In the Garden
Atlas Cedar (Cedrus atlantica)
*Also known as blue Atlas cedar
Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana)
*Also known as eastern red cedar and red juniper
In addition to being a type of tree, cedar is a term that refers to conifers (cone-bearing trees) that have fragrant wood. Reaching forty to sixty feet tall, the Atlas cedar is a true cedar that was imported to North America. Young trees have a pyramid shape; older ones become flat-topped. Its one-inch long needles curve toward the tips of branches and range in color from dark green to silvery-blue. The cylindrical cones grow to about three inches long and sit upright on the branches.
The red cedar is not a true cedar, but a type of juniper. Growing thirty to sixty-five feet tall, it has a dense conical shape. Its dark blue, scale-like foliage sometimes turns brownish green in the winter. This tree produces small, yellowish male pollen cones and green female seed cones that develop into blue juniper berries. Like other junipers, it has separate male and female trees. The wood of this tree is popular for cedar chests. In addition, essential oil is extracted from the wood of both of these trees.
The genus name of true cedars, Cedrus, comes from the Arabic word kedron, meaning “power.” 117 In ancient Egypt, cedar oil and incense was used for an offering to the gods. According to Native American folklore, the legendary Thunderbird was believed to nest in a cedar tree high in the mountains.
The scent of cedarwood stimulates dream work and strengthens psychic abilities with focus and clarity. Burning a little wood supports element magic, clairvoyance, and all forms of divination while offering psychic protection. It also aids in communicating with spirits. Use boughs to sweep ritual areas, and keep a few small sprigs with your magic tools for purification.
Use the foliage in spells to attract love or to keep a lover faithful. Burn a little piece of wood for inspiration or when seeking peace of mind. Make a reed diffuser (see the entry in “February” for instructions) with cedarwood oil to foster tranquility in your home.
These trees are associated with all four elements. Their astrological influence comes from Jupiter, Mercury, and the sun. They are associated with the following deities: Arianrhod, Artemis, Astarte, Baal, Brigid, Ea, Odin, Osiris, Persephone, and Ra.