Archives for July 2011

Dryads, Trees & the Fifth Element

by Alferian Gwydion MacLir, author of Wandlore

Note: Alferian will be at Eye of Horus Saturday, July 30th, to for a wandmaking demo, booksigning and Q&A

Wandlore BookThe dryad is the spirit of the tree, its essential pattern. It is a living being linked to the tree and growing with it, but at the same time it is a trans-temporal and trans-spacial creature, living in the Astral dimension as much as in the mundane world. When a branch falls off a tree or is pruned, the dryad spirit is still in the wood. It is not really correct to speak of “parts” of a spirit, but one might consider the spirit of the wand to be part of the tree’s consciousness. Some writers suggest that trees withdraw their life from a branch when they sense it is going to be cut and there is doubtless something to such observations. Nevertheless, in my experience, the spirit always remains in some degree and can be awoken by enchantment when the branch is crafted into a wand.

Now, of course, orthodox mundane botany does not usually accord consciousness to trees. In the Alferic tradition and in most schools of Druidry, trees are considered to have spirit, mind, and consciousness, as well as will and emotions. Indeed, in my experience, trees have a larger proportion of emotion than intellect in their souls. They do not ratiocinate the way we do, but they do ponder and brood. As Tolkien so rightly observed in Lord of the Rings, many trees today are sleepy. If the druid touches them and makes contact with their dryad spirit, they sometimes at first seem sluggish and hard to reach. Other trees respond immediately to such attention with the same kind of reaction many of us would have if suddenly touched by the mind of another being.

Still, it is misleading to anthropomorphize dryads. They share many of the spiritual qualities with us, but they do not think or live like human beings. In their present incarnation, trees are fixed and immobile. A great deal of their attention is directed into the ground through their roots and outward into the air through their branches and leaves. They do move, of course, in the process of growth and in harmony with the winds, rain, and sunlight. Deciduous trees drop their leaves and grow new ones, many drop seeds or flowers. So there is a great deal of activity in trees but it is the sort that, in humans, remains largely unconscious. We too produce seeds and eggs, grow hair and nails and new skin, and throughout childhood our whole body is growing. Even in adulthood the body changes shape. But trees have very different bodies and their spirits are diffused throughout their bodies without the distracting narrow focus of a brain steeped in language. Thus trees, unlike humans, have never suffered from the dichotomy of mind and body. If their consciousness dwells on different parts of their being, it is on the roots, the trunk, and the branches. The leaves are the most sensitive organs of trees, but the bark is also very sensitive, flowing with tree-blood underneath, just like skin.

Although many of the woods are traditionally associated with one of the four classical elements (Air, Fire, Water, Earth), dryads are spirits that do not fall simply into one of these elements. Rather, they embody the fifth element recognized in the Taoist system: Wood. They are representative of all of the four elements combined into a fifth that is a living organism. Trees are the pinnacle of the plant kingdom, as humans are often imagined to be the pinnacle of the animal kingdom, filled with nobility, grandeur, often great age, and wisdom that comes from a long life in one place. We are indebted to them in ways that are often incompletely realized: in the gift of oxygen, wood, and paper trees have made human civilization possible. They are, thus, mystically speaking, the midwives of all intelligent life and human creativity. The Quintessence is often described as Spirit, but it is enlightening to consider this “Fifth Element” as Wood for the trees point upwards to the sun, stars, and heavens, to the invisible Spirit, which is not an “element” at all, but the essence that underlies all manifestation.

©2006 The Bardic Institute, reprinted from www.bardwood.com by permission

Amulets and Talismans

For centuries, the use of amulets and talismans has existed within many cultures and across virtually every spiritual tradition. They are described as ‘close cousins’ that can take many forms, including decorative objects, potions, charms, medicines, sacred symbols, animals, statues or drawings. Both amulets and talismans are physical expressions of powerful and often supernatural energies that people wish to personally connect with. There are historical distinctions between the two, though in modern times the terms are often used interchangeably:

Amulets were typically chosen for specific protective uses. For example, the ancient belief in the Evil Eye curse of bad luck and misfortune has been deflected with the use of nazars, lucky eyes, blue disks, and other protective charms. The meaning of the word ‘amulet’ is derived from the Latin word amuletum, which is interpreted as an object used for defense and protection from trouble.

