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.

Trees

I decided I was finally going to do some decorating above my living room altar. I had recently picked up the multiple candle holder in the center of the bookshelf there, and I really felt the wall needed to be more witchy too. It was bare, and it told me it felt a bit naked.

So what have I put up on the wall? Prints of the trees of the Celtic Tree Calendar. I was going to see if anyone would guess what it was, but I hate making people do that, lol. I just want to tell you all everything now. Ok, not really everything, just certain things.

I’m probably going to take a picture in daylight so you can see it better at some point. Oh, I just want to point out the dark blob you see up in the right hand corner is a willow ball I made this spring. I love it.

2014-08-18 21
Partly inspired by the Aunts’ sitting room in “Practical Magic”, and partly inspired by my love of Trees, this is what happened. I printed out the images of the botanical drawings of Prof. Dr. Otto Wilhelm Thomé, and since I wasn’t about to nail the plaster wall to crumbling, I picked up some ombré scrapbook paper and made frames so it didn’t look like I had just taped up some pictures. The frames took FOREVER. I actually worked on this for a whole waking day. But I’m also a perfectionist, so that didn’t help.

I’ve been thinking about making my surroundings more accessible to my witchyness, things that will keep my mind where I’d like it to be, and also make my surroundings more prettyful. I really need to work on the shrine for my Gods, which is in my bedroom. But I haven’t yet come to a conclusion of how I want it to be. I’m assuming more interacting will guide what ends up happening for it.

 

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).

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.