Sacred Tree Profile: Chestnut’s Magic, Medicine, Mythology and Meaning (Castanea dentata)

The Druid's Garden

Basket of abundant chestnuts!

Just a few weeks ago, I went and checked the local chestnut trees that are in a field near where I live.  Ever since I moved to the new homestead, I have been eagerly visiting these trees.  Last year, they dropped plenty of husks but with only shriveled nuts inside. This year, I was extraordinarily pleased to find that both trees had produced a bumper crop of the delicious nuts–some almost 2″ across, but most smaller, almost all worm-free, and delicious. I eagerly filled my basket with the nuts, stepping carefully around the extremely prickly husks.  I sat with each of the trees and we conversed as I harvested the nuts. I took home 25 lbs of nuts that day, and these nuts will sustain myself, my geese (who love them), and my friends and family for many a Samhain, Thanksgiving, and Yule feast!  Chestnut trees…

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Health Benefits of Slippery Elm

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Slippery Elm is a perennial tree native to the central and eastern United States and Ontario, Canada, and can reach a height of 60-80 feet. They can live up to 200 years. Slippery Elm is also called Red Elm or Indian Elm. Native Americans used the inner bark for its soothing effect on the digestive tract and to heal wounds. Today, Herbalists use Slippery Elm for its mucilaginous and nutritive properties, for a sore throat, and for soothing the mucous membranes lining the stomach and intestines. The inner bark is the only part used for therapeutic purposes. When it is moistened, the gummy mucilaginous substance surrounding its fibers swell, producing a soothing softening remedy.  This gooey ingredient is very similar to Flaxseed. Slippery Elm is known by Herbalists for its soothing effect on whatever part of your body it comes into contact with. Slippery Elm has also been used during times of stress. Given that our mental…

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Sacred Tree Profile: Cherry (Prunus Serotina)’s Magic, Mythology, Medicine and Meaning

The Druid's Garden

Butterfly on choke cherry

When most people think of cherry trees, they think about plump, juicy, red or purple cherries from cultivated cherry trees.  However, here in the USA, we have a variety of wild cherries that are an interwoven and rich part of our landscape. An enigmatic tree found throughout the eastern part of North America and South America is prunus serotina, the wild cherry, black cherry, mountain black cherry, or rum cherry tree. Most people interact with this tree not in its living form, but through the beautiful reddish-brown heartwood that this tree produces, and that can be frequently found in their furniture and flooring.  And yet, this tree has so much more to offer than just beautiful wood! While I’m targeting my comments today about the black cherry, many of the material found here can be about *any* cherry tree local to you, including domesticated cherries.  Many…

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Magic Wand

Elder Mountain Dreaming

By Phoenix of Elder Mountain – Do you have a wand? How do you use it in your healing path, and what does it mean to you? I made a wand when Harry Potter came out and I used it when I do blessings (very rarely) as I am a folk healer and not a magician or magic practitioner. But… “I didn’t quit before the miracle” and the miracle has appeared now as I enter Elder.

There were never any shortcuts in our spiritual work, and nothing is free, not even free magic. I personally never wanted to take even one shortcut, because I didn’t want my later life to be heavy with burdens of misspent adulthood searching rather than seeking. 

I chose the long, enduring, difficult, hard, painfully honest, purity, humbled, poverty path because I had to in the beginning, but eventually to end the cycle of pain. I…

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A Fire and Smoke Ritual for Land Healing and Blessing

The Druid's Garden

A few years ago, I led a smoke cleansing (smudge) stick making workshop at the OBOD’s East Coast Gathering event. As that event often has upwards of 100 attendees, I spent months growing and harvesting materials for the event so that everyone could make 1-2 sticks.  Sure enough, everyone got to make some smudge sticks and the workshop went great.  After the workshop, one of my friends and event fire tenders, Derek, came up to me and asked me about the leftover materials.  I had been placing them in a paper bag, and had planned on taking them home to make more sticks or return to the land. He said, “I want to make a smudge bomb and send healing smoke to this entire land.”  I said, “Yes, what a great idea!” So we tightly bundled up the remainder of the material, which filled at least 1/3 of the paper…

