Root and Crown — The Bilé Tree Turned Upside Down

PaganGreen Paganism and Witchcraft

Practically anywhere you look within the various indigenous religions of Europe, you will come across the
World Tree, and in many religions of other lands too. Whether it is the World Ash, Yggdrasil, the Celtic Bilé
Tree, the stang of the Anglo-Saxon Witch, or the Celestial Pole of various traditions, rumoured to originate in
the magic and philosophy of Egypt — both Pharaonic and Coptic — the concept of a structure that both defines
and bridges between the realms is powerful and nearly universal.
As a tool of cosmology, the Tree or Pole serves a useful function, and has been expanded in the Qabalah to
become a veritable filing cabinet, route map and curriculum that is both elegant and complex. But for the
practicing modern Cunning Folk, the Tree itself is a potent tool for working magic, in addition to its use in
exploring the realms.
For many of us, the Bilé Tree is first and foremost the vertical axis of our Compass. At its root we find Annwn,
the Underworld, home of the Cauldron of Rebirth. In the middle is Abred, the physical realm, and at its crown is
Gwynvid, or Heaven. Of course, for Crafters there is often a twist to the general philosophy, and here we find
the twist to be almost literal, as the Cunning Folk like their World trees to be topsy-turvy, and invert the Tree so
that the Underworld is above, and Heaven is below. The reason for this is that the apparent paradox reveals a
Mystery, which is often referred to as the stars reflected in the water. Simply put, we are the stars reflected in
the water, and this manifests on many levels. Aleister Crowley was fond of the quote from his “Book of the
Law” that states “every man and woman is a star”, and this is another way of expressing the Mystery that
manifests in the mundane world as the fact that the carbon that is part of the molecular structure of every living
thing on earth originates in the stars and the sun, carried here across time and space. So we are literally made of
the stuff of stars.