Myrtle – Harmony – Four of Evergreens (Wands)
Genus: Myrtus – Family: Myrtaceae
Myrtle is an evergreen tree that encourages us to slow down and connect with the harmonious cycles of life, death and rebirth to help us transform sadness and grief into love and hope.
Myrtle is the sacred tree of Adonis (Greek god of beauty and desire.) His mother Myrrha (myrtle) had been transformed into a tree before giving birth to Adonis. Aphrodite (Greek goddess of love) fell in love with Adonis, who died in her arms. His blood and her tears gave birth to anemone flowers making Adonis an archetype of the dying and rising god.
In Jewish mysticism, myrtle trees are the symbol and scent of the Garden of Eden. Myrtles are associated with the Kabbalistic Tree of Life and the sefirot Tiphereth located in the central core or “heartwood.” Here compassion integrates with judgment, creating harmony between expansion and restriction, love and strife, giving and receiving.
Myrtle is one of the four sacred species (myrtle, willow, date palm and citron) used in the Jewish celebration of Sukkot. These four plants are ceremoniously offered each day for seven days to commemorate the fall harvest and the sheltering of the Jewish people in Egypt. It is seen as a time of renewal and harmony.
Because of its harmonizing properties, myrtle was a traditional part of a wedding bouquet or given as a gift as a symbol of union.
Myrtle has been known as a medicinal tree since 2500 BCE. Hippocrates and Pliny the Elder are but a few who wrote of the health benefits of myrtle in ancient times. The common myrtle, Myrtus communis, is a native tree from the Mediterranean, Macaronesia, western Asia and the Indian subcontinent.
The myrtle tree features star-like flowers, round berries and fragrant leaves similar to eucalyptus that can be used to treat congestion. Like willow, it is high in salicylic acid, a compound in aspirin. Myrtle berries and leaves are used as spices in Mediterranean cuisine and as a substitute for pepper.
The myrtle tree can be confused with Oregon myrtle, Umbellularia californica, that grows along the Pacific Northwest in the United States. Even though they do share many similarities, they belong to two different families. Myrtlewood, also called California bay laurel, is neither a laurel nor a myrtletree.
Message: The spirit of the myrtle heralds a time of new beginnings and expansion after a period of contraction and endings. This could manifest in the form of a marriage, engagement, graduation or the birth of a child. This is a time of celebration that brings balance and harmony into our life during difficult times. We are being reminded to not judge or hold limiting beliefs about other people or events. By releasing judgement, we allow the harmony of opposites to flow naturally.
Challenge: Judging others thus restricting outcomes that hold us trapped in compromising and uncomfortable situations.