Pondering the spirit of trees and woods; their lessons and their gifts. A guide to the sacredness and symbolism of trees. Trees of every description have carved themselves into our mythologies in an enduring way. Some of the people we work with choose a particular wood mindful of its mythic or spiritual properties. And, it's fun to browse.
Indigenous teachings speak of trees as 'The Standing People'. These teachings speak of the special lessons and gifts each Standing Person has to give humankind. Druid and Celtic traditions attach great significance and magical properties to their sacred trees.
These ring examples and the attached notes on the spiritual Meanings and Symbolisms of Woods might inspire you as you design your own Touch Wood Ring. These notes have been pulled together from various books and online sources. Always lean on your own connections to certain woods or trees; you know when your heart connects.
APPLE draws off the element of earth and water. In Celtic mythology, Apple speaks of wholeness, love, and goodwill. It has been considered a symbol of creativity and an emblem of art and poetry.
Australian Alpine Ash
ASH carries qualities of ambition, trustworthiness, and faithfulness.
North American Ash
ASH is said to promote good health and peace of mind. Mountain Ash is also known as ROWAN. In Druid mythology, Ash is known as the father of trees.
AUSTRALIAN BLACKWOOD draws off the elements of earth, water, and wind. Represents strength and determination.
BAMBOO represents freedom of spirit, regeneration, renewal, and flexibility. It represents a living symbol of the elements of wood, earth, and water. In Chinese culture, bamboo symbolizes strength, acceptance of the natural flow, and openness to wisdom.
A wood of femininity. BEECH is connected to love, friendship and peace. Beech links us with past wisdom to provide answers in the present.
Bethlehem Olive Wood
BETHLEHEM OLIVE WOOD is a symbol of peace, health, and wellbeing.
In Druid and Celtic mythologies BIRCH is valued as the tree of inception and beginnings. Birch is also a wood with great powers to purify and discipline. Birch is about new beginnings, fresh starts, creativity, procreation renewal and rebirth, purification, and service. Birch is associated with the element of water. It is a tree of the sun and the planet Venus. Birch is considered to be a Goddess tree, the symbol of summer ever-returning.
Braided Birch Bark Inlay
Since the dawn of humankind, birch bark has been highly valued and utilized for all manner of things of benefit to us two-legged's. It is, after all, the bark of the giving tree. The birch bark David uses to create his braided BIRCH BARK inlays is lovingly collected from the ground around our home.
Cedar (Alaskan Yellow) - Pacific Northwest: Alaskan Yellow Cedar has medicinal uses for Indigenous peoples and is often burned in rituals of purification.
Cedar (Western Red) - Pacific Northwest: Western Red Cedar is a life-giver. It was and is used to provide shelter, create baskets for fishing and food gathering, and medicinal purposes.
CHERRY teaches us the lessons of clearing the pain of the heart and relating to others in a compassionate manner. Cherry is the tree of the heart. Cherry is imbued with the powers of making and doing achievement, and self-assertion over obstacles and critics. It is the pure energy of will and desire. The cherry fruit is magically linked to the root chakra and so to sex and birth: the life force of attraction and renewal.
Wild Apple (Crabapple)
WILD APPLE (aka Crabapple) is the original apple tree. They are the tree from which all cultivated varieties of apples were developed. Wild apples always grow from seed and each one is genetically unique, potentially tougher, and better adapted to local conditions than cultivars. Wild Apple is the tree of youth, joy, magic, and surprise. Believing that anything is possible!
DOGWOOD has magical links to the warrior heroism and superhuman physical prowess of the hero and links to domesticated dogs, their healing and protection, and their loyalty and affection too. Dogwood is associated with the giving of comfort or healing and the fire of passion, desire, and will. It is associated with fertility and sexual attraction, happiness, and comfort.
EUCALYPTUS is one of the strongest healing woods known. It has been used for medicines for centuries as well as for ritual items pertaining to healing. The energy of this wood is good and pure, clean like the earth from which it is born. This wood is highly recommended for any purpose of combating illness or promoting good health.
Druids held the FIR in high esteem. It is a symbol of honesty, truth, and forthrightness. Fir trees are a reminder of the life-long connections we share with our friends. Fir trees are about resilience and longevity. It is a symbol of endurance and determination.
JUNIPER (and Juniper Heartwood) holds powers of protection, strength, healing, health, peace, and love. Juniper is connected to good health and banishing anything injurious to health. Juniper is a symbol of longevity. In the language of flowers, Juniper symbolizes perfect loveliness.
The Hawaiian KAMANI tree is associated with intuition and clairvoyance.
HAWAIIAN KOA is a sacred wood used for centuries to build canoes, ceremonial bowls, musical instruments, tools, and utensils. It has come to represent integrity and strength, sensitivity and protection. The energy associated with the masculine aspects of this wood are duality and balance. KOA in its feminine aspect brings fiery energy with creativity, beauty, wisdom, and strength.
MAGNOLIA is a symbol of something long-lasting and dearly held within the heart.
Spiritual growth and guidance are MAHOGANY'S primary properties. It is an excellent wood for emotional and spiritual healing. Mahogany is earthy and enhances our intuitive abilities and ability to explore our potential.
