The Magick of Broom

Originally posted on 02/11/2017 via speakingofwitchwands.net

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Ngetal Broom

What is Broom? Technically, it is not a tree…more of a shrubbery, and is sometimes referred to as “Reed” …still, it is considered in the Celtic Birth Tree Calendar as one of the thirteen woods which comprise the CBTC.  Broom [or reed] is the 12th month of Celtic Tree calendar, 28th October – 24th November and is the 12th letter of the Ogham alphabet – Ngetal.  If you were born on 31st October, Samhain, both the Broom and the Blackthorn would have great meaning for you.

People born under the Broom/Reed sign among the Celtic tree astrology signs are the secret keepers. You dig deep inside to the real meaning of things and discover the truth hidden beneath layers of distraction. When there is a need to get to the heart of the matter, most certainly the Reed sign will find the core. You love a happy story and can be easily drawn in by gossip, scandals, legend, and lore. These tendencies also make you an excellent historian, journalist, detective or archaeologist. You love people because they represent a diversity of meanings for you to interpret. You are adept at coaxing people to talk to you, and sometimes you can be a bit manipulative. However, you have a keen sense of truth and honour so most of your scheming is harmless. Broom/ Reed people join well with other Broom/Reeds, Ash or Oak signs.

Broom_2009_06_12_GlenriddingHut_BBQ_203p5
Broom growing wild..as it does 🙂

The Broom seldom grows large enough to furnish useful wood, but when its stems acquire a sufficient size, it is beautifully veined and being hard provides valuable material for veneering.  As its name suggests, it was popularly used for making brooms and brushes and was commonly used for basketwork, especially on the island of Madeira.  In the north of England and Scotland, it was used for thatching cottages and making fences or screens.

A traditional rhyme from Sussex says: “Sweep the house with blessed Broom in May / sweep the head of the household away.” 😊

The branches of the Broom shrub are perfect for sweeping [but not whilst the yellow blossoms are standing at attention, wait till the flowers drop off – otherwise sweeping with Broom branches leads to very nasty luck as the fables warn]. Because of its handy household uses, the flower symbolism of the Broom includes a sense of orderliness, cleanliness, and tidiness. Kind of like a “symbol of good housekeeping.”  Its bright yellow flowers are likened to the gold of the radiating sun, and therefore conjure symbolic attributes of light, energy, vitality, and warmth.  The Broom flower as a symbol also hints at humility – it’s a simple bush…its needs are few [it can live quite well without much tending]. Those who are drawn to the Broom flower as a personal symbol will be humble in his/her ways…. resourceful, too – making the best [and being happy] with simple things in life. Broom flower symbolism also points to matters of the heart; ingestion of the plant is known to affect cardiac function. Folk medicine cites Broom teas as a heart regulator [don’t try it at home unless you know what you’re doing, please]. The Broom is a bright reminder of how simple values can go a long way to balancing the heart.

Medicinal and Folklore:

The whole of Broom is medicinally valuable. The main medicinal ingredient in Broom is sparteine. When consumed in large doses it can cause excitability and hallucinations.  This has been speculated as the reason Broom is associated with witches flying around on brooms. I would imagine this would raise blood pressures to an incredible height so please don’t try this.  The sparteine found in Broom is now used for heart and circulatory disorders. Other preparations from Broom can help with gout, sciatica, joint pain, malaria, fever, kidney stones. I would think it best to leave this to the pharmaceutical companies to know how much and what part of Broom should be used.

broom flowers RHS
Broom flowers ~ Royal Horticultural Society

Flowers of the Broom were once used to concoct an elixir for gout and it was known that King Henry VIII drank the infusion of water with Broom flowers to “cure” the effects of his many excesses.

Before hops, Broom was added to flavour and enhance the intoxicating effects of beer.

My Nana insisted the broom be stored on its end, never on the bristles, to keep the magick from running out.

It is bad luck to loan your broom to anyone, even a friend.

A broom laid in a doorway would detain a witch from entering a cottage. For a witch would not cross over objects without first numbering the parts, and counting all the fibres of a broom would slow her progress. [Wales]

Stand a broom upside down – Marry soon. [Ireland]

Magickal:

Broom was hung up in the house to keep all evil influences out, and an infusion of Broom sprinkled throughout the house was used to exorcise poltergeist activity.  Sweeping the ground with a brush of Broom will clear the area of unwanted influences.

