Thuja plicata The cedar tree has been revered for its spiritual significance for thousands of years. Its wood was used for the doors of sacred temples and burned in cleansing ceremonies for purification. Cedar has a long history of use in indigenous sweat lodge ceremonies and the tree was thought to house important gods and to be an entrance to higher spiritual realms.
Cedar is first and foremost a medicine of protection. It is often used to cleanse a home when first moving in, inviting unwanted spirits to leave and protecting a person, place or object from unwanted influences. Cedar is often used in the sweat lodge ceremony. A few pinches are thrown on the red-hot rocks, immediately sparking into a yellow glow and releasing their aroma. The smoke of burning cedar is said to attract the good spirits and eliminate negative energies.
The cedar is also one of the four sacred plants of the indigenous American Medicine Wheel and represents the Southern direction. The other plants contained in the Medicine Wheel are: White Sage representing the West, Sweetgrass representing the North, and Tobacco representing the East.