How to Create a Sacred Grove 🌀

How to Create a Sacred Grove

This method for creating a sacred grove is from Josephine McCarthy’s Magic of the North Gate. I have used it before, with success. Mostly. I accidentally opened it on top of a dormant underworld portal (complete with maggot people) and @norse900 had to hold my hand through cleaning up that mess :sweat_smile:

I initially opened the grove to improve my spirit communication skills. Following this experience, I would recommend having these skills in advance. The book is not a troubleshooting manual.

Note: if this (or something related) happens to you, I recommend capping off the portal with a gate (created repetitively in inner vision) and bringing in a corresponding entity to regulate. I refer to the underworld portal next to the grove I opened as Hekate’s Mouth to solidify her authority over the gate, much like our ancestors named the lands they cleared Odin’s Field and the like to call upon the protection of the gods against angry land spirits.

Establishing a sacred space requires identifying a power spot, tuning it to a working pattern, bringing in land spirits, ancestors, and elemental powers, and weaving them all together in a balanced and harmonic pattern. How you construct the sites inner and outer aspects, the beings you work with, and the actual work you do in the space will decide how successful the site will become. It is all a matter of keeping balance, working respectfully with the spirits, and cooperating rather than commanding.

(Josephine McCarthy)

Step One: Locate an Energy Hotspot

If you have not already been drawn to an “energy hotspot” in your natural surroundings, you can search for one. McCarthy distinguishes between “output” spots of healing and rejuvenating energy, and “input” spots of cthonic, disease, and storm energy (which feel more sinister). You can open a grove in either, drawing energy down from the former and up from the latter.

I have found this distinction to be overly simplified. If you find an “output” spot, it may very well be masking a sleepy or nocturnal “input” spot! This is how my little disaster started.

Step Two: Anchor Point Construction

Sit in your hotspot and determine where energy flows in and out of the gate, using meditation and inner vision. Visualise yourself walking clockwise around the space and use this inner vision to create gateways where the energy enters and exits.

Stay focused and repeat this process several times. This may take minutes, hours, days, or weeks.

Step Three: Call in Spirits

Bring a compass / app!

Walk clockwise from the entrance to the nearest cardinal direction. Once you are facing in that direction, enter inner vision and visualise a standing stone marking it’s place.

Note: McCarthy says to visualise standing stones, like a henge. I don’t see why you should limit yourself. Some of the stones I have visualised have taken stylised animal shapes as I have used the grove over time.

Look into the inner landscape of the land, and use your physical voice and magical intent to call for a spirit to work with you and help you establish the grove. Visualise a spirit coming towards you. Do not force / altar it’s appearance.

Once the spirit, your inner contact, reaches you, introduce yourself. Tell it your name(s), your ancestors, your homeland, your current residence, and your intentions. Negotiate as needed. If no spirit comes, simply continue (clockwise) to the next direction.

Repeat for all cardinal directions and the gate stones (guardian spirits)

Step Four: Ritual Construction

Ask each inner contact to guide you to a physical stone that can be brought to the grove and function as both a boundary and a spirit home for them. It should be collected from the apporiate direction, and may be very far off. Do this also for the gate stones!

Many stones are already inhabited by spirits. Do not just take a stone! Check for occupation and negotiate as needed. I had to give a fae a gift from the local river spirit to get one of the stones I needed.

Thank you River Spirit :ocean::dragon::horse:

Set the stones in the corresponding cardinal directions, always entering through the grove entrance, not the exit. Place your hands on the stone and, in inner vision, invite the spirit into the stone. Visualise them passing through you. They are not trapped there, but many come and go as they please.

Step Five: Seal the Threshold

Stand at the gate, aware of the spirits surrounding you. Call out to the wind:

“I have built this sacred temple of the land with the rocks of the earth, with the spirits of the land, and by the will of my heart. I ask that you- wind that blows through the land, wind that brings weather, wind that brings life- bear witness to this sealing. I ask the sun and the stars above, the sun that brings warmth and strength to us, and the stars that seed the future of all things, to witness this sealing. I ask the great Mother beneath my feet- She who gives of her Stones, She who birthed me, She who holds all the ancestors in her rich earth- I ask the great Mother to witness this sealing. This is the threshold of the sacred grove, and I ask the guardians to uphold this space. None who have destructive or unbalanced intent may enter, but those who love the land and wish to serve shall be upheld within this space.”

Spill a bit of your own fresh blood between the two guardian stones at the entrance. It is a signature, and blood-tie, and a boundary, not an offering.

For info on how to actually work the grove, I recommend the book :slight_smile:


I picked up this one and one on healing by McCarthy last time I saw you mention this and I’ve totally forgotten about it!


Seems I accidentally almost created a sacred grove without knowing it.

Our yard already had a white cedar (thuja occidentalis) and eastern red cedar (juniperus virginiana) on it and then I planted an oak and a bit later an apple tree (there’s also a seemingly indestructible white mulberry that grew up in a place where it isn’t accessible to cut) and out side yard neighbor has allowed a hawthorn up through a lilac which is replacing the lilac by crowding it out).

We also have a row of yews along the driveway.

So without meaning it intending it my yards got oodles of sacred trees/shrubs in and around it.

So I think a list of sacred trees would be a cool thread to add and link to this one about creating a sacred grove (if anyone knows what all trees and shrubs are classed sacred).

Add: Coincidentally, without intent the white cedar, red juniper, oak and apple sort of line up as an imperfect triangle shape.


Well, I think the trouble is that is going to vary by culture. Every place that has native forestry will have their own beliefs and associations.

We could probably put together something generic, but what you find here locally in pa, versus where I came from in Ok Versus say…. Anywhere not North America, and we probably have some differences just because what is native is different- if that makes sense.

Like think about produce, and how it’s all not all native, some of its seasonal etc- so what is considered sacred will have some variation by location similar to what you might find produce wise…

Also, some would argue all plants and animists and things are sacred…

We can definitely start a list of someone likes, but it might make sense to break it up into segments or something to make it easier to find what you are looking for? Idk just bouncing off your idea with one of to add to it maybe.


True though some tree species are almost universal.

Oaks for example are found native in Europe, Asia and North America I think they’re introduced to Australia and some parts of South America the cooler parts like Argentina if I’m not mistaken). Juniper is found Alaska to Florida California to New York though the species changes with the Zone and species of it are native through almost all the northern hemisphere except I think not native on Iceland.

If you hit on the ones grown or known globally there are probably correspondences in sacredness (in all cultures) for those species.

As to my own accidental grove I tried drawing on a meme generator but I suck at drawing on screen with my finger but here’s what I gut



So you see I accidentally created a grove. I love my oak though :slight_smile: my apples on the other hand are an aggravation cuz critters steal all the fruit before I can get even 1 apple. Add: wish the critters would leave me 5 or 6 apples though. Then I could eat or make pies with them (I bought the apple trees to get fruit for making pies)