The Celtic Tree Month of The Birch

 

The Celtic Tree Month of The Birch

December 24 – January 20

 

The Celtic meaning of the birch tree deals with:

  • Growth
  • Renewal
  • Stability
  • Initiation
  • Adaptability

 

Listen closely and you will detect whispers of transformation and growth in the midst of the birch groves within your soul.

The birch is highly adaptive and able to sustain harsh conditions with casual indifference. Proof of this adaptability is seen in its easy and eager ability to repopulate areas damaged by forest fires or clearings. Bright and beautiful, the birch is a pioneer, courageously taking root and starting anew to revive the landscape where no other would before.

This is a powerful metaphor for our lives. The birch asks us to philosophically go where no other will go (voluntarily or otherwise). The birch asks us to take root in new soils and light our lives with the majesty of our very presence. The birch sings to us: “Shine, take hold, express your creative expanse, light the way so that others may follow.”

Paradoxically, while the birch is a brilliant symbol of renewal, it is also symbolic of stability and structure. The druids also held the birch as the keepers of long-honored traditions.

Associated with the sun, the birch is a solar emblem, and facilitates passion, energy, as well as growth. This solar association is paralleled when we learn the druids carried birch bark with them as kindling. Birch serves as a perfect igniter as it will start to burn even when damp. This makes it a prized fire starter over most other wood types.

Here again, this makes for a perfect analogy. The birch asks us to serve our fellow man with a fire in our hearts. In this respect, the birch reminds us that even if our spirits are dampened by the set backs in life, we can always catch fire from the spark of passions that drive us to divinity.

 

Whats-Your-Sign.com

The Ancient Druids

The Ancient Druids

In about 750 CE the word druid appears in a poem by Blathmac, who wrote about Jesus saying that he was “…better than a prophet, more knowledgeable than every druid, a king who was a bishop and a complete sage.” The druids then also appear in some of the medieval tales from Christianized Ireland like the Táin Bó Cúailnge, where they are largely portrayed as sorcerers who opposed the coming of Christianity. In the wake of the Celtic revival during the 18th and 19th centuries, fraternal and Neopagan groups were founded based upon the ideas about the ancient druids, a movement which is known as Neo-Druidism.

According to historian Ronald Hutton, “we can know virtually nothing of certainty about the ancient Druids, so that—although they certainly existed—they function more or less as legendary figures.” However, the sources provided about them by ancient and medieval writers, coupled with archaeological evidence, can give us an idea of what they might have performed as a part of their religious duties.

Druid History

One of the few things that both the Greco-Roman and the vernacular Irish sources agree on about the druids was that they played an important part in pagan Celtic society. In his description, Julius Caesar claimed that they were one of the two most important social groups in the region (alongside the equities, or nobles), and were responsible for organizing worship and sacrifices, divination, and judicial procedure in Gaulish, British and Irish society. He also claimed that they were exempt from military service and from the payment of taxes, and that they had the power to excommunicate people from religious festivals, making them social outcasts. Two other classical writers, Diodorus Siculus and Strabo also wrote about the role of druids in Gallic society, claiming that the druids were held in such respect that if they intervened between two armies they could stop the battle.

Pomponius Mela is the first author who says that the druids’ instruction was secret, and was carried on in caves and forests. Druidic lore consisted of a large number of verses learned by heart, and Caesar remarked that it could take up to twenty years to complete the course of study. There is no historic evidence during the period when Druidism was flourishing to suggest that Druids were other than male. What was taught to Druid novices anywhere is conjecture: of the druids’ oral literature, not one certifiably ancient verse is known to have survived, even in translation. All instruction was communicated orally, but for ordinary purposes, Caesar reports, the Gauls had a written language in which they used Greek characters. In this he probably draws on earlier writers; by the time of Caesar, Gaulish inscriptions had moved from the Greek script to the Latin script.

The Druid’s Religious Practices & Philosophy

Greek and Roman writers frequently made reference to the druids as practitioners of human sacrifice, a trait they themselves reviled, believing it to be barbaric. Such reports of druidic human sacrifice are found in the works of Lucan, Julius Caesar, Suetonius and Cicero.Caesar claimed that the sacrifice was primarily of criminals, but at times innocents would also be used, and that they would be burned alive in a large wooden effigy, now often known as a wicker man. A differing account came from the 10th-century Commenta Bernensia, which claimed that sacrifices to the deities Teutates, Esus and Taranis were by drowning,mhanging and burning, respectively.

Diodorus Siculus asserts that a sacrifice acceptable to the Celtic gods had to be attended by a druid, for they were the intermediaries between the people and the divinities. He remarked upon the importance of prophets in druidic ritual:

“These men predict the future by observing the flight and calls of birds and by the sacrifice of holy animals: all orders of society are in their power… and in very important matters they prepare a human victim, plunging a dagger into his chest; by observing the way his limbs convulse as he falls and the gushing of his blood, they are able to read the future.”

