Getting Acquainted with Healing, Protective Yews - Experiential Online Animism Class
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Getting Acquainted with Healing, Protective Yews

healing protective yews

Getting Acquainted with Healing, Protective Yews

I was in Glastonbury, England when I first encountered healing, protective yews. It makes me wistful just to think about it as those majestic, ancient yews don’t grow here. 

As I wandered around the gardens at the Chalice Well, I suddenly became very emotional. I didn’t know why. All I knew is that something (or someone) in the vicinity was putting out such loving, compassionate energy that I felt my guard go down. I felt curiously open, and I began to feel everything inside of me – not in a way that I could speak. It was deeper and went beyond words.

It wasn’t until my next visit there, the following year, that I realized it was the yew that was responsible. 

In the same garden, in the same place, I got another tug at my heart. This time I felt around until I found the source. It was a yew that has been around since Roman times!

My curiosity had now gotten the best of me. I had to get acquainted with healing, protective yews! I found that yews are said to be immortal because they are the only plant that essentially continuously give birth to themselves. They send up shoots that spout feet away that are exact DNA replicas of themselves, and so can be everlasting. The oldest known yew is 5,000 years old!

No wonder yews are associated with resurrection, healing, and Otherworld communication! 

To me, yews are the most awe inspiring tree because of their wholeness. Many creatures have a personality or strong sense. We get to know one facet of them. Yews are whole. They are both healers and protectors and destroyers.

The Pacific yew is used to cure cancer, yet most of the parts of the yew are toxic.

Yews are often found in British churchyards. Sometimes the trees were there first. Sometimes the trees were planted after, but surely the ancients knew of the spiritual energy of these trees. Yews are said to protect churches, or if planted outside your home, they protect the inhabitants from witches and evil spirits. This is another paradox because yews are highly associated with witches and magic.

Yews are ruled by Saturn, who is known as the “guardian of the threshold.” As the yew oversees the transition into menopause, death, and rebirth, this seems perfect.

The regenerative properties of yews is so widely known that those who love them refuse to cut down or remove trees that appear to be dead – even if they are hollowed out and all that is left is a stump.

If you ever get to experience the healing, protective energy of a yew, you will easily understand why they captivate. On my group’s last trip to Wales, we came upon a grove of yews. We all paused to inhale their energy. They are utterly delicious!


Laura grew up with animism. She is a co-founder of Pan Society, a licensed clinical social worker, author of Angel Whispering: How to Talk to Your Spiritual Guides and How To Be A Panist: A Guide to Creating a Modern Animist Lifestyle. She also facilitates spiritual pilgrimages. For more information about Laura Giles, see her websites at

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