Really almost everything in the realm of magick and witchcraft comes down to symbolism and understanding it as a language. Once you can comprehend this mystical currency, so to speak, you will start to pull out your own ideas and concepts regard what things represent or are associated with other things so they can be used in magick. In my Witchy Wednesday e-mail this week I gave you a quick and dirty break down of color and number symbolism. And here, today, I want to chat about symbolism in NATURE. Because once we talk through why certain things symbolize others, it’ll start to become obvious WHY they represent the things they do so you can start interpreting symbols in your own life!


Trees

When you see a tree in art, imagery, painting — or even if one catches your attention when you’re on a walk, it often is representative of a theme in the realm of stability, connection, immortality, weathering changes, and fertility/virility. (What’s the different, you ask? Fertility is female fecundity, and virility is male potency.) Why does a tree represent those things? Well let’s example some really easily observable facts about trees:

  1. Trees have roots. – Duh, right? But the roots of the tree are what anchors it into the ground and makes it so that despite how much the wind blows, it still stays stable! Those roots also connect them to both the Earth and, in some root systems, other plants as well. Think of a forest; an entire underground network of roots all interconnected with one another!

  2. Trees have branches. – I know this sounds silly, but bear with me! Because trees have branches as well as roots that reach UP as well as down, that means that not only can they signify connection to the Earth and each other, but also connection to the Sun, Sky, and the Divine as a whole!

  3. Trees only grow in GOOD soil. – Trees will only grow in certain places if the soil conditions are correct. That suggest fertility; the ability to grow if put into the right situations.

  4. (Some) trees lose their leaves during autumn. – In certain temperate climates, deciduous trees have leaves that change color and fall off during the autumn and stay bare throughout the winter weather to be born again in Spring. In spite of the harsh conditions, they always come back. Talk about weathering changes!

  5. (Some) trees stay green all year long. – Coniferous trees that live in temperate and arctic climates don’t lose their leaves at all and stay green all year long! These trees (and plants that are the same in that way) live indefinitely without any obvious loss or change in their routine.

  6. Trees are phallic in shape. – If you don’t know what phallic means, I’m going to suggest Googling it! But let’s just say, that trees resemble a certain, generally male, body part. This shape lends itself to them being representative of the creative process.


You can see how these very obvious observations lead to some clear symbolism. Now that you’ve read it, it probably seems absolutely obvious! The language of symbolism is like that — it is, in many ways, obvious, because it is a common language that we all, subconsciously share! Let’s look at another example: -

You can see how these very obvious observations lead to some clear symbolism. Now that you’ve read it, it probably seems absolutely obvious! The language of symbolism is like that — it is, in many ways, obvious, because it is a common language that we all, subconsciously share! Let’s look at another example:

The Ocean

The sea is magical even before we break it down symbolically, but it too — like most things in nature, has many symbolic meanings as well! The ocean (in fact, most large bodies of water), represents healing, unpredictability, mystery, transformation, fluidity, the womb, the “Void”, and travel. Some of these facts are less obviously observable as others, but I’m including them because, frankly, I think they’re really cool!

  1. The ocean is big! Not only is it big, but it’s deep! It’s so deep, in fact, that we don’t even know what’s at its deepest point yet including what organisms all live there. The ocean is incredibly biodiverse; the source of countless forms of life!

  2. The ocean is salty. Salt water cleanses wounds and prevents infection. Also, fun fact: the level of salinity in the ocean is the same as the level of salinity in amniotic fluid! (That’s the liquid that cushions a baby in the womb!)

  3. The movement of the waves erodes rock. When you hold water in your hand it feels fluid, smooth, and soft. However, over time its repetitive movement against a rock face will wear the stone away, transforming it into a brand new shape. The running river tumbles stones to be smooth and round.

  4. Boats. A long time ago, boat was the main mode of travel other than by foot!

  5. Hurricanes form over the oceans. Jet streams and storm fronts collide. Violet tempests draw up crazy weather and when our ancestors were traveling at sea with no means to understand or predict such things the way we are able to do now, they seemed to come out of nowhere!

  6. The ocean appears to be in a vessel. To our ancestors, anything that was long and pointy represented the male genitalia (swords, trees, etc.) And anything that was cup or bowl-shaped that served as a vessel or required a tool to draw material out of it (like a spoon or straw) was female.


I hope you’re getting the idea here… if you know a little bit about whatever object it is that you are trying to decipher you can infer and interpret quite a lot! - If you don’t know a lot about it, a little bit of research can help you suss it out if you have a little bit of creative ability to think about it critically!

I hope you’re getting the idea here… if you know a little bit about whatever object it is that you are trying to decipher you can infer and interpret quite a lot!

If you don’t know a lot about it, a little bit of research can help you suss it out if you have a little bit of creative ability to think about it critically!

Getting even more specific that this (especially when it comes to the magickal properties of some plants) can be achieved similarly as there is a long history of ancient herbalists ascribing certainly healing properties to herbs or veggies because they resemble a particular body part. (Such as kidney beans for kidneys, celery for bones, red wine for blood, walnuts for neurological health, carrots for eyesight, etc.) That’s an ah-ha moment, right?! All you have to do is stop thinking with your logical brain all the time, and find a balance between it and your creative mind!


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Can you think of a symbol from nature or a plant like this whose symbolism you maybe suddenly realized during reading this? Mountains? Grass? Rocks? The list is infinite! Plus, once you start to understand symbolism you’ll start pulling your own associations from what you see based on your own personal understanding! (For example: Despite the fact that English Ivy is associated with love and fidelity, I also associate it with money because the leaves have 5 lobes and 5 is associated with prosperity!) Let me know what other symbols you can think of and what they mean to YOU!

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