Thurs. Dec. 24, 2020: Birch & Holly

image by dendoktoor via

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Waxing Moon 2nd Quarter in Aries

Uranus Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Birch Begins

Christmas Eve

Stormy and mild

What does it mean, when I refer to the “Celtic Tree Months”? They’re related to the ogham, which is a Celtic script used from the 4th to the 10th century C.E. There’s a wonderful article on theories of origin here. It makes more sense for you to read it than for me to paraphrase it.

Each of the months has fixed dates, and is related to a tree, from December 24-December 22. December 23 does NOT have a relationship to any tree – instead, it’s tied to the “day” of “a year and a day.”

Today, December 24, is the first day of the Tree Month of Birch. It lasts until Jan. 20. There is an ogham character connected to it, which I cannot reproduce, but there’s a wonderful article on the tree enchantments that shows the script and talks about medicinal, magical, and physical properties of the tree here. There’s another good article about the various trees and their properties here.

I love birch trees. Before I started working with ogham, I did not know that birch is the first tree to grow back after a fire.  I love to use it for creativity, new beginnings, purification.

However, it’s not usually the birch one associates with Christmas, but Holly.

In the Tree Calendar, the month of Holly is July into August, but here in the Northern Hemisphere, we associate it with Christmas, Solstice, and the Winter Holidays.

I adore holly. My next-door neighbor has an enormous female holly (it has berries), and seeing the tree every day makes me happy. Ashumet, one of the local Mass Audubon Sanctuaries, has over 60 hollies. In pre-COVID times, I would go on the holly walk at the beginning of each December, guided by the director of the Sanctuary, and reacquaint myself with all the hollies. I would go back during the year to the sanctuary and spend time with them. The Holly Walk was one of my favorite things to do since I moved to the Cape. I started it the very first year I moved here.

There’s a good article about the meaning of various Yuletide greens here.

I like holly for protection and luck. When you see a spell call for “bat’s wings” – that is the folkloric name for the holly leaf.

I tried growing small hollies in pots when I first moved here, but they need to be planted in-ground, and they only survived a year or two. When I own my own home and garden, I will try again. The male and female holly need to be planted within 15 feet of each other, and the best time to plant them is in March, according to what I learned on holly walks!

On a personal note, I put up decorations outside last weekend, and on the deck. Some of them will have to come in today, since we are expecting hurricane force winds and a lot of rain. No white Christmas for us this year, but that’s okay. I’m glad to be safe at home.

I wish you peace and joy.