Magickal Uses of Woods

Taken from the ancient Celtic tree alphabet. Individual trees of particular species have been revered, the kind varying with the divine force represented. The symbolism of the woods are very important in the construction of any magical tool. A complete description of the various woods and their uses is impossible in a limited space but we will cover as much as possible.


The oak tree is the tree of Zeus, Jupiter, Hercules, The Dagda (The Chief of the Elder Irish gods), Thor and all other Thunder Gods. The royalty of the Oak needs no enlarging upon. The Oak is the tree of endurance and triumph, and like the Ash, is said to count the lightings’ flash. The Oak is a male wood which is ideal for the construction of any tool that needs the male influence such as Athames, certain wands and staffs. The midsummer fire is always Oak and the need fire is always kindled in an Oak log.

MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Endurance, triumph, strength, power, dominion, prosperity, sacrifice, guardian, liberator.


With the exception of the mysterious elder, the Birch is the earliest of the forest trees. The Birch is used extensively in cleansing rituals. Throughout Europe, Birch twigs are used to expel evil spirits. Birch rods are also used in rustic rituals to drive out the spirits of the old year.

MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Controlled by the Lunar influences. Birth, healing, Lunar workings, and protection.


The Hazel is a tree of wisdom. In England, all the knowledge of the arts and sciences were bound to the eating of Hazel nuts. Until the seventeenth century, a forked Hazelstick was used to divine the guilt of persons in cases of murder and theft. We have retained the practice of divining for water and buried treasure.

MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Wisdom, intelligence, inspiration, wrath.


The Alder is the tree of fire. In the battle of the trees, the Alder fought in the very front line. It is described as the very “battle witch” of all woods, the tree that is hottest in the fight. From the alder, you can make three different dyes, red from its bark, green from its flowers, and brown from its twigs; this symbolizes the elements of fire, water and earth. The Alder wood is the wood of the witches. Whistles may be made of this wood to summon and control the four winds. It is also the ideal wood for making the magical pipes and flutes. To prepare the wood for use, beat the bark away with a willow stick while projecting your wishes into it. The Alder is a token of resurrection.

MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Controlling the four winds, banishing and controlling elementals, resurrection. Making magical dyes.


The Ivy was sacred to Osiris as well as to Dionysus. Vine and Ivy come next to each other at the turn of the year, and are jointly dedicated to resurrection. Presumably, this is because they are the only two trees that grow spirally. The Vine also symbolizes resurrection because its strength is preserved in the wine.

MAGICKAL ASPECTS: (VINE) Faerie work, Joy, Exhilaration, Wrath, Rebirth. (IVY) Fidelity, Constancy, Love, Intoxication.


The Yew is known as the death tree in all european countries. Sacred to Hecate in Greece and Italy. Yew wood makes excellent bows, as the Romans learned from the Greeks. This strengthened the belief that Yew was connected with death. Its use in England is recalled in Macbeth where Hecate’s cauldron contained:”… Slips of Yew, slivered in the moon eclipse.”The Silver Fir of birth and the Yew of death are sisters. They stand next to each other in the circle of the year and their foliage is almost identical.

MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Destructive workings concerning death. Not recommended for magical tools “…for I am the tomb to every hope.”


The Rowan is seen as the tree of life. It is also known as Mountain Ash, Quickbeam, The Witch or Witch Wand. In the British Isles, Rowan is used as a protection against lightning and magical charms of all sorts. In ancient Ireland, the Druids of opposing forces would kindle a fire of rowan and say an incantation over it to summon spirits to take part in the battle. The Rowan is also used for many healing purposes. The “Quickbeam” is the tree of quickening. Another use was in metal divining. In Ireland, a Rowan stake was hammered through a corpse to immobilize the spirit.

MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Divination, healing, astral work, protection.


The Ash is sacred to Poseidon and Woden. The Ash is considered to be the father of trees. The Ash is the tree of sea power, or of the power resident in water. Special guardian spirits reside in the Ash; This makes it excellent for absorbing sickness. The spirally carved druidical wand was made of Ash for this purpose.

MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Sea power, karmic laws, magical potency, healing, protection from drowning.


External symbol of life and immortality. It is one of the few trees that are androgynous. It was also worshiped by the ancients as a symbol of fire because of its resemblance to a spiral of flame. It is regarded as a very soothing tree to be near.

MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Strength, life and immortality, rejuvenation


The Willow was sacred to Hecate, Circe, Hera, and Persephone, all death aspects of the Triple Moon Goddess, and was often used by the Witches in Greece. The moon owns it. Female symbol. It is the tree that loves water most and is sacred to the Moon Goddess who is the giver of dew and moisture, generally. The Willow is the tree of enchantment. Can be made into a tool to make wishes come true.

MAGICKAL PURPOSES: Moon magic, psychic energy, healing, inspiration, and fertility


A waterside tree, the Elder has white flowers that bloom to their peak in midsummer (as is also true for the Rowan) thus making the Elder another aspect of the White Goddess. The Elder is also said to be the crucifixion tree. The inner bark and the flowers have long been famous for their therapeutic qualities.

MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Witchcraft, banishment, magical art, waters of life.


The Whitethorn or Hawthorn or May Witch takes its name from the May. It is a generally unlucky tree and its name, translated from the Irish Brehon Laws, had the meaning “harm”. The Goddess, under the name Cardea, cast spells with the Hawthorn. In many cultures, the month of the Hawthorn (May) is a month of bad luck for marriages. The Hawthorn blossom, for many men, has the strong scent of female sexuality and was used by the Turks as an erotic symbol. The monks of Glastonbury perpetuated it and sanctified it with an approving tale that the staff of Joseph and the Crown of thorns were made of Hawthorn.

MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Purification, enforced chastity, male potency, and cleansing.


Holly means “holy”. The identification of the pacific Christ with the Holly is poetically inept as it is the Oak king, not the Holly king that is crucified on a T shaped cross. The Holly has many uses from making a dye from its berries to being used as an aphrodisiac.

MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Holiness, consecration, material gain, physical revenge, beauty


The tree of the Autumn Equinox and of old age, is the shifting leaved White Popular, or Aspen, The shield makers tree. Heracles bound his head in triumph with popular after killing the giant Cacus (the evil one). The Black popular was a funeral tree sacred to the Mother Earth. Plato makes a reference to the use of Black popular and Silver Fir as an aid in divination. The Silver Fir standing for hope assured and the Black Popular for loss of hope. In ancient Ireland, the coffin makers measuring rod was made of Aspen, apparently to remind the dead that this was not the end.

MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Hope, rebirth, divinations.

This concludes trees referenced to be in use in Europe. However, I thought there may be interest in a few local trees.


Almond has a very sweet natural being. Aids in self protection.

MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Fruitfulness, virginity


It is an old English custom to drink to the health of the Apple tree with a good glass of cider all in hopes of encouraging the tree to produce a good crop next year.



The Coconut is feminine and very fertile. The shell represents the womb, and the milk, fertility.

MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Protection from negative psychic forces.


The Fig is androgynous. The fruit representing the feminine and the triple lobed leaves suggest the masculine force.



The mistletoe was sacred to the Druids and to the Norse. It was considered to be the great healer and has both male and female qualities. It was so well regarded by the Norse (because it was sacred to Freya) that they refused to fight in the vicinity of Mistletoe. The custom of hanging Mistletoe in the house to promote peace comes from this. Generally regarded today as a symbol of love and purity.

MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Love, fertility, sexual potency.


Is regarded as particularly powerful because of its incredible durability and because it is self renewing, never changing its leaves. Aids in rejuvenation.

MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Resurrection, and the cycle and matrix of life


The Peach is an emblem of marriage.

MAGICKAL ASPECTS: Abundance, fruitfulness, happiness.

The Counsels of Cormac

NOTE: This should be transcribed into your Crane Book of Wisdom after the Audacht Morainn. After the Counsels of Cormac the text of the Cauldron of Poesy should be transcribed into your Crane Book of Wisdom.


This is part of the advice of Cormac to his son from the new translation by the above title that was done by Thomas Cleary:


“Oh Cormac son of Conn,: said Carbre,

“What is best for the interest of a tribe?”


“That’s easy,” said Cormac:


Gathering of good people,

Frequent conferences,

An inquiring mind.


Consulting the wise,

Destroying every evil,

Bringing about every good.


A regular court,

Following traditions,

A legal assembly.


Administration of law by the Chieftain,

Just leadership,

Not oppressing the wretched.


Protection of amity,

Leniency toward those of good morals,

Consolidating relationship.


