BirchSubmitted by Owen McCafferty on Thu, 2009-11-26
The first tree to grow on bare soil, birch represents the rebirth of the forest and is thus useful for new beginnings and purification or in spells involving structure support, shielding, warding, and cleansing.
It represents the female principle and is often known as "the Lady of the Woods," with its long, slender branches reaching gracefully toward the sky.
It grows most often in groves, rarely singly and out of a common, joined trunk so that many appear to grow from the One.
The birch is the primary tree of Celtic lore.
A tree of extreme hardiness, the birch thrives in places where the Oak could not.
The birch represents common, everyday work performed to make a living.
In the Celtic Ogham, it is one of the Chieftain trees and represents the Bardic grade of Druidry, the "youngest" of the ranks; its Tarot correspondence is the Star; it is the first Ogham and resonates with the number one; in the Oghamic alphabet, it is the letter "B."
The animals associated with the birch are the pheasant and the white cow and its plant the Fly Agaric mushroom.
Its name probably comes from the Sanskrit word "bhurga" which relates to the continuous phases of life, alpha-omega principle.
Taliesin is represented by the birch; in the Arthurian legends, he is known as Merlyn.
The birch is known for its protective magickal abilities; in ancient times brooms made of birch twigs were used to drive out spirits, dirt, and harmful things; it can be used in Maypoles; its twigs are used to start Beltaine fires; cradles made from birch protect an infant from harm; and a small piece of birch carried on the person will prevent kidnapping by the faery folk.
Birch wreaths are given as lovers' gifts and birch branches in the house bring good luck.
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