Friday, June 21, 2019

Magic of the Mighty Oak Tree

All through my childhood, and most of my adult life, the mighty oak has been a silent but powerful friend. From childhood pastures filled with giant oaks where screeching cat owls loved to live in their hollows, and slow-moving clumsy stag beetles staggered around their roots (in Swedish, stag beetle is directly translated as “oak ox,”) to the protective oak forest surrounding my parent’s houses, the acorns falling in the autumn attracting wild boars that sometimes have scared me half to death if I startled them at night (anyone who heard the growl of a wild boar up close knows exactly what I’m talking about.)
Both practically and symbolically, the oak lends itself to protection and safety. It is the very image of strength, abundance and endurance. A mature oak can be host to over a thousand species, some of which are dependent on the oak exclusively as their living environment. The oak may reach an age of a thousand years. There’s no wonder the Celtic Druids associated oak with immortality, among many other things. In the Old Norse mythology, oak is associated with Thor, well known as the thunder-god, always ready to throw his axe in any battle he found righteous.

As a magical ally, the oak tree can help you cultivate traits such as strength, endurance, abundance and help protect you when needed. If you want to work with the oak magically, here are some things you can do:

If you feel your home needs to be more of a safe haven for you and your loved ones, go out and pick evenly long branches, preferably between one to two feet long. Bind these together with red thread, either in the shape of the five pointed pentagram, or as a solar cross. Let some of the threads hang loose from your creation so they can flow in the wind. Hang this talisman on your front door, asking the oak spirit for protection of your home.

If you are starting a new project that you want to have deep-seated, long-term positive outcome, work with – depending on season – oak leaves and/or acorns. While theses contain all the positive symbolic and energetic signatures mentioned above, in the leaves and the acorns specifically lays the potential for “all possibility.” Change up your flower vases with branches of dark green oak leaves and decorate them with red yarn, and symbols of your choice. Fill bowls of acorns, add whatever stones or little symbols that represent your wants, and if your goal involves money – as they often do – roll bills and stick them in between the acorns. Ask for the blessings of the spirits specifically attached to the oak leaves and acorns (if you’re really lucky, you may see a glimpse of them.)

If you need to be more "in the eye in the storm,” try meditating with the oak tree. This can of course be done sitting under an oak tree, but this is not necessary. Sit comfortably and envision the stem of a giant oak growing around you, “feel” the coarse bark, and know that this tree has been home to thousands and thousands of creatures without getting hurt. Envision its mighty roots going far into the ground, its massive branches spreading far above your head. Borrow some of its ancient power. Know you can be an oak anytime you like.

Enjoy your mighty ally the oak.

This piece was first published in the newsletter Magic, Writing and Marketing. It is a mid-monthly newsletter sent out by the publishers of The Echo World.  You can sign up on the website

Monday, April 29, 2019

Magic of Apple, Tree of Life and Death

From the sweet white and pink blossoms, to the rich fruits that nourishes us come fall, the apple tree is a source and symbol of richness, fertility and re-generation.

The most famous apple tree in the world was not an apple tree at all. Nevertheless, the story of Paradise, Adam and Eve, the fatal bite into the apple and all that followed is deeply embedded into the collective unconscious of humanity, at least in the Western world. Echoed in fairytales such as Snow White, the apple symbolizes both life and death. Death of innocence that is, and the awakening to a world of both richness and dangers. And most importantly, to the awakening of the world of sex.

As a magical ally, you can work with the apple tree to invoke richness, fertility, sensuality, sexuality and much more. The apple is a close friend of humankind, and its powers are usually easy to access. Here are some things you can try out:

Pick branches with apple blossoms, put them in a clear glass jar so you can also see the roots, and ask the apple tree to bless you with a deeper appreciation of your home, and the now.

Cut slices of an apple right across the fruit and take a moment to meditate on the five-pointed star that is shaped from the seed pods. This is a symbol of the Goddess. Fill a pitcher with spring water, add the apple sizes. Put the pitcher where it can be reached by moonlight overnight, preferably on a full moon night. The next day or days, drink the water respectfully, asking with each sip for health to be ingrained into your body.

Make a wand from an apple branch. Decorate it with anything that for you represents richness, sweetness and sensuality. Use the wand to bless any project, situation, or challenge that needs softening and ease.

Enjoy your ally the apple tree. May you play well all year round.

This text was first published in the newsletter Writing, Magic and Marketing. Sign up at

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Magic - The Brilliance of Birch

Tree magic is powerful and readily available to anyone. From images of the world tree, to walks in the woods, to picking their fruits and nuts; our root and branch friends are everywhere, ready to communicate, support and nourish.

