The Ogham is an ancient celtic alphabet and divination system based on trees. Trees. How cool is that. Sometimes on my blog I shy away from the very personal posts. To allow myself to be vulnerable is not a pleasant feeling for me. BUt how else to really share with others? I was trying to join a wonderful coven. And they very graciously, permitting me to take lessons and welcomed into their more open circles. They were very kind and generous and well established. But I actually, for the first time in my life, had panic attacks during the classes. I have done work in very arduous areas. I have feared as others do and have had to put my fears aside to do work which was necessary. And never in my life had a panic attack. So, after the second panic attack, I went and talked to my God about this and asked what was I do to if not to take classes in a welcoming coven. And the vision I had was a simple one. Me leading my immediate family into the forrest. Over and over again I saw this and along side the very personal words he spoke to me understood I was to learn the Ogham, the ways of the trees. Trees have always been a companion of mine. I do not usually hear them with words but they call to me. Much like a favorite spellbound blanket that your grandmother made but with much more soul. I found a wonderful set from ETSY by WytchenWoods.
It was a set that used a twig from the actual celtic tree for each symbol of the alphabet. I am a tactile person so the feel of each wood and each symbol means something to me. And I just love this set. I first bought one for my self and then one set for each family member. So, I went to my sacred space and meditated on which letter/symbol/tree to start with and of all the ordinary things, I was suppose to start at the beginning. The beginning is Birch/Beith/Beth. To help me experience Birch I walked around the neighborhood. Feeling all the birch trees that I felt I could get a way with. Letting my hands linger on their trunks. Feeling their leaves and seed pods. Collecting samples from cuttings and leaves from the trees. I went home a drew pictures. And I looked on line. I drank its tea and journeyed with the Neighborhood mother birch tree. It is easy these days to look on-line for the meaning or spirit meaning of trees. And Birch is a popular tree. And so I learned and read that the Birch is the first to populate a new budding forrest. It helps to break the soil for Oak and others. It is a fast grower. Straight and tall shooting up 20 to 60 feet. The are short lived. Their leaves are used in tea especially for cleansing the bladder and kidney, also as a relief to arthritis. The fresh leaves when made into a tea tastes similar to grass without the bitterness. When dried they taste more like apple tea. Syrup is made from the sap. The Spirit of the tree is the Lady of the Woods. Strong and tall, a fast learner. It is a time of new cleanings, new beginnings. Brooms and switches are made from Birch to eli cleanse the spirit(s). Its time is December 24 to January 20th. And its symbol is the Stag. Wait a minute did you say the Stag? The Antlered Red-Deer Stag. Why? Well because every website I went to said so. Did it say why? Well no. Did these sites state a source where it derived the symbolism of the stag to the Birch tree? No. Well then Why would the deer Stag represent the the Birch Tree? Could it be that the deer stag is the consort to the Lady of the Woods?
No. The Oak God is in his youth at this time (Dec 25th to Jan 20th), just newly born. Real Stags are loosing their antlers at this time or have already lost them. And the tree’s spirit is a strong warrior female. But is their an antlered animal that is symbolic with this time of year? Yes. The reindeer. Do they loose their antlers at this time? No. Humm. Does the female have antlers too? Why yes. Could it be that the actual symbolic animal spirit associated with the Birch Tree is the female reindeer, which is symbolically used in stories and mythes for this time of year (Dec 24th-Jan 20th)? Yes. That is what I am putting forth. It is the female reindeer not the male deer stag which is the symbolic animal of the Birch Tree. This thought came to me over and over again as I studied the tree. Then this past July I had the pleasure of attending a wedding in Sweden. Where the restaurant we went to was the Bjork or in english, Birch. As we rode on the high sped train you could easily see the birch trees standing sentinel over the forrest edge. And when we went shopping in old town Stockholm all the stores offered reindeer skin pelts for about $150. They were everywhere reindeer and birch trees, birch trees and reindeer. For the reception at the wedding? Reindeer stakes. I felt it was a joke from the Gods to me. Yes it is reindeer. Yes in this particular association, it is the female, antlered, resplendent, strong, uncompromising, enduring reindeer as the symbol for the Birch Tree. How could it not be? I am not a feminist other than to say that woman are equal. And I do not look to make things feminine. I love the male is all his forms and especially the Deer Stag. The the time of the Birch is not the time of the Stag. The Birch tree is the lady of the woods. The female reindeer is the lady of the woods.
Ogham : Birch I lovingly encourage everyone to challenge and re-examine what is being recited as common knowledge of spirit related information. Our Gods have come back to speak to us our paths are open in ways that have not been since ancients walked with earth. Additional sites worth a visit: The Village Witch, Eco-Enchantments, Elen Sentier: Reindeer Goddess