As I write, the redbud trees (Cercis) outside my windows are buzzing with bees. Though they’ve just barely begun to bloom (it’s still early in the spring), they’re already a deep, robust red, truly living up to their name. With red wine-colored blossoms in spring and summer and heart-shaped leaves that turn golden in the fall, this mid-sized gem is a giant when it comes to beauty, elegance, and charm.
Our precious friends the bees can use all the help they can get at this particular moment, and redbuds are one of the best trees you can plant to support them, as they provide an abundant source of pollen and nectar. Not coincidentally, bees are sacred to the Great Goddess or feminine aspect of the Divine, with whom the redbud is exquisitely aligned.
Feminine Power and Wisdom
Femininity is multidimensional, with facets that include both soft receptivity and intense strength. With her fine-boned frame, blood-red blooms, and swarthy survival instinct, the redbud quite accurately demonstrates this polarity. Indeed, she is aligned with the Divine Mother in all her many incarnations, and also with Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, war, and victory. Visit a redbud during the spring or summer to receive an infusion of intense feminine power and wisdom, or to help heal any old issues you may have about wielding your feminine strength. Redbud flower essence can also help with this intention.
Although the redbud is native to North America, a (North American) legend states that Judas hung himself from a redbud tree (hence the alternate name, “judas tree”), and that the deep red color of the blossoms reflects the tree’s shame at performing this role in history. Personally, I find the spreading of this rumor to be an unacceptable way to treat such a splendid and innocent tree. As we as a culture continue to heal from our famously harsh, prejudiced, and judgmental religious history, it seems appropriate that we redirect this tree’s unfair association with shame toward helping us all heal and transmute any lingering effects of religious or cultural shaming.
If you recognize such effects in your consciousness—for example if you notice shame surrounding your sexuality or gender, or if you find yourself feeling guilty simply for being alive—visit a redbud tree in spring or fall and sit near it in quiet contemplation.
The redbud has a healing, stabilizing presence on land and can help bless landscapes with lushness and splendor. In addition to simply bestowing the gift of her beauty and wisdom, she attracts bees, and her roots help enrich the soil. Energetically, she has a stabilizing presence that anchors and interweaves a sense of timeless sacredness.
Ever evolving yet always beautiful, redbud is a direct arboreal translation of an enduring romantic partnership. In early spring, she starts out with small buds of intense, passionate red, which open up to the sweet tenderness of (still hearty) pink buds. In summer, the heart-shaped green leaves speak of verdant love. In autumn (as described by author Charles W. G. Smith in Fall Foliage), “the delicate green foliage warms to chromium yellow and gold, like diffuse beacons beaming throughout the woods,” reminding us of the enduring warmth and companionship that characterize a relationship’s golden years. Plant redbud trees to support a long-term partnership or employ the blossoms or leaves in charms to attract one.