I feel that many of us have several or more trees that populate our inner spiritual landscapes. You probably already intuitively know what some of yours may be. For me, the Yew tree has been a consistent presence, along with several other trees and plant spirits that I partner with regularly in my spirit work. Here is a little bit about what I have learned about the Yew tree and how I am currently working with this plant.
About the Yew Tree and How I work with them
I am currently working on a painting that centers the majestic and magical Yew Tree. The deeper into my inner landscapes I have gone the clearer this tree’s presence has become. Yew tree visits me in my dreams and also shows up in person around where I live–often as hedges, identified by the appearance of their bright red berries (called arils) in the late summer.
The first time I spiritually journeyed with the Yew tree, I met some of my distant ancestors and was brought into the folds of the tree as if it were a part of my own body and being. The magic of Yew has continued to surprise and enlighten me in my work with poisonous plant spirits.
Sometimes Yew reveals to me hidden names and also has shared with me their spirit sound which I chant over and over again in order to move into an altered state of consciousness in order to open a ‘gateway’ for spirit flight.
Yew trees can appear at the center of the metaphysical crossroads which allows me to travel into the Underworld or Other World. I have had lucid dreams in which I was in the trunk of the tree which opened into intricate wood-carved rooms and passageways. I have also had dreams where I was able to ingest the toxic seeds of the tree–something I would not do in waking life.
But the arils (the red fleshy part which looks like berries), WITH THE SEEDS TAKEN OUT, are edible and the only edible part of the tree. They have a somewhat jelly-like texture and have high concentrations of Vitamin C. If you are going to eat the arils, make sure you REMOVE the seeds as they are TOXIC to humans and other animals–along with the rest of the tree. Always do your own research when foraging for wild edibles and ensure you have identified and prepared the plant correctly!
Yew trees have been historically planted in graveyards and carry associations with the dead, bones, and the underworld. They have also been used to make medicines and tools. A chemical, taxol, extracted from the Pacific Yew tree has been used to make certain cancer treatment medications, and historically the English Yew was used to make weapons, specifically bows, because of the strong yet pliable wood. It is also been debated that the Yew tree is Yggdrasil, the world tree from Norse paganism, as opposed to the Ash tree. Yew is also symbolized by the Rune Eihwaz, which looks like this:
I partner with this plant spirit for communion with the ancestral dead. I also carry some of the needles and seeds on me as part of a protective charm. I am making a plant spirit essence for this New Moon in Aries using Yew gathered from a tree in my local neighborhood to further deepen my work with the Yew tree.
I’d love to know what tree or plant spirits you find in your inner spiritual landscapes and how you work with them?