Three or so years ago I fell in love with a tree. It beckoned to me from its shady spot outside a local shop, its twisty little branches so full of personality. I immediately tracked one down online. My gnarly little friend turned out to be a Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick, and he was not a cheap date. With no sizeable speciman available within my budget, I was left ordering the smallest starter I could find. Still, I eagerly awaited my treasure only to find, upon arrival, my treasure was but a spindly little stick. He was quite the charming anyways and so I potted him up. I have babied him ever since and with the exception of one small tragedy (a tree was felled on our little back garden) in which a bit of his top snapped off, he has far exceeded my expectations. He now sits to the west of my teeny outdoor altar… sacred to witches and the Celtic sea god Manannan (so I read), the hazel is a tree of protection, divination, wisdom, and balance. I could use a bit of all of that I think, but all in all he just makes me happy.
Trees do so much for us–give oxygen, shade, shelter for wildlife, beauty… so much. To walk among the trees gives a strong sense of serene calm. I try to visit them often in nature and work with those I feel a connection. So how to talk the talk? Approach with respect and get a sense, some will just want to be left alone. Place your hands on it, speak to it, feel out its energies. You can sit beneath with your spine against the trunk and just commune. Some find they have an affinity for one particular tree, but for me I have found that some may be constant and others move in and out of my life such as it is with other. If you develop relationships, be sure to leave offerings (even if you’re not necessarily looking for something specific). You can leave them food, libation, coin, hair, gemstones, ribbons–you will work out what is best. Most important of all, be sure to listen.