The New Year may be in January but personally, I feel like the spirit of it lives in the fall. Bare trees, crunchy leaves, harvest and the mystical time when spirit feels near all signal to me a time to retreat and contemplate my next steps forward.
During the last New Moon, I decided to make a wishing tree as a way to help me visualize my intentions for the coming months. My knowledge of wishing trees is very limited and basically comes down to my seeing them on Pinterest in the various wedding ideas that pop up in my feed. I’m not getting married since that knot has already been tied but nonetheless Pinterest appears to assume my interest in ceremony and ritual is nuptial so it keeps me abreast on all things bride. I don’t mind because there are some amazingly creative designers out there who dream up beautiful ideas. The wishing tree is one I fell in love with.
I loved it so much I chose to make it the center of my New Moon ceremony and it was a perfect fit. The textures and smells were rich and soulful. Painting simple symbols was cathartic and pulled out a primal connection to imagery and my subconscious. Holding the wood connected me to the earth and made me feel as though I was whispering my wishes to Mother Nature herself. The earthy scent of the moss mixed with the sweet and bold aromas of the oils and spices pulled me right into the moment and held me there with warmth and magic. Even tying my wishes to the branches was enchanting.
You could create this tree as a simple craft or you could do as I did and make an entire ceremony out of it. Either way, you’ll be left with a pretty tree where your wishes happily hang to remind you there is always room in life to dream.
I will show you the steps I took to make my wishing tree but bare in mind that near the end of this post I’ve included a handy dandy ‘recipe’ you can print. My very lovely web designer, Katy Martin of Tall Poppies Design, just added this recipe feature to my blog and I love it. If you want an easy to print step-by-step summary of my art based rituals and ceremonies, I think you’ll love this new feature too.
The steps to create the tree were simple but they did take a bit of time. After gathering all my materials and setting my spiritual space, I painted my intentions on wood rounds that my wonderful husband cut for me from fallen branches in our back yard.
I then painted a terra cotta pot white so I could write my prayers and intentions on it.
Next I filled the pot with pieces of a dry foam brick and inserted some branches I picked up in the woods near my home. I wasn’t too persnickety about placing the foam. Perfection is not really my thing. Capturing the feelings is more important to me so as you can see, sometimes I’m a little messy about it.
After the branches were firmly in place, I added some moss. I like the look of moss plus I thought it would be a great base to add my herbs, spices and oils to.
After all these preparations were completed, I gathered the herbs, spices and oils I wanted to use in this Wishing Tree. In the instructions you can print below, I included the spices, herbs and oils I would use as a base for the Wishing Tree but if you want to make your own Wishing Tree, you’re going to want to add your own magical elements depending on the wishes/intentions you are making. For instance, if your wishing tree is relationship centered, you’ll want to use elements that symbolize and inspire a harmonious love life. If your wishing tree is prosperity centered, the elements you include will obviously be to attract wealth and success.
There are tons of sites and books that describe the magical properties of different plants, oils, stones, herbs etc. so you can easily find elements that will work for you. I would also include elements that are meaningful to you. The whole Wishing Tree ritual is, to me, a way to dig deep in your soul and pull out what you really want and a way to slowly and mindfully tap into the emotions your wishes evoke. For that reason, choosing stones, oils, charms, plants and flowers that mean something to you is just as important as choosing elements that have a magical history.
If you’re not magically inclined and would prefer to create this as an art ritual, you can simply skip this next step.
This was one of my favorite parts of creating the Wishing Tree because it made the room smell so good. I added things like pepper and Frankincense and Star Anise and the scents engaged me body, mind and heart.
When I was done adding all my magical elements, the base of my tree looked as good as it smelled.
The final step was to tie my wishes to the tree. With each knot, I prayed and communicated with spirit. This was the most magical and therapeutic step for me. I received some helpful insight from my spirit helpers and felt their support as I cried and moved through some emotions the ritual was evoking.
I tied all the wishes at the same height simply because I liked the look of all the wishes hanging together but I just as easily could have tied them everywhere around the tree.
When I was done, I sat in prayer and gratitude and thanked spirit for being with me. The tree has now become a representation of not only my wishes but the conversation and healing I shared with my angels and God. Now it sits in my home and every time my eyes happen to glance in its direction, my heart immediately feels warm and cherished.
I shared the idea of painting our intentions or wishes on wood rounds with my Moon Sisters Art and Ceremony Circles. Although we didn’t make the tree, they each decided they will hang their wooden wishes in their gardens, yards or on their Christmas trees. Here’s a look at their pretty wooden wishes.
Here is the New Moon Wishing Tree ritual and step-by-step instructions.
- wood rounds
- white paint
- black paint
- terra cotta pot
- dry foam brick
- black permanent marker
- Cloves for protection (optional)
- Frankincense for manifestation (optional)
- Peppermint for luck (optional)
- Sandlewood for renewal (optional)
- Ginger for joy (optional)
- Dried dandelion for wish fulfillment (optional)
- Paint your terra cotta pot white.
- Decide on the number of wishes you would like to hang from your tree and choose that amount of wood rounds. I chose 12 wood rounds to paint and I found 3 additional wood rounds that had naturally occurring images in them already which felt like spirit's way of making a few wishes for me so I included those also.
- Light a candle and journal with spirit about your intentions then paint a resolution, goal, intention or wish onto each wood round.
- Write your prayer or letter to spirit with permanent marker onto your white terra cotta pot.
- Fill your pot with dry foam.
- Insert your branches in the pot.
- Add moss over the dry foam.
- If you are creating this as a ritual or spell, now is the time to add your magical elements. You can include the ones listed above or include your own. You can also add charms and crystals.
- Tie your wood rounds to the tree. As you tie each knot, visualize your intentions and concentrate on the feelings they evoke.
- End in gratitude.