The Chinese Moons

The Chinese Moons

 

Chinese tradition tells how once there were 12 moons, one for each month of the year. Their mother Heng O, who was also mother of the ten suns washed her 12 moon children in a lake at the western edge of the world and each traveled for their month’s journey to the East where the sun children waited.

In one version the divine archer Yi killed nine of the sun children and was punished by their father (whom he also killed)by being made mortal. Yi then married Heng O, who agreed to spare her life and those of the moon children, if she became his wife. But he tricked her and killed 11 of the moon children as well. She stole from him the herb of immortality and fled with her youngest child to the skies where Yi could not follow her. Here she took the form of the toad who can still be seen in the moon and who is a symbol of prosperity and good luck in China. In some versions all the moon children were saved and they went to the physical moon from which each still flies his moon chariot on his appointed month high across the sky so that Yi cannot harm him.

Mythology of the Moon

Mythology of the Moon

 

In legend, the Moon was seen as the home of the Goddess or as the Goddess Herself and like the Sun was among the first things to be created.

The Creation Of The Moon

The Navajo legend tells of the creation of the Sun and Moon. The first people emerged from the Underworld to live on the surface of the Earth. But the Earth was dark and cold and so First Man and First Woman fashioned two disks from glowing crystal quartz to form the Sun and Moon so that there would be light by both day and night.

First the Sun disk was adorned with a mask of blue turquoise with red coral around its edge and it offered warmth as well as light. First Man and First Woman next attached eagle and lark feathers to the Sun so that its light and heat would be cast to all four corners of the Earth. The Sun disk was fixed in the Eastern sky with lightning darts. First Man and First Woman paused to admire the great beauty they had created for the day and then turned to the night.

The moon disk was decorated with clear shimmering crystal and pearl white shells, and like the Sun was fixed high in the sky. But to the sorrow of the first people, their creations were static and lifeless.

Two wise old men offered their spirits to the disks that they might live and move forever. First Man and First Woman then marked out the daily path of the Sun by fixing twelve eagle feathers at equal points. At dawn, the Sun began to move across the sky, warming and illuminating all in the blackness beneath. At dusk, the Sun returned tired from his journey, and the Moon, also adorned with eagle feathers began his course.

However, Wind Boy, who thought it unfair that the Moon should have to travel so far by night alone, blew his strong breezes so that the moon might glide effortlessly across the darkened heavens. However, the moon’s eagle feathers blew across his face, temporarily blinding him and so to this day the moon follows an irregular passage across the night sky.

Magickal Hours of the Day

Magickal Hours of the Day

 

As analogy of how the hours of the day influence magick can be drawn to a day in the life of a flower.With the first rays of sunshine, the flower begins to open. The, it fully opens, and stays open until closing again at dusk. The flower quietly sleeps, yet it still continue to grow and develop all through the night, until the dawn comes once again.

Magickal timing by the hour of the day follows the flower pattern. Although some of us are morning people, while others are night owls, you will discover that there are certain times during the day and night that you do your most successful magick. Pay attention to you own natural rhythms, and honor them, choosing the times when you have the most energy for magick making. The following is correspondences for the daily timing of potions and spells.

Dawn

A time of renewal, rebirth, new ideas dawning, new beginnings, and consecration. Over the centuries, people have collected the dew on the grass and plants at dawn to use as a magick love potion.

Morning

This is a good time for setting patterns in play for preparing potions, and casting spells for attaining goals. The day’s light is growing strong and your magick grows accordingly. Mid-morning is a good time to harvest flowers.

Noon

The solar energy is most powerful at high noon, and there is a tremendous amount of energy for magick making. Noon is also a good time to gather flowers for magickal uses.

Afternoon

This is a time of harvesting magickal goals. The heat of the afternoon sun is a good time for harvesting herbs for potions.

Dusk

A powerful junction point between solar and lunar energies, dusk is the time when the portals to all worlds are thrown open and you can freely enter them. This is a very potent time for any magick making because the portals are open and communication with Divine energies is particularly strong.

Dark of Night

The lunar and stellar energies are strongest at night. Throughout history, witches have always cast their spells under the cloak of night. This is also a good time to map out magickal potions and spells.

Midnight

Traditionally called “the witching hour,” midnight is a good time to let go of old habits or negative relationships and banish negativity from your life. This is also the time for updating your life patterns and practicing dream magick.

The Hour Before Dawn

This is the time of the Otherworld of fairies and when many predators hunt. It is a good time to stay indoors.

 

Drawing Down the Sun

Drawing Down the Sun

 

Choose the time of day that is best for your purpose. Clear conditions are ideal though of course you cannot look directly at the Sun at any time. Eventually you will be able to visualize the orb. Though Sunday is the special day of the Sun, you can choose any day that feels right.

Decide on the kind of Sun energy you want to focus on for this particular ceremony, a loving Sun Mother to bring joy, abundance and a sense of well-being, and aesthetic Sun God for spiritual and mental clarity and focused creativity or a warrior to empower you and give you the courage of purpose. You don’t have to pick a God or Goddess from a particular culture but can picture you own or use the Sun itself as your focus of light, life and health bringing powers. You can adapt your chant accordingly or use one that refers to these attributes.