Talismans are often utilized to draw in purposeful energies, such as carrying High John the Conqueror root for luck in courtly affairs, a four-leaf clover for luck, or a nutmeg for prosperity. The word ‘talisman’ is a variation on the Greek verb ‘teleo‘, meaning to accomplish or successfully bring into effect. In the Arabic and Greek languages, the word talisman is rooted in similar translations as an object that initiates one into spiritual mystery.

Your intent when you use an amulet or talisman is as important as the symbol itself. Therefore, we often recommend that you charge, or bring energy and life into, your chosen piece. You might wish to charge your object during the energy of the full or waxing moon, use a particular type of incense or salt to clear the object, or perform a ritual blessing with consecrated water.   Check out our article on How to Charge your Pendant, Talisman or Amulet. Also, Amy Zerner has an article on Using Your Jewelry as a Talisman. Further Reading: http://www.crystalinks.com/talisman.html and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amulet.

Key of Soloman Charm to Develop Intellect

Key of Soloman Charm to Develop Intellect

Cross of St. Michael, Hematite for Protection

Cross of St. Michael, Hematite for Protection

Om Talisman

Om Talisman for Protection and Peace

Talismans and amulets from different cultures:

Find Norse Rune Pendants, Chinese Magical Seals, Amish Hex Protection Charms, Ancient Lore Amulets, and more symbolic pendants in our online store!

How to Charge Your Pendant with Purpose

We are often asked if we magically bless or charge the goods we sell, but we don’t.  We just cleanse them, as we cleanse our whole store, so they start ready to receive your intention and work for you.  The most we do is put the intention in everything that it finds the “right home.”  It’s not because we are stingy or don’t know how to charge a pendant.  The fact is, only you truly know what you need or want.

Eye of Horus Pendant

Eye of Horus Pendant

How many times have you asked for something for a holiday gift and had what you though was a simple request curiously or disappointingly misunderstood?  Seriously, do it yourself – someone else might not quite understand, and no one else can put the same amount of desire or meaning into it. The purpose of charging is to get yourself in touch with what I’ve come to think of as a universal energy meme or magical subroutine attached to the symbol; to personalize the pendant with your specific intent; and to activate that intent in the universe. No one can do this better than you, because even the best psychic can’t feel, see and taste your purpose half as well as you.

What I am presenting here is not “the one true way” to charge your pendant, talisman or amulet.  There are as many ways to bless an object as there are religious, magickal and folk traditions. You can search the internet and find any number of ways.

You might want to do an additional cleansing of your pendant before you begin.  Set it out overnight under moonlight, sprinkle with salt, or smudge it with incense, etc.

