OAK (Quercus spp.)
Red Oak* (Quercus rubra)
A strong, straight-grained, slightly porous wood with a slight reddish hue. Its energy is a bit lighter and more 'firey' than the other oaks.
White Oak* (Quercus alba)
Darker and denser than red oak. It's strength and density have led to its being used in barrel-making and shipbuilding. Useful for spells requiring strength and solidity.
Brown (English) Oak* (Quercus robur)
A richly-coloured dark brown wood. 'Bog oak' is brown oak which has fallen into a peat bog and been preserved there for hundreds of years until it begins to have the consistancy of coal. Brown oak has a very earthy feel, and is useful for grounding.
Oak has been considered sacred by just about every culture that has encountered the tree, but it was held in particular esteem by the Norse and Celts because of its size, longevity, and nutritious acorns. The oak is frequently associated with Gods of thunder and lightening such as Zeus, Thor, and the Lithuanian God Perkunas. This association may be due to the oak's habit of being hit by lightening during storms. Specific oak trees have also been associated with the 'Wild Hunt', which is led by Herne in England and by Wodin in Germany. In general, oak can be used in spells for protection, strength, success and stability; the different varieties will lend their own special 'flavour' to the magic.
PEAR (Pyrrus spp.)
The Roman author Tacitus described how the Germanii would carve runes into the wood of a fruit tree. This is often assumed to be the apple tree, but may well have been the pear which is considered by some to be of the same genus as the apple. In the 5th century, Constantius told of a pear tree which was honored by the Northmen. The pear tree is also mentioned in literature and folklore connected with love and temptation.
PINE (Pinus spp.)
The Pine tree is an evergreen, its old title was "the sweetest of woods". Its needles are a valuable source of vitamin C and can loosen a tight chest. The scent of Pine is useful in the alleviation of guilt. The Bach's flower remedies lists it for dealing with feelings of guilt. Pine indicates issues of guilt within you.
POPLAR (Populus spp.)
The White Poplar flourishes beside rivers, in marshes and in other watery areas. The pith is star shaped. The upper leaves are green, the underside is silver. The wood was used in the making of shields. Leaves move with every puff of wind. It is commonly referred to as the talking, whispering and quivering tree. The Anglo-Saxon rune poem seems to refer to the poplar as being associated with the rune berkano. Heracles wore a crown of poplar leaves when he retrieved Cerberus from Hades, and the upper surface of the leaves was thus darkened from Hades' smokey fumes. In Christian lore, the quaking poplar (aspen) was used to construct Christ's cross, and the leaves of the tree quiver when they remember this fact. The Poplar's ability to resist and to shield, its association with speech, language and the Winds indicates an ability to endure and conquer.
ROWAN (Sorbus aucuparia)
The Rowan tree (also called Mountain Ash) is long known for aid and protection against enchantment. Sticks of the Rowan were used to carve Runes on. It was also used in the art of metal divining. Rowan spays and crosses were placed over cattle in pens and over homes for protection. Its lovely red berries feed the birds in winter. The berries have a tiny pentagram on them. The pentagram is the ancient symbol of protection. The Rowan tree indicates protection and control of the senses from enchantment and beguiling.
WILLOW (Salix babylonica)
The willow is another water loving tree. Willow bark contains Salicin which is used in the treatment of rheumatic fever and various damp diseases. Her catkins, which appear in early spring before her leaves, attract bees to start the cycle of pollination. In western tradition it is a symbol of mourning and unlucky love. The Latin name for the weeping willow refers to the psalm in which the Hebrews mourn their captivity in Babylon by the willows. Willow indicates cycles, rhythms and the ebb and flux.
YEW* (Taxus baccata)
A beautifully smooth, gold-coloured wood with a wavy grain. All parts of the tree are poisonous except the fleshy covering of the berry, and its medicinal uses include a recently discovered treatment for cancer. Long associated with magic, death, rebirth and the runes, the yew may be the oldest-lived tree in the world. Ancient yews can be found in churchyards all over Britain, where they often pre-date even the oldest churches. There are some convincing arguements for it being the original 'World-tree' of Scandinavian mythology. In Europe, yew wood was used for making bows, while on the northwest coast of North America, the Pacific yew (Taxus brevifolia) is used by the Haida and other tribes for making masks and boxes. Yew may be used to enhance magical and psychic abilities, and to induce visions.