1.  Occasionally, just draw down the Sun or recite your chant as a way of giving thanks for life or to send the Sun to those who need it spiritually or in actuality.

2.  Find your Sun place where at particular times of the year the Sun casts radiating beams or dancing rays. You may have to wait for just the right conditions for your first Sun encounter.

3.  Mediterranean and oceanic tropical sunrises can be spectacular and can be appreciated while on vacation. A few minutes of solitary sunset connection can be a very deep healing experience.

4.  It may help to hold a clear crystal or rainbow quartz (any with fractures inside will reflect rainbows).

5.  Set on the ground, on a rock or on your outdoor altar a dish of any gold jewelry, golden crystals, gold-colored coins, flowers and fruit to be empowered by the Sun.

6.  Next to it place a glass bowl of sparkling mineral water Afterwards the water will be charged with the power of the Sun and you can use it in baths or to splash on pulse points.

7.  Raise your arms high and wide, palms uppermost and set your feet quite widely apart.

8.  Speak your words aloud, unless there are too many people around.

9.  Then wait until you feel the light beginning to enter you.

10.  Now move your arms so they are extended horizontally either side of your body with your palms still upward to absorb the light. At this point breathe in the golden light through your nose, slowly and gently, and exhale the darkness through your mouth.

11. As you continue breathing, visualize the light spreading to every part of your body from your toes right to the tips of your fingers and the crown of you head.

12.  Allow the light to extend now beyond your body, forming a shield of golden rays all around you and above you so that you are enclosed in a shimmering sphere.

13.  Gradually move your arms and hands so they cross at about waist height. Repeat this in succession and in the rhythm that is right for you, raising, extending and enfolding yourself with light as if you were splashing it over yourself.

14.  When you feel that you are completely filled with the radiance, cease to breathe in gold deliberately. Stand with your arms still raised, close together in front of your body with elbows bent.

15.  Say slowly and with confidence three times:

“I am filled with the light of the Sun. I am pure light.”

16.  Allow the energies to flow between your body, the pool of light and the golden sphere.

17.  Kneel or reach down and splash a few drops of the newly made Sun water on your hairline, brow, throat and wrist, saying:

“The Sun enters my spirit, enriches my mind, transforms my words and warms my heart. Blessings Be.”

18.  Listen and you may hear a message from the Sun Mother of Father.

19.  If you face opposition or spite, shake your fingers and see golden sparks emanate from your fingertips like miniature Sun rays.

20.  Extend your arms in a circle over your head so you create a psychic protective force field of sparks all around you that will gently repel any malice.

21.  Make a sign, perhaps touching the place between and just above your eyes that is your third eye. Or you may prefer to touch your heart or make a circle in the palm of you hand.

22.  As you do so, say:

“When I touch my brow/heart, I will invoke the Power of the Sun with me.”

23.  Look upwards and picture the  Sun Mother or Father or a whirling, spinning solar disc and gradually allow the radiance and the Goddess to fade, knowing that you can recall the Sun into your life any time you are in need, just by making your psychic sign.

24.  Spend the rest of the day or at least part of it in the Sunshine and the next day do something amazingly brave to make the most of your new power.

 

Drawing Down the Power of the Sun Goddess or God

Drawing Down The Power of the Sun Goddess or God

 

In witchcraft, as you know, there is a ceremony known as ‘drawing down the moon’ in which the High Priestess takes into herself the power and wisdom of the Moon. In some traditions the power of the Sun is called down by the High Priest at the beginning of the Esbat or monthly celebration and on other major seasonal ceremonies into the Priestess. There is another ceremony where Sun power is called down into the Priest by the High Priestess or into herself, especially at seasonal solar change points such as the Equinoxes or Solstices.

However, in both cases, whether you work alone as a witch or in a coven or practice less formally, you can at any time of the day or year call into yourself the strength, fertility and joy of your chosen Sun God or Goddess.

At dawn:  Draw down the powers of the rising Sun for a new beginning or for a fresh approach or for optimism or inspiration

At noon:  Plug into the rush of pure life and light force for a make or break situation or to spur yourself on if you are tired or dispirited – or for sudden illumination.

At dusk.  The Sun consoles, heals and harmonizes desperate demands or people and draws gentle abundance to you.

Celtic Astrology: Know Your Celtic Sign

Celtic Astrology: Know Your Celtic Sign

by Tarotcom Staff

Long ago, the Celts imagined the universe as a tree with deep roots and neverending branches. Around 1000 B.C. people began to designate a tree for each Moon phase in the lunar calendar.

Each tree sign has secret powers, magical properties, spirit animals and a corresponding “ogham” — the letter/symbol developed as a secret code of the Celts (also known as the Celtic Tree Language) to attract luck, protect from harm and heighten each Celtic sign’s unique personal powers.

It’s said that inscribing your special items and belongings with the ogham associated with your Celtic sign can harness that sign’s powers.

