The Sacred Gifts of the Yew

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The Sacred Gifts of the Yew

It’s only now we’re beginning to recapture ancient understandings around the wisdom and healing of trees. ‘I was led into the yew mystery almost 25 years ago by a solitary and ancient female yew tree in Scotland that renewed my dying body, and gave me the living template of a spiritual teaching I have named as the Yew Mysteries,’ tells Scottish shaman Michael Dunning.

‘The yew reunites us with the consciousness and sensory language of our origin in Spirit where we can be ‘touched by eternity’ and through that realize unlimited possibilities for transformation and healing.’

The yew tree has survived virtually unchanged for over 250 million years as the oldest, yet the most youthful and even ‘embryonic’ tree species in Europe with its uncanny ability to continually renew itself.The oldest known word for the yew, eya (Hittite, circa 1750 BCE) means ‘eternity’ or ‘to be touched by eternity.’ The yew offers us the opportunity to directly experience this force of ‘eternity’ and to learn how this force might be used to heal others.

The Yew mysteries, known to druids, Templars and countless others who retained a profound earth consciousness through millennia are not a human invention. The Yew mysteries are the voice of a living organism whose ‘plant’ consciousness was awakened within the amniotic waters of the ancient Earth.

The yew tree is like a magic mirror to mankind,’ Michael explains. ‘Our treatment of the yew reflects our beliefs and actions. During our earliest pre-history the mysteries of the yew reflected and symbolized balance and continuity in the forces of pre-birth, birth, death and the afterlife. When our ancestors listened to its voice they were given the World Tree and the goddess archetypes, as well as sacred laws to live by and a ritual center for the original sacred marriage between the ‘King’ and the fertile land. In the medieval period the yew was valued entirely as a weapon, the longbow, to murder and dominate. For the last 500 years humanity largely abandoned the yew. In 1960’s, it was our turn to discover the yew and we stumbled again upon its life-giving aspect, this time as a cure for cancer, and began cutting down the old yews for their bark.’

‘Over and over again the yew has sacrificed itself in order to teach us this one simple truth: We have the ability to heal. We have the ability to choose to heal. We have the ability to choose to heal our world and ourselves.‘ For more about Michael visit

Sharon Snir
Michael Dunning is an unusual and gifted healer. His refined attunement to the body, mind and environment opens many doorways to health and well-being. Joseph Goldstein, author of: The experience of Insight & Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening.