Month of the Ivy

Ivy - by Vulkan

Ivy – by Vulkan

Dates:
September 30 – October 27

Latin Name: 
Hedera

Celtic Name:
Gort

Folk Names:
Bindwood, lovestone

Hedera helix (English Ivy) - Prof. Dr. Otto Wilhelm Thome; Flora von Deutschland, 1885

Hedera helix (English Ivy) – Prof. Dr. Otto Wilhelm Thome; Flora von Deutschland, 1885

Parts Used:
Berries, leaves

Medicinal Uses:
A drachm of the flowers which has been decocted in wine is said to keep dysentery in check.

The yellow berries are said to be good for those who spit up blood, as well as against jaundice.

According to Culpepper, ivy for nerves and sinews should be used externally, never internally.

The tender twigs used to make a salve will aid in healing sunburn.

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Associations:
Dionysus, Kissos, Zeus, Jupiter, Sun, blue, yellow serpentine, resurrection, positive strength of the ego, sacred to Osiris and Saturn.

Magical Uses:
It is carried by women (especially brides) for good luck. It’s also used in charms for fidelity and love.

Wherever you grow it, or wherever it grows naturally, it guards and protects the area from negativity and disaster. However, if the ivy should die and fall off (be especially wary if it is your house), it is said that misfortune is sure to come your way.

Because ivy naturally spirals as it grows longer, it is connected with cycles, resurrection, rebirth. It also seeks light and food sources through many obstacles, associating it with strength.

It has many magical uses such as the general protection, healing, exorcism, and cooperation.

On New Year’s Eve, if you place a leaf in water, and it is still fresh on Twelfth Night (January 5th), the coming year would unfold favourably for you. For the Yuletide season, holly and ivy together make for traditional and beautiful decorations.

Crowns made of holly and ivy are worn by a couple who are handfasting. A crown of just ivy was worn by poets as it is thought that ivy brings divine inspiration. The Greeks in Corinth would also make victory crowns of ivy for those who won at the games held in the city.

Month of the Reed

Day Dreaming - David Williams

Day Dreaming – David Williams

Latin Name:  ulmus americana (American Elm); ulmus procera (European Elm) ; ulmus fulva (Slippery Elm)

Celtic Name: Negetal (pronounced: nyettle)

Common Names: Water Elder, Whitten, Rose Petal, Elm, Piss-Elm (because of its nasty smell if green branches are burned)

Dates: October 28 – November 24 American_elm_1a Parts Used: Bark, leaves, wood

Medicinal Uses: Elm has many medicinal uses. Slippery elm bark can be powdered and made into a milk for babies who can’t tolerate cow’s milk. It is made into a tea to help ward off insomnia and upset tummies. It can be used for enemas. It also makes good poultice material for burns, wounds, ulcers, and poison ivy. A tincture can be made of the inner bark and used as an astringent. elmcom08-l Magickal Uses: Being that this tree falls in the time of year associated with Samhain, and the beginning of the dark half of the year, it is associated with the mysteries of death. The hidden roots to all of life can be divined during this time, and we all know what a powerful time Samhain is for divinations. It is associated with custodianship and the role of saviour. Pwyll, the Celtic ruler of the Otherworld was given “The Stone” , one of the four treasures given him to guard. The Stone represents the right of kings and queens to divine power. Hence the Elm being a symbol of Royalty. This is a good month to use music made from flutes or reeded instruments (bagpipes, clarinets, oboes) in your magick. As the Elm is known as the “Elf-friend”, it is a good tree to find, a grove if possible, to sit under and sing. It is thought the wood elves will lose their shyness around dawn and will join in the singing. Small twigs of the Elm can be worn around a child’s neck to produce great skill in speechcraft later in life. It is also connected to the female primordial powers, and is therefore very protective (another good reason for the children to wear it). Twigs can be crafted into small charms to be worn or carried for protection. It holds properties of boldness, fidelity, and regeneration, and is an excellent token of luck to friends who are leaving. When working with Elm in spellwork, the wood provides stability to the spell, helping ensure no crazy fluctuations of energy creating havoc (would probably be a good tree to work with if you are only beginning to practice magick).

