Druidic Order (Zyanya Supplement)
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- 1 Sacred
- 2 The Seven Sacred Herbs of the Druids:
- 3 Druidic Tree Calendar
- 4 Tree Lore
The Oak Tree
Oak trees are sacred to the Druids. Figol is thought to give guidance through oracular readings of oak branches on particularly majestic trees. The oak leaf and acorn figure prominently in Druidic rituals and groves are often centered around an especially handsome oak. Dryads that inhabit oak trees are thought to be the wisest of their kind and are sought for advice during times of difficulty. Although Druids are often consulted when trees are to be cut (the Druid insures that no trees housing dryads or other spirits are accidentally felled) particular care is taken when an oak is wanted. The general druidic stance is that an oak should not be felled if it is healthy, though twigs, leaves or branches may be taken if permission is first asked of the tree spirit and a gift of wine is poured over the tree's roots in thanks. Oak trees that have fallen by themselves (whether by age, disease, lightning or other natural causes) thus provide a valuable source of wood for ritual tools.
Mistletoe is also highly valued by Druids if it grows on an oak tree. The most powerful rituals and spells are heightened by the use of mistletoe that has been cut under a full moon with a golden sickle (+2 caster level for spells of 5th level or higher). It must be used before the next full moon or it loses its potency. Mistletoe harvested in this way is also used as an ingredient in a decoction that induces the trance state necessary to carry out oracular readings. In this use, the tree that provided the mistletoe must be the conduit for the divine knowledge. The decoction must be made fresh over a fire fed by windfall from this same tree and must be used within a day. Obviously, such an involved ritual is not often carried out and is reserved for times when the deity’s guidance is very sorely needed.
Fire is considered a natural force by Druids and festivals involving large bonfires are celebrated over the year to mark important dates: Beltane (May Day), Midsummer, Hallowe’en (eve of Samhain), and Midwinter. No trees may be cut for these fires; they must be fed by windfall. The bonfires are usually accompanied by feasting, singing and dancing and are lit on hilltops so that they are closer to the sky, source of the sun and rain which feed the plants and crops.
The Seven Sacred Herbs of the Druids:
Mistletoe Vervain Henbane Primrose Pulsatilla Clover Wolf’s Bane
These herbs are used commonly in Druidic herbal preparations, particularly those used for rituals. Druids consider them to be highly reliable in their effects. See herbs for descriptions of the uses of these plants.
Druidic Tree Calendar
The Druidic lunar calendar consists of 13 months of 28 days each and begins on the day of the Winter Solstice. Each month is associated with a specific tree or plant.
* Beth, the Birch Month (Winter Solstice – 27 aurix-isk) * Luis, the Rowan Month (28 aurix-isk – 25 orn-isk) * Nion, the Alder month (26 orn-isk – 23 rach-isk) * Fearn, the Ash Month (24 rach-isk – 20 vyth-isk) * Saille, the Willow Month (21 vyth-isk – 18 aujir-isk) * Huath, the Hawthorn Month (19 aujir-isk – 16 kethend-isk) * Duir, the Oak Month (17 kethend-isk – 13 charir-sk) * Tinne, the Holly Month (14 charir-isk – 11 ulhar-isk) * Coll, the Hazel Month (12 ulhar-isk – 9 achuak-isk) * Muin, the Vine Month (10 achuak-isk – 6 vutha-isk) * Gort, the Ivy Month (7 vutha-isk – 4 aussir-isk) * Ngetal, the Reed Month (5 aussir-isk – 2 achiusk-isk) * Ruis, the Elder Month (3 achiusk-isk – 30 achiusk-isk)
Spring Equinox occurs on the 8th day of Fearn, the Ash month. Beltane occurs on the 1st of Saille, the Willow month. Summer Solstice or Midsummer occurs on th 15th of Duir, the Oak month. Autumn Equinox occurs on the 22nd of Gort, the Ivy month. Samhain occurs on the 1st of Ngetal, the Reed month.
In addition, there are five plants that are particularly associated with each of the solstices and equinoxes:
* Idho, the Night of the Yew, Winter Solstice Eve * Ailm, the Night of the Silver Fir, Winter Solstice * Herb too sacred to have a Druidic name, the Night of Mistletoe, Day after Winter Solstice * Onn, the Night of the Gorse Bush, Spring Equinox * Ura, the Night of the Heather, Summer Solstice * Eadha, the Night of the White Poplar, Autumnal Equinox
The Druidic lore of each of these trees and plants is described below.
