Nine Sacred Woods and the Fires of Beltane

Greetings sweet witches! - With Beltane this May 1st, it's time to call in the magick of the Nine Sacred Woods into ritual and into our ritual bonfires as we "jump the balefire" during this years Beltane festivities. The Nine Sacred Woods hold the power of the ancient Druids as well as the reverence of the Wiccan Rede. Each has its own unique correspondence, and in tandem are used for spiritual enlightenment and a myriad of specific magickal intentions in ritual. Traditionally, a ritual need-fire (balefire, bel fire, bonfire) is created by burning wood from nine sacred trees upon the four solar sabbats, Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane and Lughnasadh. Kindled at night, creation of the need-fire represents illumination and hailing new light from the depths of darkness. The need-fire bonfire also corresponds to timeless communal unity with the ancestors and the divine, in a sacred flame of unity. They consist of the first nine woods named within the Celtic Tree Calendar; Alder, Ash, Birch, Hawthorn, Hazel, Holly, Oak, Rowan and Willow. Some of these can be hard to find and a few even toxic like Hazel and Holly. So when harvesting your own sacred woods, you can always substitute with Apple, Fir, Grape Vine or Sandalwood if you have a hard time finding a particular tree.

          "Nine woods in the cauldron go, burn them quick a' burn them slow"

Beltane is one of the oldest and most celebrated fire festivals. The celebration begins the eve before Beltane, and the lighting of balefires traditionally begin in the evening on April 30th and continue throughout the night and into the next day. In old Ireland, the Beltane balefire was lit upon the Hill of Uisneach. Torches were lit from the balefire, then carried down to the village where villagers would then use their torches taking flame from the main fire to light their own bonfires and hearth fires. The fires of Beltane represents the return of the light as the days lengthen and summer begins its journey upon the earth. Renewal and purification rites are performed by jumping the balefire. In medieval and modern times, two balefires are lit side by side and villagers drove their cattle between the fires and through the sacred smoke as a symbol of purification and protection of the herd as well as a blessing of abundance and a bountiful harvest ahead.

The correspondences of the Nine Sacred Woods:

Alder - Shielding, clearing & protection

Ash - Abundance, prosperity, health & transformation

Birch - New beginnings, renewal, change & feminine energy

Hawthorn - Happiness, nature, faeries & Druid magick

Hazel - Wisdom, dreams, prosperity

Holly - Protection, healing, good luck

Oak - Abundance, success, confidence, masculine energy

Rowen - Success, power, protection & life energy

Willow - Intuition, divination, & mastery

In 2009 I debuted the first Nine Sacred Woods Cauldron Blend on Etsy and its been of of my most requested offerings ever since. My Nine Woods blend contains select barks, twigs and woods, all ethically harvested with thanks given to each tree for its blessings and gifts. The perfect offering to cast into your Beltane bonfire. Nine Sacred Woods and my Beltane Casting Herbs (which include the Nine Woods) are now available in the shop for Beltane 2019.

Nine Sacred Woods Alchemy Candles are back! For a limited time you can order any size, from the 2x3 pillar all the way up to a 3x9. Thanks to everyone for voting it back!

          "Elder be ye Lady's tree, burn it not or cursed ye'll be"

If you follow a Wicca path, you may wish to take heed to the message of the Elder. The Wiccan Rede warns against burning any part of the Elder tree which includes the berries. That includes ritual bonfires. If you do not follow the Wiccan Rede, do what ye will.