Equinox, September 21st
Symbolism: Ascent, Protection, Overcoming fear.
Stone: Black Opal
Birds: Mourning Dove, Swan
Deity: Persephone, Hades
Sabbat: Mabon, Autumn Equinox
Folk Name: European Aspen
Green Man Tree Oracle
The Doctrine of Signatures (an old system of healing) claimed that illnesses could be cured with plants having the same symptoms as the ailing body. Since the Aspen showed perpetual quaking of its leaves, it was designated to heal ague (shaking palsy.) The bark of Aspen contains analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. Native American women would drink a tea made from the leaves to ease menstrual cramps. This tea also aided in alleviating diarrhea and urinary disorders. A poultice made from the root was used for cuts and bruises.
Used in anti-theft spells, it was also planted in gardens and fields to protect the property from thieves.
Place an aspen leaf under your tongue if you wish to become eloquent.
Burn incense made of Aspen at Samhain to protect you from unwanted spirits and to help you release old fears as you move forward into the next new year.
Early folk healers in England would tell a palsy patient to pin a lock of her hair to an Aspen tree and repeat:
Aspen tree, Aspen tree
I prithee shiver and shake
Instead of me.
They were to walk home in silence from there (or they risk breaking the spell, and the cure would fail)
Aspen leaves tremble and flutter in the slightest breeze, making a soft whispering sound.
Our ancestors believed that the wind was the messenger of the gods. Anything closely associated to it, like aspen, was deemed sacred.
There were many speculations as to why the aspen leaves trembled.
In France, it was a religious belief that the leaves shook with fear because Christ's cross was made from Aspen wood.
In Germany, it was legend that the Aspen was the only tree that refused to acknowledge him, so Jesus had placed a curse on the Aspen - which caused the tree to tremble in fear.
LESSON OF THE ASpen
from The Wisdom of Trees by Jane Gifford
As the wind passes through the aspen leaves, they whisper a message of peace: listen within yourself and find comfort in the still, small voice of calm; in the music of the spheres; in the resounding "om" of existence; in the voice of Goddess - whatever you chose to call the spirit moving through the silence within us. You can interpret this in whichever way is most personal to you. The aspen teaches the lesson of fearlessness, and gives us the strength to face fear that comes with the unknown. To quote Dr. Bach, aspen helps us to understand that "the power of love stands behind and overcomes all things." Once we know this to be true, "we are beyond pain, suffering, care, worry, and fear, and we become participants of true joy."
The Great Goddess
The daughter of Zeus and Demeter,
Persephone was once an innocent maiden.
She descended to the underworld
and emerged a complex creature
with the power to bring the earth
the fruits of the hidden.
The Aspen was sacred to her,
and she was reputed to have
a grove of them in the
Land of Sunset in the West.
It is said that legendary heroes
who wore a crown of aspen leaves
gained her protection
as they entered and returned
from the Underworld.
Persephone reminds us
to release our old habits
of self criticism and guilt,
and to face our fears
so that we may believe in our own abilities
and know our true self.
Fall Equinox is a time of evaluation. Did we plant enough, of the right things? Did we tend our crops well? Have we nurtured what will truly feed us? How do we preserve our harvest, so it can continue to nourish us through hard times?
Above all, this is a time to give thanks, to offer gratitude for what we have, and to remember the balance of all the elements that sustain our lives. Gratitude to the earth, the living soil that grows our food, to the air we breathe, to the sun's warm rays, to the life-giving rain and the flowing, cleansing waters. Gratitude toward our community, to our family and loved ones, and to all the families of beings that are linked in the web of life.
Gratitude is the counter to greed. If we neglect to say thanks for what we have, we feel eternally dissatisfied, and need more and more. When we are thankful for all we have been given, then we need very little in order to feel surrounded by abundance.
In a just world, everyone would have enough to sustain lives with room for beauty, pleasure, self expression and love, to restore and regenerate the natural systems that provide what we need.
May the balance be restored!
~Starhawk, 2007 and We'moon '08
Aspen trees are one of the first tree species to repopulate an area that has been cleared by fire or cutting. Groves of Aspen can replenish themselves in as little as fifty years.
Wreaths made of gold shaped like aspen leaves, were found in 5,000 year-old graves in Mesopotamia.
The Celts used Aspen wood for battle shields, allowing the tree to live up to it's offer of protection.
A rod of Aspen, called a "fe"
was used to measure a fresh grave
to ensure its occupant would fit.
"And the wind full of wantonness
Woos like a lover
The young Aspen trees
Till they tremble all over."
~Thomas Moore, Lalla Rookh, Light of the Harem