Parts Used: Leaves, bark, wood, sap, branches. Herbal usage: Birch leaves can be used to make an infusion that is good for breaking up kidney or bladder stones. Birch bark is an astringent and can be used to treat non-hereditary baldness. Birch tea can be made from the inner bark and leaves and this is good for rheumatism or as a sedative to aid sleep. Birch sap can be harvested the same way maple sap is, and then boiled down into birch syrup. History & Associations: The bird associated with the Month of the Birch is the pheasant. Birch's color is white, and its gemstone is red chard. The Druidic symbol of Birch is the White Stag with a rack with seven tines. Birch is associated with the element of water and its Herbal Gender is feminine. Birch is considered to be a Goddess tree, the symbol of summer ever-returning. Birch wood is one of the nine traditional firewoods to be added to the Belfire that is burned at Beltane. It is one of the three pillars of Wisdom (Oak, Yew, Birch) and often symbolizes the first level of Druid working. Birch trees often have Otherkin spirits attached to them and the "Lieschi" or "Genii of the Forest" are said to dwell in their tree tops. The Ghillie Dhu are guardian tree spirits who are disguised as foliage and dislike humans, orcs, and goblinoids. They prefer birch trees to all others, and jealously guard them. Ritual usage: The month of Birch is a good time to perform rituals associated with new beginnings. Ritual work done in this moon adds strength and momentum to any new choices made. The Birch has applications in rituals done for protection, creativity, exorcism, fertility, birth, healing, Forest Magic, Inner Authority/Self-Discipline, Lunar workings, love, and purification. Protective uses of Birch include tying a red ribbon around the trunk of a birch to ward off the evil eye. Also, gently whapping someone with a Birch twig drives out negative energy, and Birch branches hung near a cradle will protect the newborn from psychic harm. In fact, cradles can be made from Birch wood to further protect a newborn. Many farmers plant Birch around their houses to protect against lightning. For magical parchment, gather Birch bark from a tree that has been struck by lightning - and the Birch paper will keep the writings safe. Birch rods are also used in rustic rituals to drive out the spirits of the old year. Birch wood is also a good choice for making rune sets to use for divination. Be sure to harvest your branch for the rune set during the waxing moon, and make sure you ask Figol to inspire your work. Also ask the tree if it will allow you to take a branch and be sure to leave the tree an offering of thanks when you are done. Birch trees especially appreciate gifts such as pretty stones, sea shells, flowers or herbs. Never take bark off a living Birch tree, since this will kill it.
Parts Used: Wood, berries. (do not eat the seeds) Herbal usage: Rowan bark has astringent qualities and can be used as a decoction for helping cure irritable bowels. Rowan berries can be made into a juice which can be used as a laxative. The berries are also an important food for grouse, cedar waxwings, grosbeaks and other hungry birds. History & Associations: The bird associated with the month of Rowan is the duck. The Druid Dhubh (Blackbird) also has an association with the Rowan tree since Blackbirds are fond of Rowan berries. Since each Rowan berry carries a minute pentagram, eating these berries is said to give the blackbird the ability to connect us with his healing song to the balancing and regenerative powers of the Otherworld and the Unconscious. The Druidic symbol of the month of Rowan is the Green Dragon. The color is red, and the gemstone is yellow chrysolite or the ruby. The Rowan is a Masculine herb that is associated with the element of fire. Rowan wood is one of the nine traditional firewoods to be added to the Belfire that is burned at Beltane. In folklore the Rowan is regarded as the godmother of milk cows. When a calf is due to be named, the farmer goes to the wood before daybreak to cut a Rowan branch with a piece of copper just as the sun rises. He smacks the calf on the back with it and calls it by its name. After that he tethers it to the cowshed door, decorated with white ribbons and eggshells, and the calf stays safe and well. The Rowan is a favorite tree of the Otherkin. A Siencyn tree spirit known as Musail, the king of the forest spirits, is associated with the Rowan tree. Rowan also has a vampiric association since it is, along with Garlic and Hawthorn, one of the most popular herbal vampire repellents. Ritual usage: The month of Rowan is a good time to do initiations. The Rowan has applications in rituals done for divination, astral work, strength, protection, initiation, healing, psychic energies, working with spirits of the dead, psychic powers, personal power, and success. Uses of Rowan for protection include carrying Rowan twigs on sea voyages to protect the ship from storms. A Rowan can be planted near a new house to protect it from lightning and evil influences. Walking sticks made of Rowan will protect their user from harm. A charm made of two small twigs of Rowan wood tied together to form a cross using red thread or yarn can be carried to protect against bad spirits. The people of Righnach believe that no witches or evil spirits could cross a door over which a branch of Rowan had been nailed. In some legends, the Rowan has also been called the whispering tree because it has secrets to tell to those who will listen. Rowans also can be planted on graves to prevent the haunting of the place by the dead. In Sclavini, a Rowan stake was sometimes hammered through a corpse to immobilize the spirit. In Oriana, fires made from rowan wood are used to protect the cattle against evil fairy spirits, and it is said that 'Bewitched' horses may be controlled by a Rowan whip. Wands for divining metal are often made of Rowan wood, and Rowan branches may be used to dowse for water or can be made into wands. The best time to harvest a Rowan branch for a wand or staff is at Beltane. Remember to ask the tree if it will allow you to take a branch and be sure to leave the tree an offering of thanks when you are done.