Different species of trees appear in different myths and folklore. Though these may vary between cultures, somehow, a certain kind of tree usually represent a certain energy signature. If we want to work magically with trees, knowing these energy signatures can help us make the magical work strong and efficient.

Here follows one example of a tree ally we can work with. I chose the birch tree simply because its qualities are so in harmony with the very early spring.

Sometimes called The White Lady of the Forest, birch is a very important tree in North Native American lore, as well as that of Celtic, Old Norse, and Siberian lore. Its slender white stems, with mysterious blackish cracks, and almost fluorescent green leaves, has inspired our ancestors of the northern hemisphere since time immemorial and continues to inspire us today.

Greening early, branches with tiny leaf-ears, can be brought indoors to bring new life to a home, or to symbolically sweep out winter and staleness. Or, why not join into the living tradition of the Finish – use them to whip your body clean in a sauna. “Out with the old, in with the new,” is a saying that goes well with the magic of birch.

Though well known for its beauty, birch is a real fighter – sturdy and strong. It was the first tree to grow in the hardy climates where the glaciers of the ice age had receded. Its bark can be used to make protection spells, and its sap is still used to make spring tonics.

If you want to work with the birch as your magical ally, it will lend you strength for renewal, spring energies, hardiness, protection and much more. So, what are you waiting for? Go out and hug a White Lady of the Forest!

First published in our mid-monthly newsletter "Writing, Magic, and Marketing." If you want to sign up, go to: Images with courtesy of Pixabay free download.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

What Is Magic?

What Is magic? is the title of a book by Bob Makransky that I reviewed some years ago. It’s a very good book, and I recommend it warmly. What is magic? is also a general question that any publisher of an alternative and spiritual magazine has to ask themselves on a regular basis, trying to remember why on earth you’re doing what you’re doing. Cause let me tell you, it’s not because of the easy-reaping fame, glory and fortune, that’s for sure. So, I do – ask myself this question ongoingly. What is magic?
Many years ago, one of my first witch teachers – her name is Oona Ingasdotter – asked this particular question in a class I was attending. I do not remember any of the other participants’ answers. I don’t even remember my own answer. What I do remember, after having blurted out something I thought was half intelligent, is that Oona looked at me with her wise eyes and said, “Yes, I’m sure that is what magic is for you.” I mention this because, since then, I have made a point of always starting any magic or spiritual pondering with – this is what magic is for me.

For me magic is the most natural thing in the world. I have realized over the years that quite many people associate this word with crones muttering spells over a steaming cauldron in the moonlight, trying to pull the powers of fate in this direction or the other. And while I have nothing against a little cauldron spell casting every now and then, for me, magic is the absolute opposite to trying to bend fate and life your way with will and tricks. For me, magic is rather to dive into the natural forces of the world, and to communicate with them as clearly and respectfully as I can. Then to gently move the threads of the weave in directions that are good for spirits, gods, nature, plants, animals and humans, alike. The benefits of doing it this way is that when you communicate with the weave and its myriad of life form, your own energy becomes enhanced, life deepens and becomes … let’s say, more magical.

I use the word magic, but you may just as well use a word such as spiritual. I like the word magic because it binds together the material and spirit world, on all levels. There is always something you can do to change a mood set or a situation. For example, when I wake up in the morning not really feeling up to snuff for the challenges of the day, I take a moment doing candle and incense magic on the porch, moving myself gently towards a state of being that will serve me better. The effects usually stay with me all day. Or, when Michael and I have gone through a week with setbacks, we may end the week with a bonfire by the creek, throwing in sticks and written notes, and even issues of our own magazine to symbolically burn away any stagnant energies that stand in our way. For whatever reason, it always works. The words in themselves are not as important as what they mean to us. This is what The Echo World is all about – giving voices to what we mean when we talk about spiritual, and even alternative. And, as the answers are as many as there are threads in a spiderweb, it takes many writers and many different voices to just start answering it. Every month.