The Month of the Willow

Salix_alba_Morton

Latin Name
Salix babylonica (Weeping Willow), Salix alba (White Willow)

Celtic Name
Saille (sail-yeh)

Common Names
Willow, Tree of Enchantment, Sough Tree, Pussy Willow, Witches’ Tree, Tarvos Tree, Sally, Saille, Withy, Withe, Aspirin, Witches’ Aspirin, Osier, Salicyn Willow

Dates
April 15 – May 12

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Parts Used
Bark, wood, twigs, branches, sap

Medicinal Uses
The bark and leaves of the willow has long been used for pain relief as it contains salicin, which the body turns into salicylic acid, which was isolated and synthesized in order to create the pain relieving aspirin many people use today.
Because the bark is quite astringent, it can be used as a diuretic, to ease rheumatic conditions, and combat heartburn.
The sap gathered from a flowering tree aids in skin blemishes and dandruff problems.

Constituents
Phenolic glycosides (which include salicin, salicortin, salireposide, tremulacin), tannins, flavonoids, catechins.

800px-Young-catkin

 

Associations
Water, Moon, silver, Hekate, Athena, Artemis, Demeter, Persephone, Hera, Mercury, Circe, Orpheus, Selene, Luna, Brigid, Cerridwen, Arianrhod, Rhiannon, Audhumla (the great Cow in Norse mythology), Hel, Idunna, Loki, Nanna, Nerthus, Ran, Sif, Sigyn, Sjofna, Skadi, the Feyfolk, moonstone, hawk, snowy owl, Beltaine

Magical Properties
Dark moon magic, magic associated with water: creativity, emotion, love, divination, female energies/rights of passage, inspiration, binding, protection, healing, death, wishes, peace, joy.

When willow is placed in a home, it protects against malicious energies/witchcraft, and evil; if a willow is grown near your home, it protects it. The tree is also welcome in graveyards.

If you carry a bit of willow in your pocket (a twig or the like), it will bring you courage and help you to overcome the fear of death.

You can tell your biggest secrets to a willow tree, as it will trap the secret inside itself.

They will also grant your wishes, if you ask properly.

Willow and sandalwood burned together during the waning phase of the moon encourages spirits to more easily be conjured.

In love magic, the leaves are commonly used, as well as to forge friendships, alliances, pacts, and loyalty. If you’ve been spurned by your lover, wear a willow charm, and they should find their way back to you. At the end of the year, to discover whether you’ll be married in the new year, throw your shoe up into the willow’s branches:
”Throw your shoe high up
into the branches of a Willow tree;
If the branches catch and hold the shoe,
you soon will married be.”

 

The Month of Alder

Latin Name
Alnus Glutinosa(Black Alder found in Europe)

Common Names
Scottish Mahogany, Irish Mahogany, King of the Forest, Tree of the Fairies

Celtic Name
Fearn

Dates
March 18 – April 14

Constituents
Between 16-20% tannins in young shoots and the bark of the trees. The bark also contains phenolic glycosides, lignans, emodin, and triterpenes. The leaves contain flavonoid glycosides, specifically hyperoside, and resin.

Medicinal Uses
As an astringent, tonic, antiviral (especially for herpes), haemorraghic, antibacterial, emetic, vulnerary, febrifuge, anti diarrhoeal, lymphatic, and possible anti inflammatory.

The leaves were traditionally added to a bed to treat rheumatism. They are just as easily added to a duvet for the same effect.
They are also used to treat inflammation and burns, especially inflammation of the breast.

As an astringent, it is used to treat bruising, swelling, mouth ulcers, and sore throats. It is also used to combat eczema, acne, and impetigo. The cones are used to treat heamorrhage and haematuria.

Can be used to cleanse the blood and tissue, and well treats rhinitis.