Look up your Celtic tree sign and ogham below:

Birch (Dec. 24 – Jan. 20)

You are renowned for having a fresh, unusual outlook. Your ogham is Beithe, which symbolizes beginnings, change and fresh opportunities. Your color is white, and your sacred animal is the cow.

Rowan (Jan. 21 – Feb. 17)

You are blessed with excellent taste. Your ogham is Luis, which represents insight, prescience and discernment. Your color is red, and your sacred animals are the unicorn and bear.

Ash (Feb. 18 – March 17)

You are a loner and frequently need to escape the chaos of public life. Your ogham is Nuin, which symbolizes peace. Your color is green and your animal is the snake.

Alder (March 18 – April 14)

You are known for your bravado. Your ogham is Fearn, which represents moral and physical courage. Your color is red and your animals are the red fox, ram and stallion.

Willow (April 15 – May 12)

You are known for your vivid imagination. Your ogham is Saille, which embodies the principles of intuition, creativity and artistry. Your color is yellow and your animals are the hare and the cat.

Hawthorn (May 13 – June 9)

You are patient, thoughtful and hopeful. Your ogham is Huathe, which embodies the principle of restraint. Your color is purple and your animals are the goat and dragon.

Oak (June 10 – July 7)

You are distinguished by your reliability, diligence and emotional strength. Your ogham is Duir, which represents protection. Your color is black and your animals are the white horse, the lion and the salamander.

Holly (July 8 – Aug. 4)

You are celebrated for your physical strength and star power. Your ogham is Tinne, which is tied to the color silver and your spirit animal is the war horse.

Hazel (Aug. 5 – Sept. 1)

You are prized for your intellect, maturity and perspective. Your ogham is Coll, which represents wisdom. Your color is brown and your animal is the salmon.

Vine (Sept. 2 – Sept. 29)

You are uninhibited and blessed with foresight. Your ogham is Muin, which symbolizes the power of prophecy. Your colors are pastels, and your animal is the lizard.

Ivy (Sept. 30 – Oct. 27)

You are famous for your sheer determination and willpower. Your ogham is Gort, which symbolizes progress. Your color is blue and your animal is the boar.

Reed (Oct. 28 – Nov. 24)

You are celebrated for your open-minded attitude and worldly sophistication. Your ogham is Ngetal, which symbolizes unity. Your color is orange and your three spirit animals are the dog, the stag and the rat.

Elder (Nov. 25 – Dec. 23)

You are wise beyond your years. Your ogham is Ruis, which represents maturity. Your color is gold and your animal is the badger.

About the Celtic Tree Month Elder November 25 – December 22

The Celtic Tree Month Elder

(Ruis)

November 25 to December 22

Those Born Under This Sign:

Elder archetypes among Celtic tree astrology tend to be freedom-loving, and sometimes appear to be a bit wild to the other signs of the zodiac.  In younger years you may have lived life in the fast lane, often identified as a “thrill seeker.”  At the time of your birth the light of the sun was fast fleeting and so you take the same cue from nature.  You are often misjudged as an outsider as you have a tendency to be withdrawn in spite of your extroverted nature.  In actuality, you are deeply thoughtful with philosophical bent.  You also tend to be very considerate of others and genuinely strive to be helpful.  These acts of assistance are sometimes thwarted by your brutal honestly (which you openly share solicited or otherwise).  Elder Celtic tree astrology signs fit well with Alder’s and Holly’s.

The Celtic Meaning of the Elder:

The Celtic meaning of the elder tree deals with:

  • Death
  • Cycles
  • Rebirth
  • Renewal
  • Creativity
  • Regeneration
  • Transformation

The elder tree ruling time is within the cycle of the thirteenth moon.  This is also the end of the old year at the time of Samhain.  This is where the elder derives its symbolism of endings and/or death.

In this same vein, the druids and ancient Celts recognized the elder had natural banishing abilities.  The essence of its leaves, and the odor of its pretty white flowers were proven to ward off pesky insects.  This origin might have been expanded upon in Celtic lore where we learn branches were hung over doors to ward off evil spirits.

Right on the heels of its associations of banishment and death come the elder’s attributes of rebirth and renewal.  The elder earns these symbolism’s honestly as it has long been recognized as a prized medicinal tree.  Everything from bark to berries has been used to treat all manner of ailments.  The ancient Celtic people recognized its healing abilities, and honored the elder for the gifts of good health.

It is known as a transformative Celtic symbol because it is associated with the realm of fairies. Celtic lore indicates that if you stand near an elder tree at Midsummer’s Eve the land of the fairies will be revealed to your searching eyes. Furthermore, fairies love music – particularly the lulling notes of a flute made from elder wood.

Reference:

Whats-Your-Sign.com

About the Celtic Tree Month Reed October 28 to November 24

Celtic Tree Month Reed

(Ngetal)

October 28 to November 24

Those Born Under This Sign:

Reed signs among the Celtic tree astrology signs are the secret keepers.  You dig deep inside to the real meaning of things and discover the truth hidden beneath layers of distraction.  When there is a need to get to the heart of the matter, most certainly the Reed sign will find the core.  You love a good story, and can be easily drawn in by gossip, scandals, legend and lore.  These tendencies also make you an excellent historian, journalist, detective or archeologist.  You love people because they represent a diversity of meanings for you to interpret.  You are adept at coaxing people to talking to you, and sometimes you can be a bit manipulative.  However, you have a strong sense of truth and honor so most of your scheming is harmless.  Reed people join well with other Reeds, Ash or Oak signs.

