What the organic magic of the natural world says about you
By CHRISTINA RAI WHEELWRIGHT
An ancient astrological mantra attributed to metaphysical scholar Hermes Trismegistus says, “As above, so below, as within, so without, as the universe, so the soul.”
Essentially, this seeker of wisdom recognized that all life is connected in a fundamental and inimitable fashion. Most of today’s new age thinking is based on this simple, yet profound concept.
But we don’t have to be philosophers to understand what it actually means. Just follow the thread of your life and eventually you will come back to yourself. Notice the synchronicities that occur. Keep track of repeated motifs that surface. Look lightly, yet deeply, into the interior places of your soul and you will discover treasure beyond compare. The purpose of any metaphysical tool is really to better understand your life journey, to more closely zero in on your personal path, and to walk it with confidence and courage.
Understanding how the natural world is reflected in your own persona and how you are found in the natural world around you can be both liberating and instructive.
Most of us know our zodiac sign. We know those born from mid-March to mid-April are Aries. These people are edgy and exciting, and favour the fastest running shoes they can find. Taurus folks are born from mid-April to mid-May and are calm and reliable, always providing stability to those around them. The next 30-day segment aligns with Gemini, the group who never stops talking and never runs out of things to talk about! Right?
Then comes Cancer, who are people who know how to take care of just about everyone. They are the universal parents. Leos love to command attention and do it with flair and drama. Virgos stay in the background and keep their hands on the steering wheel – thank goodness! Someone has to keep things running smoothly. Libras know how to throw a fabulous party and get everyone to at least agree to disagree and Scorpios add a bit of mystery wherever they go.
The Sagittarius clan are the eternal optimists with a hunger for the new adventure lurking around the corner, while the Capricorn group likes to keep it real and stick to the facts. Those distracted Aquarians are all pondering the future and thinking up new things on a social, economic and philosophical level. And, finally, the Pisces people contribute imagination, artistry, intuitive insight and wisdom to anything they are involved with.
What’s Your Sign?
Aries: March 21-April 20
Taurus: April 20 to May 21
Gemini: May 21 to June 21
Cancer: June 21 to July 23
Leo: July 23 to August 23
Virgo: August 23 to September 23
Libra: Sept. 23 to October 23
Scorpio: October 23 to Nov. 22
Sagittarius: Nov. 22 to Dec. 22
Capricorn: Dec. 22 to January 20
Aquarius: January 20 to Feb. 19
Pisces: February 19 to March 21
Celtic tree wisdom
But what if that doesn’t sound entirely like you? Interestingly, back in the day when people were much more connected to earth energy, the Celts developed a system that aligned birth dates to specific trees. The trees were chosen to more clearly and organically define certain characteristics observed to be prevalent in those who were born under their rulership, just as traditional astrology does within its accepted parameters.
To understand yourself on a variety of levels and with a variety of approaches, find your birthdate in the sidebar to find which tree is your tree, then refer to the list that follows and read the brief description. Synthesize this with your zodiac sign. You may be surprised at what you can glean from combining these two ancient approaches to understanding one’s personality. So, let’s start with trees and Celtic wisdom.
Birch: December 24 to January 20
Rowan: January 21 to February 17
Ash: February 18 to March 17
Alder: March 18 to April 14
Willow: April 15 to May 12
Hawthorn: May 13 to June 9
Oak: June 10 to July 7
Holly: July 8 to August 4
Hazel: August 5 to September 1
Vine: September 2 to September 29
Ivy: September 30 to October 27
Reed: October 28 to November 24
Elder: November 25 to December 23
Birch: The Achiever
Birch people are ambitious, driven, enthusiastic and full of zeal. They are always ready to try new things and go to new places, both figuratively and literally. Natural leaders, they are both tough and tolerant, and, like the birch, their ability to bend gives them incredible strength.
Rowan: The Thinker
Visionary, creative – often in a unique and quirky way – and high-minded are some of the individualistic characteristics of this group. Because they are so much in their heads –thinking is their favourite pastime! – they can appear to be aloof and unemotional. In fact, they feel a lot of passion, but only for things that move them into action. Back in the day, this was the wood of choice for inscribing runes which were used for divination.
Ash: The Enchanter
The Ash group can be imaginative, intuitive, artistic and inner-oriented. Their vision of reality is uniquely their own and makes all kinds of sense to them, though the rest of us might need some time to get with the program. This is a very fluid energy that is constantly shifting, just like water, which makes these folks highly adaptable to a changing environment. Because their souls so aspire to the divine, they can come across as disconnected and even moody. If their partners can learn to flow with their mood cycles, they will have very interesting lives! Ash has always been associated with magical uses. The druids used it for wands, and witches brooms were made of this hard, straight wood.
Alder: The Trailblazer
Advocates, crusaders, leaders. That’s what Alder people are. They have the ability to rally the troops, incite to riot and move the masses. Their charismatic energy draws others into their orb simply because others can sense that Alder folks love to be with people. These are strong-willed and self-confident types who tend to keep it to the bottom line without a lot of fuss or bother! Alder was once regarded as a protective wood, able to ward off unwanted energies.
