Aspen (Populus tremula) The “Whispering Tree”, Aspen is sacred to the Native Americans, to whom it has strong solar associations. The Navajo’s Sun House Chant is associated with Aspen and the Cheyenne’s Sun Dance Lodge is built from its wood. It is also seen as protection against evil, and the Hopi smoke it ceremoniously for this purpose. “The Quaking Poplar” is also featured in Greek Myth, in Hercules return from Hades and for Zeus a sacrificial fire of aspen wood was burned for his safe return. The Greek name for Aspen is Aspis, meaning shield. The Celts used Aspen wood for making shields that were not only physical barriers between warrior and enemy, but also represented the magical and www.integrativebotanical.com protective properties of the tree. To the ancient Northern Europeans the rustling of Aspen leaves were thought to induce prophetic insight. In Mesopotamia 5,000 year old aspen leaves have been found on ancient graves. It is also mentioned as guarding the place of the mythical rebirth of the sun in Roman myth.