Writing About Herbal Correspondences: Sheoak

Monday May 25, 2020

Most witchy resources are really Euro-centric and/or US-focused, which means there’s very very little information on magical uses of native Australian plants. As such, I’ve been working on my own grimoire of Aussie herbs, which has been an interesting challenge, when you don’t have those traditional/witchy resources.

I’ve noticed during this process that most resources just give you a list of associations and leave it at that, so I thought I’d share some of the reasoning behind things as well. I hope this might help some folks get better understandings of some plants’ existing/traditional associations, as well as helping to create some of your own. So here’s some of my thought process, using sheoak as an example.

Sheoak refers to the entire Casuarinaceae family but this is based on the species of Casuarina and Allocasuarina that are native to South-Western Australia.

Two sheoaks by the water in Queens Gardens, Perth

Element: Water

Sheoaks often grow around or near water. They also have a soft, feminine, energy.

Planets: Neptune and the Moon

As well as the water association, sheoak has a very healing, nurturing energy. It also has a strong spiritual connection: Aboriginal peoples believed that the wind whispering through the leaves was the whispering voices of the spirits and ancestors. As such, I feel like it feels like both a Lunar and Neptunian plant.

Zodiac: Cancer

The nurturing and lunar energy makes Cancer a logical match.

Day: Monday

Monday is ruled by the moon. It also is reflective of the same feminine, healing energies sheoak gives off.

Sabbat: Samhain

Sheoak is associated with Samhain due to its traditional association with spirit/ancestor connection/communication.

Female sheoak flowers, as photographed in Kings Park, Perth

Magical Properties:

Noongar women used to give birth on the soft carpet of needles under sheoak trees. They’d also place babies under the tree to help them fall asleep, and the needles were often used as a soft bedding layer in mia mias. As such, it makes sense to associate it with fertility (especially feminine fertility, which it’s also often linked with due to the fruits being similar in shape and size as ovaries), motherhood, and family.

The beliefs surrounding sheoak and ancestors lead me to associate it with spirituality and intuition. Noongar people also believed that the needles falling on their face was healing tears from the ancestors, so it’s also linked with healing.

Between the historical/traditional aspect, and my own experience with these trees, I also feel very strong energies surrounding balance, tranquillity, compassion, and a calm, inner wisdom.

This was written as a companion piece to my Sheoak grimoire entry, which contains more information.

Sheoak branches laden with fruits, photographed against the sky in Queens Gardens, Perth

Nb: Magical associations are my own, based on my personal experience with plants of this family, and impacted by my location (in South-Western Australia, on Wadjuk Noongar land). Indigenous uses are based on the books “Noongar Bush Medicine” (2016) and “Noongar Bush Tucker” (2019) by Vivienne Hansen.