9 Steps to Charge your Pendant:

  1. Gather your pendant, a small piece of paper, and a writing utensil then go to what you consider your sacred or private place. If you have a favorite incense, you might want to use that, as well.  Frankincense and Sandalwood are two options if you aren’t sure what to use.
  2. Light your incense, take a few clearing breaths – enough to let go of whatever you were doing prior in the day and what you might be fretting about or planning to do next. If it helps, visualize erasing a blackboard (or whiteboard).
  3. Connect to your higher self, patron diety or saint, spirit guide, your heart of hearts, etc. so you can put forth an intention for your highest good.
  4. Focus on the outcome you want to achieve, and how it feels, rather than your need . . . so focus on feeling safe and invulnerable vs. needing protection from harm, for example. Be as specific as you can, take time to ask for clarity, if needed.
  5. Take the piece of paper and draw the pendant or the symbol on the pendant on it.  (Or, if it doesn’t have a symbol, pick a symbol or word which represents the pendant to you) It absolutely doesn’t need to be exact. You are not being graded, even on a curve.  It needs to be your interpretation. As you draw, remind yourself of the outcome you want, so it flows through your hands into the symbol on the paper.
  6. Wrap the pendant in the paper, or just set the pendant on the paper, pick them both up and hold them in your hands, acquainting them with each other.  You are introducing your specific purpose to the universal meme, just as you would two people. Hold them for as long as you can keep the focus of what you want for your outcome, or until you feel that the two have “bonded” or become BFFs, soulmates, two sides of one coin . . . whatever metaphor works for you. Then press the paper to transfer your personal version of the symbol into the pendant, and vice-versa, so the “two become one”
  7. Send your intention forth to the universe by burning the paper (in a fireplace, fire pit or cauldron), composting, burying or otherwise sending that energy out into the universe, preferably without littering, please.
  8. Say “Thank You for” and name your outcome. (Some traditions say things like “So Mote It Be” but with “Thank You” it’s a done deal which flickers through space-time, not a hope. It’s also more polite.)
  9. When you put it on, remember your purpose, and when you take it off, give thanks again.

That’s it!  Now when you wear your pendant, it connects with the universe, and be ready for the hints the universe provides to keep to your purpose and respond accordingly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to charge my pendant?  Won’t it work anyway?

No, you don’t have to charge your pendant.  If it is designed for a purpose, it will serve that purpose, generally.  But if you’re reading this article, some part of you wants to put more specificity/energy/oomph into it. Be honest with yourself, if you have resistance.  You might need to examine the purpose you intended to use the amulet or talisman for. Or it might be this is a “next step” or “level up” moment. We often obtain amulets or talismans during transition moments in life and then wonder if we really are ready, after all. If that’s the case, review step 3 and do what it takes to get into even temporary alignment with your highest, greatest self. Then decide if you want to, or need to charge your pendant.

What if my talisman is lost or stolen?

I’ll deal with the second part first, if someone takes your pendant and wears it hoping to achieve the same marvelous outcome you did, they’ll only confuse it, because their intention doesn’t lock into that personalized version you introduced to the pendant. So they can clear it and personalize it for themselves, but it’s questionable whether the energy meme will cooperate. If the owner knows in his heart of hearts that it isn’t really his, there can never be a true bond or focus, and that knowledge of illegitimacy will work against him.

Many people are afraid if they lose their talisman, it could be used against them in some way.  Not if you use this method of charging! Here’s why:

First off, if someone tries to use a symbol for anything other than the universal energy which has been associated with it by tradition, it simply won’t work. Secondly, you put your energy into the paper which then transferred the purpose to the amulet or talisman, and you returned that paper to the universe. It acted as a sort of a translator or forwarding address. Thus, when you wear the amulet, it is perfectly tuned to you and to that universal energy working for you, but in the hands of someone else, there is less of an energized link to you.  The link goes first to that intention that has been dispersed to the universe as to a forwarding address.  Of course, if you wear a piece enough, or wear it during rituals, etc. it will still pick up your energy.  If that’s the case, you might want to do a cutting or misdirection ritual.  Since it is already associated to that forwarding address, you could invoke the symbol and cut your ties with it.

I did everything you said . . . why it didn’t it work?

Think about it.  Think about it seriously.  You will likely come up with some fork in the road, something else you could’ve done, advice you didn’t head, etc.  You might find some mental block, self-deception, disruptive pattern or the like. Your soul may have had a greater lesson to learn. Or it could be you were relying on a thing around your neck to overcome common sense, physical reality or your own inertia. A talisman or amulet is not an excuse for not engaging in life with your fullest ability.  It is a crutch, when you need it, or a boost when you are ready for the results.

Summary

Sometimes you may just need something simple, but sometimes something more involved helps you tap into the power of a symbol.  So, if you need or want more, this ritual will work.  Feel free to elaborate or adapt it for your own use, trusting your own intuition to guide you. If you’ve found this article useful, please comment or use the share links below. Thanks!

copyright © 2011, Jane R. Hansen