By Isabella @TheWandCarver
Before we begin, please let me assure you that the Cedar is not an original tree of the Celtic Tree Ogham. I recently found in my web travels a site claiming Cedar as a sacred Celtic Birth Tree for 9th February to 18th February…that is only nine days for one and Cedar is a North American tree, not being of the original Celtic tree ogham. But, one thing is correct, Cedar is a sacred tree…all trees are sacred. In America it is also called “The Tree of Life”, not to be confused with Yggdrasil, which is an Ash tree.
This not to say that Cedar trees don’t live in Europe/UK. Indeed, they do. But the Cedar tree of the UK is not native and originally hailed from Lebanon, according to the Woodland Trust. And, you don’t often find witches making wands of Cedar [I’m sure somewhere in the World there will be one] or using Cedar necessarily in spell work…or do you?
Some time ago in the distant past, we came upon a nice cache of Cedar discs which were perfect for creating runes and rune pendants, so we did! Quite lovely, really, and very rustic. We are sadly out of them and that opportunity will probably be a long time in coming round again, but we do still have a few Cedar rune pendants left in our shop.
As we can’t go round making things from the non-native Cedar, and the tree is not in high demand having not been planted very robustly since people used them around stately homes in the 1700’s, we can at least have a look at how Cedar is magickal in other parts of the World.
Symbolism and Folklore:
Cedar was thought to represent purification and protection, and represents incorruptibility and eternal life. It was apparently a Jewish custom to burn cedar wood to celebrate New year.
In North America, in the Encyclopedia of Natural Magic, John Michael Greer suggests that the cedar is warm and dry in the 4th degree and is a tree of Jupiter. He writes that Cedar has traditional symbolism, also associated with the Yew; it was often planted around cemeteries both for the evergreen qualities of the tree [symbolising eternal life] but also to keep the spirits of the dead contained. The Cedar, however, is a very far away cousin of Yew, and in no way has the longevity of a Yew tree. He reports that the Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest used cedar bark/needles for purification for those who had contact with the dead. He suggests its useful for purifications, banishing’s/exorcisms, success workings, and magickal power workings
In Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic, by Cat Yronwode, it is written that in traditional African American conjure, Cedar is used where benevolent power is needed, such as to make someone move out of a house, to draw someone in to rent a room, or to draw someone to come with you when you move house.
Cherokee legend has it that the Cherokee people asked the Creator for it to always be daytime, then always be night, and the Creator granted them their request. When it became night, many of them died of starvation. They finally beseeched the Creator to return the balance of day and night, and the Creator did so. But the Creator was sad for the loss of the people whom had died, so the Creator created a new tree—the cedar—and placed the spirits of the departed in the tree. The Cherokee, therefore, believe that their ancestors reside in the Cedar tree.
Many use Cedar leaves in smudge sticks and I am not sure but that sounds possibly a Native American use for it, as well. Cedar wood is identified with longevity and protection is used by many in charms to enhance these desires.
Element of Fire and Earth
Planetary Associations: Sun
Zodiac Association: Leo
Associated Dieties: The Cedar wood tree is sacred to Artemis, Sezh, and Persephone.
Cedar is associated with the goldfinch.
Druids sometimes associated this tree with the Tree of Life. [Likely North American Druidic traditions]
Norse people sometimes referred the Tree of Life to as Grandmother Cedar. [no source can prove this 100%]
Associated with the Greek Goddess Persephone during her detainment in the Underworld.
Associated with the Celtic Goddess Sezh who watches over the realm of fertility, herbs, and trees.
Used by King Solomon, one of the greatest mystics of all time, in the building of the temple in Jerusalem.
The Cedar has much lore behind it, or in it, I should say. Whilst I’m a firm believer in all trees being magickal and able to lend themselves to aiding the sorcerer with his or her work, sadly, I don’t know as much about Cedar as I would like to in this context. However, I shall learn more along the way and we can revisit this wonderful tree in a future blog.
Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings to all. x
Encyclopedia of Natural Magic, by John Michael Greer
Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic, by Cat Yronwode