Sacred Trees in the Americas: Tamarak / Larch – Larix laricina – Magic, Mecicine, and Mythology

The Druid's Garden

I remember when I first saw a Tamarack tree.  It was growing in a bog where I was hiking in late fall.  I looked at the Tamarack tree in its golden splendor and wondered if the tree was sick or had gotten too wet–was this confier dying?  It had knobby cones and branches, sitting there looking like it was in its death throes.  When I commented on it to my friend, she responded, No, that’s just the tamarack tree, a friend of mine said, and we examined the tree growing on the edge of a beautiful wetland.  Sure enough, a few weeks later, the tree was bare for the winter and only grew back in the spring. The Tamarack tree has a special place in the ecology in North America, especially as a mid-succession tree in very wet and swampy areas.

The Tamarack tree is known by many names: the…

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May Birthstone: What did Cleopatra know that you don’t? Find out here

Emerald, the May birthstone, has an ancient history connected to physical and psychic vision, as well as the heart, unconditional love, and compassion. Worn by the epitome of feminine beauty, Cleopatra, the May birthstone is durable enough for all types of jewelry and suits any budget. Source: May Birthstone: What did Cleopatra know that you … Continue reading May Birthstone: What did Cleopatra know that you don’t? Find out here

May 2021 Astrological Influences & Ritual Recommendations

We welcome May with the Gaelic celebration of Beltane, which marks the beginning of Mother Earth entering a new cycle of growth, fertility, and abundance. Although I do not practice or observe any Pagan or Wiccan/New Age holidays or rites, I do honor this blessed day by creating an abundant ritual altar of candles and … Continue reading May 2021 Astrological Influences & Ritual Recommendations

Diamond Meaning and Healing Powers – The definitive guide

India was once thought to be the world’s only source of diamonds. The early Hindus called the gemstone, Vajra Vajra means either, thunderbolt or lightning, reflecting a belief that diamonds were created by lightning hitting rocks and acknowledging the power that they possess. 2000 years later, Diamonds were discovered in the new colonies of Brazil, … Continue reading Diamond Meaning and Healing Powers – The definitive guide

US Lavender Growers Association –

  Network with other lavender growers from around the world, learn from expert growers and business leaders in the industry, and access a wealth of resources for your business. New growers will appreciate our intensive, two-part “Start a Farm” series, while more experienced growers will benefit from a wide range of topics on production and … Continue reading US Lavender Growers Association –

Spring Flowers, Magical Bluebells.

To Elizabethans, bluebells were enchanted, and heaven forbid you hear their bell-shaped heads ring, for death would likely follow. Links with folklore were still prevalent more than three centuries later, as borne out by Cicely Mary Barker’s depictions of Flower Fairies (the first book in the series was published in 1923) and her assertion that the bluebell … Continue reading Spring Flowers, Magical Bluebells.

Sacred Trees in the Americas: American Hazel (Corylus americana) Magic, Ecology, and Sacred Uses

The Druid's Garden

American Hazelnuts in a cluster getting ready to ripen

For three years, I have had my eye on our American hazel bushes here at the homestead. When we first moved to the property, much of the understory was damaged with the logging the previous owners did and it took time for the hazels to recover.  Thus, for the last few years, I’ve watched the hazels grow taller and larger each year and kept looking excitedly for any signs of nuts setting. This past fall, I was delighted to find handfuls of delicious wild American hazelnuts and connect with the incredible wisdom that they offer.

While Hazel is a critically important tree in the mythology and magical tradition of Druidry and in Europe more broadly, The Hazel is one of the sacred trees identified by the druids as a tree tied to wisdom and the flow of Awen, and it is…

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Purple Shamrock: Plant Care & Growing Guide

Purple shamrocks (Oxalis triangularis), also known as false shamrocks, sport nearly black foliage. Learn how to care for these interesting plants. Source: Purple Shamrock: Plant Care & Growing Guide

The Magic of the Understory

The Druid's Garden

A path of evergreen mountain laurel at Laurel Hill State Park. Amazing to hike through in the winter, when the understory sings!

As you may have noticed, in the last month or so I’ve been working diligently on my “Sacred Trees in the Americas” series.  The truth is, I’ve worked through most of the trees that are well known and form the overstory of most of the forests in the US East Coast.  Trees like White Pine, Oak, Hickory, Sugar Maple, Ash, Beech, and Birch are dominant trees.  And when you do research on these trees, you find a rich tradition and lore from both the Americas and the Old World.  Recently, I’ve moved my attention to lesser-known trees like Ironwood and Devil’s Walking Stick, and have covered others like Witch Hazel (distinct and different from American Hazel) and Spicebush. There is a striking difference between the first group and…

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Sacred Trees in the Americas: Rhododendron (Rhododenron maximum)

The Druid's Garden

A Rhododendron overlooking a foot path at Laurel Hill State Park

I remember the first time I saw the largest Rhododendron Maximum tree. I had recently moved back to Pennsylvania, and I was driving on 422 towards my parents’ house when I looked to the left and did a double-take!  An enormous Rhododendron, in bloom, at least 40 feet across and 20 feet high was in full bloom.  And, it was dwarfing the house it was growing next to.  After doing a little local research, I learned about how famous this rhododendron has been in our region. Ever since then, each time I pass, the Rhododendron and I exchange a little greeting.

As someone who lives in the Allegheny Mountains, Rhododendron has a special place in my heart.  It is one of the dominant understory trees (and yes, it often is the size of trees here!), growing both in…

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