The Magical Energy of Bonsais
Bonsai is an ancient art often attributed as the creation of Japanese Zen Buddhist monks. However, while the word Bonsai was coined in Japan, the art of growing miniature trees is rooted firmly in the upper echelons of ancient China.
Bonsai in History
Known as penjing or penzai, miniature trees were exclusive to the Chinese elite and royal classes. Penjing was seen as a symbol of prestige. Eventually, Japanese diplomats and monks noticed the beauty of the little trees and how they were revered in Chinese culture and took the idea home to Japan.
In Japan, the art of miniature tree keeping was given the new name of bonsai. The name isn’t the only thing that sets penjing and bonsai apart; typically, penjing was far more ornate and elaborate, while bonsai developed as a more simplistic take. The Japanese Zen Buddhist monks cultivated the little trees in minimalist Japanese pots, and the trees themselves became the focus of the exercise. The trees came to be seen as a representation of spirituality.
Bonsai cultivation was made available to everyone in Japan and became a symbol of harmony, balance, and simplicity. Their wide use across Japanese cultural classes also meant that bonsai became more sacred and profoundly revered.
In modern times, the reverence of bonsai cultivation has turned it into a sort of sub-culture of horticulture practiced by people from all walks of life. Particularly in places where space is more of a commodity and people don’t have massive gardens, bonsai is a way to bring nature into a space. Instead of finding a place with a yard big enough for full-size trees to enjoy nature, people can now bring miniature trees into their houses.
Bonsai is also said to concentrate the energies of full-size trees. It means that if you believe in the healing power of trees, you can reap the benefits of having one in your space in a more portable and potent form. What kind of magical energies are we talking about when it comes to trees, though?
Magical Energy of Bonsais
All trees have energy, like all other living things. Trees are used in grounding rituals sometimes because of their raw natural energy. They have an inherent ability to calm the human soul in times of distress. Apart from blessing us with life-giving oxygen, trees keep us balanced and stable.
Because of bonsais’ profoundly personal and intimate growing conditions, they tend to have additional energies that their full-size counterparts don’t possess. These energies, healing properties, and ancient pearls of wisdom are passed on to the next generation of bonsai through their seeds.
Part of the energy of the bonsai trees comes from how we use them. Meditation, mantras, and quiet, reflective time while tending to bonsais lead to a different kind of energy. Adversely, having loud arguments or fits of rage in the presence of your bonsai will feed it negative energy, so as a rule of thumb, don’t release anger near your bonsai.
The spiritual aspect of bonsai care is all about redirecting energy. You tend to your bonsai and say beautiful things about yourself and your situation instead of tearing yourself down. It’s a conscious effort to start with, but it’s all about treating yourself and those around you with the same care you do your bonsai.
The Best Trees for Bonsai Cultivation
Below we look at some of the most popular choices for bonsai cultivation and their magical energies and healing properties.
Azalea is a beautiful tree that blooms in soft shades of red, white, or pink. It has come to represent feminine ideals like beauty, vulnerability, and gentleness, but also strength in how this bonsai grows. Associated with a perfect abundance of peace and happiness for your mind, body, and soul, Azalea is the perfect place to start your bonsai journey.
These pretty miniature trees go hand in hand with other aspects of feminity and the human experience, like love, intelligence, and pure passion. Azalea bonsais are the perfect gift for anyone requiring a little more of femininity’s soft but supportive touch. Bringing an Azalea into your space will likely change the energy in your home, causing it to be a more loving, harmonious, and supportive place.
The meaning of a cherry blossom bonsai is particularly profound and symbolic in Japanese culture because it is Japan’s national flower. The cherry blossom flowers only for a few days each year and blooms with light whispers of delicate pink flowers. The fleeting nature of the cherry blossom flowers stand as a reminder that life is precious and should not be wasted. It reminds us that we need to live each moment as presently as possible.
The cherry blossom is also associated with femininity and rebirth, new beginnings, and renewals of all kinds. Some cultures also associate the cherry blossom tree with endurance and mortality. With such versatile properties, the cherry blossom is a wonderful addition to any home.
This tree is an ancient Chinese symbol of harmony and good fortune. The Chinese elm is known as the tree of harmony and is associated with love, inner strength, and wisdom. It’s also revered in Chinese culture as being able to make predictions and therefore has more magical relevance than most.
