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The Standing People
The Standing People are the Trees.
It may be obvious to some but to others it seems strange to
give them this name. However, in shamanic teachings they are
seen as part of the Web of Life, as are All Our Relations, our
brothers and sisters that live and contribute to the quality
of life we all share in. They "stand" in place. Unable
to pick up their feet and move around they teach lessons about
the environment, about the history of their locations, the stories
of the land, and of course their own Medicine that varies between
species. To encompass all variations is an ambitious undertaking
and I'm not sure anyone has that kind of time on their hands.
It would be a life's work I'm afraid to list all their medicinal
and curative aspects as well and I'll leave that to the herbologists.
What I can offer you here is an overview of the Standing People
in a few different species. The information gathered here came
from many years of taking notes without reference to the sources
so I apologize for that.
It is interesting to note that Druids
are renowned for their work with trees and if you are interested
in the deeper teachings that is a good place to start. They
used the leaves to inscribe their teachings, stringing them
to suspend them in the air of their libraries. Hence we have
the term "leaves" in describing the pages of a book
Alder: Sacred to Druids, a
whistle made of alder is the basis for the old superstition
of whistling up the wind.
Apple: Apple cider can be
used as a substitute for blood in lieu of your own when doing
spellwork. Apples are considered sacred to Aphrodite, and may
be offered in rites of her honor. The juice may be shared in
those rituals, and the seeds or bark may be used as incense.
Among earth religions they are eaten for good luck at All Hallows
Eve, and bringing about deep internal changes at that time of
year. The Greeks see them as a source of wisdom and they are
said to grow on the tree of life in the garden as Hesperides.
Ash: Used to make wands.
Useful in removing unwanted energies, spells, hexes/curses.
Some will put an ash leaf in the car or on a motorcycle to keep
them protected from accidents while traveling and bring them
Birch: The bark is used for
purification, especially during childbirth. Birch is called
"Lady of the Woods", and may be used to commune with
the goddess of the Woodlands. To touch the heart of the Earth
Mother, it is only necessary to do a simple ritual and follow
that with a deep meditation within a small grove of Birch. Legend
says that the Lady of the Woods will become most angry should
you malign one of her trees by taking its bark. Birch is also
held to be an honored tree of the God Thor. Should one desire
to have some of the bark, wait until Thor has singled a Birch
tree and stricken it with lightening. Then you have access to
the paper-like bark, which will be a very potent parchment.
Blackthorn: Thorns used in
negative work, banishing, and blocking.
Broom: Burned at the Spring
Equinox, it purifies and protects. Witches use it to make their
"brooms". There is a mixed reputation here. In some
cases it is seen as lucky, magical and prized. Some say it must
be avoided for it's cursed. The amount of flowers is said to
be reflective of your fortune.
If you disturb it many believe a curse will follow should you
pick blossoms for the decorations they make only. If picked
for sacred use they are a good and powerful source of magic.
It is said the Virgin Mary cursed the plant because it made
noise as they passed it by fleeing the soldiers of Herod. This
may be an attempt to put the common magical uses of the plant
in negative light, to turn the people in a Christian direction,
and to encourage them to discard their Pagan practices. Broom
is used for temple purification and sometimes it is dipped in
holy water to purge the temple or ritual space. It is used in
weddings and handfastings tied with ribbons as a symbol of joy
and survival of the union.
Cedar: Ancient Celts on the
Mainland used cedar oil to preserve the heads of enemies taken
in battle. To draw Earth energy and ground yourself, place the
palms of your hands against the ends of the needles. Used to
purify energy. In ancient times it was a major incense ingredient.
It is still used in this way, often just as sawdust. The resin
is pungent, and easily released as smoke in this manner...the
oil does go into the air. It is used to consecrate wands, and
for other tools as well. A piece carried in the wallet is said
to attract money. It is used to invoke Wotan, either as an incense
or by using a wand or staff of its wood. Good with Amethyst
and Sapphire as a storage box for them.
Cherry: Woodchips or bark
are burned during ceremonies.