Just as magic, any creative act with any kind of worth to it is done in isolation. And even if I sometimes feel a little isolated and chained to my computer the days before deadline (and often the days after deadline when online publication and website updates are falling in my lap at the same time as the upcoming issue’s contributions starts pouring in, and even sometimes in between the most recent issue and the upcoming issue when Michael and I are having planning meetings on the porch … ) The Echo World is nothing but the result of one big web of threads of collaborations. The magic of The Echo World lies in all the contributors and readers of the magazine. And quite an intricate web it is. Now, throwing its threads towards the beaming, glowing, beautiful South. I’m exited about that. Not for the sake of the South, which I’m sure does just fine either way. But totally egocentrically for my own and Michael’s sake. We will have the opportunity to weave this web into new territory for us, and thus, connect new exiting threads back to us. We are opening new phonelines of communication and wait anxiously, listening closely, for the weave-of-life call backs and voice messages.
To put it more concisely, The Echo World is the result of a multitude of collaborations and intense communications. It is the result of weaving together unexpected visions, wisdoms and creative efforts from all over. Now, Michael and I are in the process of expanding these efforts. This is going to be a lot of fun. Let’s create some magic together!

This was first published as the editorial in the March issue of The Echo World

Friday, February 22, 2019

How Awakened Children Awaken Us

The Echo World's PUBLISHER'S BOOK TIP: How do you raise a child with extraordinary abilities? John Nelson addresses this question and many more in this well-written and engaging novel: The Miracle of Anna: An Awakened Child. 
Keep a lookout for a review of The Miracle of Anna, in the upcoming March issue of The Echo World.

The Miracle of Anna
“How Awakened Children Awaken Us”

Pregnant women and mothers of newborns sometimes have a glow about them. The child that they carry or nurture as infants come, to quote Wordsworth, “. . . trailing clouds of glory,” and the spiritually elevated can sense that. And while it’s natural for some to project onto their child “elevated” expectations, it is entirely another matter if that child happens to be fully awakened.  Just imagine raising a child Jesus, one in the Buddha state, or a child like the Hindu saint, Anandamayi Ma, in today’s world.
  This is the situation that faces twentysomething Maggie Langford in The Miracle of Anna when told by her guru that she carries such a child. Her instincts are to shelter and protect the sanctity of young Anna’s pure consciousness. What Maggie she did not expect is the effect her child would have on her own spiritual and psychological development. As a Hindu devotee in a small California town, she is a vegetarian, meditates, and practices yoga. But she is not prepared to have her spirit body whisked away by her daughter to a celestial haven to consult with her spiritual guide.
As it were, Maggie is accelerated by her exposure to young Anna. She goes from teaching arts and crafts at an elementary school to becoming a successful children’s book author, writing stories inspired by her child’s beingness. Of course, as a young woman, she has her own needs, but she allows Anna to “clear her chakras” and raise her energy. It lets this single mother to “have a night out” occasionally that is in alignment with her own spiritual development.
The most profound change, however, is turning a somewhat mousey young woman into a full-fledged spiritual warrior. Maggie will not tolerate anyone, from her guru to child services, and later the city’s school board, to reduce Anna to another cipher in their system. By example, in nurturing the natural development of our children’s spiritual seed, we only cultivate that expression within ourselves to the elevation of both. 
Excerpt used with permission from author:

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Magic - Runes for Shifting from Winter to Spring

February is, for many people, a difficult month to keep energy and enthusiasm levels high. We are often tired of winter and the cold. We are ready for spring, but not quite there yet. In both regular media and the so-called New Age media articles usually start to appear at this time of year about detox and energy boosters, such as special diets, fasting or use of aromatic oils. On a magical level you can also use tools such as colors, tarot cards and visualization to help boost you into a more spring-oriented level of being and shake off that muggy slow winter feel. Being a rune nerd, I personally love to engage these age-old signs for focused magic work. Here follows my suggestion of three runes you can meditate on, make a drawing of or simply sit with for awhile to prepare for the shift between winter and spring:

Rune of Joy: Allow yourself to be filled with joy, contentment and a general feeling of awe. Spring is coming, but the year is still at its very beginning. This is also a wish rune, so mind your thoughts and make sure that your wishes and visions are lined up with what you truly want. An excellent way to work with the Rune of Joy is to draw it on a piece of paper using light colors such as pink and sunny yellow, or even better – draw it in glitter and hang it somewhere you can be reminded of its qualities every day.

Rune of Ice: While the coldness of winter is still lingering, use the Rune of Ice to slow down, breath deep and clarify where you are going. This rune is the very back-bone of the whole rune row and can help us remember what is the back-bone in our lives. Draw the rune in strong black strokes, add light blue and silver and meditate on its strength.

Rune of Cattle: The last rune of the Uthark, the Rune of Cattle, is also called the Rune of Richness. With this rune you can draw all those good things to you that you need. It stands for new beginnings, abundance, social success, sexual energy and more. Draw the rune in strong earthy and fiery colors and feel its power coming flowing into your life.

This text was first published in The Echo World mid-monthly newsletter Writing, Magic, and Marketing. Sign up at: