Yew is often named among the most ancient trees in the world and, according to some sources, may as well be the oldest-living one. Understanding the Yew principle is crucial for understanding the Universe itself, for this wood holds a key to the mystery of Creation; thus, the importance of Yew cannot be underestimated. Not without reason Yew, not Ash, is sometimes thought to be the original 'World-tree' of Scandinavian mythology (though considering them 'the same tree' seems more appropriate).
Despite the implied greatness, Yew symbolism is rather dark. This tree is known as the death tree almost in all European countries, and its connection with destructive workings is obvious. By the way, this danger is not purely 'symbolical'; Yew is indeed very poisonous. It contains the dangerous alkaloid which can invoke hallucinations and even cause death. However, the 'death', personified by Yew, must be seen not as 'elimination', but rather as 'transformation', as gaining the new quality, or as a passage to another world. Due to that fact, Yew has a strong association with Life as well as with Death. The symbolical vitality of this tree is emphasized by some of its physical characteristics: the Yew tree's branches grow into the ground; and when the central trunk dies, the tree lives on. This fact, probably, has lead to another aspect in the Yew archetype; namely, to its 'preceding symbolism', which means connection with past and especially with ancestry (most likely, with 'ancestry through the blood', as the Yew tree personifies the material aspect of Being).
Using Yew in magical and spiritual rituals is questionable. It is very powerful tree with deep, complicated symbolism; and as such has a vide range of possible uses, especially in all workings dealing with the essential transformation. In addition to that, it can induce visions, protect from aggression, enhance magical and psychic abilities, etc. However, in most cases Yew is not recommended for magical tools. The main cause for this restriction lays not in the connection with dark works, as one can easily (and mistakenly) assume. The point is that the Yew energies are not fully manageable. They are shapeless, non-consistent, and almost 'chaotic'. The majority of people even aren't able to understand their true nature. As a result, the effect of using them can be unpredictable and often disastrous.
Anyway, it is important to remember: Yew, as the tree of Creation, symbolizes not Death, but Love (no matter how strange and illogical it may seem).
Keywords: Essential transformation, striving for life, rebirth, mystery of life, ancestry through the blood, connection with the past, darkness, chaos, power, poisonous aggression, pain, suffering, illusion, death, destruction. The main principle of created Universe and Love as the main cause of Creation.
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