Cinnamon: Stimulating to
the mind, it may be burnt as incense or taken as a tea. It increases
the ability to concentrate and is used in prophecy. It's used
to purify temples, for ritual incense, and brings peaceful energy
so that the rite may be conducted with no distraction. It is
used in love magic when mixed with other herbs to creat potions.
Added to amulets to bring good luck. For the Adept, it will
bring a keener understanding of the properties of immortality.
It is said that it aids in getting in touch with the inner self,
for meditation and journey work, for consecrations, and prosperity.
It enhances dreams and divination.
Elder: Sacred to the Celtic
White Lady and the Summer Solstice. Used both to bless and curse.
Elder wands drive out evil and negativity. Standing under an
elder tree at Midsummer, like standing in a Faery Ring of mushrooms,
will help you see the Little People. It is used to protect livestock,
bless farms, and where it grows is sacred ground. It is potent
and it's energy comes always with warning in using it for that
reason. It amplifies energy even to the slightest wish. Never
gathered out of selfishness, for the spirit of the wood will
follow those who do and plague them. The blossoms attract so
they are used in incenses and oils for this purpose. They require
clear goals and ethics or the work backfires on the doer. In
the hands of those with questionable motive, or in the lives
of those who understand it not and fear it, becomes confusing,
disorienting, and leads to life-shaking events. Although the
cause is within one's own heart, Elder has become the scapegoat.
For those who wish to see the spirits of the wood, known as
Dryads or Tree Sprites, can spend the full moon night in a small
grove of Elder, making certain there is no evil in their heart,
and that proper fasting and ritual preparation has been seen
to. It protects, blesses babies, and is used as a funerary herb
as the pyre wood. Sometimes it is buried with the departed to
protect them. It gives the *sight* and is used on Midsummer's
Eve to see the Fae.
Elm: Meditation with this
tree will aid in developing communication with the spirits of
herbs and with the Little People. Selecting an Elm tree, consecrating
it in ritual manner, and spending time with it will protect
the Pathworker. If meditating on the plant kingdom ritually
an open communication will be found. The leaf is used in several
forms of divination. Pricking it with a pin and dreaming upon
it is apparently the most popular.
Fir, Silver: Known as the
Birth Tree to the Druids, burning the needles or sweeping around
the bed with a branch blesses and protects the mother and new
Hawthorn: Used for powerful
Hazel: Faeries are attracted
to hazel. Healing wands mad from its wood are common as are
Hemlock: Toxic, external use
only. Used to prepare magical tools and ritual instruments.
Sacred to King Solomon for consecration.
Holly: Sacred to the Winter
Solstice because of the red berries and deep green leaves. Sacred
to the Druids and they kept it in their homes to draw the Little
People and woodland spirits giving them safe refuge from the
cold and snow. Holly may be sent with a gift to a friend, and
fashioned into a wreath for the home, often presented to a new
priest or priestess to welcome them into the community.
Juniper: Its berries (used
with thyme) in incenses. As an evergreen the resin is collected,
dried, and used in incense. The berries are dried and used in
amulets; ground or made into a tea. Needles are taken and burnt
as incense fresh or dried. Used in rituals for good health,
an energy necessary to keep banished all things which are injurious
to health, and it attracts good healthy energy.
Mistletoe: The berries are
poisonous. It is the most sacred tree of the Druids and rules
the Winter Solstice. Used for fertility rites, either for child
or projects of creativity. Berries represent sexual potency,
serve as an aphrodisiac, and are used in amulets for this purpose.
It is a symbol of immortality in rebirth, and it's energy holds
the secrets of life beyond this one. It carries the soul far
into the future with protection in any manner imaginable. Hung
over a door with red thread or cord to bring harmony and protection
to the home. (and we get kisses too!) Used for wands, ritual
knife handles, etc, it banishes all evil and negative energy,
brings good fortune and joy to the user. Gathered at Midsummer
and amulets are hung at Midwinter. Used in any positive work.
