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The White Poplar

The White Poplar

The Green Man Tree Oracle deck is one of many Oracle-style decks that have been created in the latter part of the 20th century up until present day. It is based on the Ogam, a runic alphabet supposedly created by the Gods through vision questing with the Universal Mind. While the Ogam is Celtic in origin, the Runic system of the Vikings was also said to have been created in this way; each was placed in the mind of the God and given to humans as a form of written communication. In fact, historically, the Vikings and Druids would have been doing simultaneous work on written communication and it is likely that they derived from the same source since, at that time in history, these cultures met frequently as they travelled throughout Northern Europe. Oddly, while both cultures prized the sea as a food source and method of traveling great distances, recognizing the power of the sea Gods to give life and take it, it was the ancient trees in which they made their homes and worshipped their Gods and Goddesses. They carved the first Ogam, or runes, on slivers of tree bark and used them for divination much as runes are used in modern day. As I share each card of the day, I will share the letter of the Ogam that is related to that particular card along with the scientific name of the Tree being shown; then we will delve into the deeper meaning of each tree’s divinatory message.

Today’s Tree card is the White Poplar and the Green Man Wisdom associated with this card is ‘Animation is the pulse of life’. Known scientifically as Populus alba, the Ogam letter representing it is ‘E’ or Edadh; the interpretation of this word is ‘animation’. The poplar has quite a unique property; its leaved constantly quiver or shake even when there is little to no wind. Christian myth says that this is because the Poplar tree was used to build the cross of Jesus Christ. White poplar rather than black poplar is said to be lucky and hold curative properties. It was sacred to the hero Hercules, and was used to make particularly sturdy ware shields. It height and shape also make it a perfect lightning rod, so poplar is often added to trees in a grove that was sacred to the Gods of thunder and storms. Both poplar and aspen are also sacred to the Goddess, Persephone, who enter the dark of the Underworld at the beginning of winter and returns to Earth at the beginning of spring, bringing with her all forms of living things. It is also said that a white poplar stands at the Gate of the Underworld. White poplar and aspen have also been used to enhance divination. both these trees are related to the Winds, which carries their messages, in the form of rustling leaves, to the four corners of the globe as well as to the reader/diviner. Thus, this is the perfect card to have chosen as the first in this divinatory format.

This card shows us that everything alive pulses with animation; just as the leaves of the poplar never come to rest, so is the vital energy of the Universe. This energy courses through us and affects the way we live. Sometimes the energy is accepted joyfully while, at other times, when our confidence has been shaken, the power of life (animation) can seem daunting, forcing us to ‘tremble before it’. We are being asked to find our natural rhythm, to join in the dance of life with power and energy. Those who are animated draw the attention of others when speaking, pulling the energy of like itself into each gesture and facial expresssion. This card encourages you to embrace your inner truth and animate that to others. This will allow you to break from statis into action and move ahead with positivity and determination.

Today, may you tremble with delight as your actions become animated with the creative energies of Spring!