Friday, November 14, 2008

13 Sacred Trees

Ah yes, old culture the Druids were, they had developed a pretty handy calendar based on the lunar cycle and based the months on various species of trees.

The Druids discovered the magickal properties of each tree, and codified all the information into the system we have today. The trees the Druids selected for the thirteen months were already trees which were sources of magick and myth in Celtic folklore. Several of the trees are said to be attractive to faery folk, and others were sources of magick herbs or medicines. Today the counting of the Celtic tree calendar begins with the full moon nearest Yule. Perhaps it once began with the full moon nearest Samhain since, until the influence of the Norse, Samhain marked the beginning of the Celtic New Year.

Birch Moon: December 24 - January 20:
The Birch Moon is a time of rebirth and regeneration. As the Solstice passes, it is time to look towards the light once more. When a forested area burns, Birch is the first tree to grow back. The Celtic name for this month is Beth, pronounced beh. Workings done in this month add momentum and a bit of extra "oomph" to new endeavors. The Birch is also associated with magic done for creativity and fertility, as well as healing and protection. Tie a red ribbon around the trunk of a Birch tree to ward off negative energy. Hang Birch twigs over a cradle to protect a newborn from psychic harm. Use Birch bark as magical parchment to keep writings safe.

Rowan Moon: January 21 - February 17:
The Rowan Moon is associated with Brighid, the Celtic goddess of hearth and home. Honored on February 1, at Imbolc, Brighid is a fire goddess who offers protection to mothers and families, as well as watching over the hearthfires. This is a good time of year to perform initations (or, if you're not part of a group, do a self-dedication). Known by the Celts as Luis (pronounced loush), the Rowan is associated with astral travel, personal power, and success. A charm carved into a bit of a Rowan twig will protect the wearer from harm. The Norsemen were known to have used Rowan branches as rune staves of protection. In some countries, Rowan is planted in graveyards to prevent the dead from lingering around too long.

Ash Moon: February 18 - March 17:
In the Norse eddas, Yggdrasil, the world tree, was an Ash. The spear of Odin was made from the branch of this tree, which is also known by the Celtic name Nion, pronounced knee-un. This is one of three trees sacred to the Druids (Ash, Oak and Thorn), and this is a good month to do magic that focuses on the inner self. Associated with ocean rituals, magical potency, prophetic dreams and spiritual journeys, the Ash can be used for making magical (and mundane) tools -- these are said to be more productive than tools made from other wood. If you place Ash berries in a cradle, it protects the child from being taken away as a changeling by mischevious Fae.

Alder Moon: March 18 - April 14:
At the time of the Spring Equinox, or Ostara, the Alder is flourishing on riverbanks, roots in the water, bridging that magical space between both heaven and earth. The Alder month, called Fearn by the Celts, and pronounced fairin, is a time for making spiritual decisions, magic relating to prophecy and divination, and getting in touch with your own intuitive processes and abilities. Alder flowers and twigs are known as charms to be used in Faerie magic. Whistles were once made out of Alder shoots to call upon Air spirits, so it's an ideal wood for making a pipe or flute if you're muscially inclined.

Willow Moon: April 15 - May 12:
The Willow moon was known to the Celts as Saille, pronounced Sahl-yeh. The Willow grows best when there's lots of rain, and in northern Europe there's no shortage of that this time of year. This is a tree associated with healing and growth, for obvious reasons. A Willow planted near your home will help ward away danger, particularly the type that stems from natural disaster such as flooding or storms. They offer protection, and are often found planted near cemeteries. This month, work on rituals involving healing, growth of knowledge, nurturing and women's mysteries.

Hawthorn Moon: May 13 - June 9:
The Hawthorn is a prickly sort of plant with beautiful blossoms. Called Huath by the ancient Celts, and pronounced Hoh-uh, the Hawthorn month is a time of fertility, masculine energy, and fire. Coming right on the heels of Beltane, this month is a time when male potency is high -- if you're hoping to conceive a child, get busy this month! The Hawthorn has a raw, phallic sort of energy about it -- use it for magic related to masculine power, business decisions, making professional connections. The Hawthorn is also associated with the realm of Faerie, and when the Hawthorn grows in tandem with an Ash and Oak, it is said to attract the Fae.