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Druidry for the 21st Century: Plant-Based Spiritual Supplies and Global Demand

The Druid's Garden

Can you even imagine druidry without plants or trees?  Plants and trees are some of our strongest allies for the work that we do, and are often connected to almost everything that we do spiritually. Plant spirits are teachers, guides, and allies.  From before we had recorded history in any culture, the plant spirits were there, growing with us, guiding us, healing us, and supporting us on our journey. Today’s modern druid practice continues that tradition: we burn plants for smoke cleansing, clearing, and helping to energize spaces. We use trees as part of divination and sacred rites. We use plants as healers, for magical healing and physical healing, and to connect with on deep levels.  Plants have long been friends of humans–and have long walked beside us, hand in hand, as we do our sacred work.  And today, we’ll explore ways we can offer that same kind of honor…

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Wychwood: The Earthen Healing of the Elm — Wildling

Good Witches Homestead

Elm specifically excels at lessening inflammation and excitation of the tissues. We often think of soothing herbs as those that are so mild as to verge on useless for any serious condition, and Elm is an excellent plant for correcting that flawed mindset. Elm is gentle enough for interna

Source: Wychwood: The Earthen Healing of the Elm — Wildling

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Sacred Tree Profile: Juniper’s Medicine, Magic, Mythology and Meanings

The Druid's Garden

Here on the East Coast of the USA, we are still in deep winter. Soon, the maples will be flowing.  Soon, the winter snows will melt.  Soon, spring will return.  But until that time, the conifers, particularly offer strength and wisdom.  One of my favorite conifers is Juniper, also known as Eastern Red Cedar.  It is delightful to come across a wild juniper in the winter months, with her sweet and pine-scented berries and her delightful sprigs that offer friendship and hope through the darkest times.  So come with me today as we explore the sacred Juniper tree.

Juniper here on the land Juniper here on the land

This post is part of my Sacred Trees in the Americas series, where I explore sacred trees within a specifically American context, drawing upon folklore, herbalism, magic, and more!  I think it’s particularly important that US druids and those following other nature-based paths in North America understand…

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ENCOUNTERS IN GRATITUDE AND A CHANCE TO LISTEN

Good Witches Homestead

by Guido Masé November 19, 2018

A long time ago, Anne and I traveled to Ireland. We vagabonded slowly down the west coast from hostel to hostel, over green hills to rugged seaside cliffs, stopping at standing stones and the ruins of circle forts, visiting old-growth forests left intact for hundreds of years. One day we were wandering in the southwest corner of the island with the goal of reaching one of those old forests. We crossed over a small waterfall. We walked between two ancient, massive linden trees whose roots and branches had grown together, leaving an almond-shaped opening just wide enough for us to cross. And finally, we came to the oak wood we’d been seeking. The trees were old, yes, but not very tall: craggy, leaning at odd angles, with moss covering their trunks up to the lower branches. This forest is still part of a protected area…

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Home-Grown and Wildcrafted Smudge Sticks: Plant List and Recipes

The Druid's Garden

Basket of newly made smudge sticks Basket of newly made smudge sticks

Creating homemade smudge sticks with local ingredients is a wonderful activity to do this time of year.  As the plants die back, you can harvest whatever you aren’t using for other purposes and create a number of beautiful smudges that can be used for many different purposes: clearing, honoring spirits, protection, setting intentions, letting go, bringing in, preparing for ritual or mediation, and much more.

A few years ago, I wrote an initial post on homemade smudge sticks using local ingredients–this has become my most popular post on my blog.  Given that, I wanted to offer a follow-up post with some additional information and share a few smudge stick recipes for specific purposes. For initial instructions on how to make your sticks, please see my first post.  This post expands the plant list that you can use to make smudges and also offers…

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