Celtic Meaning Of The Reed:

The Celtic meaning of the reed within the Ogham deals with:

  • Purpose
  • Protection
  • Purification
  • Clarification
  • Communication

Today we may not consider the reed a tree, but in the time of the ancient Celts their landscape held prolific reeds in swamp areas; some growing up to 20 feet tall.

The druids viewed any large plant like this with a woody stalk to be a tree, and the reed was considered very important.

All things of the natural world were honored by the Celts, and all things represented the connection with life.   In this way, the reed was highly revered for its usefulness in the day-to-day practices of the Celts.

The reed was used for many purposes by the Celts.  Specifically, they would weave reeds together to make thatched roofs on their homes – some of which (when properly constructed) last up to a decade or more.  This is where the reed obtains its symbolism of protection.  It is also a natural insulator, and the Celts honored it highly during cold, wet months.

Reed gives off a faint sweet smell when macerated, and so the Celts were known to lay out pressed reeds as flooring in their homes to deodorize.  This was also a practice for cleansing and purifying homes.

Reeds also made good candles, and were viewed as beacons of light during the dark nights.  This is another facet of the reed’s purposefulness in the life of the Celts.

The reed gets its symbolism of communication from several sources.  In the hands of a good craftsman (and there were many among the ancient Celts), a reed would make a fine whistle, flute or recorder.  These were highly prized amongst the people, particularly bards. Through these flutes and music the spiritually-minded Celts would communicate fantastic worlds of vision, heroism, and beauty.  

Secondly, if you are still enough, you can hear them sing a song when the wind blows through a field of reeds.  If you’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing it, you know it is an eerie experience.  The Celts viewed this as an otherworld voice, and considered it a message of powerful importance.

Take the time to incorporate these symbolic meanings of the reed in your life.  Gather some up and bring them into the house to open up the energy and clear the air.  Or, try fashioning a flute from a reed and take it to your next drum circle to play!  Your Celtic ancestors will get such a kick out of that!

Reference:

Whats-Your-Sign.com

Mistletoe (Aprox. Dec. 23)

MISTLETOE LORE

  • Tree of the day after the Winter Solstice (Aprox. December 23)
  • Latin name: Viscum Album
  • Celtic name: It is said that Mistletoe is too sacred to have a written word
  • Folk or Common names: Mistletoe, Birdlime, All Heal, Golden Bough, Loranthaceae Phoradendron flavescens
  • Parts Used: leaves, berries, twigs
  • Herbal usage: **CAUTION: Mistletoe berries are extremely poisonous and have been known to cause miscarriage.** Mistletoe can be used as a stimulant to  soothe muscles and to produce a rise in blood pressure. It increases the contraction of the uterus and intestine. Mistletoe has been recommended as an  oxytocic in postpartum hemorrhage and menorrhagia. It is also used as a circulatory and uterine stimulant. This plant can induce menstruation. It has shown  effective in treating tumors in some animals. It is recommended that due to the toxicity of this plant that ingestion of this herb be avoided.
  • Magical History & Associations: Mistletoe is one of the Druid’s most sacred trees – as Ovid said, “Ad viscum Druidae cantare solebant. (The  Druids are wont to sing to the Mistletoe.).” In Druidic lore Mistletoe is an herb of the Winter Solstice and is the special plant for the day after  Yule. The Druids gathered their Mistletoe at Midsummer or at the 6th day of the moon. The Druid priests or priestesses would wear white robes while gathering  the plant and would use a golden knife, taking extreme care not to let the plant touch the ground. Two oxen were often sacrificed for the harvest. The Druids  considered that the Mistletoe that grew on Oak trees was the most potent and sacred. Mistletoe is a plant of the sun and also of the planet of Jupiter. It is  associated with the element of the air. The colors of Mistletoe are green, gold and white, and its herb is hyssop. The gemstones associated with Mistletoe  are Black Quartz, Amber, Pearl and green Obsidian. Mistletoe has the immortal creature the Gryphon-Eagle associated with it and also the plain eagle is its  bird association. There are many deities associated with Mistletoe: Loki, Blader, Hercules, Shu, Osirus, and Aeneas are a few of those deities.
  • Magickal usage: Romans, Celtics, and Germans believed that mistletoe is the key to the supernatural. Mistletoe will aid and strengthen all magickal works  but is best called upon for healing, protection, and beautiful dreams – dreams which will unlock the secrets of immortality. Mistletoe is a good wood to use  for making wands, other ritual tools and magickal rings. The Berries are used in love incenses, plus a few berries can be added to the ritual cup at a  handfasting. Boughs of Mistletoe can be hung for all purpose protection around the house. Sprigs of Mistletoe can be carried as an herb of protection – plus  amulets and jewelry can be made out of Mistletoe wood as protective talismans. Hung over the cradle, Mistletoe will protect the child from being stolen by  the fey and Mistletoe that is carried will protect the bearer from werewolves. Mistletoe stood for sex and fertility – hence our tradition of kissing under  the mistletoe. It is traditionally hung in the home at Yule, and those who walk under it exchange a kiss of peace.

