Ailm is the Irish name of the twentieth letter of the Ogham alphabet. The “Tree Alphabet” glossators identify it with the pine. The original meaning of the name is unknown. The Bríatharogam kennings all refer to the sound and not to the name, either as the sound of a “groan”, or to the Irish vocative particle, á. Thurneysen maintained that Ailm, Beithe was influenced by Alpha, Beta, but while beithe is an actual Irish word, ailm would have to be considered the only loaned letter name. The word is attested once outside a context of the Ogham alphabet, in the poem “King Henry and the Hermit”,
caine ailmi ardom-peitet
which translates to
Beautiful are the pines which make music for me
Here the poet is most likely directly influenced by the “Tree Alphabet” manuscript tradition.
Some other place Elm (Ailim) in this position. Both the Silver Fir and the Elm trees are one of the tallest trees native to Europe and sometimes exceeds 50 metres in height and can live to over 100 years. They stand like a sentinel at the beginning of the vowels.
Scots pine has a long and rich history in mythology. However this mythology is more situated around the mediterranean. Such as the ancient Egyptians and the god Osiris, the Greek goddess Pitthea, and also with the Dionysus/Bacchus mythology and the Romans with Cybele and Attis. As an evergreen tree the pine would also have symbolised immortality.
Closer to home, Druids used to light large bonfires of Scots pine at the winter solstice to celebrate the passing of the seasons and to draw back the sun. Glades of Scots pines were also decorated with lights and shiny objects, the tree covered in stars being a representation of the Divine Light. It is easy to see how these rituals have given rise to the latter day Yule log and Christmas tree customs.
A persistent theme in the folklore of Scots pine is their use as markers in the landscape. In the Highlands there is a recurrent theme that they were used to mark burial places of warriors, heroes and chieftains. In areas further south where the sight of Scots pine may have been more unusual and their use would have stood out more, they can be seen to mark ancient cairns, trackways and crossroads. In England they were commonly used to mark not only the drove roads themselves, but also the perimeters of meadows on which passing drovers and their herds could spend the night.
In Greek mythology, the hero Orpheus is connected the first elm grove. In Celtic mythology, too, elm trees were associated with the Underworld. They had a special affinity with elves who were said to guard the burial mounds, their dead and the associated passage into the Underworld.
Elm trees in Britain can grow to become some of the tallest and largest native trees.Their stature made them imposing landmarks and boundary markers, and travelling preachers and judges would often pronounce from beneath them.
Both the yew’s and the elm’s mythology are bound up with death and the transition into the Underworld, and that both woods were used to such deadly effect in mediaeval warfare.
Both trees have a connection to the underworld and the Fae. Both trees seem to be boundaries. When this symbol appears, it means it’s time to start looking at the big picture — see the trees, but also acknowledge the forest. Be aware that your perception includes long-term goals and ideas, and prepare for what may be coming along the path.
Pines are evergreen, coniferous resinous trees (or rarely shrubs) growing 3–80 m tall, with the majority of species reaching 15–45 m tall.
Pines are long-lived, typically reaching ages of 100–1,000 years, some even more.
Elms are deciduous and semi-deciduous trees comprising the genus Ulmus in the plant family Ulmaceae. The genus first appeared in the Miocene geological period about 20 million years ago, originating in what is now central Asia. These trees flourished and spread over most of the Northern Hemisphere, inhabiting the temperate and tropical-montane regions of North America and Eurasia.
Elms are components of many kinds of natural forests. Some individual elms reached great size and age.