Celtic Tree Lore
The Birch Tree - Beth - January
Birch Tree - Celtic Moon month Dec 24th - Jan 20th
Latin name - Betula
Birch is an old English name for Birk. Its Celtic name is Beith or Beth. Latin genus is Betula. It’s deciduous tree. The birch trees in ancient times were placed in yards and farms on Midsummer Day. They would be decorated in red and white cloth apparently to keep witches away.
The old year was cleansed from houses using birch brooms and this cleansed away any negativity in order for a clean and fresh year ahead. Birch rods have been used for centuries as a cleansing tool to cleanse the evil spirits from law breakers, even Jesus was said to have been flogged by birch as this was the wood used by the Romans for floggings. Birch logs were often used for the Yule log with its bark removed, this was to bring the bright new energy in the darkest time of the year.
The maypole was traditionally a birch pole as Beltane has a strong connection to fertility and this is when the maypole would be used. Birch’s strong links are reinforced by its corresponding bird, the pheasant which symbolizes fertility and the Mother Goddess.
Birch is the herald of change in the tree world, as it’s a fast growing tree it will cultivate new ground. Its fallen leaves and twigs fertilize the ground for season after season for other trees to grow in. The birch also provides shade and shelter for new saplings. The birch can live for one hundred years and its roots stay near the surface. It’s also one of the world’s hardiest trees and doesn’t care where it grows, known to grow at the highest altitudes in Britain. It even favors places where other trees find it hard to establish a footing. Farmers know when to sow their seeds and this is as soon as the birch comes into leaf. Alder and Birch are the first two trees in Britain to come into bud in spring time.
Birch will cleanse and rejuvenate land and it also does this in a medicinal way for us. It’s used for kidney and urinary problems, rheumatism, gout, fever and skin disorders among the many uses it has. It’s said to aid the breaking up of kidney and bladder stones too. Other uses are birch are tar for eczema in unction, a mouthwash and a germicide. The buds have been used to aid digestion.
The birch is used in all kinds of things such as it gives us its sap for sweetness, wine and vinegar. The wood is used for boats, cradles, wooden spoons, brooms, fences, gates, furniture, bobbin spools, axe handles and roofs. It’s used for tanning hides, making containers and its bark has been used for writing on. It can also be used as a veneer in carpentry.
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Written by SpiritDancer © Mystic Familiar 2009
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