There is archaeological evidence from western Europe that has been widely used to back up the idea that human sacrifice was performed by the Iron Age Celts. Mass graves found in a ritual context dating from this period have been unearthed in Gaul, at both Gournay-sur-Aronde and Ribemont-sur-Ancre in what was the region of the Belgae chiefdom. The excavator of these sites, Jean-Louis Brunaux, interpreted them as areas of human sacrifice in devotion to a war god, although this view was criticised by another archaeologist, Martin Brown, who believed that the corpses might be those of honoured warriors buried in the sanctuary rather than sacrifices.Some historians have questioned whether the Greco-Roman writers were accurate in their claims. J. Rives remarked that it was “ambiguous” whether the druids ever performed such sacrifices, for the Romans and Greeks were known to project what they saw as barbarian traits onto foreign peoples including not only druids but Jews and Christians as well, thereby confirming their own “cultural superiority” in their own minds. Taking a similar opinion, Ronald Hutton summarised the evidence by stating that “the Greek and Roman sources for Druidry are not, as we have received them, of sufficiently good quality to make a clear and final decision on whether human sacrifice was indeed a part of their belief system.” Peter Berresford Ellis, a Celtic nationalist who authored The Druids (1994), believed them to be the equivalents of the Indian Brahmin caste, and considered accusations of human sacrifice to remain unproven,whilst an expert in medieval Welsh and Irish literature, Nora Chadwick, who believed them to be great philosophers, fervently purported the idea that they had not been involved in human sacrifice, and that such accusations were imperialist Roman propaganda.

Druids And The Irish Culture

During the Middle Ages, after Ireland and Wales were Christianized, druids appeared in a number of written sources, mainly tales and stories such as the Táin Bó Cúailnge, but also in the hagiographies of various saints. These were all written by Christian monks, who, according to Ronald Hutton, “may not merely have been hostile to the earlier paganism but actually ignorant of it” and so would not have been particularly reliable, but at the same time may provide clues as to the practices of druids in Ireland, and to a lesser extent, Wales.

The Irish passages referring to druids in such vernacular sources were “more numerous than those on the classical texts” of the Greeks and Romans, and paint a somewhat different picture of them. The druids in Irish literature—for whom words such as drui, draoi, drua and drai are used—are sorcerers with supernatural powers, who are respected in society, particularly for their ability to perform divination. They can cast spells and turn people into animals or stones, or curse peoples’ crops to be blighted. At the same time, the term druid is sometimes used to refer to any figure who uses magic, for instance in the Fenian Cycle, both giants and warriors are referred to as druids when they cast a spell, even though they are not usually referred to as such; as Ronald Hutton noted, in medieval Irish literature, “the category of Druid [is] very porous.”

When druids are portrayed in early Irish sagas and saints’ lives set in the pre-Christian past of the island, they are usually accorded high social status. The evidence of the law-texts, which were first written down in the 7th and 8th centuries, suggests that with the coming of Christianity the role of the druid in Irish society was rapidly reduced to that of a sorcerer who could be consulted to cast spells or practice healing magic and that his standing declined accordingly. According to the early legal tract Bretha Crólige, the sick-maintenance due to a druid, satirist and brigand (díberg) is no more than that due to a bóaire (an ordinary freeman). Another law-text, Uraicecht Becc (‘Small primer’), gives the druid a place among the dóer-nemed or professional classes which depend for their status on a patron, along with wrights, blacksmiths and entertainers, as opposed to the fili, who alone enjoyed free nemed-status.

Whilst druids featured prominently in many medieval Irish sources, they were far rarer in their Welsh counterparts. Unlike the Irish texts, the Welsh term commonly seen as referring to the druids, dryw, was used to refer purely to prophets and not to sorcerers or pagan priests. Historian Ronald Hutton noted that there were two explanations for the use of the term in Wales: the first was that it was a survival from the pre-Christian era, when dryw had been ancient priests, whilst the second was that the Welsh had borrowed the term from the Irish, as had the English (who used the terms dry and drycraeft to refer to magicians and magic respectively, most probably influenced by the Irish terms.)

As the historian Jane Webster stated, “individual druids… are unlikely to be identified archaeologically”, a view which was echoed by Ronald Hutton, who declared that “not one single artifact or image has been unearthed that can undoubtedly be connected with the ancient Druids.” A.P. Fitzpatrick, in examining what he believed to be astral symbolism on Late Iron Age swords has expressed difficulties in relating any material culture, even the Coligny calendar, with druidic culture. Nonetheless, some archaeologists have attempted to link certain discoveries with written accounts of the druids, for instance the archaeologist Anne Ross linked what she believed to be evidence of human sacrifice in Celtic pagan society—such as the Lindow Man bog body—to the Greco-Roman accounts of human sacrifice being officiated over by the druids.

An excavated burial in Deal, Kent discovered the “Deal warrior” a man buried around 200-150 BCE with a sword and shield, and wearing a unique crown, too thin to be a helmet. The crown is bronze with a broad band around the head and a thin strip crossing the top of the head. It was worn without any padding beneath, as traces of hair were left on the metal. The form of the crown is similar to that seen in images of Romano-British priests several centuries later, leading to speculation among archaeologists that the man might have been a druid.

