Every time I read a book I’m struck by how few trees are represented. Everything is based on a few selected trees in the UK but there are so few books on the sacred properties of other trees. Even in books written outside the UK. It’s as if Druidry can only see those selected trees by Robert Graves. Every place on earth has healing trees and magical trees so why aren’t they being written about?
Here in California you won’t find a hawthorn growing except maybe in the Northern reaches. We have trees like the redwood or the Sequoia both extremely magical trees. We were lucky enough to grow up with a towering redwood in our backyard growing up. It was one of two left in the neighborhood from when it was part of the Spanish land grant. It had seen so much. My sister and I both loved that tree more than anything else about the house we grew up in and the small pond that was at its feet. It was a magical thing to grow up around and where I went for comfort in my teenage years.
We have two enormous sycamores growing in front of our apartment building. They are tall and graceful and sing in the breezes. They drop limbs and branches when they are no longer of use to them and shed their beautiful silvery bark to reveal the beauty of their trunks. How is that not magical?
A Joshua tree or the native Yuccas that stand tall as sentinels with nothing else around them. The Spanish called them Candelaria del Dio or candles of the Lord for their spring time beauty but they also are useful to make baskets out of and their sharp needle ends of the leaves were used for needle and thread by the native peoples.
Or what about some of our visitors that have become integral pieces of our landscape like the eucalyptus? One of the best oils to break up respiratory congestion I know of and they are everywhere in Southern California. Some have colourful tassels in spring in every warm colour of the rainbow. They have seed pods that we used to use as signet stamps when we were kids and they have a wide variety of leaf shapes and silhouettes. They are amazingly graceful and stand as guardians on many roadways around the land.
We have the camellia, a visitor from China from whence comes my morning tea and right now ours are starting to come into bloom. Lovely delicate pink blossoms that nod in the breeze outside my window this morning.
Or even the plant that looks most like a hawthorn here – the pyracantha.. Right now its berries are a brilliant red and I’m afraid when the weather starts to warm a bit they will ferment and give us the entertaining vision of drunk birds. It’s thorns protect wildlife and birds and it’s shiny green leaves and berries are cheery on a grey day.
If Druids indeed live all over the planet then we need to know the magical trees and their lives and uses more than we need to know the trees of Britain I would think. Indeed I think it’s kind of lazy not to know what is around you and waiting for your attention. So who is outside your window waiting for you to notice?