Parts Used: Branches, wood, bark, leaves. Herbal usage: Alder is in the hazelnut family. Tea can be made from bark and is useful in treating diarrhea, coughs, toothaches and the discomfort of childbirth. A potion made from the bark can also be used externally as an eye wash or for a wash for poison ivy, swellings and sprains. History & Associations: The birds associated with this month are the raven, the crow and the gull; the colors are crimson, green-brown and royal purple, and the gemstone is fire-garnet. The Alder, a Masculine herb, is associated with the element of fire. Alder is sacred to Faery kings - from the word Alder comes elder (not the tree) as in 'elder' kings. The Fey of the Alder have been described as water spirits or as "Dark Faeries". They are very protective of the tree and when they leave their trees, this Faerie will take the form of a Raven. Ritual usage: The month of Alder is a good time to perform rituals designed to celebrate the connection and tie between all women, and the mother-daughter bond. The Alder has applications in rituals done for spiritual decisions, duty, prophecy, oracular strength, intelligence, mental prowess, resurrection, air magic, water magic, strength, spirituality, teaching, weather magick, and protection from outside forces. Alder leaves or twigs can be carried in a pouch to act as a protection charm and as a powerful force in psychic battles. The Alder is known as the "fairy's tree" in Druidic lore, so is good for fairy magic. The faeries are said to like to dance under the trees when they are flowering. Carrying Alder twigs or flowers acts as a charm for communicating with the fey. Alder is often used in resurrection magic and also used in building/construction magic. Whistles may be made of out of young shoots to entice Air elemental spirits. It is also the ideal wood for making the magical pipes and flutes for use in ritual ceremonies. Alder produces a red dye from the bark, a green dye from the flowers and a brown dye from its twigs. When harvesting bark or leaves from the Alder, remember to ask the tree if it will allow you to take the parts and be sure to leave the tree an offering of thanks when you are done. To prepare Alder wood for use, beat the bark away with a willow stick while projecting your wishes into it.
Parts Used: Leaves, wood, bark, twigs, sap, flowers Herbal usage: Ash leaves and the tender tops can be used in the spring to make a fasting tea that is a diuretic and can be used as a help for weight loss. Ash bark is known as a liver and spleen cleanser and can make the immune system stronger. The flowering Ash has sap that contains a sugary exudate called 'manna', which can be used as a laxative. History & Associations: The bird associated with this month is the snipe, the color is half clear & half deep blue, and the gemstone is sea-green beryl. The Ash, a masculine herb, is associated with the element of water. Ash is supposed to be serpent repellant. The ceremonial Yule log is often made of Ash - this log is kindled each Yule with a piece from last years fire and allowed to smolder for 12 days before it is ceremonially put out. The Ash tree is famous, although anonymous, since it's the tree from which the Hanged Man is suspended in tarot decks Ritual usage: The Ash was one of the sacred Druidic three: 'Oak, Ash & Thorn', and the month of Ash is a good time to do rituals designed to learn your inner self. The Ash has applications in rituals done for sea power, ocean rituals, karmic laws, magical potency, healing, protection from drowning, love, rain making, women's mysteries, prophetic dreams, general protection, Prosperity, and health. Ash is often used for making both mundane and magical tools - it's said that tools with handles of Ash are more productive than tools with handles of other wood. Ash wood is used for spears and shields since it was known as a protective wood. Placing Ash berries in a cradle prevents the child from being traded for a changeling by an evil faery - and Ash talismans can be worn as protective amulets. Ash is known to keep away serpents and to protect against their bite. Special guardian spirits reside in the Ash; This makes it excellent for absorbing sickness. Spirally carved Druidic healing wands are made of Ash for this purpose. In years gone by, weak-limbed children were passed through split ash trees, which were then bound up. If the tree grew straight, the child would as well. Special powers over water are attributed to the ash tree by Druids. They use its wood to make it rain or to ward off water's destructive power. The Ash is the tree of sea power, or of the power resident in water. Ash leaves placed under the pillow will induce prophetic dreams, and carrying an Ash leaf will attract the love of the opposite sex. The Ash is often called The Unicorn Tree, because unicorns are supposed to be fond of the tree. To catch a glimpse of a unicorn, carry Ash wood or leaves. Whenever you need to harvest a piece or part of an Ash tree, remember to ask the tree if it will allow you to take a branch or other part and be sure to leave the tree an offering of thanks when you are done. A nice offering would be a bit of mane from a unicorn.