The Demise And Revival Of The Druids

During the Gallic Wars of 58 to 51 BCE, the Roman army, led by Julius Caesar, conquered the many tribal chiefdoms of Gaul, and annexed it as a part of the Roman Empire. According to accounts produced in the following centuries, the new rulers of Roman Gaul subsequently introduced measures to wipe out the druids from that country. According to Pliny the Elder, writing in the 70s CE, it was the emperor Tiberius (who ruled from 14 to 37 CE), who introduced laws banning not only druidism, but also other native soothsayers and healers, a move which Pliny applauded, believing that it would end human sacrifice in Gaul A somewhat different account of Roman legal attacks on druidism was made by Suetonius, writing in the 2nd century CE, when he claimed that Rome’s first emperor, Augustus (who had ruled from 27 BCE till 14 CE), had decreed that no-one could be both a druid and a Roman citizen, and that this was followed by a law passed by the later Emperor Claudius (who had ruled from 41 to 54 CE) which “thoroughly suppressed” the druids by banning their religious practices.

The best evidence of a druidic tradition in the British Isles is the independent cognate of the Celtic *druwid- in Insular Celtic: The Old Irish druídecht survives in the meaning of “magic”, and the Welsh dryw in the meaning of “seer”.

While the druids as a priestly caste were extinct with the Christianization of Wales, complete by the 7th century at the latest, the offices of bard and of “seer” (Welsh: dryw) persisted in medieval Wales into the 13th century.

Phillip Freeman, a classics professor, discusses a later reference to Dryades, which he translates as Druidesses, writing that “The fourth century A.D. collection of imperial biographies known as the Historia Augusta contains three short passages involving Gaulish women called “Dryades” (“Druidesses”).” He points out that “In all of these, the women may not be direct heirs of the Druids who were supposedly extinguished by the Romans — but in any case they do show that the druidic function of prophesy continued among the natives in Roman Gaul.” However, the Historia Augusta is frequently interpreted by scholars as a largely satirical work, and such details might have been introduced in a humorous fashion. Additionally, Druidesses are mentioned in later Irish mythology, including the legend of Fionn mac Cumhaill, who, according to the 12th century The Boyhood Deeds of Fionn, is raised by the druidess Bodhmall and a wise-woman.

The story of Vortigern, as reported by Nennius, provides one of the very few glimpses of possible druidic survival in Britain after the Roman conquest: unfortunately, Nennius is noted for mixing fact and legend in such a way that it is now impossible to know the truth behind his text. He wrote that after being excommunicated by Germanus, the British leader Vortigern invited twelve druids to assist him.

In the lives of saints and martyrs, the druids are represented as magicians and diviners. In Adamnan’s vita of Columba, two of them act as tutors to the daughters of Lóegaire mac Néill, the High King of Ireland, at the coming of Saint Patrick. They are represented as endeavouring to prevent the progress of Patrick and Saint Columba by raising clouds and mist. Before the battle of Culdremne (561) a druid made an airbe drtiad (fence of protection?) round one of the armies, but what is precisely meant by the phrase is unclear. The Irish druids seem to have had a peculiar tonsure. The word druí is always used to render the Latin magus, and in one passage St Columba speaks of Christ as his druid. Similarly, a life of St Bueno’s states that when he died he had a vision of ‘all the saints and druids’.

Sulpicius Severus’ Vita of Martin of Tours relates how Martin encountered a peasant funeral, carrying the body in a winding sheet, which Martin mistook for some druidic rites of sacrifice, “because it was the custom of the Gallic rustics in their wretched folly to carry about through the fields the images of demons veiled with a white covering.” So Martin halted the procession by raising his pectoral cross: “Upon this, the miserable creatures might have been seen at first to become stiff like rocks. Next, as they endeavored, with every possible effort, to move forward, but were not able to take a step farther, they began to whirl themselves about in the most ridiculous fashion, until, not able any longer to sustain the weight, they set down the dead body.” Then discovering his error, Martin raised his hand again to let them proceed: “Thus,” the hagiographer points out, “he both compelled them to stand when he pleased, and permitted them to depart when he thought good.”

From the 18th century, England and Wales experienced a revival of interest in the druids. John Aubrey (1626–1697) had been the first modern writer to connect Stonehenge and other megalithic monuments with the druids; since Aubrey’s views were confined to his notebooks, the first wide audience for this idea were readers of William Stukeley (1687–1765). It is incorrectly believed that John Toland (1670–1722) founded the Ancient Druid Order however the research of historian Ronald Hutton has revealed that the ADO was founded by George Watson MacGregor Reid in 1909. The order never used (and still does not use) the title “Archdruid” for any member, but falsely credited William Blake as having been its “Chosen Chief” from 1799 to 1827, without corroboration in Blake’s numerous writings or among modern Blake scholars. Blake’s bardic mysticism derives instead from the pseudo-Ossianic epics of Macpherson; his friend Frederick Tatham’s depiction of Blake’s imagination, “clothing itself in the dark stole of mural sanctity”— in the precincts of Westminster Abbey— “it dwelt amid the Druid terrors”, is generic rather than specifically neo-Druidic. John Toland was fascinated by Aubrey’s Stonehenge theories, and wrote his own book about the monument without crediting Aubrey. The roles of bards in 10th century Wales had been established by Hywel Dda and it was during the 18th century that the idea arose that Druids had been their predecessors.

