In the Celtic Tree Calendar, November is the first month of the year and the Birch is its tree. As the first month, November and the Birch signify a time of cleansing and new beginnings. We are deep into November, but on the heels of the New Moon, so I’ve decided to post this even at this late date.
We’re so accustomed to January starting the new year, it seems odd to think of November as the first month. Following Allhallows/Samhain, when the veil between worlds is briefly pulled back, it seems fitting that we leave our ghosts behind. We long to give birth to something fresh and new. In the winter months, the white bark of the Birch stands out against the shrubbery it towers over ~ a symbolic arrow aimed toward the heavens signifying a new goal for the coming year.
Some traditions do assign the Birch to December 24-January 20th which aligns with the new year. Use whichever system feels right to you. Symbolism has meaning only if you can apply it to your life.
If you come across a fallen Birch, take a bit of the bark and write a goal or a message to yourself or the universe on the back side. You may even find some bark that has already peeled off of a living tree. The bark will probably curl in on itself in a kind of scroll which you can open every once in a while to read again, or you might want to add the bark as a piece of kindling in a fire as part of a ritual or ceremony. If you do take some bark, leave something at the base of the tree in gratitude ~ perhaps some seeds for the creatures who forage there or make their home in the branches above. The winter months are hard on our animal friends and they will certainly appreciate what you leave for them.(Card is from the Celtic Tree Oracle by Liz and Colin Murray. Photo is from www.morguefile.com)