Parts Used: Bark, sap, twigs, branches, wood. Herbal usage: The bark of the Willow has been used as a pain killer. The bark has astringent qualities and can be used for rheumatic conditions, heartburn and as a diuretic. The sap gathered from the tree when it is flowering can be used to treat facial blemishes and dandruff. History & Associations: The bird associated with this month is the hawk, the color is haze, and the gemstone is blood-red carbuncle. The Willow, a Feminine herb, is associated with water, and is an herb of the moon. Willow wood is one of the nine traditional firewoods to be added to the Belfire that is burned at Beltane - Willow is added to the fire as a celebration of death. The Willow is also associated with the fey. The wind in the Willows is the whisperings of a fairy in the ear of a poet. It is also said that Willow trees can uproot themselves and stalk travelers at night, muttering at them. Ritual usage: The Willow has applications in rituals done for enchantment, wishing, romantic love, healing, protection, fertility, death, femininity, love, divination, friendship, joy, love, and peace. Placed in homes, Willow branches protect against evil and malign sorcery. Carried, Willow wood will give bravery, dexterity, and help one overcome the fear of death. If you knock on a Willow tree (knock on wood) this will avert evil. A Willow tree growing near a home will protect it from danger. Willows are also a good tree to plant around cemeteries and also for lining burial graves for its symbolism of death and protection. Willows can be used in rituals for intuition, knowledge, gentle nurturing, and will elucidate the feminine qualities of both men and women. If a person needs to get something off their chest or to share a secret, if they confess to a Willow, their secret will be trapped. Willow leaves, bark and wood add energy to healing magick, and burning a mix of Willow bark and sandalwood during the waning moon can help to conjure spirits. Uses of Willow in love talismans include using the leaves to attract love. Willow leaves or twigs can also be used in spells to create loyalty, make friendship pacts, treaties, or alliances. A rejected lover can wear Willow as a charm to win back the love. Willow wands can also be used to dowse for water (underground), earth energies, and buried objects. Always be careful to ask for the tree's blessings before taking a branch to make a wand. The supple long ending branches of the Willow make good weaving materials to use to weave circlets and wreaths. Willow wood is good for making magical harps.
Parts Used: Berries, wood, branches, seeds, flowers. Herbal usage: The berries are used as a cardiac tonic. Since this is a powerful herb it is best not to be used alone, so mix it with borage, motherwort, cayenne, garlic & dandelion flowers. Hawthorn leaves can be used as a substitute for green tea, the seeds can be roasted and used like coffee. Hawthorn makes a light, hard, apple-like wood. The wood from the Hawthorn provides the hottest fire known. Its leaves and blossoms are used to create a tea to aid with anxiety, appetite loss and poor circulation. The pink or white star-shaped blossom gives off a musky scent - for many men, a strong scent of female sexuality. They are edible, sprinkled on desserts. Young leaves can be eaten in salads and sandwiches. History & Associations: The bird associated with this month is the night crow, the color is deepest black, and the gemstone is Lapis Lazuli. Hawthorne has a strong association with water. It is a Masculine herb, associated with the element of Fire. Hawthorn is also strongly associated with the festival of Beltane. Whitethorn is another name popular in Righnach, where the tree marks Fairy trysting places. Sacred hawthorns guard wishing wells in Fiachra, where shreds of clothing ("clouties") are hung on the thorns to symbolize a wish made. Hawthorn is one of the nine woods that is traditionally placed on the Belfire: "Hawthorn is burned to purify and draw faerie to your eye…" Ritual usage: The month of Hawthorn is a good time to do rituals designed to clear away old habits and spiritual cobwebs. Hawthorn can be used for protection, love and marriage, health and prosperity, Fertility, Purification, Chastity, male potency, Fishing Magic, purity, inner journeys, intuition, female sexuality, cleansing, and Happiness. The fey are said to especially like Hawthorn groves, since the Hawthorn is sacred to them. Hawthorn is one of the tree fairy triad: 'Oak, Ash and Thorn', and where all three trees grow together it is said that one may see fairies. The flowers are supposed to bring fairies into the house. Solitary Hawthorn trees growing on hills or near sacred wells act as markers to the faery realm. It is said that a person should never cut a blooming Hawthorn, as the fey will become angry. In parts of Righnach, it is a spring custom to braid crowns of Hawthorn blossoms and leave them for faeries, who come at night and dance around them. This custom brings blessings to whoever left the crown. The Hawthorn blossom, for many men, has the strong scent of female sexuality and is used as an erotic symbol. Uses of Hawthorn in fertility/sexual talismans include using the leaves under the bed to preserve virginity. Hawthorn has long been used to increase fertility, and because of this power it is incorporated into weddings, especially those performed in the spring. In many parts of Righnach it is customary in the spring or early summer to go out to the woods and cut down a Hawthorn and bring it in back to the town. There the Hawthorn was set up with much celebration. Branches of the Hawthorn were also fastened to all the houses. This custom was said to bring the blessing which the Hawthorn tree-spirit has in its power to bestow into the village. Hawthorn has strong protective qualities. Hawthorn can be attached to a cow barn and the cows will stay healthy and produce an enormous milk supply. A globe made of Hawthorn can be placed in the kitchen for fire protection. Hawthorne in the rafters of a home is good for protection against spirits, and ghosts. Leaves can also be used as a charm to protect a newborn child and a thorn carried in a pouch can bring good luck while fishing and can also ward off depression. A Hawthorn branch hung from the roof or chimney of a house will protect it from lightning. Worn or carried, Hawthorn promotes happiness in the troubled, depressed or sad. It also can be used to promote beauty. It is bad luck to pick Hawthorn flowers before the first week of Saille. In Righnach, destruction of a Hawthorn tree might bring on tragedies such as the death of one's cattle or children and a total loss of well-being.