The 19th-century idea, gained from uncritical reading of the Gallic Wars, that under cultural-military pressure from Rome the druids formed the core of 1st-century BCE resistance among the Gauls, was examined and dismissed before World War II, though it remains current in folk history.

Druids began to figure widely in popular culture with the first advent of Romanticism. Chateaubriand’s novel Les Martyrs (1809) narrated the doomed love of a druid priestess and a Roman soldier; though Chateaubriand’s theme was the triumph of Christianity over Pagan druids, the setting was to continue to bear fruit. Opera provides a barometer of well-informed popular European culture in the early 19th century: in 1817 Giovanni Pacini brought druids to the stage in Trieste with an opera to a libretto by Felice Romani about a druid priestess, La Sacerdotessa d’Irminsul (“The Priestess of Irminsul”). The most famous druidic opera, Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma was a fiasco at La Scala, when it premiered the day after Christmas, 1831; but in 1833 it was a hit in London. For its libretto, Felice Romani reused some of the pseudo-druidical background of La Sacerdotessa to provide colour to a standard theatrical conflict of love and duty. The story was similar to that of Medea, as it had recently been recast for a popular Parisian play by Alexandre Soumet: the diva of Norma’s hit aria, “Casta Diva”, is the moon goddess, being worshipped in the “grove of the Irmin statue”.

A central figure in 19th century Romanticist Neo-Druidism is the Welshman Edward Williams, better known as Iolo Morganwg. His writings, published posthumously as The Iolo Manuscripts (1849) and Barddas (1862), are not considered credible by contemporary scholars. Williams claimed to have collected ancient knowledge in a “Gorsedd of Bards of the Isles of Britain” he had organized. Many scholars deem part or all of Williams’s work to be fabrication, and purportedly many of the documents are of his own fabrication, but a large portion of the work has indeed been collected from meso-pagan sources dating from as far back as 600 CE.Regardless, it has become impossible to separate the original source material from the fabricated work, and while bits and pieces of the Barddas still turn up in some “Neo-druidic” works, the documents are considered irrelevant by most serious scholars.

T.D. Kendrick’s dispelled (1927) the pseudo-historical aura that had accrued to druids, asserting that “a prodigious amount of rubbish has been written about druidism”; Neo-druidism has nevertheless continued to shape public perceptions of the historical druids. The British Museum is blunt:

Modern Druids have no direct connection to the Druids of the Iron Age. Many of our popular ideas about the Druids are based on the misunderstandings and misconceptions of scholars 200 years ago. These ideas have been superseded by later study and discoveries.

Some strands of contemporary Neodruidism are a continuation of the 18th-century revival and thus are built largely around writings produced in the 18th century and after by second-hand sources and theorists. Some are monotheistic. Others, such as the largest Druid group in the world, The Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids draw on a wide range of sources for their teachings. Members of such Neo-druid groups may be Neopagan, occultist, Reconstructionist, Christian or non-specifically spiritual.

Woods: The Many Types & Their Uses

The ancient Celtic tree alphabet was used by the followers of the Old Religion to construct a language of the trees that could be used in conjunction with the occult symbolism of each of the trees.  When translated from the ancient tongue we find the following trees referenced often: Elm, Birch, Hazel, Oak, Aspen, Alder, Ivy, Yew, Rowan, Ash, Pine, Willow, Elder, and Spindle.  These trees, along with others, will be covered. From early times, there have been the sacred groves and the sacred tree.

Individual trees of particular species have been revered, the kind varying with the divine force represented.  Oak and Cedar are obvious examples of father emblems as Willow and Hazel are mother emblems.  The androgynous Pine and the world bearing Ash also have their place in our folklore.  The symbolism of the woods are very important in the construction of any magical tool.  A complete description of the various woods and their uses is impossible in a limited space but we will cover as much as possible.

 

OAK ) The oak tree is the tree of Zeus, Jupiter, Hercules, The Dagda (The Chief of the Elder Irish gods), Thor and all other Thunder Gods.  The royalty of the Oak needs no enlarging upon.  The Oak is the tree of endurance and triumph, and like the Ash, is said to count the lightings’ flash.  The Oak is a male wood which is ideal for the construction of any tool that needs the male influence such as Athames, certain wands and staffs.  The midsummer fire is always Oak and the need fire is always kindled in an Oak log.
OCCULT ASPECTS:  Endurance, triumph, strength, power, dominion, prosperity, sacrifice, guardian, liberator.

