No small number of theoretical physicists say that it’s highly likely that we are in a simulated reality. Since time immemorial, people have made sense out of life by observing the cycles and changes that occur in the natural world. These observances have served humanity well, meaning that even if we are in a simulation, mechanisms like astrology and the Celtic calendar were designed intentionally.
Certain people may see this as an outdated way of telling time. Yet, today, time is generally understood as the Earth’s rotation around the sun. Plants are much more attuned than humans to the subtle changes in sunlight that take place from one month to the next, so it only makes sense to look to plants (and animals) for time telling.
It wasn’t until humans removed themselves from nature and later started to colonize land that wasn’t theirs, that “time is money” became a phrase to justify exploiting people and the environment -- and this generally stopped people from living in the moment.
The Celtic tradition dictates a thirteen month year with months named after sacred trees. Because the Celts were tribal people, there would be small differences in the nitty gritty of their beliefs.
Many neopagans adhere to a reconstructionist amalgamation of the many traditions of the ancient Celts. This blog post will describe some of the broad uses of the thirteen trees.
The birch tree correlates to the first month of the Celtic calendar, called Beth.
Beth lasts from Dec 24 to Jan 20. Because the birch tree symbolizes protection and renewal, the Birch Moon reminds us that the new year stretches out like a path before us.
Use a birch broom to sweep away the past.
Use birch oil against evil psychic forces of intolerance.
Make a birch tea for courage, protection and urinary tract health or put a satchel of birch in a crib to protect a baby.
Next is Luis which is the prescribed month to hold the Rowan tree holy. It is the time in between Jan 21 and Feb 17.
The month is a time for initiation and dedicating oneself to a personal pursuit. The tree is good for astral travel and personal success.
Rowan is useful for clearing the mind and opening oneself up to inspiration. The deity connected to the month is Brigid, the goddess of fire. Meaning that the essence of the tree and the reason for the season will not be ignored.
Plant rowan seeds in a graveyard to prevent loved ones who have passed from lingering.
The norse were known to make rune shapes with rowan branches for protection.
The next month is Nion which is dedicated to the ash tree.
It starts on Feb 18 and ends on March 17.
Druid wands and broomstick poles were made of ash because the tree is believed to generally increase magical abilities, especially those having to do with the Sun, which is ideal for healing. For this reason, the ash tree, along with hawthorne and oak are sacred to the druids and fae.
According to norse tradition, the world tree is an ash; the Greek historian Hesiod asserted the first person was born from an ash tree. This became the custom of planting an ash tree at the birth of each baby.
Put a satchel of ash bark under a cradle to stop mischievous fairies from stealing babies.
Plant ash trees to appease the fairies.
Or find mundane objects made of ash are said to hold the same protective properties as ritual objects.
Happening between March 18 and April 14 is the month of Faern. Alder helps you come to accept unfortunate truths.
You could grill food on alder planks.Doing so may attract fairies and reduce anxiety.
A more traditional use for alder would be using those same planks to fashion a pipe or whistle to manifest strong winds.
Saille is the month associated with the Willow.
It occurs between April 15 and May 12.
The deities associated with the tree are Persephone, Hecate, Cerridwen,
Artemis and Selene; for this reason, a common folk name for the willow, besides the many others, is the Tree of Witcheries.
The scientific name for the tree is Salix alba and willow is used to make salicylic acid, which is used in skin treatments and to reduce fevers; and thus a folk name for the willow tree is “witch's aspirin.”
Because the tree is known to regenerate from fallen branches that land in mud, it is also known as the tree of immortality.
So this month is a time to work on healing and growth of knowledge; and willow elves are good resources for knowledge on herbal medicine.
A wand made from Willow wood has many uses, sleeping with it to astral project is one.
Soak the bark on water to create a treatment for dandruff.
Or simply eat the stuff in a supplement to treat backaches, migraines, arthritis, menstrual cramps, toothaches and prevent heart attacks.
Uath, May 13 to June 9 is the month when Celts would ponder fertility, masucline energy and fire. The days following Beltane are a time when male potency is high; making this the ideal breeding season. This energy translates to being well-equipped in matters of business.
