Other names: Called Mimosa in Italy and Russia (and other parts of Europe where it is cultivated). Not actually Mimosoideae, but belonging to the same family. The Queensland Silver Wattle is Acacia podalyriifolia with distinctly different leaves.
Where: Southeastern Australia (fairly common)
Planetary Correspondence: Saturnian ♄ (Tellurian)
For Work With:
- The Dead/Ancestors/Foremothers: the easily obtained tree sap, collected and dried is an excellent ghost corn by itself and smells of just burning/toasting crusty bread in the oven when burnt;
- Offerings to female spirits, foremothers, particularly the flowers which are very sweet smelling;
- Finding paths, hidden entrances, “staying on track”;
- Used as an symbol for International Women’s Day (March 8) in parts of Europe, an excellent addition to working for women, strength, independence, endurance; and,
- Symbols and offerings for Spring festivals and celebrations.
Silver Wattle is the tree that really taught me that the work works. It was one of the first plants I did work with, completely by accident. New comers to the path, particularly those focused on altered states of consciousness, are always told this “keep at it, keep working, ‘it’ will come…” I was still a student, snug under the wing of my teacher when I moved to my current home. The backyard is as pedestrian as I’ve ever had; weeds, bush-rock and dirt. With the exception of the single wattle tree on the other side of my back fence. It was there that I set up a pile of bush rocks that serve as my offering stone, the place at which I dedicated to the ground all offerings, red meals etc. to all spirits. It is also the place at which I set my weekly offerings, specifically, and generally, to the spirits of Land in my local area.
The tree itself is split down the middle, but seemingly undeterred by the glaring break straight down the middle of the main trunk. Like most wattle trees of the semi-suburban bush so close to a fence, it’s lucky it’s still there, and scruffy. So scruffy looking. Soon enough underneath it I secured an old cake tin to the fence to leave the extra offerings for the brush-tailed possums and birds that show great interest in my activities at the base. A bowl of water now permanently sits there for the little wrens and finches and things. I secured a brush-tailed possum skull to a branch as I began working more closely with those little beings, and in time a host of ribbons and rags adorned it branches as festivals came and went.
I never set out to work with this species of tree specifically. When the blossoms came in the spring I took some for my Shrines, as offerings. We talked. Or rather, I talked to it. As one does. I like trees.
Honour the Land, make your offerings, and accidentally focus so much energy on one spot, and one day, when you’re sitting on the floor meditating, quite innocently, a spirit that grows and lives in the Land at that spot will walk in and scare the hell out you.
That’s pretty much how it went. There have been few times when something has been so powerfully present, immediate. It’s impossible for me to describe that, I don’t know I’m poetic enough, but I can share what I learned to do with it, in a more practical sense.
In the first place, I went out the next day and collected the sap where it had bled and collected on the bark. I consider it an excellent ‘winter food’. During the summer months I collect it and burn it singularly at Hallowmas as an offering to my Beloved Dead. I learned on further research that in fact the sap is eaten by possums as a carbohydrate substitute during the winter. I found that, on top of it being a preferred ghost corn, the Spirit of this tree is a particularly excellent ally when looking for paths, ghost-roads and hidden entrances into underworld locations. Once I started working with the tree specifically, it felt like the whole space beneath my offering stone changed into a veritable hole in the Land.. I also began blending its leaves, flowers and resin with myrrh and frankincense as a more general loose incense for working with ancestors to great effect.
It was one of those things that surprised me. The bright yellow blossoms of the various wattle trees just scream SPRING and sunshine all over the continent. And there is an element of that certainly. But I didn’t expect its strong underworldly aspect, almost blackthorn-like. It demonstrated to me that not all wattles (close to 1000 species in Australia alone, not to mention the ones giraffes eat!) are not all the same or as obvious in their correspondence. It is likely that many species are like the Silver Wattle, I often think that about Black Wattle (Acacia mearnsii) which is equally invasive and very, very similar to look at. My first instinct tells me that our national emblem The Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha) might reveal itself to be quite the opposite in nature. And it is likely that those species that are much thornier have a darker nature still.