The Celtic Birch Moon
The Birch Moon of the Celtic tree calendar and the Wolf Moon of Anglo Saxon lore started the new year for us. Other names for the wolf moon are Ice Moon, Snow Moon and Moon after Yule. It is the time for rebirth and regeneration, the birch being the first tree to grow back after a forest fire.
The Birch Moon is the first of 13 Celtic moons and runs from 24th December to 20th January. This is a quiet time of the year, when the earth is still, the daylight hours get longer and there is a sense of expectancy for spring.
The birch is also known for workings with fertility and cradles used to be made from birch, the wood being tough and suitable for a number of uses. It is also said that herding a cow with birch twigs would lead to pregnancy.
Birch has been used to make besoms, or brooms used to make a 'clean sweep' and also to make broomsticks. This fits well with rebirth as both of these can be used to sweep clean negativity and make way for new beginnings.
The birch also has healing properties and its leaves, sap and bark can be used to relieve various ailments. It can be used to make tea, wine, vinegar, beer, spirits and oil. It is said to have diuretic effects and to make a good detoxifier.
There are numerous ways to celebrate the birch and many rituals that can be followed, but I would suggest standing under a birch, pressing hands into it's trunk and appreciating the essence of the tree, with it's silver bark and heart shaped leaves. Let go of the negative and embrace the joy of new beginnings.