As previously mentioned, this tree is one of three that especially attracts fae, and that’s a fact. If you sit under one on May Day, you are at risk of being permanently kidnapped by fairies. The flowers are useful as a sedative, and can also be used externally for skin problems.
Hawthorne berries (often called ”Pixie Pears”) stimulate the heart and reduce blood pressure, and can be used in tandem with other treatments to maintain an erection, menopausal conditions and circulatory disorders. Plus eases diarrhea.
Since it does cleanse the heart, it also manifests forgiveness and love; making it useful in strengthening marriages.
Duir (the root of the word “Druid”), June 10 to July 7 is the month dedicated to the oak tree.
The Oak is connected with spells for protection and strength, fertility, money and success and good fortune. King Arthur’s round table was made out of a single piece of oak. Carry an acorn in your pocket for luck when you go to an interview or business meeting.
Any piece of the oak tree is lucky. Catching a falling oak leaf before it touches the ground ensures good health. Carrying a satchel of oak will ensure that you are sexually potent.
Externally, oak can be used to treat hemorrhoids, inflamed gums, wounds and eczema. The tannin found in oak can help reduce minor blistering by boiling a piece of the bark in a small amount of water until a strong solution is reached, and applying it to the affected area.
Internally as a tea it helps fight the war against diarrhea.
Magically, the essence will also help you manifest your goals.
In the month of Tinne, which is between August 5 and September 1, antique Celts would fashion weapons and shields. Why? Because holly wood represents masculine strength and “firmness.”
Even though holly berries are toxic, tradition dictates that the magickal properties thereof are for protection from sickness, lightning and evil spirits. It would also aid in dream magic. Put a sprig under a bed or over a crib for protection while doing dream magic or astral projecting.
Or light a holly candle.
Other people may say that holly is purgative -- and that the powdered leaves could be brewed into a healing tea for measles, the ashes from burning the leaves in a drink soothed whooping cough and hot compresses made from the leaves and bark helped ease the pain of broken bones and dislocations; but I am not comfortable condoning this use.
Coll is Hazel month. It is from August 5 to September 1. Coll means "the life force inside you."
Hazelnuts are also associated with wisdom and protection. The month and plant are good to do workings related to wisdom and divination, and especially dream journeys.
To get rid of a cold, drink a solution of warm water, honey and hazelnut powder.
The leaves can be used in teas to treat such ailments as varicose veins, circulatory problems, fevers and excessive menstrual flow.
Vine month is September 2 to September 29. The Celts called this month Muin.
The wine that comes from vines is a symbol of the passions of happiness and wrath; because of the way grape vines grow, the vine itself is a symbol for regeneration, continuation, opportunity, connection, expansion, fertility, bounty.
Make or better yet buy a grapevine wreath to decorate your home with and attract prosperity.
Put grapes on your altar for the same purpose.
Gort is the name of the month dedicated to ivy.
Ivy often lives on after its host plant has died — a reminder to us that life goes on, in the endless cycle of life, death and rebirth.
You can decorate your altar or your bedroom with ivy for healing, protection, cooperation, and to bind lovers. Do workings related to improving yourself, and placing a barricade between you and the things that are toxic to you.
If you are a plant serial killer, artificial ivy would work just as well.
Medicinally ivy was once used for toothaches, as an astringent, and as an aid to bring on menstruation. However, all parts of the ivy plant are now known to be poisonous.
NGeadal is reed season. It lasts from October 28 to November 23.
The plant is used to make woodwind instruments. It is the plant of Rhiannon, Goddess of the underworld. Wind blowing through the shoots sounds like voices of the dead. The month is good for having a seance.
Use reed with your favorite spell for balance and harmony. Reed is used to make flutes, and a small piece from the reed can be used symbolically to invite sweet harmony into your life. Sing your incantation to it and then place it where you will see it often.
Finally, Elder is the tree of Ruis. Ruis is from November 25 - December 21
Traditionally all parts of Elder are useful medicinally. The berries and the leaves are both rich in vitamin C.
The leaves can be made into ear drops to treat pain and inflammation.
The flowers make a tea that is good for treating coughs and irritable throats, as well as being made into a skin cleanser and lotion.