Parts Used: Wood, leaves, bark, acorns. Herbal usage: Oaks are known for astringent tonics and therefore tea made from Oak is a good remedy for hemorrhoids. White Oak bark tea helps in sinus infections since it helps unclog congestion. Acorns can be peeled and used to make various potions used to treat alcoholism, bad breath and constipation. History & Associations: The Oak is associated with the element of fire and is ruled by the sun. The bird associated with this month is the wren, the color is black, and the gemstone is white carnelian or moonstone. Oak has been considered sacred by just about every culture that has encountered the tree, but it was held in particular reverence by the Righnach and the Falkor because of its size, long life, and acorns. The Oak is also frequently associated with Gods of thunder and lightning such as Zeus, Thor, and Perun. This association may be due to the oak's habit of being a lightning-magnet during storms. Specific oak trees have also been associated with the 'Wild Hunt'. Ritual usage: The month of Oak has summer solstice occurring within it, and Oak is a powerful symbol of Midsummer. In general, Oak can be used in rituals for protection, strength, success and stability, healing, fertility, Health, Money, Potency, and good luck. The different varieties of Oak will lend their own special 'flavor' to the magic: Red Oaks energy is a bit lighter and more 'firey' than the other oaks; White Oak is useful for spells requiring strength and solidity; and Brown oak has a very earthy feel, and is useful for grounding. Acorns can be used specifically for rituals done to attract the opposite gender, increase income and prosperity, or can be used for their divinatory powers. Oak is the tree known as "The King of the Grove" and was one of the sacred three: 'Oak, Ash & Thorn'. In mystic lore the acorn often represented the supreme form of fertility - creativity of the mind. Acorns are used to increase fertility (of projects or ideas, or in matters of human reproduction) and to ease pain. Symbolic of immortality, acorns are especially sacred to the Samhain season (fall). The Oak is a holy tree and is the lord of truth. It is said that at the summer solstice the future can be divined by listening to the wind as it blows through the branches of an Oak tree. Oak is also a very powerful herb for protection. Oaks are also used as boundary markers for their protective qualities. Acorns placed in a window can ward off lightning or creatures that go bump in the night. Acorns can be carried in a pocket or charm bag to protect the bearer from storms, from getting lost and from evil intent. An oak leaf can worn at the breast, touching the heart, and it will protect the wearer from all deception and the world's false glamour. A handful of Oak leaves put in the bath water will cleanse the bather both in body and in spirit. Acorns are carried for immortality and longevity, to preserve youthfulness, for fertility, and against illness. Three acorns can be made into a charm for youthfulness, beauty and attainment in life. The three acorns should be tied and bound with the Druid's own hair, blessed under the new moon and the full moon, every month of the year, and then the charm should be worn. It is said that if you can catch a falling Oak leaf you shall have no colds all winter. When a sick person is in the house make a fire of oak wood and warm the house with it to 'draw off' the illness. Acorns can be planted in the dark of the moon to bring financial prosperity. Acorns can also be placed near windows to bring luck to a house. They can also be carried to bring good luck. The Oak is a male wood which is ideal for the construction of any tool that needs the male influence. The wood of an Oak tree can also be used to make staves. The midsummer fire is always Oak and the need fire is always kindled in an Oak log. When gathering Oak, be sure to pour wine on the roots of the tree to thank it for allowing you to take a part of it. Acorns should be gathered in the daylight, and leaves and wood by night. A waning moon is the correct time to harvest Oak.
