Ghostlike, we begin. Skin stretched paper-thin, act two nears its end. A Wisp carried us here, a wind-wish winding ever onwards, blown by whispered promises, secrets, declarations of love and longing. We settled. Our roots are deep enough, nestling in blown soil, but leaves turn and winter carries our wishes far from here. ~ By Haloquin
Silver Birch, the tree of beginnings. First sign of the forest, carried by the wind, bright bark peeling and waiting for wishes to be inked on its curls. White lady watching over the keys to the otherworld, she keeps her counsel. Her footsteps across the threshold lead the way into lands beyond the everyday, wherever we wish to go, she has been there before. Her delicate fingers point the way, gusts whipping her pale green shawl about her shoulders as she turns back to her current craft, carving a love spoon to stir fresh flying ointment, bubbling over the bright fire.
Latin Name: Betula pendula
Edible: (In moderation) Sap can be made into syrup/wine, full of vitamins and minerals. Steep leaves in apple cider vinegar for a few weeks to extract nutrients. Buds are high in vitamin C.
Herbal Properties: Anti-inflammatory, astringent, laxative/stimulates digestive system, diuretic. Buds are antibiotic and diuretic. Steep leaves in water to make an astringent skin wash.
Contraindications: Contains methyl salicylate, as in aspirin. Avoid if allergic to aspirin, using medications containing aspirin or blood thinning meds, if elderly, or have blood related issues. Use with caution if pregnant or nursing.
Magical Properties: Linked to the Norse rune Berkana and the Ogham letter Beith, beginnings, renewal, courage. Psychic protection from spirits or on (astral) journeys. Resilience. Love and fertility, particularly inception.
Historical Notes: Once used to flavour chewing gum and soft drinks!
Practical Properties: Pale wood, used in handicrafts, furniture making and to make paper, good kindling/tinder. Used to make besom brooms. Resin makes a waterproof glue. It grows fast, spread by the wind, and is a pioneer species, often one of the earliest trees to grow in an area, and one of the first to leaf in spring… A hardy tree, even though it appears fragile.
Clues for Identification: White birch that peels like paper in young trees, catkins in spring, small, smooth, triangular leaves with serrated edges, visually delicate branches.
(Please consult a qualified herbalist if using medicinally, this information is shared for inspirational purposes only!)
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Over to you in the comments. Please share your tales of Silver Birch… your memories and imaginings… I’d love to hear them.
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