The mysterious dryads revealed

dryad fairy sculptureThe latest fairy I made was called dryad, which is a tree nymph. I had this great idea to write an article about dryads. 🙂

Nymphs are female spirits that live in places of great beauty. They represent the pure, female aspect of nature and appear as beautiful and attractive ladies. Most of the time, nymphs are half undressed and their nakedness represents their innocence. The different kind of nymphs look like each other, but each has her own task. They are all servants of the goddess of nature Diana.

The name dryad has become a general term for all spirits of the trees, but originally they were called dryads, from drys in Greek, which means oak.

They were normally considered to be very shy creatures, except around the goddess Artemis, who was known to be a friend to most nymphs. They are playful creatures who seem androgynous, though they are always referred to as female. This labeling is actually a guess, because they are nothing more than pure light and energy.

Each tree has its own spirit that is born when the tree germinates and they were believed to die together with the tree they belonged to. All these spirits give their tree a unique personality, that’s why some trees can look creepy, while others look like they’re inviting you to climb them.

Dryads are often depicted with a trunk and roots as a lower body. From the waist up they look like beautiful women. It is said that dryads can go from tree to tree, while hamadryads are connected to their tree.

Their origin lies in the celtic countries, and it were the dryads that gave the secret of tree magic to the druids.  The dryads make beautiful music with their voices, sounds that are very compelling to humans.  Dryads may have been native to Greece, where they were called drayades and were also female tree spirits. The most famous Greek dryad was Daphne, who  was pursued by Apollo and became a dryad associated with the laurel.

Dryad oracle cards

1001004006586920 Tiziana MatteraTiziana Mattera wrote a wonderful oracle about dryads, tree spirits with healing powers. Unfortunately it’s only available in Dutch, German and Italian. 44 trees were chosen to represent the dryads. I absolutely love this oracle, it comes with beautiful art drawings and some wonderful messages. Draw a card to get the message the dryads have for you. Tiziana gives you with each dryad a certain ritual.

Dryads in art

Josephine WallJosephine Wall, a lovely fantasy artist from England, made this painting, Dryad and the Treespirit, it’s one of my favourite paintings. I met Josephine in person a couple of years ago, she’s such a lovely lady. Every painting of hers is accompanied with a lovely poem, also this one:

Deep in an enchanted forest one of natures best kept secrets is revealed. As the sun lights up the leafy glade two hearts are joined in a magical embrace. The powerful tree spirit draws his dryad lover up into his arms and plants a kiss upon her willing lips. They are closely watched by spirits in the trees, rejoicing in the perfect union.

You can see more of her art here: http://www.josephinewall.co.uk

dryad and treespirit
tree spirit linda ravenscroft Linda RavenscroftI also met Linda a couple of years ago. She’s an amazing fantasy artist from England and wrote many books on how to paint fairies. (Which I have, of course 😉 ) Here’s her tree spirit:


Susan SchroderDuring my search on the web for dryads in art, I stumbled upon the amazing art of Susan Schroder. She is a photographer and traditional artist, and combines her skills to make this breath taking fantasy art.

Check out her other art here: http://www.susanschroder.com/

James Fodor tree spirit James FodorAnd last, but not least, a wonderful tree spirit by illustrator James Fodor


I hope you learned a little and see you in two weeks,

Kathleen xx


Category: Blog |

10 comments on “The mysterious dryads revealed”

  1. Hoi Kathleen ,
    het is echt genieten telkens je nieuwsbrief er is , en je werk is heel mooi
    liefs Diane xxx

  2. Heel erg leuk en interessant, Kathleen, dit stukje over dryaden. Ik ben weer wat wijzer en geïnspireerd :-). Liefs, Francisca

  3. Hoi Diane,

    dat is fijn om te horen. Ik kan er ook altijd zo van genieten als ik jouw nieuwsbrief krijg met je nieuwe elfjes!! 😀

    Kathleen xx

  4. Hoi Francisca,

    wat fijn om te horen dat je geïnspireerd bent geraakt!!

    Kathleen xx

  5. Hoi Kathleen,
    heel mooi en super gedaan. Ook de tekst is heel leuk en fijn om te lezen. Hoop dat we nog veel te zien krijgen. grtjes

  6. Hallo Kathleen,

    Wat een energie heb je! Leuk, het schrijven over de mysterieuze
    wezentjes. Houd zelf ook van mystiek, veel succes en bedankt!

    Liefs, xx. Olly.

  7. Hoi Josianne,

    bedankt hoor, is fijn om iedereen een beetje te laten mee genieten van de elfenwereld en al zijn mysteries…


  8. Hoi Olly,

    kan me voorstellen dat jij ook van mystiek houdt, ben ook altijd gefascineerd door jouw werken en de mooie verhalen eromheen.

    Kathleen xx

  9. I love all the drawings up top, I love art and I love to draw, but I could never do something like this if I try.

  10. Hi Shaniqua,

    thank you for your comment. Just keep drawing if that’s what you love, do what you love, after all that’s all that matters! 😀

    Kathleen xx