Parts Used: Leaf, berry, wood. Herbal usage: The leaf of the Holly can be dried and used as teas for fevers, bladder problems and bronchitis. The juice of the fresh leaf is helpful in jaundice treatment. Note: Holly berries are poisonous! History & Associations: The Holly, a masculine herb, is associated with the element of fire. The bird associated with this month is the starling, the color is green-gray, and the gemstone is yellow caingorm. Holly is the first moon of the dark half of the year, and the Holly is sacred to both the Winter and Summer Solstices. Summer Solstice is the time when in mythology, the Oak King is slain by his twin, or tanist, the Holly King, who rules until the Winter Solstice, when he in turn is slain by his tanist, the Oak King. Tanist is related to the tannin found in an Oak tree; Oak and Holly are two sides of the same coin, the end of one cycle and the beginning of the next. There are special spirits that dwell within Holly trees: the Holly Man lives in the tree that bears prickly Holly, and the Holly Woman dwells within that which give forth smooth and variegated leaves. Holly is also associated with unicorns, since the unicorn is one of the Druidic symbols for this tree - the other symbol is the Flaming Spear. Ritual usage: The month of Holly is a good time to do rituals designed to help bring about a successful harvest. The Holly has applications in rituals done for protection, prophesy, healing, animals, sex, invulnerability, watchfulness, good luck, death, rebirth, Holiness, consecration, material gain, physical revenge, beauty and travel. Holly also has the ability to enhance other forms of magic. As a symbol of firmness and masculine energy, Holly wood is used in the construction of spear shafts. Uses of Holly for protection includes hanging a sprig of Holly in the home all year to insure protection and good luck. Holly is also an excellent charm to wear for protection. 'Holly Water' can be made by soaking Holly overnight in spring water under a full moon. This water can then be sprinkled over infants to keep them happy and safe. Holly Water can also be used to sprinkle around the house for psychic cleansing and protection. Holly leaves can be cast around outside to repel unwanted spirits or animals and a Holly bush can be planted close to houses to protect against lightning. Ensure that the Holly has a place in your garden because its presence wards off unfriendly spirits. Do not burn Holly branches unless they are well and truly dead, for this is unlucky. Holly, intertwined with ivy, is traditionally made into crowns for the bride and groom at weddings/handfastings. When harvesting the leaves from the Holly, remember to ask the tree if it will allow you to take the parts and be sure to leave the tree an offering of thanks when you are done. Holly favors red and yellow stones as gifts.
Parts Used: Nut, leaves, branches, wood. Herbal usage: Hazel can be used as a drainage remedy and can help restore elasticity to the lungs. Hazelnuts, of course, can be eaten as a food source. The nuts can be powdered and be mixed with mead or honeyed water to help a cough. History & Associations: The bird associated with this month is the crane, the color is brown, and the gemstone is banded red agate. The Hazel, a masculine herb, is associated with the element of air. Hazel wood is one of the nine traditional firewoods that is part of the Belfire that the Druid's burned at Beltane - it is added to the fire to gain wisdom. In fact, in ancient times the Hazel was known as The Tree of Wisdom. It is often associated with sacred springs and wells and salmon. Righnach legend tell of a grove of Hazel trees below which was a well, a pool, where salmon swam. These trees contained all knowledge, and their fruit contained that knowledge and wisdom in a nutshell. As the hazelnuts ripened, they would fall into the well where they were eaten by the salmon. With each nut eaten, the salmon would gain another spot. In order to gain the wisdom of the Hazel, the Druids caught and prepared the salmon. But Fionn, the young man stirring the pot in which the salmon were cooking, accidentally burned his thumb with the boiling stew. By reflex, he put his thumb into his mouth and thus ingested the essence of the sacred feast; he instantly gained the wisdom of the universe. Ritual usage: The Hazel has applications in rituals done for manifestation, spirit contact, protection, prosperity, wisdom, divination-dowsing, dreams, wisdom-knowledge, marriage, reconciliation, fertility, intelligence, inspiration, and wrath. Hazel is a good herb to use to do rituals associated with asking for wisdom and poetic inspiration since the Hazel is known as the Tree of Immortal Wisdom. Hazel also has protective uses as anti-lightning charms. A sprig of Hazel or a talisman of two Hazel twigs tied together with red or gold thread to make a solar cross can be carried as a protective good luck charm. The mistletoe that grows on hazel protects against bewitching. A cap of Hazel leaves and twigs ensures good luck and safety at sea, and protects against shipwrecks. In Righnach, the Hazelnut is a symbol of fertility - a bag of nuts bestowed upon a bride will ensure a fruitful marriage. The Hazel is a tree that is sacred to the Fey folk. A wand of hazel can be used to call the Fey. If you sleep under a Hazel bush you will have vivid dreams. Hazel can be used for all types of divination and dowsing. Druids often make wands from Hazel wood, and use the wands for finding ley lines. Hazel twigs or a forked branch can be used to divine for water or to find buried treasure. The wood of the Hazel can help to divine the pure source of poetry and wisdom. Hazelnuts can be used for love divination. Assign the name of your passion to a nut and throw it in the fire. If the nut burns brightly you then will know that your love will burn equally as brightly. Hazel twigs, wood or nuts should be gathered after sundown on Samhain since it will be at the peak of its energy. Hazel must not be cut with a knife, but with flint.
