Lessons in Tree Magic

FairyTale Forests, Witchcraft,
and the Journey to Power

Shamanic Quests, Folk Tales, & Enchanted Forests

Trees love witches, druids, and other magical beings, blessing us with peace, joy, and strength. There’s a good reason fairy tales and folk tales depict journeys into the woods as enchanted events and quests for power.

When I think of forests, fairytales, and quests, what comes to mind is Hansel and Gretel’s saga, with its lost trail of breadcrumbs and their encounter with a witch. What comes to mind also is little Red Riding Hood’s story of venturing toward grandmother’s house, meeting the wolf en route, and the miraculous rescue from the wolf’s belly. These are stories about quests—overcoming tremendous problems and coming to power—in which magic inevitably figures.

Sometimes, in fairytales, not a forest but a single tree or small grove is pivotal to the quest. For example, a tree holds the spirit of the protagonist’s deceased mother who helps that heroic figure overcome dire challenges. We need not go into the woods to receive aid from trees.

Every single tree has power and a dryad. What is a dryad? Greek lore tells us a spirit lives in a tree. Such a spirit is called a dryad.

The Joy and Peace of a Visit with Trees

The idea of entering the woods elicits memories of my eager, expectant wanderings into shaded forests I’d never visited previously. I always know there’ll be new magic and wonder to explore. I also know my peace will be renewed.

Going into the woods also reminds me of laughing with friends as we ran free and joyously—literally ran—through a forest that was our beloved magical playground.

It’s no surprise that forests are dear to witches, druids, and other individuals who follow a Pagan path. There are many reasons for this, but one is: the joy and serenity we might find in the forest is par none.

Joy and calm might also be experienced if one can sense the energy or dryad of a solitary tree that blesses an urban street.

A Shamanic Journey into the Woods and the Self

Whether as a long arduous hike, a brief stroll through the woods for part of one’s weekly exercise, a fictitious narrative, or a piece of old lore, traveling into the woods often equates with a journey to self-realization, inner power, and confidence. As such, going into the woods is an easily accessible symbol for something subtle and hard to portray; often, the journey to self is unseen, has no visible trappings, and is much quieter than facing a wolf or avoiding being shoved into a candy-house oven.

A druid, witch, or other individual drawn to nature spirituality might journey to power in hidden, quietly blessed shadows of a forest. That trek can be more frightening than the wolf’s brutal teeth or the oven’s fierce fires. And just as dramatic.

One’s own self is definitely among the hidden places of enormous power, and traveling into self is the wildest—and sometimes most frightening—shamanic quest.

How to Ask Trees for Magical Help

All trees are enchanted, having powers with which they might help us move toward joy, power, freedom, prosperity, and self-fulfillment. When in a forest, or near any tree, simply request help. You can do so by using the following liturgy or whatever other way feels right to you.

Prayer to a Tree: Beloved tree(s), please hold me safe in my journey, uplift my spirit, strengthen my resolve, bless my goals, and grant me the joy and beauty of your company.  So mote it be!  Thank you! —Francesca De Grandis

Prayer to a Tree

Beloved tree(s), please
hold me safe in my journey,
uplift my spirit,
strengthen my resolve,
bless my goals,
and grant me the joy and beauty of your company.
So mote it be!
Thank you!

The Magic of the Alder Tree

Each tree also has its own special magics to help our journeys. For example, Alder tree told me it can center you into your essence—your true self. You can ask an alder tree to do that, if you come upon an alder in your wandering. Here’s a prayer I wrote for that:

Prayer to an Alder Tree: Sweet Fey Alder, please help stay me in my power, my wisdom, my strength, my chosen goals, my confidence, my choices, my joys, and my journey ever forward. Thank you! —Francesca De Grandis

Prayer to an Alder Tree

Sweet Fey Alder,
please help stay me in my power,
my wisdom,
my strength,
my chosen goals,
my confidence,
my choices,
my joys,
and my journey ever forward.
Thank you!

Alder magic can be subtle. If you don’t feel anything right after the prayer, the tree might nonetheless be already helping you a lot. It might take time to notice. Or, as is the case with any magic, it might take time to bear fruit.

You could also make that prayer when no trees are nearby if you happen to have a piece of Alder wood you can hold while you pray. Or if you feel a personal connection to Alder, make the prayer even if there’s no Alder wood or alder tree nearby.

Here’s a talisman Alder pendant I made, so you can see this gorgeous wood and, if you want, tune into Alder’s energy:


There are many trees on this planet ready and wanting to love you, support you, and smile with you.

Helping the Trees

If you’re devoted to nature spirituality, you’re probably also devoted to environmentalism. Magic honors the give-and-take of life: the trees help us, and we help them. When you ask a tree for help, consider giving it some water and fertilizer afterwards. And it’s always a good day to hug a tree, plant a tree, fertilize a tree, write to an elected official to support environmental action, or otherwise be a friend to trees. So mote it be!

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