Piecing together related information,

Carrying out administration by government,

Authority of ancient alliances.


Treaty of friendship without cancellation,

Militia without vainglory,

Sternness towards enemies, innocence toward kin.


Generous pledges, complete repayment, just rulings;

Honest witnesses, contracts without fraud, interest on loss;

Equivalence of contractual obligations, seasonal lending, pledges

according to statuses.


Wholesome lending, loans for proper purposes,

An equivalent for every good;

Dignified response, permissible measure.


Study of each art,

Knowledge of each technical vocabulary,

Diversified skills in crafts.


Argumentation using legal precedents,

Pronouncement with legal maxims,

Giving alms, justice, and mercy to the poor.


Sureties against judgments,

Honest contracts,

Listening to the venerable, deafness to common fools.


“Let him not be lax about the interest of the tribe, let him not be

greasy in the banquet hall ˆ this is best for the interest of the



There are some who say that the study of

philosophy had its beginnings among the

barbarians. They urge that the Persians had

their magi, the babylonians or Assyrians their

Chaldeans, and the Indians their Gymnosophists;

and among the Celts and Gauls there are

people called Druids or Holy Ones.”

– _Lives_, I, I, “Holy Ones”, Sotion

My Crane Book of Wisdom: The Triads of Ireland

I have been writing my Crane Book of Wisdom into a 7″x5″ journal. It took roughly 32 sheets or 64 pages to write the entire collection of Triads. I took my time, pacing myself (leisurely) since December 10, 2013. I just finished writing the 256th Triad in my Crane Book of Wisdom.  And am done with the Triads. Now to start on the Audacht Morainn or the Testament of Morann.

Nine Blessings!

Something to look forward to…

Triad # 235:

¶235] Three hard things: to go security on behalf of a king or highly privileged person, for a king’s honour is wider than any claim; to go security for battle, for no one is capable of any security for a battle save a king under whose yoke are seven tribes; to go security for captivity, except one who owns a serf. Seven prohibitions: to go security for an outlaw, for a jester and for a madman, for a person without bonds, for an unfilial person, for an imbecile, for one excommunicated. Troublesome moreover is every security, for it is necessary for it to give sudden notice as regards every pledge which he gives, now beforehand, now afterwards.

Audacht Morainn

NOTE: Even though I have posted various other things to transcribed into the Crane Book of Wisdom, Audacht Morainn should be NEXT to be entered into the Crane Book of Wisdom after the Triads of Ireland.

Here begins the Testament of Morann son of Moen to Feradach Find Fechtnach son of Craumthann Nia Nar. He was the son of the daughter of Loth son of Derelath of the Picts. His mother brought him away in her womb after the vassal tribes had destroyed the nobles of Ireland except for Feradach in his mother’s womb. He came over afterwards with hosts and Morann sent this Testament to him.

Audacht Morainn

Arise, set forth

O my Neire accustomed to proclaiming

The virtue of dutifulness makes you known

Dutiful the journey you undertake

Announce, increase truth.

Fair [and] lasting

My words before my death

Bring him the virtue of rectitude

Which each ruler must have

If you go past every [other] king

I measure them for the protection of my kin. . .

If you go to a king

Hasten to Feradach

Find Fechtnach

Good, vigorous

He will be long ruling

In the seat of full sovereignty

He will move many tribes

Of thieves to the sea

He will increase his heir

Filled with valor. . . .

Let him keep my advice which follows here. . .

Tell him before every [other] word

Bring him with every word this lasting justice. .

Let him preserve Truth, it shall preserve him

Let him raise truth, it will raise him.

Let him exalt mercy, it exalts him

Let him care for his tribes, they will care for


Let him help his tribes, they will help him

Let him soothe his tribes, they will soothe him

Tell him, it is through the truth of the ruler

that plagues [and] great lightnings

are kept from the people

It is through the truth of the ruler that he

judges great tribes [and] great riches

It is through the truth of the ruler that he

secures peace, tranquility, joy, ease,

[and] comfort.

It is through the truth of the ruler that he

dispatches (great) battalions to the

borders of hostile neighbors.

It is through the truth of the ruler that every

heir plants his house-post in his

fair inheritance

It is through the truth of the ruler that

abundances of great tree-fruit of the

great wood are tasted.

It is through the truth of the ruler that milk-

yields of great cattle are maintained.