Silver Fir (Day Of Winter Solstice)

SILVER FIR LORE

  • Tree of the day of the Winter Solstice
  • Latin name: Abies alba.
  • Celtic name: Ailim (pronounced: Ahl’ em).
  • Folk or Common names: Common Silver Fir, Balm of Gilead Fir, Balsam Fir, American Silver Fir.
  • Parts Used: Needles, wood, sap.
  • Herbal usage: The Silver Fir is one of the tallest trees native to Europe, sometimes exceeding 160 feet tall. The wood of the Fir is beautiful and is  often used in making musical instruments and in the interior of buildings. The sap from the Silver Fir can be manufactured into a turpentine like oil that is  a pale yellowish or almost water-white liquid of a light, pleasant fresh turpentine like odor. It is a diuretic, and stimulates mucous tissues if taken in  small doses. In large doses it is purgative, and may cause nausea. The oil also has some uses as perfume and in essential oils that can be added to  homeopathic bath and beauty products.
  • Magical History & Associations: The Silver Fir is associated with the moon and with the planet of Jupiter. Its colors are piebald and light or pale  blue. Its birds are the eagle and the Lapwing, and its animal association is the red cow. Its stones are Tourmaline and Amber – and it is a feminine herb.  This tree belongs to the triple aspect Goddess in Celtic lore, offering learning, choice and progress. The tree is sacred to many Goddesses: Artemis (the  Greek Goddess of Childbirth), Diana and Druantia among them. It is also sacred to the Gods Osiris and Attis, both who were imprisoned in Fir/Pine trees.
  • Magickal usage: the Silver Fir is used for magick involving power, insight, progression, protection, change, feminine rebirth, and birth. The Silver Fir  and the Yew are sisters standing next to each other in the circle of the year and their foliage is almost identical. However the Yew is known as the tree of  death and the Silver Fir is the tree of birth or rebirth. The Silver Fir was a sacred tree to the Druids who felt that it stood for hope. The Silver Fir wood  is used for shape-shifting and magic involving change, since it offers a clear perception of the present and the future. The wood chips are sometimes used as  incense and the wood can be used in the construction of magickal musical instruments. Burning the needles of the Silver Fir or sweeping around the bed with a  branch that has been blessed will protect a new born baby and its mother. In the Orkney area of Scotland, the new mother and baby are ‘sained’ by  whirling a fir-candle three times around her bed. For a ‘Weather Witch’ the cones of the Silver Fir warn of wet weather and foretells when a dry  season approaches. Charms made of Fir can be given as good luck tokens to departing friends. In its appearance (and in its current, and undoubtedly ancient,  use) the Silver Fir is the quintessential Yule tree. Its branches can be used as decorations at Yule time either as wreaths or as garland, where it will  provide protection for the household and its occupants.

Yew (Aprox. December 21)

YEW LORE

•Tree of the day before the Winter Solstice (Aprox. December 21)
•Latin name: Taxus baccata.
•Celtic name: Idho (pronounced: Ih’ huh).
•Folk or Common names: English Yew.
•Parts Used: Needles, wood, berries.
•Herbal usage: CAUTION – THIS PLANT IS POISONOUS AND SHOULD BE USED WITH CAUTION. The needles and branch tips have been used to treat lung diseases and bladder problems. recently a new cancer drug, Taxol, has been derived from its bark and berries.
•Magical History & Associations: The name “Yew” is a corruption of the Anglo-Saxon word ‘eow’. The word ‘Taxus’ is from the Greek word ‘Taxon’, meaning ‘bow’. The 5000 year old “Ice Man”, discovered in the Alps, had a bow and axe handle made of Yew. The Yew is known as the ‘Tree of Death’ through out Europe and is associated with the season of winter. It is sacred to many Dark Goddesses: Banbha, Amalthea (mother of the horned Dionysus), Morrighan, The Erinyes, Cailleach Beara, Berchta, and Hekate. Shakespeare recognized the relationship of Yew and Heckate and referred to the contents of her cauldron as “slips of yew, silver’d in the moon’s eclipse…” (Macbeth) – and elsewhere Shakespeare makes ‘hebenon, the double-fatal yew’ the poison which Hamlet’s uncle pours into the king’s ear. Heckate’s sacred tree of death is said to root in the mouths of the dead and release their souls, and also absorbs the odors of death itself. Bulls are associated with this tree, as are female goats. The bird associated with Yew is the eaglet, since the eaglet’s appetite is insatiable, and the bones of its nest are white like the snow on its cliff-ledge. The Yews colors are white and silver and it is associated with the element of water. The Yew is associated with the planet Saturn and with the metal lead. In Old England the Yew was known as “The Witches Tree” since it is associated with sorcery and magick.
•Magickal usage: The time of Yew is known as a time of death, and so on the day before Yule it said that is not a good idea to do actual spell work, instead it is suggested to do rituals of the season concerned with reincarnation. Because the Yew grows to such an old age, it has become a symbol of stability in Celtic areas of the world and so is often used as the central “World Tree” in ritual spaces. As one of the three magickal trees (along the Alder and the Black Poplar) associated with death and funerals, the Yew has often been planted in graveyards. Yew sends up new trees from its roots, so is a powerful symbol of death and reincarnation. Yew wood is appropriate for magickal tools such as wands and staves. In ancient times Yew sticks were carved with the Ogham characters as tools of divination. The Futhark features a 13th Rune, which is considered one of the most powerful Runes and represents a stave cut from a yew tree. This Rune is regarded as the stave of life and death. Yew can be dried and burned as an incense to contact spirits of the dead – and even to raise the dead.

