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The Llewellyn Journal

Whispers from the Woods: Wisdom for Everyday Life

This article was written by Sandra Kynes
posted under Pagan

Modern Pagans have continually sought ways to honor the natural world and live more closely with the rhythms and spirit of the land. Many of us find that drawing close to nature provides access to different levels of energy and awareness, which brings deeper meaning and spiritual satisfaction to our lives. Trees can function as a gateway to these different levels of being as they provide us with a better understanding of ourselves.

One way of working with tree energy is with cards, which are easy to make using 3 x 5 index cards. These can be cut in half if you prefer smaller cards. Your cards can be as simple or decorative as you like. You can include the name, attributes, and an Ogham character if it is a member of the Ogham tree alphabet. Alternatively, you can put all this information on one side of the card and glue a picture of the tree on the other to create a colorful deck. Be creative—make the cards personal and meaningful to you.


Figure 1: Ogham cards can help acquaint you
with the attributes associated with each tree.

The cards are a tool for expanding your relationship with the natural world, deepening your self-awareness, and initiating personal transformation. They can help you define your place in the web of life and explore its timeless mysteries. Trees provide multiple pathways to tap into this web for magical and spiritual purposes, as well as to simply embrace and enhance life. Like music, trees speak to something deep and primal within us. They can open our souls to the power and spirit of earth’s rhythms.

Although the word “trees” is used throughout in reference to the cards, the Table of Attributes contains other types of plants, which have been included to accommodate the Celtic tree calendar, as well as of the plants that I felt had a place here.

The cards can be used for affirmation, inspiration, reflection, meditation, and guidance. Whichever way you choose to work with them, first take time to close your eyes, take a couple of slow deep breaths, and calm your mind. It is important to work from your heart center and be on guard against the ego sneaking in and trying to take control. Always be true to yourself and follow your intuition. If something doesn’t seem right, then it probably isn’t. Information comes softly and sometimes slowly. Be patient and open.

The depths of the soul can be reached only through quiet, soft moments. By exploring this depth, we learn about ourselves and where we fit within the web of existence. Trees can be our companions and guides in this exploration. Extending in two directions—one towards the dark and the other towards the light—they are great living symbols of the yin/yang principle of harmony and balance. Just as our spiritual energy needs to move inward for development and renewal, it also needs to extend outward to the light for growth. As we learn to detect the subtle levels of awareness in this flow of energy within ourselves, we begin to discover the macrocosm of sacred source and to define our unique path to its wisdom and grace.

Table of Tree Attributes


Oracular Guidance from Trees
Like the Tarot or runes, spreads can provide information and guidance. Following are several basic card spreads. As you become more familiar with tree energy you may want to develop more elaborate and personal workings. When working with this deck for oracular purposes, some card positions in a spread may be designed to indicate an opposite aspect. For example, “healing” on the chestnut card could indicate a need for healing, or “abundance” on pine could mean that you have had a lack of abundance. Don’t try to psychoanalyze it; your first impression is usually the right one.

No matter how you use these cards, it is worthwhile to take time afterward to contemplate and process the information. Sometimes through a retrospective moment, information can “click” into place. Keeping a journal of your interpretations can be an invaluable source of reference over time.

These cards are a tool for integrating the rhythm of the natural world into your everyday life. The more we open ourselves to the energy around us, the deeper our relationship with self and others, and the Divine becomes. It is as though the more we learn, the more we find that there is to learn. As we learn (and speed is not important), we are able to see and appreciate the mysteries of the natural world. It is not important to know everything so much as it is to acknowledge and appreciate the beautiful mystery and wisdom of the soul for we all carry a spark of the Divine within us.

My hope is that these cards will assist you in exploring your inner soul-scape as well as help you live in connection and in harmony with the natural world. If you are interested in further exploration, the original book, Whispers from the Woods: The Lore and Magic of Trees, contains a diverse range of methods for tapping into tree energy. These include the creation of your own Ogham, spellwork, feng shui, and shamanic journeying. May you hear the gentle whispers from the woods.

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