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.

Month of the Oak

The Oak has always been one of my favourite trees. Just looking at pictures of one from afar gives me a sense of wonder and simple, homely countrysides. From June 10 to July 7 is the Celtic month of Duir, the Oak. Oak is the seventh moon of the Celtic calendar as well.

Latin Name:
Quercus alba (White Oak)

Parts Used:
Bark, wood, leaves, acorns

Herbal Usages:
Oak is well known for its astringent and antiseptic properties and has been used as a tonic for a long time. Bark can be made into a tea to heal hemorrhoids.
When given with chamomile flowers, it helps eases intermittent fevers.
Very useful when there are chronic diarrhea and dysentery problems, a decoction of 1 oz of Oak bark in 1 quart water, boiled down to a pint and drank in wine glass size portions will aid the bowels.
This decoction is also used externally as a gargle to help sore throats, and as a fomentation (warm or hot liquids that are applied to the body to ease pain; like a poultice). Can also be injected for leukorrhea, and applied to bleeding gums, or hemorrhoids.
Acorns can also be peeled and be used to make potions to treat alcoholism, bad breath and constipation.

Associations:
The word “Duir” comes from the Sanskrit “Dwr” which means “Door”. It is the door to the three worlds of the Shaman.
Fire; Sun;
wren, black, white carnelian; moonstone; Yule fires; Yule log; Brighid; The Dagda; Dianus; Janus; Cybele; Rhea; Pan; Erato; Hecate; Zeus; Jupiter; Thor; Perkunas; lightning; thunder; the Wild Hunt; King Arthur’s round table.

Magic(k)al Workings
As the month of Duir has the summer solstice in it, the Oak is a powerful symbol of midsummer.
Money, success, strength, fertility, stability, health, healing, potency and good luck. Different types of Oak will lend slightly different properties to magic(k)al workings. Red Oak is fiery, White Oak is for solidity and strength, Brown Oak is earthy and is used for grounding.
Acorns can be used to attract someone of the opposite sex, used for divinatory powers, and to attract prosperity and wealth.
Oak is known as the “King of the Grove”; a holy tree; the lord of truth and is one of the three  sacred trees “Oak, Ash & Thorn”. Worship of the Oak may stem from the early nomadic Europeans using acorns for food.
The acorn is seen as the representation of the supreme form of fertility and creativity of the mind; as such, they are used to increase fertility of both projects and ideas and human reproduction, and also ease pain.
Because of its ties to immortality symbolism, acorns are sacred to the Samhain season and are often used in fall decorating.
It is said that the voice of Jupiter can be heard in the rustling of the leaves. At midsummer, the future can be divined by listening to the wind in the leaves. Acorns should be planted during the Dark moon to attract prosperity.
It is a very powerful herb for protection; England is said to be protected by the Oak when using its timbers to build their ships. It is also used as a boundary for its protective qualities. Acorns placed in windows will ward off lightning and beings that would scare us at night; they will also attract luck. Acorns can be born in pockets to ward off storms, to prevent the bearer from getting lost, and protect from evil intent. They are also carried as charms for immortality, longevity, fertility, ward off illness and preserve youthfulness. Three acorns can be made into a charm to attract youthfulness, attainment, and beauty in life. This charm should be bound with the maker’s hair, and blessed at every Full and Dark moon of a year, and then worn.
A leaf worn on the neck and next to the heart will allow the wearer to not be deceived by the world at large.
A few leaves in bath water will cleanse body and spirit. If you catch a falling leaf, it is said you will not be sick for the winter. If a sick person is in your house, light a fire of Oak wood to draw out the illness.
Because the Oak is a male tree, athames,  and certain male-aspect wands and staffs should be made of its wood. The wood is also used to make religious idols.
The Waning moon is the right time to harvest Oak, during the day for Acorns, and at night for the leaves and wood. Offer wine to the Oak’s roots as thanks for allowing you to take a part of him.

Thunder

Here in Southern Ontario, we had some thunderclouds passing us by late in the afternoon yesterday. I don’t know about you, but I always feel so “electric” for lack of better words during thunder and lightening storms. It is most definitely not an energy that is my own, and I like it that way. There is so much magic(k) in the thunderstorm, and I thought I’d post about some of the gods that preside over this chaotic event.

Greek

Zeus

Zeus was the son of Cronus and Rhea, both Titans. His brothers and sisters by the same parents are Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, and Poseidon.

When Zeus’ father, Cronus, heard from Uranus and Gaia that he would one day be overthrown by one of his sons, he promptly swallowed each of his children after they were born. Before Zeus was to be born, Rhea went to Gaia to secretly plan for Zeus’ escape from his father’s belly, and that one day, Cronus would get what was coming to him for doing such a horrible thing to his children, and his actions against Uranus.
When Rhea gave birth to Zeus in Crete, she handed a rock in swaddling clothes for him to eat and believe was his son after hiding the real baby Zeus in a cave on Mount Ida in Crete. (There are many different stories as to how he was raised, but for the purpose of this post, we’ll focus on his thunder godness 🙂  ).

When Zeus finally reached manhood, Zeus made his father disgorge (or he cut Cronus’ stomach open; or Metis gave him an emetic, which forces one to vomit) the babies he had swallowed in reverse order. Then Zeus released Cronus’ brothers, the Cyclopes, the Hecatonchires, and the Gigantes from their dungeons in Tartarus. As a token of appreciation, the Cyclopes gave Zeus thunder and the thunderbolt, which were previously hidden by Gaia. He then went on to defeat the Titans and rule the world equally with his two eldest brothers.

Zeus could pretty much do anything he wanted after conquering the Titans and claiming the earth for himself and his brothers. After dividing the world, he chose to rule the skies and heavens, meaning that he could create storms, gather clouds and disperse them. He was the King of gods and man, the high ruler over the world.

Norse

Thor

Thor was the son of Odin, and Jord, goddess of the Earth. Thor was the strongest of the Aesir (the collective name for the principle Norse gods). Thor was usually described as a tall, muscular and powerful man with a long red beard, flowing hair, and eyes of lightning.

Even though Thor is not the “head” god in Norse mythology, his popularity in history surpassed that of his father, Odin, for his lack of human sacrifice requirement. He presided over the air, winds and rain, weather and crops. If famine or plague were feared, libations were poured to his idol.

During thunderstorms, Thor is believed to be riding through the heavens on his chariot pulled by his goats, Tanngrisni and Tanngnost, which means “gap-tooth,’ and, “tooth-grinder,” respectively.

What is also quite neat, is that our modern day Thursday is a namesake for him, “Thor’s Day”.

Egypt
Set
Son of the sky goddess, Nut, and earth god Geb, Set was brother to Osiris, Isis, and Nepthys. He is god of chaos, darkness, storms, and the desert.

Set was jealous of his younger brother, Osiris, who was married to their sister, Isis. Set killed and ripped Osiris to pieces. After Isis’ and Osiris’ son, Horus, was born, they were enemies for the obvious reason. Set poked one of Horus’ eyes out, and in return, Horus cut off Set’s testicles, making Set also known as the god of infertility.

To placate both gods, Geb divided Egypt into two halves, giving Set upper Egypt (the Southern deserts), and Horus lower Egypt (the delta region in the North). Eventually, the two lands were united as one, and the Queens of the 1st dynasty were named “She Who Sees Horus And Set”. Pharaohs also believed that they settled the quarrel between the two gods and held them in balance. This later led to the dual god, Horus-Set.

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