Working with Trees

Part 1 Getting to know your friends.

Hello, my fellow travelers of the old ways, I thought I would like to share with you something very close to my heart as a Druid and that is working with trees.  I have always had an affinity with trees as I have mentioned several times before in my other blogs.  They are rarely viewed by people as another person, they appear to be treated as another commodity that it up for use by whoever and for whatever reason they want.  This saddens me and so I wanted to share some points and hopefully you will start looking at these wonderful things as friends and actually spend time with them, if you don’t already.


This is quite a big thing to go into so I will probably have to go over several different blogs to cover all I want to say and give it some justice.  I suppose the most important thing is Why so much importance about Trees?  Well for me I guess it’s because they have always been there for me.  My very first memory was as that young boy wandering off on my own and finding comfort sitting under a tree to eat my sandwich, the tree provided me with shade from the sun, if it had been raining he would have provided me with shelter, he offered me a nice dry place to sit and feel safe, and what did he ask for in return?...……………..not a thing.  What was this tree I sat under, sadly I have to say I don’t have a clue, but it has made me want to learn and now I think I have a little more knowledge of the trees I talk to and sit with, and this is what I want to pass on to you.


So, where is this going, well I want to first of all start my journey with you by covering the basics, this is How to speak to a tree.  This I think is a fundamental part of any journey, communication, for without that nothing else can be achieved. 

Are you mad? Is what people have said to me, possibly, yes but in reality who is the mad one? The one who stops and talks to trees or the one who questions why.  Speaking with trees is a wonderful and often a spiritual experience.  It doesn’t matter whether you learn something useful or not trees, they are a wonderful sentient species that can offer valuable experiences and helpful advice on all different subjects, particularly subjects of interest to Druids such as Energy, Ecology and Nature’s processes. They also have a wealth of historical localised information due to the fact they have been standing in one position for many, many years.

So, we have established the fact that most people will consider you slightly strange for wanting to do this, but at the end of the day who are you hurting? No one, and will you benefit from the experience? Oh without a doubt as long as you are respectful and prepared to build a relationship with these wonderful beings. 


Selecting a Tree

I would usually go for older looking trees, but young ones can also be friendly. Does it matter which types of tree? Yes. Some species are more friendly than others, but individual trees are as different as individual human people, so this is not much of a guide. When you begin to extend your knowledge of trees you will also find that they pass information between their same species, and so your good relationships with one type of tree will hold you in good stead for meeting another of the same species.

Here’s a little summary of the different trees:



BEECH – are good teachers and usually kind and pleasant. A good choice for beginners.  I have a Beech tree friend in Ashridge who I have chatted to on several occasions and has always been approachable.

BIRCH – are the easiest to deal with. I would recommend finding a birch tree to start working with if this is your first contact, but don’t expect much ‘valuable information’ or an astonishing experience. They’re easy to deal with because they’re a ‘young’ species generally.  They tend to have a life expectancy of around 70 years but as with all things they need to be looked after.



OAK – can be difficult and grumpy. Best avoided if this is your first contact.  However, this is not to say you can’t try, people look at me and think I can be grumpy (really? cute cuddly little old me.) but if you don’t try to speak to them you will never know.  Don’t be offended or give up if you get no response though, you just have to persevere.

SYCAMORE – just seemingly difficult to contact.  It is definitely one worth leaving for a while until you gain more confidence



HAWTHORN – can be scary. Like Holly and Yew, they are the guardians of the dark places, and this can scare some people, but again you may be the one that this tree would like to talk to.  I would never leave a tree out just because it doesn’t look right, remember just like people trees are all individuals too.

YEW – if properly approached they are the most interesting of all trees, but like Hawthorn they can send the beginner into a real spin, so I wouldn’t advise you try one until you’re ready for the experience.

Make sure it’s a tree in a quiet place – you don’t want to be disturbed. Try to find one away from noise pollution such as roads or paths.  Not just because it gives you more time to spend with them but also it stops the awkwardness of explaining to some poor soul what you are doing, it also avoids costly taxi fares back from the hospital when they try to section you.


The Approach

Try to find the edge of the tree’s aura either by dowsing it, or by feeling for it. You should feel a slight change in air pressure or temperature. Maybe your hands of arms will tingle slightly. If you can dowse for it, then this is the easiest way. If you can’t feel it or dowse for it, then a general rule of thumb is to use the spread of the tree’s canopy as a guide to the size of its aura. This is not always true, but it’s a good starting point, and the tree shouldn’t mind if your intentions are honourable.


Making contact

The most important thing to remember here is respect. You should stand at the edge of the tree’s ‘space’ in respectful silence. When you feel the time is right you may begin to gather your thoughts. I usually begin by introducing myself. I tell the tree my name, then my druid name, and my intentions. Then I ask if I may enter into the tree’s aura. This is the important part of the relationship!


