Tree spirits are very important allies in the British Shamanic traditions. They are the guardians of the threshold, and greatly aid our mastery of the astral plane and its forces. Before talking about how we actually cut these livewood wands, I want to explain a few things about the nature of tree spirits.
The Nature of Tree Spirits
First of all, they are not confined to one tree. A tree spirit, or Dryad, has any number of trees. The trees are like its legs. The dryad is much older than any of the trees; it sheds old trees and grows new ones like a snake shedding its skins. A Dryad can be thousands of years old, and will have collected vast knowledge and experience. They actually slowly walk across the country by growing new trees in front of them and shedding the old ones behind.
A tree spirit exists beyond time and space. They experience past, present and future at the same time. Trees all over the World are in telepathic communication. They are in touch with the will of the gods and can help align us with that greater will. When a tree spirit decides to work with you, it knew you were coming years before you did, and will have prepared for you. The concept of “hunting” tree spirits is therefore nonsense. They have first chosen you and know you are coming.
Having no physical movement, the trees’ main consciousness and power lies on the astral plane. When they work with us, it is a mutual learning process. By hitching a ride on us, they get to explore the physical World in new depth. In return, they increase our awareness and control of the astral plane and subtle energies. This symbiotic relationship is as important for them as it is for us as they get to see the end result of the movement of astral forces, i.e. physical manifestation.
Tree spirits can sub-divide in a kind of binary fission, much like an amoeba. A tree spirit can divide so that a separate spirit lives in a single branch. It is such branches we cut for wands. Normally, if you cut a branch from a tree the spirit withdraws, leaving you with dead wood. You can only cut live wood when the tree spirit chooses to work with you. They tend to divide at dawn or dusk, when the Sun is to the side. They then call to us to cut them.
Communicating with Tree Spirits
With those points in mind, we can begin building a communication with tree spirits. This actually flows really easily once you begin. This contact with nature is a natural part of the development of our psychic faculties. It is only because we tend to be removed from nature that psychic development can become hard work. If you have naturally formed a close rapport with tree spirits, it isn’t necessary to follow an exact procedure, but here is a traditional ritual for building the rapport:
When you have found a friendly tree, approach it from the north. You should take a little time quietly and sensitively walking in the woods until you feel a definite call to one tree. Before going right up to the tree, try to touch its aura. This can be very wide. The aura is far more the real tree than is the physical part, so stop here and acknowledge it. Introduce yourself, make friends etc. Then gradually approach the trunk. On the way, feel the other layers of the aura. You will feel four distinct layers before you reach the trunk. Acknowledging each layer is gradually increasing your rapport.
Once you have touched the trunk, start slowly circling the tree clockwise, while talking to it quietly. You can treat it as a close friend and share your deepest secrets with it. As you feel the rapport building, sit down with your back against its northern side, close your eyes and just sink back into it. From here, just let it fill you. You may find yourself receiving some deep healing, or getting messages, or somehow feel a communication developing. It is mostly non-verbal, so don’t try to condition how it should go.
When you feel complete, thank the tree as you gently break contact, and walk away without looking back. Don’t expect anything in particular, just allow your communication to develop in its own way. Regular practice will build a very strong communication and you will find your psychic abilities developing naturally. On my Tethatu Shamanic Healing courses, you learn to communicate on Part 1, and by Part 2 you are cutting wands.
There are a few additional techniques to help you develop your skills faster. The first is to use four-leaved clover flower essence. I give this on my courses to build a very rapid communication with nature. The next thing is to go back to meditate under your tree at night by full moon. You will find everything much more open at that time. If you burn butter in one of those small Tibetan butter lamps, it helps animate the spirit, so you may actually see nature spirits. This specially so if you fast for 24 hours and then take a herbal brew known as the Waters of Magnanimity, which consists of mugwort, loosestrife and chicory.
Cutting a Livewood Wand
As communication develops, tree spirits will begin to call to you when they want you to cut them. This can happen while meditating, in dreams or just when you are relaxing. They start by putting images in your mind of where you need to go. This may not be easy to interpret at first, as a tree that is not yet familiar with working with human minds does not yet understand your limitations. They often give an image from an angle, as if you are as tall as a tree. It can take a while to figure out where it actually is. With experience, you quickly get to know exactly where you need to go.
The tree will then wake you up early in the morning to go out and cut it. It will show you a shimmer along the branch you should cut. Once you feel the branch, because you have developed a good feel of trees, you will be able to feel where the new spirit begins. (By the way, this is not really a new spirit. It has all the wisdom and experience of the parent Dryad). You can then cut off the live-wood branch. Patch up the cut on the tree with a bit of mud and spit. It will then heal very quickly.
Training, Preparing & Using Your Wand
Once you get the wand home, you will need to spend a while meditating with it, as it gets used to the human world. You will get a feel of what its special strengths are, and how to use it. When I take a new wand home, it straight away goes into training with the more experienced Dryads there. My sanctum has become a kind of tree spirit training college, where they learn a career. Those new to this work require a little more work on your own part. You have to talk with the tree spirit so it gets to know your needs. If ever you need help with any astral matter, just ask the tree spirit. You will also be guided as to how to finish the wand. It may need a bit of carving and shaping, and preserving. It’s normal to coat it in a mixture of beeswax and linseed oil. Give it a few coats, using more wax each time.
Live-wood wands can be of fantastic help in many ways, from healing and protection, to the working of magick and casting of spells. In healing, they greatly increase your channelling of life force. In magick, they increase your understanding and control of power.
Learn More About Working With Tree Spirits
I am beginning a new training in these arts starting 19th & 20th September 2015.
You can also find more information in my book “Working with Tree Spirits in Shamanic Healing”
Four-leaved clover flower essence is available from me as a stock bottle.
Touchwood beads and necklaces, wands and magician’s staffs prepared and trained by me are available for purchase under Magickal Items.