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The glory of autumn explained: Chris Packham reveals why leaves change from greens to reds and golden yellows.
For many, the unassuming acorns that fall from an oak tree are the bane of those with driveways and front lawns that they’d like to keep clean underfoot. But in recent years, there has been a growing trend towards finding an alternative use for acorns, rather than just raking them together in a seemingly endless heap.
In many ways, acorns are the crystallization of the recent wild, foraged food trend; they are frequently considered an annoyance (like nettles) but are secretly a superfood– a gluten-free nut and grain alternative that’s high in amino acids.
Acorns can also be stored in their shells for years, and– when properly treated– can be used in a multitude of recipes, infusing nutrients and essential vitamins wherever they are added.
Eating acorns is, of course, not a recent trend; along with their progenitor, the oak tree, they have long been revered as a resource, with a rich history in mythologies around the world. In Sanskrit, the word for oak evokes the concept of thunder, life, soul, and spirit; for the Druids, the oak tree was the most sacred tree– so much so that historians believe the word “Druid” itself is from the Celtic word for “acorn”. Abundant as they are, it’s little surprise that acorns have long been consumed both as a delicacy and as an everyday meal.
Acorns are a token of nature’s alchemical magic: a tiny, hardened nut transforms into a tall, wizened tree.
In America, most people know that Native American tribes– particularly those in California– make use of acorns, cooking them into porridge, pancakes, cakes, breads, soups, and patties.
But internationally, different cultures across the world have found their own ways of adopting the nut and incorporating it into their cuisine: in Korea, acorns are transformed into a jelly known as dotorimuk while in Turkey acorns are buried in the dirt to remove tannins (which is the compound that gives acorns their bitter taste) before being washed, dried, and ground with spices into a drink known as raccahout.
Outside of direct human consumption, acorns also have had an important culinary role: jamon iberico, derived from pigs raised on acorns, is considered a Spanish specialty, and oak trees are being planted to help support truffle production. Historically, acorns have also enjoyed uses outside of the gustatory world, used as dye and prepared into a medicine taken by Native American elders to promote longevity.
Today, acorns are becoming more of a mainstream commodity as foraging increasingly becomes a popular activity, one that has spread beyond the realm of picking berries and gathering mushrooms.
Acorns are cropping up in classic recipes (acorn mousse anyone?), especially as acorn flour becomes more readily available and mechanization has cut out the long and arduous process of leaching tannins by oneself (which in days of yore could sometimes take months).
If you do want to
We hear so much about the magic of herbs and crystals, but what about tree magic? Did you know our Celtic ancestors worshiped trees? Our ancestors believed trees housed powerful spirits and sometimes even gods themselves. Let’s dive into tree magic of the Celts, including the magical properties of trees and Ogham – the sacred tree alphabet. We’ll learn how to harness the potent energy of trees to make our own unique, green magic come to life.
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Tree Magic of the Ancestors
Do you have an undying love for trees? As a child, did you climb trees and spend hours playing in the forest? I know I did and still do. People in modern times spend 2/3 of their lifetime inside, which means most of the time they are away from nature. They’re away from the trees. Trees not only provide us with shade and oxygen, they also provide us with food, medicine, therapy, and magic. Our ancient Celtic ancestors knew this intimately. I believe our connection with trees is in our DNA and that tree magic can be reawakened within us when we are open to it.
Celtic Tree Magic
The Celts believed trees had consciousness. The Druid priesthood is said to have met in forest groves to conduct rituals and meetings. “Druid” is theorized to have originally been associated with “dryad” which was the Greek term for tree nymphs (spirits/gods). Because the Druids were so connected to the trees, it makes sense people from elsewhere would refer to them as tree spirits/people, of sorts. Woodhenges have been found all over England and Ireland, which is essentially the wooden equivalent of Stongehenge: a ring of wooden beams or trees used as sanctuary for ancient peoples. According to the Celtic tree calendar, the Celtic people honored 21 sacred trees. These were: the alder, ash, apple, aspen, birch, blackthorn, elder, gorse, hawthorn, hazel, heather, holly, ivy, mistletoe, oak, reed, rowan, scots pine, vine, willow, and yew trees.
The World Tree & Yggdrasil
Trees feature as the central figure in hundreds of myths and creation stories all over the world. Yggdrasil is an ash tree in Norse mythology on which the god Odin hung himself and received the wisdom of the runes. Trees were seen as immortal, which makes sense because many of them live long past the lives of human beings. The holly and evergreen boughs we use to decorate atChristmas-time is a nod to the old beliefs in the immortality and longevity of trees. Yggdrasil is another of the World Trees from shamanic beliefs worldwide. The World Tree is a symbol of the three realms – the branches extend into the world of the gods, the trunk is the realm of the living, and the roots go underground into the world of the dead. Shamans work closely with tree magic on the spiritual planes when they “travel” up or down the World Tree to speak to the gods or retrieve lost souls.
Just as the Norse were given the elder futhark runes as a sacred alphabet, the Irish were given the Ogham tree alphabet. The Norse god Odin was given the Elder Futhark, while the Celtic god Ogma was given the Ogham, or so legend says. The Ogham is thought to have been used as an alphabet but also has sacred spiritual meaning. Each “letter” is representative of a sacred Celtic tree. In contrast to the Elder Futhark runes with their distinctive markings, the Ogham is a series of slashes. Both are used today for divination purposes. Find Ogham and runic divination sets online or in metaphysical shops.
The magical properties of trees differ from tree to tree. If you want to learn tree magic, learn the magical properties of trees in your yard, neighborhood, and local area. Here’s a list of the more popular trees and their magical properties:
- Alder: banishing, divination, healing, protection, psychic intuition, resurrection
- Apple: underworld,
READ MORE: https://otherworldlyoracle.com/tree-magic/