By Isabella @TheWandCarver
Sycamore tree ~ woodlandtrust.org.uk
The Sycamore tree is a member of the Earth’s oldest family of trees – found to be more than 100 million years old. They can live to be around 600 years old and can sometimes grow to be over 100 feet tall. The Sycamore is an extremely fast-growing tree…and this I know from experience. In Britain they are also known as Plane trees, more specifically American Plane.
In Greek history, according to Herodotus, the Greeks owed some of their military success to the charm of the Sycamore. In 480 BC, an invading Persian king, Xerxes, camped his army in a sycamore grove. Xerxes was so taken by their beauty that he decided to stay camped there, putting off his march for a few days. It was said that this delay cost Xerxes the war, and Greece went on to build the Athenian Empire.
In ancient Egypt the “Holy Sycamore” was believed to connect the world of the living with the world of the dead, but this information is due to a mistranslation; Sycamore has been mistakenly credited with being sacred to the Egyptians. And the Sycamore tree is mentioned many times in the Bible, so I’ve read.
Sycamore symbolises development, perseverance and vitality. They are often able to grow where no other tree can; represents versatility and symbolises coldness. It is believed to promote relaxation and harmony, whilst at the same time raising energy levels and banishing lethargy. It is good for any magic to do with prosperity, love or longevity. It is said to bring success and abundance, but also to teach humility. Also said to be good for using in healing potions. Sycamore is a Fire element.
More correctly called Great Maple, in North America, the Native Americans used the sap from Sycamore for wine-making and syrup! In healing remedies, it was used for wound dressing and a variety of medicinal purposes, including cold and cough remedies. It was also used for dietary, dermatological, gynaecological, respiratory, and for gastrointestinal problems.
To past Native-American cultures, the Sycamore was equivalent to the Oak, as Holy trees go. It is fairly water-resistant and can adapt itself well to grow nearly anywhere. It even grows hardily in the cold, rain-drenched, acidic soil of the North Highlands of Scotland.
In Britain you never hear about the mystical qualities of Sycamore. It would seem the witching world never give it a second look when thinking of wands or other magickal charms made from wood. As a young girl, I was lucky to have been moved from the big city to a life relatively in the country at an age when my little witchy wings were forming. We had a massive Sycamore tree behind our detached house, right outside my bedroom window. There were four Sycamores, in truth, planted in a row behind our house. The largest of all was outside my window…they had all been planted at the same time…I would know, my father planted them. And whilst three grew at a normal-ish rate, the one in front of my window grew so fast I was able to climb it very soon! Mind, they weren’t little trees when first planted – my father always planted semi-grown trees around our house. Dad was such a Druid when it came to trees. He had at least one of everything and if he found room, he had at least two of every tree…It wasn’t long before we were living in a veritable forest.
My Sycamore tree was everything to me for years. I climbed high up in it…I could sit on a large branch for hours just thinking. As I sat, many times fat squirrels would venture up in hopes of a treat, or a bird would light close by and give me a wary side-ways look, as they do. My favourites were the visiting Owls at night and the Crows and Ravens in the morning. And, naturally, my first wand was a Sycamore branch. I didn’t carve it into anything special, I just carried with me most places around our gardens or into the woodland behind us…well, if you could tell where our property ended, and the natural woodland began, that is! It was broken a bit by my parents veg garden – the size of several allotments; my Dad was over the moon! – and my Dad’s kennels for his beautiful English Setters, as he was a Quail hunter. Then, the “real” woodland began and there were small streams, tiny ponds, loads of different trees to learn about, but truthfully, my first tree love was the giant Sycamore.
I think it fitting now that I look back, that a Sycamore tree would be my first tree love…it is after all, a tree of Ancestral and Earth Wisdom. Many of you whom have read my previous blogs know that I am a Hedge Witch…not the neo-Hedge Witch but the one who rides the Hedge and walks between the Worlds…mainly to speak with my ancestors primarily during All Hallows Eve. And, as a Taurus, I am very much an Earth Girl. This could also have much to do with loving to help my Dad when he planted in his gardens, the smells of rich Earth being turned to accept our little seeds to grow a lovely harvest of many healthy delights. I spent hours as a young girl playing in the soil, quite literally, and the most soothing thing to do at times, when my little girl life became fraught from the dreadful things that could happen from time to time, was to sit and dig my hands into the warm, fragrant Earth, feeling cosy and calmed by the connection.
And, I could always sit in my Sycamore tree…perhaps it is when my ancestors began working my life through that tree. Do you ever wonder why you make some of the life decisions you make? I can clearly understand nearly every one of mine by tracing through my ancestry. I believe it began with that tree, if I’m honest. And I am grateful for it.
So, yes, I think that a Sycamore has a lot of magickal value. It is definitely a tree perfect for any sort of ancestral workings. I have no doubt that it promotes relaxation and harmony. I can safely say it banishes lethargy and raises energy levels. I can not attest to whether it does anything for love spells, prosperity spells, or longevity spells, but it couldn’t hurt to try. As for success and abundance…perhaps it has done. I feel I’ve been very successful with nearly all things I’ve gotten stuck in and determined to do, as well as through lean times and all other times, I have had an abundance of what was needed to get by. And, we were certainly not rich growing up, but abundance was always ours. We never went hungry and the bills were paid. I can certainly see how Sycamore teaches humility…try acting stupid whilst half-way up one and see how quickly you land on the hard Earth! Lastly, I haven’t been on the receiving end of any Sycamore healing potions, but I do know Sycamore heals the soul…it feels like a loving parent. And I have days when I would give about anything to climb up into my old friend’s arms, or limbs, I should say, and snuggle up on my favourite limb and let its wisdom and love fill my soul and heart with hope again.
Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings x
Trees of London