Truly, if any single thing should be sacred to humans it’s trees. Even today, trees form the framework of our very lives. We live in homes built and furnished with wood. We read and write our ideas on paper. We nourish ourselves with tree fruits and nuts. Much of our medicine is made or derived from trees.
Modern studies demonstrate that simply spending time near or gazing at trees can relieve stress, lower our heart rate, help us heal faster, and improve our mental and emotional health. As if all that weren’t more than enough, the delicate atmosphere of our precious planet – including the very air we breathe – heavily relies on the abundant presence of living trees.
It’s no wonder that trees are symbols and actual representations of the interconnectedness of all life: the web of everything from which magic itself draws its power.
Speaking of healing and magic, here are 8 awesome ways to heal and work magic with trees.
(This is an excerpt from my latest book, The Magic of Trees.)
1. Quiet Contemplation
Quite possibly the best way to receive wisdom, guidance, and healing from a tree is to sit or stand in quiet contemplation with it. Think of it as spending time with a wise friend or guru from whom you receive guidance that is so profound that it transcends human language. It’s sort of like how avatars in India (who are believed to be incarnations of a particular divinity or who are simply aware of their true infinite nature) are said to confer spiritual wisdom or even enlightenment by their very presence.
Here’s how you might begin: go outside to an area with one or more trees. Slow your breath and consciously relax your body. Notice the feeling of your feet on the earth. (Slowing your inner tempo is especially important in order to become receptive to the wisdom of trees.) Continue to relax as you set the intention to receive spiritual wisdom and healing energy from a tree. If you have a specific need, question, or request, gently bring this to mind with the confident inner knowing that you will receive precisely the answer or healing you desire.
When you feel sufficiently relaxed, notice if there’s a tree you particularly feel drawn to. It might look more beautiful or illuminated to you than the others, or the wind may suddenly catch a particular tree. Or one may just “feel right.” Don’t worry: you can’t make a wrong choice. Once you’ve chosen, slowly and reverently approach.
Begin by gazing at the tree and just being present with the majestic being before you. Appreciate the tree’s beauty as you would a friend. Inhale the fresh air and listen to the wind in the leaves. Synchronize your breath and thought with the slow, steady, patient pace of the tree. Continue this tuning-in process until you naturally begin to receive healing and wisdom from the tree.
Because everyone has a different way of metaphysically receiving information and energy, you might hear actual words in your mind, you might see pictures, or you might get feelings. Perhaps you’ll have a cathartic release as you let emotions out that have been bottled up, and this will heal you and bring you into greater harmony with yourself and the natural world. Or you might just feel a deep sense of calm that goes beyond words. Later, as you go back to your everyday life, you may find the answers or shift you were seeking just sort of naturally arise.
Similarly, merely being in the same area as a tree – or even branches, leaves, flowers, or other offerings from the tree – brings healing benefits. Not just in the obvious ways of providing physical beauty, healing scent, oxygen, humidity, and/or shade but also by emanating a conscious, grounding presence and unique spiritual wisdom.
3. Offerings (and Hugs)
Just as putting time and attention into a healthy relationship with a human causes that human to naturally want to put time and attention into the relationship with you, it helps us to receive positive energy from a tree when we first offer positive energy to the tree. We can do this by placing our hand on the trunk and visualizing sending bright white light from our heart into the tree, by pouring some water or ale around the roots, or even by lovingly placing a crystal or shiny coin at the base of the tree.
You can also just go ahead and hug that tree, and send love and light straight from your heart to the heart of the tree. You will receive it right back in a cycle of positive, nourishing, instant karma. (It might be a cliche, but it caught on for a reason!)
In addition to honoring their profoundly sacred relationships with trees, ancient cultures of all varieties believed they could affect positive change with ritual. This was not because they were primitive or misguided or crazy, but rather because they were observant. Indeed, as quantum physics is now conclusively demonstrating, our thoughts, feelings, and expectations literally change outcomes and encourage probabilities. That’s why you can work rituals involving trees (like this one or this one) to help bring about various types of positive change.
5. Aromatherapy and Incense
It’s no secret that some of the most treasured aromatherapeutic oils and incenses – such as cedar, eucalyptus, frankincense, sandalwood, and myrrh – come from trees.
6. Medicine and Food
Aspirin comes from willow bark. Eucalyptus helps clear congestion and respiratory infections. Cedar oil is an anti-fungal. Countless additional remedies come from the holistic benefits and energetic dynamics of trees.
Additionally, plenty of trees provide delicious and nutritious sustenance in the form of fruit and nuts: almonds, peaches, walnuts, figs, apples, bananas, cherries, apricots, plums, pecans, dates, persimmons, avocados, coconuts, and hazelnuts to name just a few. Consuming these staples and delicacies with reverence and an awareness of the tree’s metaphysical wisdom has the added benefit of filling us with magic.
7. Visualization and Invocation
Whether or not a particular tree resides near your hometown, you can magically commune with any species you choose by familiarizing yourself with the tree’s appearance and magical qualities, and then incorporating the tree into invocations and visualizations. For instance, many of us in the US may not have access to an actual baobab tree, but if you feel so inspired, you can seek out images of the tree and bring the tree to mind during a meditation, asking the tree for guidance and support. (Here’s a post on how to visualize if you could use a little support in this area.)
8. Homeopathic Essences
Finally, trees (and their respective blossoms) possess a vibrational wisdom that can be employed for physical, spiritual, and emotional healing, as well as for various magical intentions. As those familiar with homeopathic remedies know, this vibration can be preserved in water with the help of an ingredient such as glycerin or alcohol, put in a dropper bottle, and then taken under the tongue or in water (or used in other ways such as by adding to bathwater or food). These can be created responsibly or purchased from reputable sources. Many health food stores, for example, offer the Bach Flower Remedies oak, elm, or white chestnut. Additionally, some essence makers (such as Planetary Essences) offer medicines that employ tree vibrations such as apple, gingko, or willow.
Since you made it to the end, you’ll almost certainly love this post about The Magical and Metaphysical Properties of Trees.
And you’ll especially love the book!