After many years of research I settled on my own list of what I believe are the 21 sacred trees (some are actually shrubs) of the British Isles. I based my choices not only on their spiritual, magical and ritual properties but also on their extraordinary scope of practical uses such as food, clothing, shelter, medicine and tools.
Our misconception that the characteristics that define a plant as sacred is its ability to alter the senses has absolutely no foundation in history or the cultures that pioneered the discovery of them. 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. Practical species are most often the foundation of spirituality and ritual, not hallucinogens. And what are referred to as Sacred First Foods and Famine Foods are regarded as panaceas, plants that can accomplish and resolve anything.
Decades of study concerning both esoteric and practical usages led me to the understanding I now hold with what is often and erroneously referred to as the 21 Sacred Trees of the British Isles. I remain so convinced of this that I used the 21 species listed below as clans in Ancestral Airs. Ancestral Airs devotes many pages to both the practical and ceremonial uses of hundreds of plants. The Compendium for Spirit Handling, published as a blog on this website, deals exclusively with the ritual properties of about 420 species including the list of trees here.