Heather (Aprox. June 20)

HEATHER LORE

  • Tree of the Summer Solstice (Aprox. June 20)
  • Latin name: Calluna vulgaris
  • Celtic name: Ura (pronounced: Oor’ uh)
  • Folk or Common names: Common Heather, Ling, Scottish Heather
  • Parts Used: herb, flowering shoots.
  • Herbal usage: Heather’s flowering shots are used to treat insomnia, stomach aches, coughs and skin problems. The plant, used fresh or dried,  strengthens the heart and raises blood pressure. It is slightly diuretic and a Heather Tea is often prescribed in cases of urinary infections. Heather is  sometimes used in conjunction with corn silk and cowberries.
  • Magical History & Associations: Heather is associated with the sun, and with the planet of Venus. Its color is resin colored and its element is  water. Heather’s bird is the lark, and its animal association is the honey bee. In ancient times the Danes brewed a powerful beer made from honey and  Heather. And for centuries the heather flowers have also been a special beverage to the bee, who in return creates delightful Heather honey! Its stones are  amethyst, peridot, and amertine – and it is a feminine herb. The herb is sacred to many Goddesses: Isis, Venus-Erycina, Uroica, Garbh Ogh, Cybele, Osiris,  Venus, Guinevere, and Butes among them. White Heather was considered unlucky by Scottish loyalists because of its connection with the banishment of Bonny  Prince Charles. Haether is the home to a type of Fey called Heather Pixies. Like other Pixies, the Heather Pixies have clear or golden auras and delicate,  translucent wings. But these faeries are attracted specifically to the moors and to the Heather which covers them. They are not averse to human contact, but  they don’t seek them out. They have a pranksterish nature.
  • Magickal usage: Heather is sacred to the Summer Solstice. Heather is used for magick involving maturity, consummation, general luck, love, ritual power,  conjuring ghosts, healing, protection, rain-making and water magick. Charms made with Heather can be worn or carried as protection against danger, rape and  other violent crimes. This flower represents good fortune and Heather can also be carried as a lucky charm. It was believed that wearing the blossom  associated with your month of birth would bring exceptionally good luck – therefore people born in the month of Heather (August) should carry White Heather,  for even better luck throughout the year. Legend has it that a gift of white Heather brings luck to both the giver and the receiver, wheras red Heather is  said to have been colored by heathens killed in battle by Christians, so is less lucky. Heather is associated with secrets from the Otherworld. A sprig of  white Heather placed in a special place of silence and meditation has the power to conjure ghosts, haints or spirits. After picking a piece of white Heather  at midnight, place it in a glass of river water in the darkest corner of your home. Sit and think of a departed loved one and it is said that the loved ones  shadow will visit you. Heather is said to ignite faery passions and open portals between their world and our own. Heather represents solitude because it  thrives in wide open spaces, and Faeries who enjoy living in such undisturbed places are said to feast on the tender stalks of Heather. The Fae of this  flower are drawn to humans who are shy. Heather is useful for Solitary healing work (going within). Heather, if used along with Mistletoe, creates powerful  healing medicine in both spiritual and physical aspects. Heather can be used at Midsummer to promote love – carry red Heather for passion or white Heather  for cooling the passion of unwanted suitors. If you give someone a gift of Heather it means: ‘Admiration’. A charm bag filled with Heather can be  carried for decreasing egotism or self-involvement. As a water herb, Heather is very useful in weather magick. When burned outdoors with Fern, the herbal  smoke of Heather attracts rain. Bouquets of Heather and Fern can also be dipped in water to call rain.