It is through the truth of the ruler that there

is abundance of every high, tall corn

It is through the truth of the ruler that

abundance of fish swim in streams It is

through the truth of the ruler that fair children

are well begotten.

Tell him, since he is young, his rule is young.

Let him observe the driver of an old chariot.

For the driver of an old wheel rim does not sleep

He looks ahead, he looks behind, in front and to

the right and to the left.

He looks, he defends, he protects, so that he may

not break with neglect or

violence the wheel-rims which run under him.

Tell him, let him not exalt any judge unless he

knows the true legal precedents.

It is through the truth of the ruler that every

man of art attains the crown of knowledge.

After that he will sit to teach the good rule to

which he has submitted.

It is through the truth of the ruler that the

borders of every true lord extend

so that each cow reaches the end of its grazing.

It is through the truth of the ruler that every

garment of clothing is obtained for glances of


It is through the truth of the ruler that

enclosures of protection of cattle [and]

of every produce extend.

It is through the truth of the ruler that the

three immunities of violence at

every assembly protect every lord from the

restraints of collision during the

course of his noble rule.

The first immunity [is] the racing of horses at


The second immunity of them [is] a hosting [of a

military force]

The third immunity [is] the privilege of the ale-

house with friends and great

abundances of mead-circuit, where foolish and

wise, familiars and strangers are intoxicated.

Tell him, let him not redden many fore-courts,

for bloodshed is a vain destruction of all rule

and of protection from one kin for the ruler.

Tell him, let him give any reciprocal service

which is due from him, let him enforce any bond

which he should bind, let him remove the shame of

his cheeks by arms in battle against other

territories, against their oath, against

all their protections.

Tell him, let not rich gifts or great treasures

or profits blind him to the weak in their


Tell him, let him estimate the creations of the

creator who made them as they

were made; anything which he will not judge

according to its profits will not

give them with full increase.

Let him estimate the earth by its fruits

Let him estimate the yew by its well-made


Let him estimate cattle by their winter-circuit

of fame

Let him estimate milk-yield by its increase

Let him estimate corn by its height

Let him estimate streams by their clean washing

Let him estimate iron by its properties at

disputes of tribes.

Let him estimate copper by its firmness [and]

strength [and] dense artifacts.

Let him estimate silver by its durability [and]

value [and] white artifacts.

Let him estimate gold by its foreign wonderful


Let him estimate the soil by its services where

people may seek out produce.

Let him estimate sheep by their covering which is

selected for the garments of the people

Let him estimate pigs by the fat side, for it is

freeing from shame of every face

Let him estimate the war-bands which accompany a

true lord, for the rule of his retinue belongs to

every king; anything which he will not judge

according to its profits will not summon them

with full increase.

Let him estimate unfree persons [and] serving

companies; let them serve, let them provide food-

rent, let them measure [it], let them give [it]

in return for the true grants of the ruler

Let him estimate old men in the seats of their

ancestors with numerous benefits of respect.

Let him estimate fathers and mothers with

benefits of maintenance [and] dutiful


Let him estimate the fees of every craftsman for

firm articles [and] well made


Let him estimate the right and justice, truth and

law, contract and regulation of every just ruler

towards all his clients.

Let him estimate the proper honor-price of every

grade of free and base nemed-persons.

(I have failed, I am made to blush.)

Arise, set forth,

O my Neire accustomed to proclaiming

To Feradach Find Fechtnach.

Announce to him the high points of my words

Darkness yields to light

Sorrow yields to joy

An oaf yields to a sage

A fool yields to a wise man

A serf yields to a free man

Inhospitably yields to hospitality

Niggardliness yields to generosity

Meanness yields to liberality

Impetuosity yields to composure

Turbulence yields to submission

A usurper yields to a true lord

Conflict yields to peace

Falsehood yields to truth.

Tell him, let him be merciful, just, impartial,

conscientious, firm, generous,

hospitable, honorable, stable, beneficent,

capable, honest, well-spoken,

steady, true-judging.

For there are ten things which extinguish the

injustice of every ruler.

(Beware that you do not do it, beware of

everything, O rulers.) Announce

from me the ten: rule and worth, fame and

victory, progeny and kindred,

peace and long life, good fortune and tribes.

Tell him: he may die, he will die, he may depart,

he will depart; how he has

been, how he will be, that is what will be

proclaimed. He is not a ruler unless

he performs these deeds.

