Updated: Mar 13, 2021
Beith (pronounced "BEH")
Birth Months: Late December - Early January
Divination: Beginning, Birth, Starting Over
Elements: Feminine, Water, Venus
Folk Name: Lady of the Woods
Deities: Taliesin, Brigid, Freyja, Thor
Magical Properties: Wards off Evil, Banish Fear, Beauty, Protection, Purification, Hope
Medicinal Properties: Antiseptic, Astringent, Breaks up Kidney & Bladder Stones, Insect Repellent, Natural Shampoo, Mild Sleep Aid
Personality Traits: Motivated, Resilient, Natural Born Leader, Pleasant to be Around, Spiritually Inclined, Intelligent, Calm, Loves a Cozy Home
Birch History & Folklore
Birch is one of the first trees to leaf in the spring. Because of this symbolism it was commonly used during the celebrations of Beltane for wood to stoke the fire (along with oak) and even sometimes used as a living maypole.
The word "birch" is said to come from the Sanskrit word "Bhurga" meaning "Tree whose bark is used to write upon".
Another idea is that "Birch" comes from the Proto-Indo-European root word "Bhereg" meaning "To shine, bright, white".
In the Highlands of Scotland, Birch was widely used for items ranging through building material, fuel in the distillation of whiskey, fermented birch wine, rope for candle burning, tanning leather, babies cradles, spools for spinning cotton, and it was said that if you herded a barren cow with a birch branch, it would become pregnant and give birth to a healthy calf.
A Birch broom can be used to sweep out the old year, the morning after the Winter Solstice.
In Finland, girls washed their faces with birch sap in the spring, so they did not burn themselves in the summer. (Perhaps a natural sunscreen?). The Birch sap can also be used to treat eczema.
Peel the bark off a Birch tree, write a wish, then burn the bark to make your wish come true. Add birch bark to any spell to enhance it's power.
Find a circle of Birch trees to collect your branches from, for powerful wands and runes.
If you find a Birch that has been struck by lightening, it is said that the tree has been blessed by Thor and will be the most powerful source.
Made a poultice from Birch bark to heal bruises and cuts and ease muscle pain.
Some sources say that it can even assist in the healing of skin cancer.
A tea made from the Birch leaves can assist in breaking up kidney and bladder stones, clearing urinary track infections, aiding in sleep, reducing pain, reducing fever, and eliminating bacteria.
Old Fashioned Birch Beer Recipe (Non Alcoholic)
4 Liters of Birch saplings
10-12 Liters of Water
2 Cups of Black strap molasses
Fill a large pot with young Birch branches and add water.
Bring to a boil, cover, let sit overnight.
Bring to a boil once again, turn the heat off, and let simmer until there is about 3 cups of Birch water in the bottom of the pot.
Strain the Birch water through a cheese cloth or coffee filter.
Add to a pot with the molasses and simmer until thick and well mixed.
Let cool. Add to a glass jar for storage and use.
When ready, add your newly made Birch syrup to seltzer water. Ratio 1:1.
Serve over ice and enjoy!
Do you want to further your study or practice of herbal magic and medicine?
Check out Botanical Witchery cards and books for fun ways to get to know your favorite magical plants!
I hope you enjoyed this blog on the Ogham Celtic Birch Tree.
Thank you for taking a moment to spend with me.
~Sarah C LaBrie (Cerridwen Raineach)