Acceptance and Rejection

Don’t take this bit personally. If a tree doesn’t want you to come closer then you simply have to respect this and walk away. Who knows why it might happen? But when it does, please be good and take the hint. If you get an acceptance from the tree you may feel that you are slightly ‘pulled’ towards it. If you get a rejection you may feel a ‘push’ in your stomach, or feel bad vibes, or just feel a bit queasy. You may just have a feeling of not being wanted, and you should walk away at that point, don’t take it personally it maybe that the tree is having an off day, they are no different from you or me some days you just want to be alone and not disturbed. Try again with another tree.

If you get accepted, then you can approach the tree and sit near to it or touch its trunk. Contact is good.  I, upon being accepted, firstly place my left hand on the trees trunk, this is just a personal thing for me, my heart is on my leftish side and so I want the tree to feel closer to my heart initially.  I also like to sit among its roots with my back against the tree this is an amazing contact and a good place to meditate and feel the connection.



This is the most important part of the whole experience. This is where you actually learn something about trees. If you are used to meditating, then you already have the mindset you need to begin to commune with a tree. If you are new to this, then I will do my best to describe the way you need to interact with this living being.

I usually sit beneath the tree touching its roots or the base of its trunk. Once in contact I go into a light trance, letting all my thoughts go until my mind is clear. Once I am relaxed and calm, my mind clear, I direct my thoughts downwards to meet the roots of the tree. Then I extend my thoughts upwards to touch the branches of the tree. If everything feels good, then I try to place my attention into the very core of the tree. At that point I wait to see if there is any response.

If I don’t get any voice or vision, then I begin to work on a conversation. Just as though you were having a talk with a friend, but one who you really respected. I ask polite questions of the tree and calmly and mindlessly wait for a response. Sometimes I get voices that answers my questions. Sometimes I get pictures in my mind, whatever you feel is important and a moment to be cherished.

The last part of this exercise is moving away or disconnecting.



When you feel you have learned enough, or you simply want to stop, then open your eyes and thank the tree for its help. You should carefully remove any energy that you have extended into the tree’s roots or branches and gather it back into yourself. Then, life is back to normal! And you have had your first tree communion.

If you only got a faint whisper or nothing at all then keep trying with the same tree or try a different one. Trees have energy fluctuations just like we do, and summer months may be better than winter months for getting a response.

I hope you find this useful, give it a go you have nothing to lose but oh so much to gain.  Don’t worry if you don’t know much about trees either, there are so many books that can help you identify trees, there is also the internet and believe it or not there are some really good YouTube videos on identifying trees.  All these things are there to help you get an idea.  Leaves are always a good way to start identifying trees, unless it is autumn and there aren’t any.

I am no expert on trees by any means, I started to learn about a few at a time and it is amazing how quickly you can build up a really good internal library of the different types. 

I really want to share this experience with as many of you as possible, it is the most incredible feeling to have this close connection to our tree friends, you don’t have to stick with the few I have mentioned either, I have sat with apple trees (a sacred tree to the Druids) and have had a really good time with them, I have recently been wassailing over the past few days at various places and just like us, given the right mood trees love a good sing song as well.  I have also had a chat with a dear old Hawthorn on a friend’s property, and despite what I have said they are not all scary, some just need to be approached to make that first move.  It is like anyone, if you look unapproachable then you will be alone, it only takes one person to be brave enough to make that first move and who knows it could be the start of a beautiful friendship.

Well, my dear friends that is it for another week, I’m slowly getting back into the swing of things now, and hoping to spend a little more time working on my blog as long as my workload allows.  I have the third part of working with the wheel of the year which is Imbolc.  I also have the next part of working with trees, I hope you are enjoying reading this as much as I am writing it, as always, I welcome any comments or ideas.

 I will end on another one of my poems, this is my latest one and it is called The Oak and Stag.




The night was getting cold and dark

The veil had covered the moon

The Oak tree waited patiently

For the light that would shine soon


The sun rose slowly in the sky.

From beneath the nights dark cloak

To spread the light upon the Earth

As the animals awoke


Then walking steadily to the tree

He laid down on the ground.

The mighty stag so close to death

His resting place he’d found.


Beneath the Oak tree’s mighty roots

 The stag’s remains now lie.

Held tightly there by Mother Earth

and watched by Father Sky


Then at the time of Samhain

At the darkening of the sky

As the ancestors all gather

To watch the sacred flames rise high.


From deep within the forest

There came a deafening sound.

As the mighty Stag is reborn

To walk once more upon the ground


Then for just a passing minute

Silhouetted by fire’s light.

The Oak and Stag appeared as one.

To bless this sacred night


The stag let out a mighty roar.

The Oak tree bowed its head.

The veil now at its thinnest

They welcomed back the dead.


Then there came the Raven’s cry

At the rising of the Sun

Calling to the ancestors

Their time on Earth was done.


The birds sang to the rising sun

As the stag went on his way

Walking through the forest

To return again one day


Take care until the next time my friends

Blessed be /|\