The whole plant is used to be rid of fleas in the house.

Associations
Moon, Mars, Fire and Water, lapis lazuli, amethyst, ravens, hawks, seagulls, purple, Odin, Bran, King Arthur, Apollo, Astarte, Aphrodite, Pan, Lugh, Orpheus, Branwn, Arianrhod, fox.

Magical Uses
As it is associated with both the Moon and Mars, and Water and Fire, there is the obvious connection with balance between the emotions and with actions. It’s also used when you need to face all that you’ve avoided recently.

Because of it’s fantastic dyeing properties, it has strong associations with spinning and fabric making.

Making whistles of the shoots is quite easy as the pith of a shoot is simple to push out, making it possible to create Panpipes with the shoots and cutting them at different lengths, then tying them together. This holds great sway over the four winds and Air Elementals, in fact, “whistling up the wind” is said to have started with Alder whistles.

Because it is a tree that allows access to the faerie realms, it is not good fortune to cut one down, as it is a charm against malevolent fairies. Water sprites are said to protect the tree, so again, be wary of cutting it down.

A really fascinating property of the tree is because of its love to be near water (you’ll find them growing near rivers/streams), when the wood is emerged in water, it does not rot, in fact, it becomes incredibly hard, almost as hard as ebony.

Cicely Mary Barker – The Alder Fairy

Month of the Ash

Latin Name
Fraxinus

Celtic Name
Nion

Common Names
Ash, Common Ash, Guardian Tree, Unicorn Tree

Dates
February 18 – March 17

Constituents
The bark contains amygdalin, has a bitter taste, but no odour. Is astringent.

Before the fruits are ripe, they contain tartaric acid, and after ripening, two sugars: sorbin and sorbit. The latter sugar occurs after fermentation. They also contain parasorbic acid.

The seeds are 22% oil, which is claimed to have killed a child by prussic acid poisoning.

Medicinal Usage
To ease diarrhoea, a decoction of the bark is taken. The same decoction can be used for leucorrhoea (white discharge that signals infection in the vagina) by injecting it into the vaginal canal.
To make use of the astringent quality of the berries, a gargle can be made to help sore throats and inflamed tonsils.
An infusion of Ash berries aids with heamorrhoids and strangury (painful urination that comes out in drops caused by spasms in the urethra or bladder).
Lastly, they are used to be rid of scurvy.

ashmo076-l

Associations
Odin, Yggdrasil, World Tree, divination, Lugh, masculine, Fire, Sun, Bel, Lir, Manannan

Magical Uses
Wands made of Ash are good for general use, and in particular, healing and magics of the Sun.

For luck and fortune, carry a leaf in your pocket. However, although it is a lucky and protective tree, one can find themselves incurring the wrath of the tree if one causes harm a tree.

To be rid of skin conditions such as warts, carry a pin on you (a safety pin would be, well, safe), for three days, then on the third day, the pin is driven into the bark of an Ash tree, where the tree would then gain a knob, and you would be left with healthy skin.

Babes in the British Isles would be fed a spoonful of Ash sap before leaving mother’s bed for the first time as it was thought to prevent childhood illness, disease, and death.
The berries of the tree would also be placed in the cribs of babes to ward of Fae Folk from taking the child as a changeling.

In Northern Britain, young maidens would place the leaves of an Ash tree under their pillows to receive prophetic dreams about the men they would marry.

As it is seen as the World Tree by the Druids, staves would be made of the branches of the tree, so as to have a portable World Tree wherever they may be.