Nuts and Cones: Sacred and
highly steeped in magic for fertitlity in all aspects, and the
Celts often used the cones to tip their wands. Oak: Considered
holy and the King of Trees, wands are made of its wood. Oak
galls, sometimes are called Serpent Eggs, and are used in magical
charms. Acorns gathered at night hold the strongest fertility.
Listening to the rustling leaves and the wrens that inhabit
them brings divinatory messages. Acorns are seeds and can be
gathered simply to add strength to any work you are doing as
they are fertile for bringing strength to childbearing as well
as your creative work. They represent the continuity of life
and may be incorporated into temple decorations and amulets.
Often used on All Hallows Eve as decoration. Bark is dried,
ground, and used as an incense
to honor deities. Draws good luck when two pieces of branch
(equal length) are tied in a cross shape with red yarn to keep
yourself in perfect balance. Never gather from an Oak which
is host for the mistletoe. These trees are best served by doing
ritual beneath the branches but the tree should never be disturbed.
Olive: Used to honor all
solar deities. The oil used for temple lamps, consecrating incense
burners and thuribles. It represents honor hence the crown of
olive leaves a symbol of victory. The leaf or oil may be used
in rituals to honor human or deity, to dress candles, anoint
persons, or to bless holy water.
Pine: The pine was known
as one of the seven chieftain trees of the Irish. Burn the needles
inside for purification. To purify and sanctify an outdoor ritual
area, brush the ground with a pine branch, and/or build a fire
of the wood. Used in counter-magic to break curses/hexes, repelling
negative or evil energy and returning it to its source.
Rowan/European Mountain Ash:
The seeds are poisonous. Sacred to the goddess Brigit. Used
for wands, rods, amulets, and other spell needs. A forked branch
can help find water. A powerful charm against evil spirits and
negative energies. Used for protection and for visionary work.
Used to invoke direction and bounty, commonly with the leaves,
but berries ground after drying become a potent incense too.
It is used to call up spirits, familiars, Guides, elementals
etc., but has the ability to banish any type of energy undesired
by the practitioneer. It is said to enhance creativity and get
that process flowing, to divine future loves and mates. Taking
two small twigs of equal length and binding them in a cross
with red twine keeps negative magicians and those who work evil
away from your life. A ritual beverage was once brewed by the
Welsh though the recipe was lost in the passing of time.
Willow: One of the seven
sacred trees of the Irish. Willow is a Moon tree, sacred to
the Goddess. Its groves were considered so magical that the
priests and priestesses (as well as artisans) sat among them
to gain eloquence, inspiration, skill, and prophecies. Among
the Chinese, it is symbolic of immortality, for the smallest
piece of a branch is capable of bringing forth another tree.
Hebrew peoples hung their harps on these trees and wept to return
to their homeland. Druids used the pussy willow, and thought
it appropriate for charms and protection. There are many think
pussy willow makes an excellent magical wand, and diamond willow
is used for furniture. Used for those involved today in the
communication arenas, it aids them by lending additional strength.
As a funerary application it aids in safe passage into another
life, but you must plant a Willow during your lifetime so that
it will still be alive at your death. It is used with rock crystals
to charge the stones and protect their healing virtues.
Yew: Berries are poisonous.
Sacred to the Winter Solstice and the deities of death and rebirth.
Irish practitioners use it to make dagger handles and bows.
This should give you an idea of the
variety of ways in which the Standing People have served us
culturally throughout the world. As mentioned at the beginning
of this article, beyond their specific teachings, they will
help you attune to your environment and learn to hear its voice.
Further, they will establish a relationship with you and often
serve as sentries to watch over you and protect you from intrusion.
All Standing People have the ability to help you into meditative
states where gazing through their leaves images and visionary
experiences will be found.
Each species has its own voice, and
they are slow communicators, just as their sap/their blood flows
slowly, their voices are often drawn out in a drawl. You must
be patient with them, but once embraced they will guide you
to many enlightenments. Nurture your relationship with the trees
around you, and the next time you give one a hug let yourself
feel its spirit come alive and hug you back.
Copyright: Cinnamon Moon & River WildFire Moon (Founders.)
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