Birch represents new beginnings, new life and gifts us the ability to overcome obtacles. With it’s help creativity blossoms and light is let in to help us put down roots in challenging conditions. Both inspiration and spiritual growth are enhanced by carrying the Birch. The Celts believed Birch to have great powers of purification and renewal, they used it’s twigs to drive out the spirits of the old year and make room for the new. Birch lifts the spirits, releases tensions and lessens stress.
Folklore and Mythology
In early Celtic mythology, the birch symbolised renewal and purification. Bundles of birch twigs were used to drive out the spirits of the old year, and gardeners still use the birch besom, or broom, to 'purify' their gardens. It is also used as a symbol of love and fertility. In Scottish Highland folklore, a barren cow herded with a birch stick would become fertile, and a pregnant cow would bear a healthy calf.
Birch is the first of the tree symbols in the Ogham Tree Calendar. Known by the Celts as Beith it is the symbol of new beginnings, regeneration, hope, new dawns and the promise of what is to come.
Birch brooms were the archetypal witches' broomsticks, used in their shamanic flights.
Cradles made from birch were believed to protect new-born babies from malicious spirits,
Traditionally, birch is said to be full of the light of the warrior-god Lugh, and the old belief in its power to drive out evil is strong and persistent: even in Victorian times, naughty schoolchildren would find themselves on the wrong end of a birch switch.
Used by the Native American as the center pole in lodges and dwellings, the Birch was symbolic of new beginnings – the Birch helps refresh the process of gathering, shelter, and the old belief in its power to drive out evil is strong and persistent: .
Uses of Birch
Birch wood is tough and heavy, making it suitable for furniture production, handles and toys. It was once used to make hardwearing bobbins, spools and reels for the Lancashire cotton industry. The bark is used for tanning leather. Silver birch wood is of little commercial value in Britain because the trees don’t grow as large as they do in other parts of Europe.
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