Beith

Folklore

The European Silver Birch is known as the “Lady of the Woods”.  It’s bright silvery bark gleams in both moonlight (evoking the Fae) and sunlight.

As one of the first trees to leaf out in the spring, birch is known as the tree of inception.

As a tree of purification, birch rods were used to drive out the spirit of the old year, to beat spirits and demons out of people, and to ‘beat the bounds’ of property. (And birch twigs were used in traditional brooms, to enhance their mundane and magical uses.)

The branches are traditionally used for the bristles. Use the white outer bark in ritual in place of paper or parchment. Ancient herbalists discovered that various parts of this tree can be used for medicinal purposes. Bark was once brewed into a tea to fight fevers, and the leaves were used alternately as a laxative and a diuretic, depending on how they were prepared.

 

Divination

The White Tree of Purification, Protection against harm, both physical and spiritual. Deal with/clear away the bad things of life. New start.

 

Background

 

Birch is a broadleaved deciduous hardwood tree of the genus Betula in the family Betulaceae This family is closely related to the beech/oak family, Fagaceae. Thegenus Betula contains 30 to 60 known taxa They are typically rather short-lived pioneer species widespread in the Northern Hemisphere, particularly in northern temperate and boreal climates.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/78/Illustration_Betula_pendula0.jpg

Birches often form even-aged stands on light, well-drained, particularly acidic soils. They are regarded as pioneer species, rapidly colonising open ground especially in secondary successional sequences following a disturbance or fire. Birches are early tree species to establish in primary successions.

In Britain the Birch was often used for may-poles – our version of the Axis Mundi around which we turn and turn. And at the same season it was the twigs of birch that were used for kindling the Beltane fire. Birch was also used to make babies’ cradles, for if birch could drive evil from the old year, and from lunatics and criminals, it could ward off ill for the newborn too. And since birch is the tree of birthing the new, what other wood is more fitting for the newly born?