Willow: The Observer
Inherent in this tree sign is a natural understanding of the universal order. These folks are keenly attuned to cycles, especially the lunar cycle, and can often sense things before they actually know them. Their connection to the earth provides them with a natural wisdom that espouses patience, practicality and tolerance. Their philosophy is that there is a reason for everything, even if it is not immediately understood. In part, Willow intersects with the zodiac sign of Taurus and, interestingly, in traditional astrology, this is the sign where the moon finds her exaltation; that is to say, she is very, very happy when she falls in Taurus, able to ground out all the magic the moon has to offer!
Hawthorn: The Illusionist
Captivating, interesting, often contradictory and sometimes duplicitous, Hawthorn people are often more than one thing at a time and can keep their friends and lovers guessing. Curious and exploratory, always eager to learn and try out something new, they keep life interesting simply because they are so supremely interested in everything and everybody. The world is their playground and they have fun playing around in it. These magical trees were once thought to be witches who had transformed themselves. What is seen is not always what it is!
Oak: The Stabilizer
Strong and protective are two of the main characteristics of this sign. Oak people naturally find those who need help, who are weak or downtrodden, and stand up for them. They have an intrinsic sense of history, particularly when it comes to lineage and ancestry, which gives them the ability to link things together and make sense of what, in many cases, doesn’t seem to make sense. There is a deep and pervasive gentleness wired into their psyches, and they are generous, kind and helpful without trying too hard. It’s why they make good teachers! White Oak is the only wood that can hold a liquid, lending it a natural magic. It is often used for arts and crafts of a functional nature.
Holly: The Ruler
Have you ever met a person who naturally becomes the centre of the universe? These people have a natural dignity that makes others respect them, even if there is no real reason for it. Full of zest and energy, they love to go for the gold and often are blessed with talents and abilities that others need to work hard to acquire. They are always confident and full of passion, but also need some encouragement to get off their backsides and get moving. The key is to give them a goal to achieve with a reward attached to it and then they will fight to win! These are the royals. Holly is the whitest wood, suggesting purity.
Hazel: The Knower
Here we find the eternal student who loves to learn, not necessarily for the sake of the knowledge, but more for the love of the process. This group has a natural intellectual prowess with, in many cases, a photographic memory. Or, at least, it may appear so to those of us who have a hard time remembering what day it is! If you have ever met an individual who can recite poetry from memory and tell you more than you ever wanted to know about all the things you have never been interested in, then maybe you have run into the Hazel tree person. Innately organized, these are useful people to have around when you are researching or doing discovery. Ask them to find that elusive piece of data and they will. In magical terms, hazel wands used in ritual work were reputed to facilitate healing.
Vine: The Equalizer
Vine people are the mediators within the group. Their greatest gift is that they can see all sides of any issue, thus making them very able when it comes to creating consensus. In a way, they live in a neutrally grey kind of reality where right and wrong are constantly shifting to suit the situation. This can make it challenging for those around them to get them to make a firm commitment to any one course of action or preference. However, their sense of aesthetics is exquisite and they have a taste for fine food, fine wine and fine things in general. Often, they lend an elegant air to their surroundings, even if they have bought them on the cheap. One of the metaphysical properties of Vine is the ability to take root and surround other living organisms. Another association is the ability to penetrate any environment and cohabit with other living organisms. Vine can adapt and mold itself when needed, but can also create issues of codependency with others.
Ivy: The Survivor
Give these folks a challenge others may cringe at and they will tackle it with grit and determination. They are the ones who can overcome just about any odds, if need be, with a grace that can appear to come from a divine source. Faithful both to those they love and to the principles which move them to love, these are loyal, compassionate and devoted souls. Often, you will find those who are natural spiritual disciples and devotees in this group. Ivy was considered a plant of protection.
Reed: The Inquisitor
Have you ever met that person who knows everybody’s secrets but tells no one their own? That’s the Reed group. They are natural detectives, able to dig deep into any matter. They love to find out things others may never discover. This ability is founded on a deep need to get to the truth, dig out what needs to be dug out and get it into the full light of day. Because they are able to find out people’s secret things, they can sometimes find themselves in positions of subtle power over others. Their challenge is to use this power wisely and not become manipulative in the process. Reeds are often used in the construction of musical instruments. Music itself is a form of communication that supersedes the usual methods of exchanging information. Reed is able to affect atmosphere without words.
Elder: The Seeker
Vagabond energy! Wild, freedom loving, untamed and irrepressible! These are souls who can be ultimate extroverts. Because of their enthusiastic persona, they sometimes come on a bit strong and can experience rebuffs from others. Sometimes this is due to thoughts coming out of their mouths before the words can be formed. However, this lack of consideration is not due to a lack of caring, but rather to an abundance of uncontrollable energy that makes them get ahead of themselves. If you ever need a hand, they will be there before you can even ask! This wood was used to protect and break negative energy directed at you.
As you read through these brief descriptions, you will notice they all correlate to the 12 signs of the zodiac and expand upon them. Of course, there are 13 tree signs as befits a protocol that was developed when the Moon was the most important luminary in the celestial heights!
Winnipegger Christina Rai is an evolutionary astrologer and published author. You can find her latest novel, Finding Grace, at McNally Robinson Booksellers. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Christina’s website at christinarai.com