Tree Spirits | Dryad

Written by Emma Mulholland

· Emma,Ancient Energies

‘Dryad’ or ‘tree spirit’ is the name given to the higher self of a tree, just in the same way that we as humans have higher selves. The ancients called them the ‘Hooded Ones’ or ‘Many-Eyed Ones’. Within a wood, Dryads interconnect and occupy the same space harmoniously.

The size and wisdom of the Dryad will depend upon the age of the tree, but their abilities remain constant, irrespective of size. Some people can sense the energy field of a single Dryad from a great distance; particularly from a very old tree.

It has been known for Dryads to sub-divide, and the sub-divided parts contain the full wisdom of the Dryad in its original form. The sub-divided part or parts then needs something to anchor to – this is usually a seedling from which a new tree will grow.


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Some humans, although it is rare, have the knowledge and ability to persuade a Dryad to attach itself to a piece of wood that is used as a “token” for the human in question to carry with them. This is a mutually beneficial relationship: the Dryad connects with the higher self of the carrier and enhances their thought forms, and in return gains mobility. Such special tokens are known as “livewood”.

Livewood has historically been used for the wands of holy men and women, walking sticks, spear shafts and amulets, to name but a few things. Such items would carry the protection of the Dryad attached to it. Livewood used as pins used by the Druids to hold their robes together later became known as the English or Albion Knot.

During the Dark Ages, Knots were frequently worn and passed down generations. They were historically made from Oak, Blackthorn, Whitethorn, Elder, Yew, Hazel, Holly and Rowan. They enabled folk to carry a Dryad around with them.

Even earlier in history, house doors would have a resident Dryad in order to protect the house and its occupants. Care also had to be taken when erecting the structural wood of a house: the Dryad would be highly insulted if the wood wasn’t’ planted firmly into the ground in the direction that the tree would grow upwards!


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Dryads tend to be completely disinterested in humans – unless intention is directed towards them; either friendly or malign. “Chattier” Drayds tend to be found where there are wild trees growing near a spring at the intersection of ley lines.

Instinctively, I feel that suitable offerings for tree spirits would be to leave them small crystals, chocolate or cereal, a biodegradable ribbon or two tied around a branch and even a hug (if the tree grants you permission to do this – they should always be approached with respect). It also feels right and respectful to pick up any litter you may spot in and around the woodland or individual tree.