BIRCH ) With the exception of the mysterious elder, the Birch is the earliest of the forest trees.  The Birch is used extensively in cleansing rituals.  Throughout Europe, Birch twigs are used to expel evil spirits.  Birch rods are also used in rustic rituals to drive out the spirits of the old year.
OCCULT ASPECTS:  Controlled by the Lunar influences.  Birth, healing, Lunar workings, and protection.

HAZEL ) The Hazel is a tree of wisdom.  In England, all the knowledge of the arts and sciences were bound to the eating of Hazel nuts.  Until the seventeenth century, a forked Hazelstick was used to divine the guilt of persons in cases of murder and theft.  We have retained the practice of divining for water and buried treasure.
OCCULT ASPECTS: Wisdom, intelligence, inspiration, wrath.

ALDER ) The Alder is the tree of fire.  In the battle of the trees, the Alder fought in the very front line.  It is described as the very “battle witch” of all woods, the tree that is hottest in the fight.  from the alder, you can make three different dyes, red from its bark, green from its flowers, and brown from its twigs; this symbolizes the elements of fire, water and earth.  The Alder wood is the wood of the witches.  Whistles may be made of this wood to summon and control the four winds.  It is also the ideal wood for making the magical pipes and flutes.  To prepare the wood for use, beat the bark away with a willow stick while projecting your wishes into it.  The Alder is a token of resurrection.
OCCULT ASPECTS: Controlling the four winds, banishing and controlling elementals, resurrection.  Making magical dyes.

IVY / VINE ) The Ivy was sacred to Osiris as well as to Dionysus.  Vine and Ivy come next to each other at the turn of the year, and are jointly dicated to resurrection. Presumably, this is because they are the only two trees that grow spirally.  The Vine also symbolizes resurrection because its strength is preserved in the wine.
OCCULT ASPECTS: (VINE) Faerie work, Joy, Exhilaration, Wrath, Rebirth.

 

(IVY) Fidelity, Constancy, Love, Intoxication.

YEW ) The Yew is known as the death tree in all European countries.  Sacred to Hecate in Greece and Italy.  Yew wood makes excellent bows, as the Romans learned from the Greeks. This strengthened the belief that Yew was connected with death.  Its use in England is recalled in Macbeth where Hecate’s cauldron contained:”… Slips of Yew, slivered in the moon eclipse.”The Silver Fir of birth and the Yew of death are sisters. They stand next to each other in the circle of the year and their foliage is almost identical.
OCCULT ASPECTS:  Destructive workings concerning death.  Not recommended for magical tools “…for I am the tomb to every hope.

ROWAN ) The Rowan is seen as the tree of life.  It is also known as Mountain Ash, Quickbeam, The Witch or Witch Wand. In the British Isles, Rowa is used as a protection against lightning and magical charms of all sorts.  In ancient Ireland, the Druids of opposing forces would kindle a fire of rowan and say an incantation over it to summon spirits to take part in the battle.  The Rowan is alsoused for many healing purposes.  The “Quickbeam” is the tree of quickening. Another use was in metal divining.  In Ireland, a Rowan stake was hammered through a corpse to immobilize the spirit.
OCCULT ASPECTS: Divination, healing, astral work, protection.

ASH ) The Ash is sacred to Poseidon and Woden.  The Ash is considered to be the father of trees.  The Ash is the tree of sea power, or of the power resident in water.  Special guardian spirits reside in the Ash; This makes it excellent for absorbing sickness. The spirally carved druidical wand was made of Ash for this purpose.
OCCULT ASPECTS:  Seapower, karmic laws, magical potency, healing, protection from drowning.

PINE ) External symbol of life and immortality.  It is one of the few trees that are androgynous.  It was also worshiped by the ancients as a symbol of fire because of its resemblance to a spiral of flame.  It is regarded as a very soothing tree to be near.
OCCULT ASPECTS:  Strength, life and immortality, rejuvenation

 

WILLOW ) The Willow was sacred to Hecate, Circe, Hera, and Persephone, all death aspects of the Triple Moon Goddess, and was often used by the Witches in Greece.  The moon owns it. Female symbol.  It is the tree that loves water most and is sacred to the Moon Goddess who is the giver of dew and moisture, generally.  The Willow is the tree of enchantment. Can be made into a tool to make wishes come true.
OCCULT PURPOSES: Moon magic, psychic energy, healing, inspiration, fertility

 

ELDER ) A waterside tree, the Elder has white flowers that bloom to their peak in midsummer (as is also true for the Rowan) thus making the Elder another aspect of the White Goddess.  The Elder is also said to be the crucifixion tree. The inner bark and the flowers have long been famous for their therapeutic qualities.
OCCULT ASPECTS:  Witchcraft, banishment, magical art, waters of life.

HAWTHORN ) The Whitethorn or Hawthorn or May Witch takes its name from the May.  It is a generally unlucky tree and its name, translated from the Irish Brehon Laws, had the meaning “harm”.  The Goddess, under the name Cardea, cast spells with the Hawthorn. In many cultures, the month of the Hawthorn (May) is a month of bad luck for marriages.  The Hawthorn blossom, for many men, has the strong scent of female sexuality and was used by the Turks as an erotic symbol.  The monks of Glastonbury perpetuated it and sanctified it with an approving tale that the staff of Joseph and the Crown of thorns were made of Hawthorn.
OCCULT ASPECTS:  Purification, enforced chastity, male potency, cleansing.

