A tree spirit is a type of nature spirit, and effectively the “living soul” of a tree. It has much in the way of wisdom and healing to offer those who are willing to listen and absorb.
What Do Tree Spirits Look Like?
Tree spirits are not faeries as such, but nature spirits within a tree. One famous image is that of the Ents in The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, but true tree spirits are more ethereal in their appearance.
As with faeries, they are visible to those with psychic awareness, and appear in varying forms depending on the type of tree they reside within. The tree spirit of a willow might appear as a tall, willowy woman, while a gnarled old tree might take the form of a wizened dwarf.
Tree spirits are ghostly and otherworldly, often glimpsed out of the corner of the eye in a darkened wood or a flash of sunlight through the forest canopy.
What Do Tree Spirits Do?
Primarily, tree spirits act as the guardians and life force of the trees. Responsible for nurturing and growing them, the tree spirits are keen to share their wisdom regarding the care of the planet, particularly that of forests, woods and the wildlife that dwells within. They are also excellent healers, and leaning against the trunk of a tree can bring about great restorative powers.
Older trees have much to share in terms of history, offering a sense of place, time and ancestry.
Tree spirits are not entirely bound to their tree; they can venture a short distance away. Legends tell of folk becoming unsettled in forests at night, because of the tree spirits stirring and walking about the woods.
The “Tree Mothers” or “Mother Trees” are female tree spirits much older and wiser than their younger counterparts, and have become known as matriarchal trees with a plethora of important spiritual wisdom to offer those eager to learn.
Tree mothers can be extremely intense to work with, ranging from the emotion of motherly comfort to the challenge of spiritual development and growth. The specific knowledge gleaned from such a tree depends on the species and the age through which the tree has lived, which can often span many centuries.
Tree mothers tend to be found in very old or mature trees, often in an ancient wood, and sometimes even in groups. The aura and spirit of the tree will feel much older and wiser than other trees.
Dryads and Tree Faeries
Although tree spirits are not faeries in themselves, there are faeries associated with them, such as dryads, tree wights or wood nymphs. Such faeries are not part of the trees themselves, but have attached themselves either to a lone tree or a group of trees.
The triad of oak, ash and thorn is particularly appealing to faeries, and the most likely place to start looking for them. Oak in itself is a faerie tree, and dwarves are said to dwell within its deep, far-reaching roots.
Many other elements of the Fae are associated with trees, from the Green Man to the eternal seasonal battle between the Oak King and the Holly King.
Faerie trees include:
Apple – immortality, Avalon
Ash – prophecy, World Tree
Beech – ancestry, second sight
Cedar – purification, wisdom
Hawthorn – shapeshifting, protection
Hazel – magic, divination
Holly – divinity, rebirth
Oak – doorway to Faerie, endurance
Rowan – healing, attracting benevolent faeries
Willow – faerie visions, enchantment
Working with Tree Spirits
Firstly, it is vital to ensure a deep respect for trees in general. This includes always asking permission before taking something from a tree, and warning a tree of any impending pruning due to take place, to avoid causing distress to the spirit.
The best way to begin working with tree spirits is to sit beneath one, leaning against the trunk, touching the bark, drinking in the tree. Meditating beneath it may bring visions, messages or dreams. Those gifted with psychic awareness may be able to connect with the spirit and receive channeled words, or even see the spirit with the third eye.
Tree spirits often have a lot of knowledge to impart and it is wise to work with them in short, regular bursts so as not to become drained. They enjoy teaching and will encourage their students to develop their awareness and experience between visits.
By building relationships with different trees, much wisdom can be gained, along with healing, protection and insight into the generations that have passed before.