The Chinese elm is a symbol of protection in China and is used for its metaphysical protection properties. As a bonsai, anyone can benefit from these magnificent trees’ harmonious, protective and wise nature.
Cedar is an essential ceremonial feature in many cultures due to its physical and metaphysical healing properties. The bonsai meaning of cedars is protection, strength, and immortality; typically, cedar trees can live for 300 years or more. The tree is also regarded as a very spiritual plant that is closely connected with prayer, meditation, and magical rituals.
Cedar is a particularly popular type of wood in magic. Wandmakers love cedarwood for their craft because of its protective properties. It’s used a lot in cleansing rituals and can also be used to consecrate sacred places. Beautiful protection charms for longevity and healthy growth are also made primarily from cedar.
While you wouldn’t harvest branches from your cedar bonsai for wand making, charms, and protective elixirs, it’s always good to know that you’re bringing a tree into your home with a long, rich history of healing and protection.
Ficus is a cheerful tree, known to be an excellent mood lifter and source of harmony and joy. Ficus are brilliant trees to keep around the home associated with abundance, new beginnings, and unity. What better form to keep it in than a bonsai?
A bonsai in your home can encourage positivity, mutual understanding with all those around you, and reduce depression. This is, therefore, also the perfect gift for anyone feeling a little bit under the weather or just to spread a little happiness around.
It comes as no surprise that this traditional Chinese tree is also called the lucky money tree. Jade is said to have an incredibly attractive energy field, attracting all the best things in life like wealth, good fortune, and happiness. Needless to say, before we can readily accept gifts from the universe, we need to ensure our chakras are aligned. Unaligned chakras leave us unbalanced and not in a state where we feel worthy of the universe’s generosity.
Jade bonsais pack a punch of note, so much so that many business owners place them at the entrances to their organizations to attract wealth and prosperity into their professional lives. Some vendors even place a small jade bonsai next to their cash registers.
The Intriguing Shapes of Bonsais
There isn’t just one way to grow your bonsais; in fact, four shapes are used extensively in bonsai cultivation. Each with its own meanings, these shapes are beautiful and suited to any bonsai you choose to grow.
A cascading bonsai, or Kengai, is grown in a deeper pot than the other types. Cascading bonsais are grown to represent a tree growing strong on the side of a mountain, stretching out toward the light. This growing pattern is achieved naturally in full-grown trees due to the weight of fallen snow or regular avalanches wherever the tree may be rooted. Therefore this growing pattern in a bonsai is seen as a representation of balance and equilibrium.
The Bonsai can be thought of as carrying the weight of your emotional needs, but it does so flawlessly and without losing an ounce of its grace and beauty. This idea of balance is brought through by rooting the bonsai in a deeper, heavier bowl. This bowl represents counterbalance and balances the bonsai out.
An upright bonsai, also called a formal upright or Chokkan, is a sign of absolute strength. This configuration is achieved when the bonsai grows upward, perfectly straight, with no bends or kinks in its trunk. An upright bonsai would also benefit from a slightly heavier pot so that it doesn’t look as though it’s rooted in thin air unless that is the aesthetic you are going for.
Known in Japan as Moyogi, informal upright is the most popular growing style in bonsai cultivation. This style can be thought of as a tree growing strong despite adversity and speaks to the human soul’s strength, determination, and drive.
Yoyogi style bonsais are achieved by bending the young trunk as it grows so that a gentle but definite s-bend occurs in the trunk. When groomed and, appropriately cultivated these are the most striking bonsais.
A slanting bonsai creates quite a striking image. Without much imagination, you can almost smell the fresh, heavy rain and electric thunderstorms that would lead to a tree leaning in such a way in nature.
These bonsais tend to be more dramatically rooted, with the roots almost seeming to cling for dear life to the soil. The reality is that these bonsais are as firmly rooted and stable as any and are purposefully grown to reflect the tumultuous forces of nature. The slanting bonsai is also known as Shakan.
Bonsais are an art form like no other. With applications in mental healthcare, self-care, magic, and other forms of spirituality, there is indeed more to these magnificent little trees than meets the eye. These trees carry the right energies to actually help us live better lives and teach us to be better to ourselves and others.
The deeper you delve into the magic and mystery of the beautiful bonsai, the more you are guaranteed to fall in love with them, and hopefully, humanity. Take a page out of the bonsais playbook and grow strong, no matter your circumstances. Water yourself with love and acceptance as you do your bonsai. Find the slivers of sunlight in your life and grow toward them.