Banishing and releasing spell:

Bundle a handful of twigs to create a small ritual hand broom. Write the name of what you want to release or banish from your life on a piece of paper and burn it.  When the ashes are cool scatter them on the floor around your altar. Take the broom and sweep the ashes from the centre out to the edge of your circle. Gather the ashes and then scatter them to the wind.  [You can also sweep the floor as you burn the ashes, and then take a few pieces of your broom, burn them in your cauldron, and scatter them to the wind after they cool].

~Whispers from the Woods, by Sandra Kynes

Correspondences:

Planet: The Moon

Element: Water

Symbolism: Royalty, cleansing, healing, psychic protection, astral travel

Stone: Opal

Colour: Blue

Bird: Geese, kingfisher

Deity: Mercury, Morpheus, Bacchus

Sabbat: Samhain

Folk Names: Scotch Broom

Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x

Sources:

Whispers from the Woods, by Sandra Kynes

Whats-your-sign.com

In Worship of Trees, by George Knowles

What’s Your Birth Tree is the New What’s Your Star Sign

First posted on 11/07/2017 by Isabella via speakingofwitchwands.net

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

There really is nothing “new” about birth trees and their meanings for us. It is a far cry different from the astrological signs most of us are used to. The Celtic Birth Tree Calendar (seen referred to as CBTC in future paragraphs) has been around for a century roughly. Many have struggled to understand it so I shall explain. First, the Celtic Birth Tree calendar dates run differently than do our Gregorian Calendar.  The astrological correspondence of your star sign to your birth date may be different or could be like, when you find your birth tree meaning.

The Gregorian Calendar was settled in about c.1582.  The Celtic calendar is a compilation of pre-Christian Celtic systems of timekeeping, including the Gaulish Coligny calendar, discovered in Coligny, France, and was used by Celtic countries to define the beginning and length of the day, the week, the month, the seasons, quarter days, and festivals. (from Wikipedia) The Celtic calendar predated the Gregorian calendar and was an attempt to harness the solar and lunar months into a twelve-month record of time-keeping. It is known, as of this writing, as the oldest calendar of all.

Then things get tricky, as the Celtic Calendar also divided the year into half-light, half dark. The light half of the year began with Beltaine/Beltane/Bealtaine on 1st of May, Gregorian calendar, and the dark half beginning with Samhain on 1st November, Gregorian calendar. It had days of the week and months but was also very much a calendar of celebrations.

Enter the Celtic Birth Tree Calendar. The Druids, whom are very much tree people, as it were, can be called partially responsible for the Celtic Birth Tree Calendar… one Druid researcher/wannabe wrote the book on it, so to speak. Yes, the one and only Robert Graves, whom just happened to call himself  a Druid. Whilst another Druid revivalist, Edward Davies, was the one whom originally said there “might be” an ancient calendar of 13 months, based upon his studies on 16th century Ireland, Mr Graves took the matter a step further and instituted the Celtic Birth Tree Calendar we know and love today.

BIRTHTREE CHART AND OGHAM
collected from Google Images –  PaganSpace.net

Having not read Mr Grave’s writings upon the Celtic Birth Tree matter myself (only being familiar mostly with the casting and reading of ogham staves, which you will find, are also the “alphabet” or consonant of each tree), in my internet travels I find quite often that one chart is different from another as to when the dates run for each Celtic “month”. This is the one copied from Druidry.org:

Someone with this tree sign is quite sensitive and even sentimental. Love and knowledge rule their very being and when they are able to embrace both, they feel sheer bliss and truly live life.

  • Apple Tree (Dec 22-Jan 1 / Jun 25-Jul 4) – Tree of love, intelligence, and harmonization.
  • Fir (Jan 2-11 / Jul 5-14) – Tree of independence, privacy, and contemplation.

When given this tree sign, one is eager, practical, and dedicated to achieving their dreams, yet reasonable and logical when necessary. They give of themselves completely, after much thought.