Oak Moon: June 10 - July 7:
The Oak moon falls during a time when the trees are beginning to reach their full blooming stages. The mighty Oak is strong, powerful, and typically towering over all of its neighbors. The Oak King rules over the summer months, and this tree was sacred to the Druids. The Celts called this month Duir, which some scholars believe to mean "door", the root word of "Druid". The Oak is connceted with spells for protection and strength, fertility, money and success, and good fortune. Carry an acorn in your pocket when you go to an interview or business meeting; it will be bring you good luck. If you catch a falling Oak leaf before it hits the ground, you'll stay healthy the following year.

Holly Moon: July 8 - August 4:
Although the Oak ruled in the previous month, its counterpart, the Holly, takes over in July. This evergreen plant reminds us all year long about the immortality of nature. The Holly moon was called Tinne, pronounced chihnn-uh, by the Celts, who knew the potent Holly was a symbol of masculine energy and firmness. The ancients used the wood of the Holly in the construction of weapons, but also in protective magic. Hang a sprig of Holly in your house to ensure good luck and safety to your family. Wear as a charm, or make Holly Water by soaking leaves overnight in spring water under a full moon -- then use the water as a blessing to sprinkle on people or around the house for protection and cleansing.

Hazel Moon: August 5 - September 1:
The Hazel Moon was known to the Celts as Coll, which translates to "the life force inside you". This is the time of year when Hazelnuts are appearing on the trees, and are an early part of the harvest. Hazelnuts are also associated with wisdom and protection. Hazel is often associated in Celtic lore with sacred wells and magical springs containing the salmon of knowledge. This is a good month to do workings related to wisdom and knowledge, dowsing and divination, and dream journeys. If you're a creative type, such as an artist, writer, or musician, this is a good month to get your muse back, and find inspiration for your talents. Even if you normally don't do so, write a poem or song this month.

Vine Moon: September 2 - September 29:
The Vine month is a time of great harvest -- from the grapes of the Mediterranean to the fruits of the northern regions, the Vine produces fruits we can use to make that most wondrous concoction called wine. The Celts called this month Muin. The Vine is a symbol of both happiness and wrath -- passionate emotions, both of them. Do magical workings this month connected to the Autumn Equinox, or Mabon, and celebrate garden magic, joy and exhilaration, wrath and rage, and the darker aspect of the mother goddess. Use the leaves of the Vines to enhance your own ambition and goals. during this month. The month of Vine is also a good time to get balanced, as there are equal hours of darkness and light.
Ivy Moon - September 30 - October 27
In contrast to the the Vine, Ivy is evergreen, and it represents the perennial aspects of the human psyche. The Celts associate Ivy with their lunar goddess Arianrhod and their ritual to her marked the opening of the portal to the Otherworld. Thus the dark side of the moon. This door symbolizes an entrance to the world of the Faery People. The Butterfly is the the symbol of the Faery Faith. Thus Ivy represents mysterious and the mystical.
Reed Moon - October 28 - November 24
Identified with the submerged or hidden dryad, The Reed represents the mysteries of death. In fact the Fire Feast of Samhain celebrates the dead and on Samhain, the boundary between the Otherworld and this world dissolve. It is a night of great divination. Or in another fashion, it represents the hidden roots to all life. The Reed is associated with with being both a savior and custodian. Pwyll, the Celtic ruler of the Otherworld was given "The Stone" , one of four treasures given to him for safekeeping. The Stone represents the right of the kings and queen to have divine power. Thus the Reed is also the symbol of Royalty. The White Hounds represent the dogs that guard the lunar mysteries.
Reed Moon - November 25 - December 22
The Symbol of both death and rebirth. Like the Winter Solstice, it highlights a time of evolution. The Celts believed that it was during this time that their sun or solar spirit was held prisoner. Just as Pryderi was forced into exile. It is also a time of trouble and struggle for supremacy. In deed what is now will one day be no more, and that which is to come, will also, one day be no more.

Perhaps you can see where we are going with this theme and all I can say is, stay tuned for some upcoming interesting pieces.