Tell him, there are only four rulers: the true

ruler and the wily ruler, the ruler

of occupation with hosts, and the bull ruler.

The true ruler, in the first place, is moved

towards every good thing, he

smiles on the truth when he hears it, he exalts

it when he sees it. For he

whom the living do not glorify with blessings is

not a true ruler.

The wily ruler defends borders and tribes, they

yield their valuables and dues

to him.

The ruler of occupation with hosts from outside;

his forces turn away, they

put off his needs, for a prosperous man does not

turn outside.

The bull ruler strikes [and] is struck, wards off

[and] is warded off, roots out

[and] is rooted out, pursues [and] is pursued.

Against him there is always

bellowing with horns.

Arise, set forth

O my Neire accustomed to proclaiming

To Feradach Find Fechtnach

A noble, mighty ruler

To every ruler who rules truly.

Let him keep my words,

They will bring him to victory.

I measure them for the protection of my kin.

Bardic Triads

Three things which inspire the poet: An eye to see the world clearly, A heart which feels sincerely, And courage to render faithfully.

– Bardic Triad

The three functions of speech: To recite, to argue, to tell a story.

– Bardic Triad

Three things which constitute a physician: a complete cure, leaving no blemish behind, and a painless examination.

The Triads update…

I have just written the 200th Triad. I was about to write Triad # 201, when I realized that Triads # 201 – 209 were not present on the list. They simply were not present. They have either been lost to time or were omitted for some reason. The list resumes with Triad # 210. Nine Blessings!


UPDATE: After reviewing the Triads some more I have noticed that after Triad #200 is listed Triad 210, 220 & 230. Then Resumes with Triad 204. Based on this, I am led to believe that Triads 210, 220 & 203 are meant to be listed as Triads 201, 202 & 203. Because of this and the fact that Triads 210, 220 & 230 are listed further down in their correct positions in the list, I recommend that you list #202, 202 & 203 after Triad #200.

Amergin’s Invocation

I invoke the land of Ireland.

Much-coursed be the fertile sea,

Fertile be the fruit-strewn mountain,

Fruit-strewn be the showery wood,

       Showery be the river of water-falls,

Of water-falls be the lake of deep pools,

Deep pooled be the hill-top well,

A well of the tribes be the assembly,

An assembly of the kings be Tara,

Tara be the hill of the tribes,

The tribes of the sons of Mil,

       Of Mil be the ships the barks,

Let the lofty bark be Ireland,

Lofty Ireland Darkly sung,

An incantation of great cunning;

The great cunning of the wives of Bres,

The wives of Bres of Buaigne;

The great lady Ireland,

       Eremon hath conquered her,

Ir, Eber have invoked for her.

I invoke the land of Ireland.

– Amergin (The Conquest of

the Sons of Mil)

An interesting view on Time Management

NOTE: I present this as an exercise in perception.


A while back I was reading about an expert on subject of time management. One day this expert was speaking to a group of business students and, to drive home a point, used an illustration those students will never forget.

As this man stood in front of the group of high-powered overachievers he said, “Okay, time for a quiz.”

Then he pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouthed mason jar and set it on a table in front of him. Then he produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar.

When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, “Is this jar full?”

Everyone in the class said, “Yes.”

Then he said, “Really?” He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. Then he dumped some gravel in and shook the jar causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the spaces between the big rocks.

Then he asked the group once more, “Is the jar full?”

By this time the class was onto him. “Probably not,” one of them answered.

“Good!” he replied. He reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in and it went into all the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked the question, “Is  this jar full?”

“No!” the class shouted.

Once again he said, “Good!” Then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim. Then he looked up at the class and asked, “What is the point of this illustration?”

One eager beaver raised his hand and said, “The point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard, you can always fit some more things into it!”

“No,” the speaker replied, “that’s not the point. The truth this illustration teaches us is: If you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all.”

What are the ‘big rocks’ in YOUR life? A project that YOU want to accomplish? Time with your loved ones? Your faith, your education, your finances? A cause? Teaching or mentoring others? Remember to put these BIG ROCKS in first or you’ll never get them in at all.

So, tonight or in the morning when you are reflecting on this short story, ask yourself this question: What are the ‘big rocks’ in my life or  business? Then, put those in your jar first.