MAPLE is the tree of offering, giving one's self so that others may benefit. Maple holds the qualities of creation, communication, binding, revolution, rebirth, healing, beauty, art, and abundance. Full of imagination and originality. Maple is a traveler's wood. Those who are always on the move and changing will feel right at home with this type of energy. It enhances intellectual pursuits and learning.
African Blackwood / Swahili MIPINGO: draws off the element of earth, water, and spirit. Strongly aligned with Saturn and is known to block other energies. It represents the end of cycles and the energy of the underworld. It acts as a conduit between the physical and spiritual realms.
In ancient Chinese tradition, the hermaphroditic MULBERRY tree represents the beginning of time, before the separation of male/female – yin/yang energies. Mulberry can aid in re-establishing this connection.
MYRTLE has long been a symbol of love and an emblem for marriage. It is also believed to be the flower of the gods, sacred to the Greek goddess Aphrodite. Myrtle also symbolizes good fortune. It is believed that cultivating a myrtle plant will usher in peace and love to your home. Myrtle is considered a representation of long life and joyful living.
OAK is one of the most sacred trees. It carries the energy of kingship and wise rule, authority, power, protection, endurance, and invocation of wisdom, fertility, and abundance. Oak teaches us strength of character and how to keep our bodies strong and healthy. Robust and true, Oak is strongly rooted in the earth and easily channels natural life energies. Slow and steady; Oak helps one intuitively focus on the task at hand.
Sacred to Athena, used to anoint kings, and a symbol of peace in Christian philosophy, OLIVE lends great wisdom and healing energy to your endeavors.
Most in tune with the mind. The OSAGE ORANGEWOOD is extremely spiritual in nature, especially in matters dealing with earth energy. Osage Orange is also called Hedge-apple, Horse-apple, Bois D'Arc, Bodark, or Bodock.
PINE is the tree of Peace. Excellent for healing, protection, and purification. This ring was made from three different Pines; Shortleaf, Loblolly, and Eastern White Pine.
PINK IVORY can assist in bringing powerful visions & ideas into reality, it also relieves tensions. It is highly valued for its strength as a spiritual healer.
PURPLEHEART is also widely known as amaranth or violet wood. It is used for protection, spirituality, success, and defense. Positive and creative; Purpleheart is valuable in eliminating negative energy.
REDWOOD connects heaven and earth. It is a symbol of endurance and strength for those seeking to connect the physical and etheric realms.
ROSEWOOD can be used in all healing rituals but is especially effective in spiritual healing. A feminine wood that draws off the element of fire. It is used for healing, spiritual rituals, and love spells. Primarily feminine and highly spiritual, Bolivian Rosewood boosts intuition and is an excellent healer for non-physical ailments.
ROWAN is ancient magic that opens up the mind of the user to new possibilities and understandings by enhancing your innate psychic abilities.
The spirit of the SPRUCE tree holds great knowledge about healing, especially in relation to the metaphysical causes of disease. Its spirit is gentle. It is not unusual for those who attune to the spirit of spruce to find that there follows an increase in animals within that environment.
WALNUT teaches us clarity and focus, using our mental gifts wisely, and how to best use our intelligence. Walnut holds the powers of the breath, teleportation, astral travel, and inspiration. Symbolic of confidence and mental wisdom. Black Walnut wood has medicinal properties that are useful in the prevention and treatment of disease.
WILLOW is a tree of emotion, love, intuition, and poetic inspiration.
Known as 'the witches' wood' and the wood of death, YEW draws off the element of water. It’s a powerful symbol of death and reincarnation. Often yew is associated with sorcery and dark magic. Excellent for rituals and divination. Yew trees were planted in graveyards to protect the spirits of the dead. Working with Yew can reveal the past, bringing wisdom and renewed spiritual strength.
The primary associations of ZEBRAWOOD are the moon, love, luck, wisdom, creativity, and beauty.
A Postscript to the Meanings of Woods
We've provided the information on our website for your enjoyment and not as an authority. There is a great deal of information (and hogwash) available online. For more in-depth information on Druid and Celtic meanings of woods, look to Alferian. He is a writer, scholar, master wand maker, and Druid with integrity and a sense of humor. Alferian Gwydion MacLir is the druidic name of Dr. James Warren Scott Maertens of Minneapolis, Minnesota. https://alferian.wordpress.com/ He has written books well worth reading.
Another excellent source of information on Tree Lore can be found online at druidry.org/library/trees.
You might also enjoy The Magic of Trees by TessWhitehurst exploring the sacred wisdom and metaphysical properties of trees. Whitehurst describes her book by saying: “Bring positive change and nourishment to your body, mind, and spirit by connecting with the deep wisdom and power of trees. Featuring detailed descriptions of the magical and energetic properties of more than one hundred trees, this comprehensive guide shows you how to work with them―physically and spiritually― through rituals, spells, aromatherapy, visualization, and more.
Trees are symbols of the interconnectedness of life and represent the interwoven web of everything magical. The Magic of Trees helps you tap into that web and enrich your life. From Acacia to Yew and many others in between, each tree has an encyclopedic entry that features its history, magical uses, medicinal uses, and correspondences. With this book’s guidance, you’ll find that the trees around you can be beloved friends, teachers, and magical partners.”
Touch Wood Rings, Inc © 1999