Tree Medicine, Tree Magic
The Celts used the great forests as a source
of meat from hunting, of berries, fruit and
vegetables, as shelter and as their Materia
Medica. That the creators of the first Irish
alphabet ‘Ogham’ named its letters after
trees is a testament to the great regard with
which trees were held
Birch: the leaves make a tea which relieves
rheumatism and breaks down bladder stones.
It is still believed that bad luck follows the
felling of a birch
Oak: ships were made with ‘hearts of oak’
and oaks are regarded as highly sacred.
Associated with strength and nobility.
Women hugged oak trees to ease labour.
Druids were known as ‘Oak Knowers’
Rowan: wood used for everyday hand
tools. Alternative name is ‘quicken’.
Branches used for protection against
evil spirits, berries used to smear the
lintel, protect farm animals.
Hawthorn: Even today, farmers will not
take out a lone hawthorn from the middle
of a field. Hawthorn blossoms were
believed to cause death if brought into
the house. Hawthorn is closely associated
with holy wells, usually known for their