 

HOLLY ) Holly means “holy”. The identification of the pacific Christ with the Holly is poetically inept a it is the Oak king, not the Holly king that is crucified on a T shaped cross. The Holly has many uses form making a dye from its berries to being used as an aphrodisiac.
OCCULT ASPECTS:  Holiness, consecration, material gain, physical revenge, beauty

 

WHITE POPULAR ) The tree of the Autumn Equinox and of old age, is the shifting leaved White Popular, or Aspen, The shield makers tree.  Heracles bound his head in triumph with popular after killing the giant Cacus (the evil one).  The Black popular was a funeral tree sacred to the Mother Earth. Plato makes a reference to the use of  Black popular and Silver Fir as an aid in divination.  The Silver Fir standing for hope assured and the Black Popular for loss of hope.  In ancient Ireland, the coffin makers measuring rod was made of Aspen, apparently to remind the dead that this was not the end.
OCCULT ASPECTS:  Hope, rebirth, divinations.This concludes trees referenced to be in use in Europe. However, I thought there may be interest in a few local trees.

 

ALMOND ) Almond has a very sweet natural being.  Aids in self protection.
OCCULT ASPECTS:  Fruitfulness, virginity

 

APPLE ) It is an old English custom to drink to the health of the Apple tree with a good glass of cider all in hopes of encouraging the tree to produce a good crop next year.
OCCULT ASPECTS:  Fertility

 

COCONUT ) The Coconut is feminine and very fertile.  The shell represents the womb, and the milk, fertility.
OCCULT ASPECTS: Protection from negative psychic forces.

 

FIG ) The Fig is androgynous. The fruit representing the feminine and the triple lobed leaves suggest the masculine force.
OCCULT ASPECTS:  Balance

 

MISTLETOE ) The mistletoe was sacred to the Druids and to the Norse. It was considered to be the great healer and has both male and female qualities.   It was so well regarded by the Norse (because it was sacred to Freya) that they refused to fight in the vicinity of Mistletoe.  The custom of hanging Mistletoe in the house to promote peace comes from this. Generally regarded today as a symbol of love and purity.
OCCULT ASPECTS: Love, fertility, sexual potency.

 

PALM ) Is regarded as particularly powerful because of its incredible durability and because it is self renewing, never changing its leaves.  Aids in rejuvenation.
OCCULT ASPECTS:  Resurrection, and the cycle and matrix of life

 

PEACH ) The Peach is an emblem of marriage.
OCCULT ASPECTS: Abundance, fruitfulness, happinessThis concludes this short treatise on the various woods, their types and uses.  This information was passed to me through various sources, and no claim is made as to its accuracy.

Trees & Their Magickal Uses

 ** Almond

* Business

* Clairvoyance

* Divination

* Loans

* Money

* Wisdom

** Apple

* Healing

* Love

* Perpetual Youth

* Prosperity

** Ash

* Protection

* Sea Magic ( when performing spells far away from the ocean.)

** Apricot

* Love

** Aspen

* Protection

** Balsa

* Psychic Awareness

** Birch

* Fertility

* New Beginnings

* Protection

* Purification

** Cedar

* Healing

* Longevity

* Prosperity

* Protection

* Purification

** Cherry

* Love

** Coconut

* Chastity

* Healing

* Purity

** Cypress

* Past Life Workings

* Protection

** Elder

* Healing

* Prosperity

* Protection

* Spirituality

 

** Elm

* Protection

** Eucalyptus

* Healing

** Fig

* Energy

* Fertility

* Health

* Strength

** Hawthorn

* Cleansing

* Love

* Marriage

* Protection

** Hazel

* Divination

* Love

* Marriage

* Protection

* Reconciliation

** Hemlock

* NOT RECOMMENDED FOR USE

** Juniper

* Protection

** Lemon

* Chastity

* Divination

* Healing

* Neutrality

** Lime

* Chastity

* Divination

* Healing

* Neutrality

** Linden

* Protection

** Maple

* Divination

* Love

* Money

** Mulberry

* Divination

* Knowledge

* The Will

* Wisdom

** Oak

* Healing

* Longevity

* Money

* Strength

** Olive

* Fidelity

* Fruitfulness

* Marriage

* Money

* Peace

* Security

** Orange

* Love

* Marriage

** Palm

* Strength

** Peach

* Divination

* Love

** Pine

* Exorcism

* Fertility

* Fortune

* Health

* Money

* Prosperity

* Purification

** Rowan

* Protection

* Strength

** Walnut

* Healing

* Health

* Protection

** Willow

* Blessings of the Moon

* Easy delivery of babies.

* Enchantments

* Healing

* Protection

* Psychic Awareness

* Wishing

** Yew

* NOT RECOMMENDED FOR USE

Calendar of the Moon for Jan. 22

Calendar of the Moon
Beth/Poseideion II

Birch Tree Moon

Color: White
Element: Air
Altar: Upon cloth of white set the budded birch branches, a single white candle, the rune Berkana carved onto a piece of birch wood, and a bowl of clear water.
Offerings: White cakes with the Berkana rune carved upon them.
Daily Meal: Vegetarian with dairy and eggs.

Beth Invocation

Call: Now is the beginning of the year.
Response: Now is the time of stillness and cold.
Call: Now all is still and waiting upon the earth.
Response: Now the earth sleeps beneath her many blankets.
Call: Now is the time of patience.
Response: Now is the time of our longest wait.
Call: We are at peace with the Earth and with each other.
Response: We are at peace with the Earth and ready to begin.
Call: This is the month of indrawn breath.
Response: This is the time of all beginnings.
Call: May the year grow strong before us!
Response: May we grow strong before the year!
Call: For as the birch tree steps forth into the burned fields,
Response: So do we step forth into the aftermath of our own burning.
Call: For as the soft branches of the birch beat away the old year,
Response: So do we lower our heads for the strokes of the future.
Call: For as the pheasant hunts the snow for food,
Response: So do we seek through the ruins of the past.
Call: For as Frigga spins the clouds into thread,
Response: So do we circle like the spinning whorl,
Call: So do we take up the fiber of what has been,
Response: So do we bring forth the new year from our very hands.
Call: From our open hands,
Response: From our open hearts,
Call: From our open bodies,
Response: From our open souls.

Chant: Silver tree, in your branches
White of snow, stars are dancing
Tree of clouds, like thread of silver
Time runs through our hands.

Calendar of the Moon for Thursday, Jan. 19th

Calendar of the Moon
Beth/Poseideion II

Birch Tree Moon

Color: White
Element: Air
Altar: Upon cloth of white set the budded birch branches, a single white candle, the rune Berkana carved onto a piece of birch wood, and a bowl of clear water.
Offerings: White cakes with the Berkana rune carved upon them.
Daily Meal: Vegetarian with dairy and eggs.

Beth Invocation

Call: Now is the beginning of the year.
Response: Now is the time of stillness and cold.
Call: Now all is still and waiting upon the earth.
Response: Now the earth sleeps beneath her many blankets.
Call: Now is the time of patience.
Response: Now is the time of our longest wait.
Call: We are at peace with the Earth and with each other.
Response: We are at peace with the Earth and ready to begin.
Call: This is the month of indrawn breath.
Response: This is the time of all beginnings.
Call: May the year grow strong before us!
Response: May we grow strong before the year!
Call: For as the birch tree steps forth into the burned fields,
Response: So do we step forth into the aftermath of our own burning.
Call: For as the soft branches of the birch beat away the old year,
Response: So do we lower our heads for the strokes of the future.
Call: For as the pheasant hunts the snow for food,
Response: So do we seek through the ruins of the past.
Call: For as Frigga spins the clouds into thread,
Response: So do we circle like the spinning whorl,
Call: So do we take up the fiber of what has been,
Response: So do we bring forth the new year from our very hands.
Call: From our open hands,
Response: From our open hearts,
Call: From our open bodies,
Response: From our open souls.

Chant: Silver tree, in your branches
White of snow, stars are dancing
Tree of clouds, like thread of silver
Time runs through our hands.

Calendar of the Moon for January 17th

Calendar of the Moon
Beth/Poseideion II

Birch Tree Moon

Color: White
Element: Air
Altar: Upon cloth of white set the budded birch branches, a single white candle, the rune Berkana carved onto a piece of birch wood, and a bowl of clear water.
Offerings: White cakes with the Berkana rune carved upon them.
Daily Meal: Vegetarian with dairy and eggs.

Beth Invocation

Call: Now is the beginning of the year.
Response: Now is the time of stillness and cold.
Call: Now all is still and waiting upon the earth.
Response: Now the earth sleeps beneath her many blankets.
Call: Now is the time of patience.
Response: Now is the time of our longest wait.
Call: We are at peace with the Earth and with each other.
Response: We are at peace with the Earth and ready to begin.
Call: This is the month of indrawn breath.
Response: This is the time of all beginnings.
Call: May the year grow strong before us!
Response: May we grow strong before the year!
Call: For as the birch tree steps forth into the burned fields,
Response: So do we step forth into the aftermath of our own burning.
Call: For as the soft branches of the birch beat away the old year,
Response: So do we lower our heads for the strokes of the future.
Call: For as the pheasant hunts the snow for food,
Response: So do we seek through the ruins of the past.
Call: For as Frigga spins the clouds into thread,
Response: So do we circle like the spinning whorl,
Call: So do we take up the fiber of what has been,
Response: So do we bring forth the new year from our very hands.
Call: From our open hands,
Response: From our open hearts,
Call: From our open bodies,
Response: From our open souls.

Chant: Silver tree, in your branches
White of snow, stars are dancing
Tree of clouds, like thread of silver
Time runs through our hands.