Furze/Gorse Tree (Aprox. March 20)

FURZE/GORSE LORE

  • Tree of the Spring Equinox (Aprox. March 20)
  • Latin name: ulex europaeus
  • Celtic name: ‘O’ – Onn
  • Folk or Common names: Broom, Frey, Furze, Fyrs, Gorst, Goss, Prickly Broom, Ruffet, and Whin.
  • Parts Used: Flowers
  • Herbal usage: A decoction made with the flowers thereof hath been found effectual against the jaundice, as also to provoke urine, and cleanse the kidneys  from gravel or stone ingendered in them. In parts of the UK, it was once cultivated and cut down to provide burnable fuel for bakers’ ovens. The ashes  left after it has been set on fire yield a generous amount of alkali and have been used as a type of primitive soap for washing purposes after first being  mixed with clay and rolled into balls. The golden flowers yield an excellent natural yellow dye.
  • Magical History & Associations: Furze is a thorny shrub with bright yellow flowers that is associated with the Spring Equinox. This herb is a symbol  of the young sun at the spring equinox and royalty. Furze is associated with the astrological sign of Aries, the planet of Mars, the element of Fire, and is  a masculine herb. Furze is associated with Jupiter, Thor, Onn, and also with the Gallic ash-grove Goddess On-niona. The color for Furze is dun, and its bird  is the cormorant.
  • Magickal usage: Furze is a druid Sacred tree, whose flowers are associated with the Spring Equinox. Furze is a symbol of fertility and has the magickal  uses of Protection and Money. Furze is a good herb to use as a proctectant against evil. In Wales hedges of the prickly Gorse are used to protect the home  against dark fairies, who cannot penetrate the hedge. Furze wood and blooms can be burned for protection and also for preparation for conflict of any sort.  There are two school of thought about giving Furze flowers as a gift. On one had the gift is supposed to be good luck, but on the other hand if you give them  to someone that you love it means: Anger. There is an old rhyme about Furze that refers to its all-year-round flowering habits:”When Gorse is out of bloom,         Kissing is out of season.”

    Furze is also used in money spells; it attracts gold.

Elder (Nov 25 – Dec 23)

ELDER LORE

  • 13th Moon of the Celtic Year – (Nov 25 – Dec 23)
  • Latin name: Dwarf Elder – sambucus ebulus; Elderberry – sambucus canadenis.
  • Celtic name: Ruis (pronounced: roo ish).
  • Folk or Common names: Lady Elder, Elder, Elderberry, pipe tree, bore tree, bour tree, Eldrun, Hyldor, Hyllantree, Ellhorn, Sambucus.
  • Parts Used: Bark, leaves, flowers, berries, wood.
  • Herbal usage: The Elder has many medicinal uses, and can be used to treat over 70 conditions. The bark can be used fresh for headaches and to promote  labor, or can be dried and powdered and used in small doses as a diuretic. The leaves and flowers can be made into drinks, poultices and salves. Elderberry  flower water is useful for soothing sunburns. The berries are safe to eat when eaten ripe, and they can be used to make wines, jams and teas.
  • Magical History & Associations: The Elder is a tree of Venus and is associated with the element of air. The bird associated with the month of Elder  is the rook, the color is blood-red, and the gemstone is dark green malachite. The Elder also is associated with Black Horses, Ravens, and Badgers. The Elder  is linked to the eternal turnings of life and death, birth and rebirth, and creativity and renewal. It represents the end/beginning and beginning/end. It is  sacred to the deities of Bran, Venus, Hel, Callech, Holda, the White Goddess, the Great Goddess, and Pryderi (The Celts believed that it was during the time  of Elder that their sun or solar spirit was held prisoner, just as Pryderi was forced into exile). The Elder is the Old Crone aspect of the triple Goddess,  wise old energy at the end of the year’s cycle, and is sometimes called the “death tree” because of this. Funerary flints found in megalithic  long barrows were Elder leaf shaped, suggesting the association of Elder with death goes back a long way. Elder is also called the “witch’s  tree” and certainly the village hedge-witch would have used the elder in healing and Magick. The Elder is also associated with a dryad (tree spirit).  Early European legends tell of a dryad called Hylde-moer, The Elder Tree Mother, who lives in the Elder tree and watches over it. Should the tree be chopped  down and furniture made of the wood, Hylde-moer would follow her property and haunt the owners. Similar tales tell that if a child’s cradle were made of  Elder, Hylde-moer would pinch the child black and blue and give it no peace or rest, therefore it is considered unlucky to make a cradle out of Elder wood.  The Elder is also seen in a negative light by the Christian religion, since Judas supposed to have hanged himself from an Elder tree and the cross used to  crucify Jesus was supposed to be made of Elder.
  • Magickal usage: The month of Elder includes the Winter Solstice, which is celebrated as the Sabbat of Yule, a day to mark the return of the Sun.  Therefore, calling upon the Sun God or Goddess is good to do during this month. Elder has the Magickal powers of Healing, Visions, Faery Magick,  Spirituality, Cleansing, Sleep, Exorcism, Offering, Love, Protection, and Prosperity. Elder is often used to produce visions. At Samhain, the last of the  Elderberries were picked with solemn rites. The wine made from these berries was considered the last sacred gift of the Earth Goddess, and was valued and  drunk ritually to invoke prophecy, divination and hallucinations. Elder twigs were woven into head-dresses to enable the wearers to see spirits. The Elder is  very useful in Magick dealing with Nature Spirits and the Fae. Wood spirits are said to live in Elder forests, and wood elves are said to come to listen to  music played by flutes made with Elder wood. The Elder has strong protective qualities. Tiny twigs of Elder or dried Elderberry can be worn in a bag around  the neck as a charm for protection against physical or psychic attack. As a protection against evil (and later against witchcraft) Elder branches were hung  in doorways of houses and cowsheds. Elder can be used to bless a person, place or thing by scattering leaves and berries to the four directions, and over the  thing or person being blessed. It is said that if you stand under an Elder tree, you will never be struck by lightening. Elder was also buried in graves to  ward off evil spirits, and is considered protection against earthbound, “physical” spirits like vampires. Elder as Vampire-Repellent is older  folklore than the lore about garlic. When you put Elder on a threshold or windowsill, you can force a vampire to count over the thorns and the berries until  morning comes, because vampires are obsessive-compulsive about counting things. Also, Elder blossom were worn at Beltane to signify witchcraft and magic, and  Elder twigs can be used to undo evil magic. Elder is a traditional wood for making Magickal tools, like besoms and wands. It is said in Irish folklore that  it is Elder and not Ash which is used by witches for their magic ‘hobby horses’ and besoms. Justice was often dispensed under an Elder, so the hilt  of a coven sword was often made of Elder wood. Elder is also a good wood to use to make Protective Wands. There are very strong superstitions about not  cutting down or burning an Elder (maybe caused by a fear of releasing the tree’s Hylde-moer – or maybe out of a deep respect for the tree), so be sure to  remember to ask the tree if it will allow you to take a branch. It is traditional to say this before you cut a branch:”Lady Ellhorn, give me of thy wood,         And I will give thee of mine,         when I become a tree.”

