32. Sacred Trees

After decades of research I settled on my own list of what I believe are the Twenty-One Sacred Trees of the British Isles. I based my choices not only on their spiritual, magical, and ritual properties but perhaps more significantly on their extraordinary scope of practical uses in the same way shamanic tribal cultures do.

Our misconception that the characteristic that defines a sacred plant is its ability to alter the senses biologically has absolutely no foundation in the cultures that introduced these plants to us. Within these cultures not only are all plants regarded as equally sacred there exists a deep, spiritual appreciation for those species that secure life such as food, clothing, shelter, medicine and tools. These practical species are often the foundation for spirituality and ritual, not hallucinogenic plants.

The twenty-one trees listed below formed part of the clan system in Ancestral Airs; animals became the foundation for the rest, explored in Gardens for Animal Allies. Ancestral Airs devotes much time to both the practical and ceremonial uses of hundreds of plants. The Compendium for Spirit Handling published on my website addresses exclusively the ritual properties of more than 400 species including the list of trees found here and in the individual property entries of this group:

Oak (Quercus)
Holly (Ilex)
Birch (Betula)
Pine (Pinus)
Crabapple (Malus)
Hawthorn (Crataegus)
Willow (Salix)
Dogwood (Cornus)
Bearberry (Arctostaphylos)
Ash (Fraxinus)
Poplar (Populus)
Blackthorn (Prunus)
Currant (Ribes)
Linden (Tilia)
Elm (Ulmus)
Maple (Acer)
Alder (Alnus)
Hazelnut (Corylus)
Yew (Taxus)
Juniper (Juniperus)
Elder (Sambucus)

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