Calendar of the Moon for Friday, Jan. 13th

Calendar of the Moon
Beth/Poseideion II

Birch Tree Moon

Color: White
Element: Air
Altar: Upon cloth of white set the budded birch branches, a single white candle, the rune Berkana carved onto a piece of birch wood, and a bowl of clear water.
Offerings: White cakes with the Berkana rune carved upon them.
Daily Meal: Vegetarian with dairy and eggs.

Beth Invocation

Call: Now is the beginning of the year.
Response: Now is the time of stillness and cold.
Call: Now all is still and waiting upon the earth.
Response: Now the earth sleeps beneath her many blankets.
Call: Now is the time of patience.
Response: Now is the time of our longest wait.
Call: We are at peace with the Earth and with each other.
Response: We are at peace with the Earth and ready to begin.
Call: This is the month of indrawn breath.
Response: This is the time of all beginnings.
Call: May the year grow strong before us!
Response: May we grow strong before the year!
Call: For as the birch tree steps forth into the burned fields,
Response: So do we step forth into the aftermath of our own burning.
Call: For as the soft branches of the birch beat away the old year,
Response: So do we lower our heads for the strokes of the future.
Call: For as the pheasant hunts the snow for food,
Response: So do we seek through the ruins of the past.
Call: For as Frigga spins the clouds into thread,
Response: So do we circle like the spinning whorl,
Call: So do we take up the fiber of what has been,
Response: So do we bring forth the new year from our very hands.
Call: From our open hands,
Response: From our open hearts,
Call: From our open bodies,
Response: From our open souls.

Chant: Silver tree, in your branches
White of snow, stars are dancing
Tree of clouds, like thread of silver
Time runs through our hands.

Calendar of the Moon for Jan. 12th

Calendar of the Moon
Beth/Poseideion II

Birch Tree Moon

Color: White
Element: Air
Altar: Upon cloth of white set the budded birch branches, a single white candle, the rune Berkana carved onto a piece of birch wood, and a bowl of clear water.
Offerings: White cakes with the Berkana rune carved upon them.
Daily Meal: Vegetarian with dairy and eggs.

Beth Invocation

Call: Now is the beginning of the year.
Response: Now is the time of stillness and cold.
Call: Now all is still and waiting upon the earth.
Response: Now the earth sleeps beneath her many blankets.
Call: Now is the time of patience.
Response: Now is the time of our longest wait.
Call: We are at peace with the Earth and with each other.
Response: We are at peace with the Earth and ready to begin.
Call: This is the month of indrawn breath.
Response: This is the time of all beginnings.
Call: May the year grow strong before us!
Response: May we grow strong before the year!
Call: For as the birch tree steps forth into the burned fields,
Response: So do we step forth into the aftermath of our own burning.
Call: For as the soft branches of the birch beat away the old year,
Response: So do we lower our heads for the strokes of the future.
Call: For as the pheasant hunts the snow for food,
Response: So do we seek through the ruins of the past.
Call: For as Frigga spins the clouds into thread,
Response: So do we circle like the spinning whorl,
Call: So do we take up the fiber of what has been,
Response: So do we bring forth the new year from our very hands.
Call: From our open hands,
Response: From our open hearts,
Call: From our open bodies,
Response: From our open souls.

Chant: Silver tree, in your branches
White of snow, stars are dancing
Tree of clouds, like thread of silver
Time runs through our hands.

Calendar of the Moon for January 11th

Calendar of the Moon
Beth/Poseideion II

Birch Tree Moon

Color: White
Element: Air
Altar: Upon cloth of white set the budded birch branches, a single white candle, the rune Berkana carved onto a piece of birch wood, and a bowl of clear water.
Offerings: White cakes with the Berkana rune carved upon them.
Daily Meal: Vegetarian with dairy and eggs.

Beth Invocation

Call: Now is the beginning of the year.
Response: Now is the time of stillness and cold.
Call: Now all is still and waiting upon the earth.
Response: Now the earth sleeps beneath her many blankets.
Call: Now is the time of patience.
Response: Now is the time of our longest wait.
Call: We are at peace with the Earth and with each other.
Response: We are at peace with the Earth and ready to begin.
Call: This is the month of indrawn breath.
Response: This is the time of all beginnings.
Call: May the year grow strong before us!
Response: May we grow strong before the year!
Call: For as the birch tree steps forth into the burned fields,
Response: So do we step forth into the aftermath of our own burning.
Call: For as the soft branches of the birch beat away the old year,
Response: So do we lower our heads for the strokes of the future.
Call: For as the pheasant hunts the snow for food,
Response: So do we seek through the ruins of the past.
Call: For as Frigga spins the clouds into thread,
Response: So do we circle like the spinning whorl,
Call: So do we take up the fiber of what has been,
Response: So do we bring forth the new year from our very hands.
Call: From our open hands,
Response: From our open hearts,
Call: From our open bodies,
Response: From our open souls.

Chant: Silver tree, in your branches
White of snow, stars are dancing
Tree of clouds, like thread of silver
Time runs through our hands.