While the flowering dogwood just happens to be the state tree of Missouri (where I sit as I write), lucky for everyone else there are all kinds of dogwoods for all kinds of climates! Like man’s best friend with whom he shares his name, the dogwood (Cornus) comes in many sizes and species. Also like our canine buddies, he’s adorable, friendly, and emotionally supportive, and he’s been historically employed for a number of practical purposes.
Though extremely friendly, the dogwood can be enlisted to protect you from what you choose to exclude. He can also help you determine whom and what should be excluded. In other words, much like a dog will growl at a guest to indicate something isn’t quite right, magically working with dogwood can tip you off or emanate “back off” vibes when someone or something is not in alignment with your vibration.
For protection and boundary setting, you might plant a dogwood near your home. As you tend to the tree and build your relationship with him, begin to communicate your wish that he support you in only allowing positive visitors and conditions to enter your space. For an inner shift that will allow you to more naturally set healthy boundaries with yourself and others, take two drops of dogwood flower essence under your tongue two to three times per day. Naturally fallen parts of the tree (such as leaves or bark) can also be carried for the purpose.
Dog Communication and Healing
Although some say that the name dogwood evolved from “daggerwood”—an allusion to the historic use of the tree’s wood to make knife handles—I’m not so sure. Even if that is the origin of the tree’s name, “dogwood” stuck for a reason. After all, the dogwood’s personality is loyal, helpful, playful, and loving. He isn’t mysterious, independent, or coy like some trees, but he will energetically jump up on your lap and lick your face.
As such, if you want to communicate more clearly with dogs, visit a dogwood tree. In addition to silently communing with the tree, you might also request a bit of the tree’s bark or wood. Be sure to explain to the tree exactly why you want it, offering an agate (by placing it near the tree’s base) as an advance gift of gratitude. Then, when you receive a sense that it’s okay, gather a bit of wood or some bark and carry it to facilitate your canine communications.
The dogwood can also be magically employed for support with healing a dog companion. Visit a dogwood and request energetic support with this intention, and/or place parts of the tree (flowers, wood, or bark) in the same room as a convalescing dog.
In the Victorian language of the flowers, the dogwood tree means “endurance.” Plant a dogwood tree in your yard or sit in quiet contemplation with a dogwood tree to cultivate enduring physical and/or emotional strength or to help a romantic or family relationship to endure.
Healing the Emotions
When your emotions need healing—even if your heart is downright broken—it’s hard not to feel like you’re on the mend when a loving, cheerful dog is smiling at you adoringly and giving you the message that you’re never alone. Spending time with a dogwood tree (particularly a blossoming one) can have a similar effect. Additionally, if you need a good cry and you know of a dogwood tree where you can spend time without being disturbed, go sit against the trunk or under the branches and bawl your eyes out. Part best friend, part emotional purgative, the dogwood tree is an excellent ally when it comes to getting the heavy grief out and leaving you clean and light.
To divine whether or not someone shares your attraction, visit a blossoming dogwood not long before the sun goes down. Tell the tree whom you admire and in what way (via your feelings rather than your words), and request that the tree support you in gathering intelligence about whether or not he or she feels the same. If you sense that the tree is okay with it, respectfully snip a blossom, leaving two rose quartz crystals near the tree’s base as a thank-you gift. Return to your home and place the blossom on top of your mailbox. (You can do this even if you have a shared mailbox. If you have a mail slot or for some other reason can’t set the flower on your mailbox, place it on some other outdoor surface such as a wide fence post, fire extinguisher box, or balcony railing.) In the morning, if the blossom is still in the exact same place, your feelings are not reciprocated. If it’s blown off, fallen off, or (better yet) has mysteriously disappeared, it’s a sign that the object of your affections feels the same.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh famously wrote, “After all, I don’t see why I am always asking for private, individual, selfish miracles when every year there are miracles like white dogwood.”
Still, when you’re in need of a more personal miracle (i.e., when the options you perceive do not seem to offer a key to the outcome you desperately desire), a dogwood blossom can be an excellent magical ally. For example:
“DOGWOOD, SEND ME A MIRACLE” RITUAL
If you’re lucky enough to find a blossoming dogwood when you need it, offer the tree a green or a blue crystal by placing it near the tree’s base just before 4 p.m. Then lovingly request a blossom for the purpose of manifesting the necessary miracle. If you get an inner sense that it’s okay, right at the stroke of 4 p.m., respectfully snip a blossom and wrap it in clean white cloth. Thank the tree, return home immediately, unwrap the blossom, and place it in water on your altar. Leave it there until the miracle appears, and then return to the tree. Place the blossom and pour out the water at the base, thanking the tree heartily as you do so.
Various species of dogwood have been employed for a wide range of medicinal purposes throughout the world. For example, the bark extract from some dogwoods have been used as a substitute for quinine (from cinchona bark) for fevers. A Japanese variety of dogwood is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for a number of reasons, including dizziness and incontinence. Additionally, a dogwood native to the area near the Black Sea yields a fruit called the “cornelian cherry” (not really a cherry) that is reportedly delicious and also high in vitamin C. As such, it’s been employed like orange juice to support the immune system in warding off colds and flu.