Parts Used: Berries, wood, leaves, juice, seeds. Herbal usage: The leaves from some varieties of Grape can be used to make teas for treating diarrhea, hepatitis, and upset tummies. Grape leaves can also be used externally for poultices to treat rheumatism, headaches and fevers. The fruit from most viney plants can be eaten and can be juiced for drinking. The juices can also be fermented into various wines and alcoholic beverages. History & Associations: Grapes are an herb of the Moon, and are associated with positive ego strength. Birds associated with the month of the Vine are the Tit-mouse and the white swan; the animal is the snake; the color is variegated; and the gemstone is amethyst. The wood of Vines is one of the nine traditional fire woods to be added to the Belfire that is burned at Beltane - as the tree of tree of joy (its juice is capable of altering consciousness), Vine is added to the fire as a celebration of joy. Ritual usage: Vines in general are symbols of both joy and wrath. This month marks the vintage season when the grape crop is harvested and so is a good time to do any and all rituals associated with the harvest - in fact, the Autumn Equinox (called Mabon) is celebrated during this month. The month of Vine is also a good time to do rituals associated with inspiration, imagination, poetry and imagery. The Grape has applications in rituals done for Faerie work, gardens, joy, exhilaration, wrath, mental powers, rebirth, happiness, fertility, inspiration, prosperity, and binding. The leaves and fruit from Vines can be used in spells to overcome inferiority complexes and to enhance ambition. The Grape Vine also symbolizes resurrection because its strength is preserved in the wine, that magical elixir that's known for its ability to dissolve the boundaries between us, allow us to mingle more easily, and relax with others. Grapes and Grape wine are often used to symbolize vitality, since tonic healing has always been related to the vine. Grapes can be used in many types of prosperity or money attraction spells. They can be eaten as part of prosperity spellwork if the person casting the spell visualizes money energy vibrating as the grapes are eaten. Pictures of Grapes or grape Vines can be painted onto garden walls to ensure the garden's fertility, as is done in Makarios. Eating grapes or raisins is said to increase fertility, as well as to strengthen mental powers. Grape leaves can be dried and carried in a small pouch or bag to act as evil-repellent.
Parts Used: leaves, bark, berries. (Some types of Ivy are poisonous.) Herbal usage: The leaves of Ivy can be used to make a douche for treating female infections. Ivy leaves can also be used externally for poultices to heal nerves, sinews, ulcers and infections. Tender ivy twigs can be simmered in salves to heal sunburn. History & Associations: Ivy is the symbol of resurrection. Ivy is an herb of the sun, and is associated with positive ego strength. The bird associated with this month is the mute swan, the color is blue, and the gemstone is yellow serpentine. Ritual usage: The month of Ivy is a good time to do rituals for rebirth and tenaciousness. Ivy has attributes of restraint of fear and dealing with Emotions. Ivy grows in a sacred spiral, which symbolizes reincarnation, from lifetime to lifetime, and from minute to minute, day to day. Ivy travels everywhere - it spreads happily and thrives in many places where no other greenery could survive - its determination to reach through obstacles toward light and food is well known, and therefore Ivy symbolizes strength. Ivy has many uses in rituals done for healing, protection, cooperation, and exorcism, and is very useful in fertility rituals. Ivy is also equated with fidelity and can be used in charms to bind love, luck and fidelity to a person. A talisman made of Ivy would be good to give a friend since it will help ensure eternal friendship. Ivy provides protection against evil when growing on or near a house but should it fall off and die, misfortune is said to be on the way. Should ivy not grow upon a grave, the soul of the person buried there is said to be restless - and should it grown abundantly on the grave of a young woman, then this meant that she died of a broken heart. Ivy is also connected with the Winter Solstice and is often used for decorating at Yule-tide. Ivy, intertwined with Holly, is traditionally made into crowns for the bride and groom at weddings/handfastings. Ivy was also used in ancient times for poet's crowns, since Ivy was believed to be a source of divine inspiration.
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 babies 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. 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 month are The White Hound, The Stone, and the Fire Feast of Samhain. 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. The Elm tree is associated with the element of earth. Ritual usage: The month of Elm / Reed is a good month for using music in rituals, 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. Elm trees are also thought to provide a channel for the communication with Fey. 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 in spellwork adds stability to the spell.
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. History & Associations: The Elder 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. The Elder is sometimes called the "death tree". The Elder is also associated with dryads (tree spirit). Righnach 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. Ritual usage: The month of Elder ends on the eve of the Winter Solstice, which is celebrated as the Sabbat of Yule, a day to mark the return of the Sun. Elder has the 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 are picked by Druids with solemn rites. The wine made from these berries is considered the last sacred gift of the earth, and is valued and drunk ritually to invoke prophecy, divination and hallucinations. Elder twigs are woven into head-dresses to enable the wearers to see spirits. The Elder is very useful in rituals dealing with Nature Spirits and the Fey. 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 Elder branches are 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 lightning. Elder is 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. Elder blossom are worn at Beltane to signify magic, and Elder twigs can be used to undo evil magic. Elder is a traditional wood for making Magickal tools, like wands. 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." It is good to leave a small gift of some kind when harvesting a branch - or you can do something practical like untangling the tree's ivy, clearing up around the trunk, or watering in dry weather.
