Last time, we talked about trees’ associations with funerals and symbolism for being planted in graveyards. Now, I want to get more complicated and talk about how the tree’s spirits can relate to death work.
Most of us know that ‘tree spirits’ exist in several cultures. Here are just a few:
This said, most cultures are not as simple as ‘trees = specific spirit’ in this manner. Many cultures had different spirits inhabiting different kinds of trees. Some folklore describes other spirits inhabiting trees, even spirits of the dead. With all these varying accounts, how do we approach trees in cemeteries?
Based on my research, I have found that tree spirits can relate to the dead or afterlife in one of four specific ways:
Looking through this information, it’s clear that trees in cemeteries should not be overlooked in spirit work. The spirit within the tree can guard the dead, contain the dead, or link the dead to the afterlife, depending on the tree and its role in the cemetery.
This also broadens the use for tree bark and leaves as tools in death work. An amulet made of elm, for example, can help the magician cross over into the afterlife. Asphodel can be given as an offering to the dead, or an aid to communicate with them.
To work with a tree spirit inside a cemetery, you may approach it similarly to how one approaches a grave: give offerings, connect to its energy, and listen. The tree may give you information about the cemetery, or aid you in your magic. I had one tree guard my tools when I accidentally left them near there, and there were still there when I returned. That actually sparked my interest in working with trees in cemeteries.
~ Offerings for Trees in Cemeteries ~
You may use similar offerings as those for the dead, or ones catered towards tree spirits.
To Work with the Tree:
Although working with tree spirits inside a cemetery isn’t necessary to death witchcraft, it can certainly enhance your relationship to the dead and to that specific cemetery. I hope you got some great ideas from this.