When the weather's turned and the rain and cold has kept me indoors, and I wake to find my spirit in a slump, my
energy low, my mood gloomy, I've found all I have to do is go outdoors. A quiet pause in a sunspot on the porch affords
a mood reset as I tune to the natural world, to listen to the calls of the birds, to watch the squirrels race down the
fence. I smile as I  tilt my face to the sun. Nature awakens the ever burning spark within me. I can't resist its call and I
grab up my boots and pull them on to go for a walk through the trees. The wind in the branches stirs my own energy as
my feet crunch through the bright fallen leaves. In the magic of the moment my whole awareness focuses in and
expands as the moment turns sacred and I become part of the connection.

Energy abounds in nature. Stepping outside acts as a catalyst to open my senses. I am filled with a sense of awe and
gratitude as it opens a portal and allows contact with the something so much bigger. There is a reason the pagan, the
druid, the witch venerates nature. There is also a reason why these ancient nature-based systems of worship still
persist. One merely has to step outdoors to make a connection. Don't believe me? Step outside. Let your spirit quiet.
Hug a tree. Open to its gentle grounding energy. Sit with your back to its trunk and meditate. Your practise will become
sacred as you cultivate relationships with the trees and plants around you. Starhawk wrote in
The Earth Path, "A Witch
must not only be familiar with the mystic planes of existence beyond the physical realm; she should also be familiar
with the trees and plants and birds and animals of her own backyard, be able to name them, know their uses and habits
and what part each plays in the whole."

When was the last time you immersed yourself in natrue and forged a connetion with the natural world? When was the
last morning you greeted the day? When we align with the cosmic tides we become grounded in the turning of the
seasons and are able to recognize and understand our role in the workings of the Universe.

Try it. Just unplug and go outside. Find a comfortable place and sit. Queit your mind and allow yourself to come awake
to the moment. Move your thoughts to what you can see, to what you can smell, and to what you hear. Notice the
creatures sharing the space. Marvel at the beauty all around you. Let your well of inner peace fill. Nature hold a sacred
restorative power. All we have to do to access it is to go outdoor, tune in and acknowledge the connection. Start by
going outside on a dayily basis. By taking time out to tune in to nature, you will begin to notice and attune to natural  
patterns, cycles and changes in nature.  The place around your sit spot will take on new meaning and put the rest of
your life into a larger context.  You can expect to feel a connectedness and familiarity with your sit spot.  You will start
to see the lives of the trees, bugs, birds, and rocks of your backyard acknowledging the trees in your yard. Spend time
with them. Get to know them. Sit in their shade. Place your hands upon their trunks. As you begin to spend time in
nature you will gain insight and feel a connectedness.  

The belief that sacred trees hold healing powers is found in almost every culture and age. Trees were cared for and
honored with sacrifie. In the 1600's, wassailing, a rite derived from an Anglo-Saxon drinking custom, was preformed on
Twelfth Night when a group bearing lit torches and mulled drinks would go out into the orchards to ward off evil spirits
and charm the trees into bearing an abundant harvest. They would choose a tree, usually the oldest in the orchard, and
sing and dance around it, spiraling out, spilling wassail at its feet. An offering of toast soaked in apple cider was placed
in the branches.

"Wassaile the trees, that they may beare
You many a Plum and many a Peare:
For more or lesse fruits they will bring,
As you do give them Wassailing." - Robert Herrick 1642

Staffs were rattled or drums were beaten to drive away spirits and raise positive energy for the tree. This wassailing
rite, and others like it, are gaining popularity with the return of urban orchard. Awarness is growing as landowners
everwhere are once agian forming relationship with the trees.    

Trees and Their Magickal Attributes:

Almond:         Business, Clairvoyance, Divination, Health, Loans, Money, Wisdom
Apple:           Fertility, Garden Magick, Healing, Love, Prosperity, Youth
Ash:              Confidence, Courage, Faery Magick, Prosperity, Protection, Sea Magick
Apricot:          Love
Aspen:           Protection
Beech:           Intuition, Healing, Wisdom
Birch:            Beginnings, Fertility, Protection, Purification
Cedar:           Longevity, Money, Prosperity, Protection, Purification
Chestnut        Love
Coconut:        Purity, Chastity, Healing
Cypress:        Past life workings, Protection
Date:            Fertility, Potency
Dogwood:      Protection, Wishes.
Elder:           Blessings, Exorcism, Healing, Protection. This faery tree makes anything seem possible.
Elm:             Love, Protection.
Eucalyptus:    Healing, Protection
Fig:               Divination, Fertility, Love, Strength. Use in spells for safely returning home after traveling.
Hawthorn:      Cleansing, Faery Magick, Marriage, Protection, Reconciliation
Hemlock:       Cleansing, Healing, Perseverance, Strength, Transformations
Juniper:        Anti-Theft, Love, Exorcism, Health, Protection
Lemon:        Friendship, Healing, Longevity, Love, Purification
Lime:           Healing, Love, Protection
Maple:         Divination, Love,  
Mulberry:      Knowledge, Divination, Wisdom, the Will
Oak:            Faery Magick, Fertility, Healing, Longevity, Luck, Money
Olive:          Peace, Fruitfulness, Security, Money, Marriage, Lust
Orange:       Love, Marriage, Luck and Money, Divination
Peach:         Love, Divination
Pine:           Purification, Money and Prosperity, Health, Fortune, Fertility, Exorcism
Rowan:        Psychic Powers,Protection, Success
Walnut:       Healing, Protection, Mental Powers
Willow:        Healing, protection, Enchantments, Wishing, Easy deliveries
Yew:           Raising the Dead

NOTE: Many common plants are *TOXIC* Do your research. Know exactly what it is you are working with before creating
any potion to be used on the skin or in the body.
Tree Magick

"Where the Hawthorn grows in tandem with an Ash and Oak,
there you will find the Fae."