/Halloween and was used to ward off evil.Blackthorn is thought by some to purify and be an effective tonic against impurities in wounds. The wood of the Blackthorn is also used in the construction of magic wands and this is seen in the Harry Potter stories.

Blackthorn Wood

A Shillelagh, made from Blackthorn wood.
A Shillelagh, made from Blackthorn wood. | Source

The Yew Tree.

The Yew tree is often seen as a long lived tree and is known as a symbol of renewal. Yew is often seen as indestructible as its durability is without compare. Spears made of yew wood have been found and they have been dated at nearly half a million years old. The yew tree is used in furniture but used to be a popular wood to use in bows in the medieval period. Yews were shipped from Italy to provide wood for Henry VIII for his longbows and for his naval vessels. The yew wood is one of the hardest sort woods. This means it is workable and possess a certain degree of springiness.

Although the yew is associated with longevity. The entire tree is full of harmful toxins. There are many instances of ancient warriors taking a poison made from the yew tree to end their own lives. In recent years, some of the yew's toxicity has been used in the fight against cancer.

The yew is seen as a tree with wisdom, so creating runes from its wood or other tools for divination is extremely popular.

The Ancient Yew

The Long Lived Yew Tree in Ireland.
The Long Lived Yew Tree in Ireland.

The Ash Tree.

Those who practice Wicca and other branches of paganism, recognize the importance that ash has to intelligence and communication. When wands are made of ash, it is believed that one's wisdom is enhanced. The roots and bark of the ash tree are a natural astringent, the reduction of bleeding is an important natural remedy and the ash is as effective as witch hazel.

Ash is important to those who follow the Old Norse traditions. Ash is the tree that the Allfather Odin hung himself upside down upon this tree in order to gain further knowledge. Some heathens believe that Odin made the first humans from the wood of the ash tree.

Witches brooms are usually made from the wood of the ash tree and the druids of the Celtic world held this wood in high regard. The druids believed that because of the ash tree's great height, the tree represented a connection to the heavens. Because of this, the magic staffs of the druids are usually made from this wood.

Ash is a valuable and versatile building material. Historically, the use of ash was seen in the construction of bows and spear shafts. Ash is used as a handle or a shaft for tools purely because of its strength and durability. Ash is also used in furniture and it is a very workable wood.

Elm Wood

The use of elm in magical practices is often associated with darker practices. The elm is a strong tree which is stable and solid. Wiccans see the elm tree as feminine and it is often used in both hexes and the protection against that type of magic. The elm is also believed to amplify and encourage psychic powers.

The inner bark of the slippery elm is used in the treatment of a number of physical conditions. It is usually used to treat urinary and gastrointestinal complaints. Irritable Bowel Syndrome(I.B.S), Herpes, Constipation and bladder complaints often are alleviated by the application of the inner bark. Other uses of the bark have been used for coughs and to remove tapeworms from the patient's soft tissue.

The modern use of the wood is often in the production of paper products. The tree is a hardwood and is useful in the production of furniture, boxes and hockey sticks.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Andrew Stewart


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