The many varieties of viburnum appear as shrubs or small trees with enchanting, delicate, often sweetly fragrant white or pink flowers. Vibrationally supportive of both focus and deep relaxation, this priestess of the garden and wild places can help support us when a calm, clear mind is of the essence, or anytime we want to bring our mind, body, and spirit into greater alignment.
Please note: When gathering bark from a viburnum tree for medicinal and/or magical purposes, be careful to take only a little bit. Taking too much can harm or kill the tree.
If you take a moment to tune in to the wisdom of a viburnum, you’re likely to find that your breathing naturally begins to deepen. Considering that viburnum opulus—also known as cramp bark—is employed in herbal medicine for support with breathing difficulties such as asthma and shortness of breath, it’s particularly interesting that viburnum’s berries and blossoms often closely resemble alveoli (microscopic structures within our lungs that are instrumental in receiving oxygen). As such, you might meditate near a viburnum or plant one in your yard for support with breathing deeply on a regular basis. For medicinal support with breathing challenges, consider employing a tincture of cramp bark.
Walter’s viburnum (Viburnum obovatum) is also known as small-leaf arrowwood, and archers have employed viburnum to fashion arrows since ancient times. In addition to literally helping archers hit their mark, this symbolism translates to helping us focus on and achieve our goals. Not to mention, viburnum’s relaxing vibration can help us to simply calm and focus our minds, and to bring our minds into harmony with our bodies and breath.
Viburnum prunifolium (also known as black haw) and Viburnum opulus (also known as cramp bark) are both employed in herbal medicine as muscle relaxants and to soothe pain related to arthritis, menstrual cramps, and muscle cramps or spasms. Similarly, gazing at the flowers or spending time in quiet contemplation with a viburnum can help soothe the tension that can be the cause of many headaches and digestive discomfort as well as some shoulder and back pain. While our daily, tension-inducing activities might be described as masculine and solar in their orientation, the viburnum is feminine and lunar, which makes her an appropriate medicine for our times.
Passage Between the Worlds
In Ukraine Viburnum opulus (cramp bark) is known as kalyna and is honored as the most sacred of plants. In addition to being aligned with all aspects of femininity, this bright, red-berried plant is seen as a doorway between the worlds of form and spirit, known and unknown, and the living and the dead. Plant this species of viburnum to commemorate the life of a loved one who has transitioned; the tree can act as a doorway of communication with this person, providing a portal between this world and the other side.
As you might have gathered from the above entries, viburnum is an excellent ally to enlist for help with relaxation of all varieties. While the bark of the species mentioned above can physically help relax the muscles and deepen the breathing, the vibration of all viburnum species is generally soothing and stress-relieving. Her simple presence can be a priceless medicine for this purpose, as can taking two to three drops of her flower essence three times per day.