The Silver Birch is one of the most sacred trees in Celtic Mythology, symbolising new beginnings and protection.
This association derives from ancient times, before the written word, when the sacred Silver Birch was associated with the Celtic goddess Brigid. Traditionally, the tree was used to make May poles and start the fires to celebrate Beltane, the festival of new beginnings. The festival consisted of dances, to ensure healthy and abundant crops, which were all performed around the maypole of Birch.
The Silver Birch was also a highly protective influence, especially on Midsummer's Eve when boughs were hung over doors to guard and bring good luck. In Herefordshire on May day, trees were often decorated with red and white rags then propped against stable doors to ward off evil.
Not only did the Silver Birch have these magical values, it also had many uses both medicinal and practical. The leaves of the Silver Birch tree can be brewed into a tea that treats infection and stimulates a healthy vitality. In terms of practicality, early man stitched the bark together to make food vessels and canoes for hunting. In spring, the sap was made into a delicious mead and the fresh cambial tissue was made into a highly nutritious bread!
The Silver Birch is a hardy, native tree that is also treasured for its silver-white bark and delicate leaves on a crown of arched branches. It will happily thrive in any garden and is wonderful for wildlife, it is especially loved by the bees and garden birds.