 

Month of Elder

Celtic Name: Ruis (roo-ish)

Latin Name: Sambucus canadenis (for elderberry)

Folk Names: Eldrun, Lady Elder, Ellhorn, Sambucus, Hyldor, Hyllantree, Pipe Tree, Bore Tree, Bour Tree

Dates:November 25 – December 23

Parts Used: bark, flowers, leaves, berries

Medicinal Uses:
The bark of Elder has been used as a purgative when ingested. If ingested in large doses, it is used as an emetic. It has also been long used as a diuretic, and in aiding in renal and cardiac edema (when there is too much water content held between the cells or in body cavities). Ointments made of the green bark will aid with asthma symptoms and croup in young children.
The leaves can be used to make an ointment, “Unguentum Sambuci Viride”, or Green Elder Ointment, which is to be used on bruises, wounds, sprains, inflammation (especially to the hands and feet if exposed to cold and moisture, and as a soothing emollient.
The flowers can be used in a wide array of manners. Elder Flower Water is used as the foundation to eye and skin lotions as it has a mild astringent and stimulant properties. It has been used after sun bathing, and to get rid of freckles as it keeps the skin free from blemishes and fair. The flowers were also employed in bronchial and lung related illnesses such as measles and scarlet fever.Taken as a tea, it helps to bring on sweating and restful sleep to help one who is sick with a cold or flu to quickly get on the road to recovery.
Wine of the berries was used to aid in erysipelas (a deep-red inflammation of the skin or mucous membranes) and rheumatism. A tea made with the dried berries helps to ease diarrhea and colic.

Magical Uses:
General usages of Elder include: prosperity, luck, protection, healing, cleansing, spirituality, sleep, exorcism, Faery magic, and offerings. Wine made of the berries is considered to be a great aid in divination, prophecy and hallucinations. Twigs would be placed in head dresses to allow the seeing of spirits. It is used when one wishes to perform magic involving the Fae or Nature.
Elder has very strong protective qualities as well. If twigs are worn around the neck in a small bag, it is said they will protect from physical or psychic attack. Branches are hung in doorways to keep evil out. To bless someone or something, take the leaves and berries in hand and scatter them to the four directions, then over the person or thing.
Remember when you harvest of any tree or plant, give something in return. It can be an offering, water if the weather is dry, or even cleaning up any trash that has been left around it.

The Month of The Vine

Image from Wikipedia

Celtic Name: Muin

Latin Name: Vitis (along with another name depending on the variety)

Dates: September 2-29

Parts Used: Grapes, leaves, wood, juice, seeds.

Medicinal Qualities:
Grape sugar is different from other sugars chemically; it doesn’t need the saliva to enter circulation within the body. This means that there is a fattening and warming action that aids with restoring energy and repair after the effects of fevers have taken hold, however, this action is not suitable for gout or inflammation.
Grapes in the diet also aid in anemia when eaten daily.

The leaves and seeds are an astringent. The leaves were used previously to stop bleeding and hemorrhaging. The leaves are used today dried and powdered and used on cattle to cure dysentery.

Image from Botanical.com

Magickal Qualities:
As the month the vine presides over (September) is a time of harvest, it makes sense that the vine is worked with in magic for harvesting, whether it is physical or spiritual. It has both masculine and feminine qualities. You can work with the vine for magics of joy, faerie workings, excitement, spiritual initiations, sacred knowledge, rebirth.
It increases fertility: placing a wreath above your bed aids in becoming pregnant, and on your child’s first birthday, hanging vines around the house ensures a long, fruitful life.
It is a wonderful tree to work with for all sorts of fertility, abundance, prosperity, money, happiness, and a sense of ease in life.
We musn’t forget that grapes are turned into wonderful, delicious wine. Wine is used to aid in connecting to the Otherworld, breaking down the barriers our minds put up around us. Though, each person reacts differently to different mind-altering substances, so it may work well for one, but not another. Wine is used to celebrate, to lose ourselves to revelry and our more primal selves concerned with our own happiness and pleasure.

Image from Wikipedia

 

Month of the Rowan



Celtic Name
LuisLatin Name
Sorbus Aucuparia

Dates
January 21 – February 17

Parts Used
Berries, bark

Medicinal Qualities
The  bark of the Rowan, as well as most other tree’s bark, has astringent and tannic properties. The bark would be used in a decoction as a blood cleanser, to treat diarrhea, nausea and upset stomach.

