Today’s card is the Aspen, also known as Populus tremula. Much like the white poplar, the Aspen is also known as a shimmering tree. Because of this, the two are often linked with healing ailments that cause shaking. An Old English rhyme was said to alleviate ague (a fit of shaking) if it was said while one was hugging an aspen tree. It reads
“Aspen Tree, Oh, Aspen Tree, I prithee shake and shiver instead of me!”
The cross of Christ is also said to have been hewn from the aspen; in Wales, it was said to be cursed for this reason. In truth, laurels made of golden aspen leaves were found in burial mounds that date back almost 3,000 years to the Mesopotamian region of the world, demonstrating the sacred nature of the tree since ancient times. Wearing an aspen crouton was said to ease your path into the Otherworld, and often aspen trees were planted at these sites as well as in graveyards throughout European history. Often the whispering of the aspen leaves in the wind was believed to be the ghosts of those passed on speaking to each other.
Another myth for the aspen is that it acted a magickal protection to the bearer; the Greek for aspen, the word aspis, is also interpreted as ‘shield’ and was used to make shields that purportedly had magickal properties. This helps shield the bearer from falling victim to the fiery kingdom as well; a sprig of aspen on the tongue was said to give a speaker the eloquence that only the Faery Queen herself possessed. It was also considered sacred to shamans who praised it because it offered shelter to many of nature’s creatures.
The Ogam associated with this tree is Eabhadh, which means ‘gathering’ and the Green Man Wisdom for this card is ‘Where All are Gathered, Strength is the Strongest’. This card, therefore, speaks to us of the bonds that form in mankind and with nature. From ancient times, man knew that they could accomplish more together than they could separately. From felling a whooly mammoth to building the Great Pyramids or Stonehenge, these endeavors could never have been accomplished by a single individual. Only when man worked together were they able to accomplish such large and otherwise daunting tasks. This card asks us to reconnect with others and form those bonds that are needed to make real change, real magick, occur. We still need the help of others and, when we put down common roots in the soil, nature responds as well to that comradery and shows us what we need to know. Any perceived weakness is dispelled when we work together to achieve a common objective and gather our riches and resources together to benefit all.
May you find that you are aided by your brothers and sisters in Spirit, and may you return that aid in kind! Blessed Be!