Forest Craft: 6 New England Trees to Work With Magically.
It's nearly leaf peeping season in so-called New England, which means that it's almost time for some of our favorite residents to get their time in the spotlight! While the flowers of the Ropes Mansion Garden may be absolute showstoppers (and we DO love to work with a flower essence or a few), we think it's time for their slightly-less-showy siblings to hear some praise.
Anyone who's ever walked through a forest has likely experienced the awe-inspiring and otherworldly energy that trees can bring. It should come as no surprise that these plant friends make powerful magical allies--so here's a basic rundown of six that you can find and work with easily here in New England. We've also curated a handy collection of products that bring the forest magic to wherever you are. Let's hear it for the trees!
While we won't be going into the many varieties of each tree on this list, suffice it to say that you can find plenty of Pine across the Northeast. These trees are evergreen, which makes them a beautiful tree to work with when the nights are getting longer and hope may feel difficult to come by. Pine has a steadfast energy that can help ground and protect you. These trees came around about 153 million years ago--they've seen some things, and they can see you through some tough things too. Work with Pine in an essence, by burning pine needles to clear your space, or by creating a wreath to bring abundance and protection to your doorstep.
Elm is one of the most common types of tree in North America, so this one is likely a familiar friend whether you realize it or not! We love the way Juliet Diaz describes Elm in Plant Witchery: "One of my favorite places to write and read is under an elm tree. She banishes negativity, and wakes the imagination, allowing me to dream without limits." Elm wood is valued for its flexibility, and similarly this tree can help us to bend the limitations of our own minds and enhance our creativity and vision. Work with elm by making an essence, meditating on a problem or creative project under and Elm tree, or placing a few Elm leaves or twigs on an altar for creativity.
I know I shouldn't pick favorites, but Birch has to be one of my all-time-favorite tree friends. Again, there are many varieties of birch and quite a few of them grow across New England. Most Birch trees are easily identifiable by their white/grey papery bark and long, straight trunks. These trees are often associated with love and new beginnings, but these romantic qualities are balanced with an energy of strength. These sweeties may look fragile with their peeling bark, but they know how to stand their ground, grow their roots deep, and bring sweetness up from the source. Work with Birch by drinking Birch water/sap, writing a wish on a piece of fallen birch bark and burning it, or meditating on your own balance of softness and strength underneath its branches.
There may be some debate as to whether Juniper is a tree or a shrub, but this plant is evergreen, doesn't flower, and has a few different varieties--some of which are more tree-like and some of which are creeping shrubs. So I'm counting it! This is one of my favorite plants to work with for purification and clearing your space. We even made sure to include the fresh, green scent of this plant in our Banish Room Spray for Clearing! Just be cautious while working with this ally--some types are poisonous to people or animals if ingested! If you want to work with a Juniper potion, a Gin cocktail is a wonderful way to do so safely (for those of you who drink alcohol). For libation-free spellwork, you can burn Juniper branches or carry them with you for protection and energy clearing.
The mighty oak! These trees grow LARGE and, like pines, have a long history on this earth (around 65 million years). Unsurprisingly, Oak trees have been held as sacred across a wide range of spiritualities and mythologies throughout history and today. This makes Oak a powerful ally for connecting with collective and ancestral wisdom, as well as offering a sturdy sense of protection. I find that Oak often has the energy of a warm and protective grandparent--the one who always knows the right words to not only comfort you but remind you of your own strength and courage. Work with Oak by sitting underneath one and visualizing the ways the roots mirror the branches above you. Allow yourself to be cocooned in the support and protection of this ancient being. You could also give your floors a good scrubbing with our Threshold Floor Cleaner for Grounding--we add Oak essence to every bottle so that your space looks AND feels incredible afterwards.
Most of us who can't identify a tree to save our lives could probably still pick out a Maple tree in a crowd. The distinctive spiky shape of maple leaves has become iconic thanks to the Canadian flag, and they tend to make themselves the STARS of leaf peeping season with their vivid oranges, yellows, and reds as the seasons turn. These trees are one of my favorites to work with for abundance--according to Juliet Diaz, "Some Native American tribes, particularly the Algonquins, believe the graceful maple tree represents balance. Her practical and useful nature is offset by her sweetness, and by her beauty." The perfect reminder that true abundance so often comes from a balance of pleasure and dedication. Work with Maple by adding some real Maple syrup into your kitchen witchery (maybe this oat bowl spell for nourishing is just what the witch doctor ordered?) , playing or listening to an instrument made from Maple wood, or drawing a sigil for balance on a fallen Maple leaf and burning it.
That's all the tree talk I have for you for now! Hopefully this basic primer has piqued your interest in some of the trees around you (if you weren't already a tree-huggin' witch) and encourages you to develop your own relationships with the flora in your area! As always, the associations I've given here are simply a starting point and are absolutely open to interpretation--take what serves you, leave what doesn't, and use the basic info here to lead you deeper into your forest craft!
Sources: Plant Witchery by Juliet Diaz, Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham
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