Parts Used: Flowers Herbal usage: A decoction made with the flowers is effectual against jaundice, and also to provoke urine, and cleanse the kidneys from gravel or stone ingendered in them. The golden flowers yield an excellent natural yellow dye. 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 element of Fire, and is a masculine herb. The color for Furze is dun, and its bird is the cormorant. Ritual usage: Furze is a Druid sacred tree, whose flowers are associated with the Spring Equinox. Furze is a symbol of fertility and has uses for Protection and Money. Furze is a good herb to use to proctect against evil. In Sclavini 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 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.
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. History & Associations: Heather is associated with the sun. Its color is resin colored and its element is water. Heather's bird is the lark, and its animal association is the honey bee. 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. 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. Ritual usage: Heather is sacred to the Summer Solstice. Heather is used for rituals involving maturity, consummation, general luck, love, ritual power, conjuring ghosts, healing, protection, rain-making and water. 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 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. 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 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. 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. 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.
Parts Used: Bark and buds (sap) Herbal usage: Poplar can be used as a tonic, chiefly used in treating fevers. The infusion has been found helpful in treating chronic diarrhea. A tincture made from the buds is useful for complaints of the chest, stomach, and kidneys, and for rheumatism and scurvy. The sap collected from the buds can be used to make a healing ointment and can be used as an external application in bruises, swellings, and some skin diseases. Teas can be made from the Poplar buds and are useful in helping treat arthritis and rheumatism. History & Associations: Poplar is generally a plant of the sun and is associated with the element of water. Its color is red and the bird associated with Poplar is the Whistling Swan. The stones associated with Poplar are Amber, Citrine Quartz, Sapphire and Swan Fluorite. Poplar (Aspen) is the tree of the Autumn Equinox and of old age, and is known as the shield makers' tree. The Black Poplar is a funeral tree. Ritual usage: The Poplar's ability to resist and to shield, its association with speech, language and the Winds indicates an ability to endure and conquer. The Poplar is known as the "Tree that Transcends Fear". Poplars symbolize the magick of joy, the aging of the year, resurrection and hope - and are connected to the Otherworld. Poplar can be used in rituals done for success, passage and transformation, Hope, rebirth, divination, shielding, endurance, agility in speech and language, protection, and love - and as an aid in astral projection. The buds can be carried in tiny red bags to help mend a broken heart. These buds should be kept as close to the heart as possible. Buds can also be placed under the pillow and slept on to heal a broken heart. Poplar is also effective for grief, homesickness and the blues. It can be used in protection charms of all kinds. Poplar is a good wood to burn in ritual fires since it offers protection. Shields can be made of Poplar since the wood is thought to offer protection from injury or death. Carrying Poplar helps to overcome the urge to give way under the burden of worldly pressures, and aids in determination. Poplar buds can also be carried to attract money and can be burned as an incense to create financial security. The trembling leaves of the Poplar tree can be 'read' to divine messages from the spirits that drift into woods.
Parts Used: Needles, wood, berries. Herbal usage: Yew is poisonous and should be used carefully. The needles and branch tips have been used to treat lung diseases and bladder problems. History & Associations: The Yew is known as the 'Tree of Death' and is associated with the season of winter. 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 metal lead. In Old Amareth the Yew was known as "The Witches Tree" since it is associated with sorcery and magick. Ritual 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 so is often used as the central "World Tree" in ritual spaces. As one of the three magickal trees (along with 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 Druidic 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.
Parts Used: Needles, wood, sap. Herbal usage: 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 bath and beauty products. History & Associations: The Silver Fir is associated with the moon. 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. Ritual usage: the Silver Fir is used for rituals 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 is a sacred tree to the Druids who feel that it stands for hope. The Silver Fir wood is used for rituals 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 Oriana, the new mother and baby are 'sained' by whirling a fir-candle three times around her bed. 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 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.
Parts Used: leaves, berries, twigs Herbal usage: 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. 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. History & Associations: Mistletoe is one of the Druid's most sacred herbs. In Druidic lore Mistletoe is an herb of the Winter Solstice and is the special plant for the day after Yule. For this use, Mistletoe is gathered at Midsummer or at the 6th day of the moon. The Druids wear white robes while gathering the plant and use a golden sickle, taking extreme care not to let the plant touch the ground. Mistletoe that grows on Oak trees is considered the most potent and sacred. Mistletoe is a plant of the sun. It is associated with the element of the air. The colors of Mistletoe are green, gold and white. 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. Ritual usage: Mistletoe is believed to be the key to the supernatural. It will aid and strengthen all ritual works but is best called upon for healing, protection, and beautiful dreams - dreams which will unlock the secrets of immortality. Mistletoe is good for making 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 stands for sex and fertility. It is traditionally hung in the home at Yule, and those who walk under it exchange a kiss of peace.