Birch/ B

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Bircha means ‘shining white’ in german. Silver birch has the latin name of betula pendula (hence betulin). Birch bark was used for writing on, for tanning leather, and its sap is still tapped from the tree in early April for sugar, beer and wine. Birch leaves are antiseptic and good for muscle pains, while birch tar, made from the fresh wood, makes an ointment for skin or used as a mouthwash called ‘oil of birch tar’
In India the earliest versions of the Vedas were written on birch bark, while in the Jewish Kabbalah, beth meant understanding that which 'opens creative power'. In Ireland, beithe/ birch was called the 'mother of learning' and began the alphabet. The celtic god Lug (of the Long Arm) was warned that his wife was about to be taken to the underworld in a carving on a birch tree. Cradles made of birch protected babies from becoming changelings (humans swapped with fairy creatures), and birch brooms were hung up by the roof or above the door as charm to keep away spirits.


theirte airgead

theirte airgead theirte taibhse
theirte gun dìon i bhon t-sùil
nach iarrte
theirte gun dùisg i grian a‛ chèitein
faic a cruinn àrd airgeadach
an iomadachd liath
mar phlaide thaibhsean
am barraichean mar chuan
de shumainn shiùbhlach
thar bhràighean nan gleann
‛s i oighreachd gealbhuinn
sliochdmhorachd a buadh
theirte gur slat a‛ ghaoil i


Silver, it's said

silver, it‛s said a ghost, it is said
protects from the harmful eye,
they say
it‛ll wake the mayday sun, they say
see its tall silver poles
their multitudinous grey
like a plaid of ghosts
their branched tops make
a sea of fl uid billows
on the slopes of glens
it‛s the sparrow‛s estate
fertility is in its gift
the tree of love, it is said