The berries are high in vitamin C, and were used to fight scurvy. The berries were made into jams and jellies; teas for diarrhea, hemorrhoids and urinary tract conditions as the berries have diuretic properties; a gargle of the fresh berry juice aids with inflamed mucous membranes

*Please note that before consuming the berries, they must be cooked as they contain parasorbic acid, a cancer causing compound.

Magical Properties
Associated with masculinity, Mars, fire, Imbolc, Brighid.

Used in protection spells, especially against fire and lightning. It was hung around dog’s necks for increased speed, hung in homes to protect against charms of fire, and protection against fires. The Rowan also has the powers to protect humans and animals alike against baneful spirits. It is also used in healing of the body. Equal armed crosses of Rowan are carried for protection against harm and wands placed above doorways for luck and good fortune.
The trees were planted in churchyards to watch over the dead. Because of the five pointed star you see when you slice a berry in half, it is believed that the tree has the ability to protect against witchery, trickery and enchantment. The tree is also said to bring about more strength through courage.

The Month of Birch

Dates:
December 24 – January 20

Celtic Name:
Beth

Latin Name:
Betula alba

Parts Used:
Bark, leaves

Herbal Uses:
The resinous substance secreted by young shoots and leaves have acidic properties and when combined with alkalies, create a tonic laxative.
To aid with dropsy, gout and rheumatism, make an infusion (Birch Tea). This tea is also valuable in dissolving kidney stones.
And infusion made with the bark can be employed to treating and the ridding of putrefaction. A decoction (boiled in water) will aid skin eruptions and dropsy by bathing the area with the birch bark water.

Magical Uses:
Birch is associated with purification, protection and exorcism, and represents renewal, rebirth and beginnings as it is the first tree after Winter to come into leaf.

To ward off the evil eye, tie a red ribbon on the branch of one of these lovely trees. To exorcise people and animals by gently striking them with the twigs of this tree. The wood was once used to make cradles as the wood would protect the young one within as well as boughs hung over the child to keep them from being enchanted by the Little People.

Birch will also protect against lightening. The branches were marked with ogham and carried for protection in small pouches as well as given to newlyweds for fertility. In Wales, the Birch is a tree of love, and wreaths are made out of the branches and twigs as tokens of love. When beginning a new project or journey, call upon the powers of the Birch as it is also a tree of new beginnings and new view points. Birch rods are used in protection spells and carried to protect from malicious magics (crossing/hexing) or even mundane situations/people.

The Month of Hazel

Dates:
August 5 – September 1

Celtic Name:
Coll

Latin Name:
corylus avellana

Parts Used:
Nuts, leaves, wood, branches

Herbal Usages:
Can be used in the draining and restoring elasticity of lungs. The nuts are a good source of magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, copper, fatty acids and protein. The nuts can be powdered and added to mead or honeyed water to help with a cough.

Associations:
Masculine; air; Mercury; Wednesday; Hermes/Mercury; Thor; Fionn; Artemis/Diana; Lazdona; the crane; brown; band-red agate; wisdom; springs and wells; salmon.

Magic(k)al Workings:
One of the nine traditional woods burned in the Belfire by the Druids at Beltaine, burned for wisdom. Known in ancient times as the “Tree of Wisdom”.
Spirit contact, manifestation, protection, prosperity, wisdom, dreams, divination, dowsing, knowledge, marriage, inspiration, wrath, fertility, intelligence, reconciliation, poetic inspiration, anti-lightning charm.
A couple of twigs bound with gold or red thread to form a solar cross is carried for protection and good luck. The mistletoe that grows on Hazel protects you from being bewitched. Sleep under a hazel tree and you will have vivid dreams.

Hazel is sacred to the Fey. A wand made of the wood can be used to call the Fey. Druids used the wands to find ley lines. Forked branches can be used to find water or buried treasure.

Twigs, nuts and branches should be gathered after sunset on Samhain for that is when the magic(k)al power of the tree is at its peak. However, you mustn’t cut Hazel with a knife, but a flint.