    Some people like to leave a small gift of some kind when they do harvest a branch – or you can do something practical like untangling the    tree’s ivy, clearing up around the trunk, watering in dry weather, or tidying up trash from around the tree.

Reed (Oct 28 – Nov 24)

REED LORE

  • 12th Moon of the Celtic Year – (Oct 28 – Nov 24)
  • Latin name: Latin name: American Elm – ulmus americana; European Elm – ulmus procera; slippery Elm – ulmus fulva.
  • Celtic name: Negetal (pronounced: nyettle).
  • Folk or Common names: In Britain where the Reed tree is the dwarf elm, it is called the Water-Elder, Whitten, or rose Petal. Since I use the immature Elm  tree in place of the Reed tree, the Elm is usually known as Elm, and sometimes Piss-Elm (due to the smell it makes while being burned as a green wood).
  • Parts Used: Bark, leaves, wood.
  • Herbal usage: The Elm has many medicinal uses. Slippery Elm bark can be powdered and made into a milk for babied that can’t tolerate cow’s milk.  In fact slippery Elm bark is good for many purposes. In tea it can ease insomnia and sooth an upset tummy. It is also useful for enemas and makes good  poultice material. This type of poultice can be used on wounds, infections, ulcers, burns, and poison ivy.
  • Magical History & Associations: The birds associated with the month of Reed are the owl and goose, the color is grass green, and the gemstone is  clear green jasper. Symbols of this Celtic month are The White Hound, The Stone, the Planet Pluto (Pwyll), The Fire Feast of Samhain Dis, Pwyll, and Arawn.  Identified with the submerged or hidden dryad, The Month of 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 Month of Reed is associated 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. The Elm tree is a tree of Saturn and is associated with  the element of earth. It is sacred to Odin, Hoenin and Lodr. The elm is also associated with the day of Tuesday.
  • Magickal usage: The month of Elm / Reed is a good month for using music in magick, especially music made by bagpipes and flutes, and also for doing  divination. Elm is sometimes said to symbolize the dark side of the psyche and so can be used in psychic workings. The Elm is commonly known as “the elf  friend”. If you desire to have contact with wood elves, pick a grove of Elm trees and sit under them and sing. Around about dawn, the elves will have  gotten over their initial shyness and come out to join in the singing. Elm trees are also thought to provide a channel for the communication with divas. To  get an Elm tree to help you in this quest, offerings can be brought to a favorite tree and left. The best offerings are wine, mead, tobacco, coins and sage.  Tiny twigs of Elm can be worn in a bag around a child’s neck as a charm to produce eloquent speech in later life. Elm wood may be bound with a yellow  cord and burned to prevent gossip. The Elm represents primordial female powers and therefore the Elm is a tree with great protective qualities. The wood from  the Elm can be made into talismans and charms that can be worn for protection. The Elm also has the qualities of regeneration, boldness and fidelity, and so  added to its protective qualities, it is excellent when given as a good luck token to departing friends. Using Elm is spellwork adds stability to the spell.  According to Edain McCoy in her article: Willow for love, Oak for strength (97 Llewellyn Magickal Almanac) a tea can be made for the month of Reed that  includes a pinch of slippery Elm:REED MOON TEA – Fertility, love, protection.

    1 part red clover         1 part hyssop         1 part boneset         pinch of slippery elm

    **Note: Please be very, VERY careful when taking this teas! These are powerful herbs, meant to be used by more or less experienced herbalists and    witches. Boneset is toxic in large doses or if taken over long period of time. To use, put in a tea ball and steep for 5 or 6 minutes.