  • Elm (Jan 12-24 / Jul 15-25) – Tree of beauty, god speed, and organization.

A tree sign such as this one, loves all that is bold, beautiful, and harmonious. They also tend to be open, direct, and quite outspoken with their emotions and opinions. They live with passion.

  • Cypress (Jan 25-Feb 3 / Jul 26-Aug 4) – Tree of serenity, new life, and adaptation.

Someone with this tree sign prefers to avoid drama, opting for a peaceful, dreamlike state of being as opposed to any form of disagreement or opposition. Life for them is peaceful and magical.

  • Poplar (Feb 4-8 / Aug 5-13) – Tree of growth, strength, and visualisation.

When given this tree sign, one starts off blissful and carefree, only to encounter a few difficult challenges that often become hot dilemmas. But with a good outlook, they naturally persevere.

  • Hackberry (Feb 9-18 / Aug 14-23) – Tree of nobility, pride, and dedication.

A tree sign such as this one will not settle for less than what they obtain to achieve in their lifetime. Their strict dedication and vision is what inevitably makes them feel proud and great.

  • Pine (Feb 19-29 / Aug 24-Sep 2) – Tree of health, perseverance, and moderation.

Someone with this tree sign is steady and poised, while moving forward towards progress and success. They often develop a good sense of what is needed physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

  • Willow (Mar 1-10 / Sep 3-12) – Tree of fairness, non-judgement, and toleration.

When given this tree sign, one is not so quick to judge a book by its cover. Instead, they tend to allow the story to unfold naturally so they may clearly learn the meaning of what is written.

  • Lime (Mar 11-20 / Sep 13-22) – Tree of charm, ease, and infatuation.

A tree sign such as this one might have a tendency to charm or be charmed. They go along with situations peacefully and try to make the most of what can often be somewhat difficult for others.

  • Hazel (Mar 22-31 / Sep 24-Oct 3) – Tree of originality, intellect, and adaptation.

Someone with this tree sign firmly believes in individual growth, knowledge, and permeation. They strive to develop their own sense of style and wit, making them solid pioneers in their field.

  • Rowan (Apr 1-10 / Oct 4-13) – Tree of ambition, honesty, and communication.

When given this tree sign, one always believes in being true of character and opinion. They never sacrifice their integrity for hidden motives and always obtain goals by way of pure ingenuity.

A tree sign such as this one beholds sheer charisma to go further than most, especially when such journeys encompass creative thought. They never cease to amaze and go beyond. They never stop.

  • Maple (Apr 11-20 / Oct 14-23) – Tree of personality, energy, and imagination.
  • Walnut (Apr 21-30 / Oct 24-Nov 2) – Tree of fortune, vigour, and determination.

Someone with this tree sign is destined for success and ultimate riches, whether they are in the form of material or supernatural. Their energy is based upon their will and their will is done.

  • Jasmine (May 1-14 / Nov 3-11) – Tree of poise, diplomacy, and socialisation.

When given this tree sign, one can almost always show an interest in politics or some form of public relations and communications or social interests. They enjoy getting their thoughts across.

  • Chestnut (May 15-24 / Nov 12-21) – Tree of justice, ethics, and observation.

A tree sign such as this one goes, but grows no further until they have left a trace of their thought pattern with them. They observe to a certain degree before making sound and fair judgment.

  • Ash (May 25-Jun 3 / Nov 22-Dec 1) – Tree of insight, intuition, and aspiration.

Someone with this tree sign is bright enough and willing to take a step further into deeper, darker, less travelled territory, to see a bigger picture, often resulting in a greater masterpiece.’

  • Ironwood (Jun 4-13 / Dec 2-11) – Tree of discipline, order, and admiration.

When given this tree sign, one can be referred to as having a steady and sturdy enough foundation for further growth and development, both in themselves as well as enabling the same in others.

  • Fig (Jun 14-23 / Dec 12-20) – Tree of balance, expression, and diversification.

A tree sign such as this one loves to explore yet always has a sense of their solid roots. They can discover much more than what their world offers while still maintaining their native spirit.

  • Oak (Mar 21 Spring Equinox) – Tree of boldness, stability, and individualisation.

Someone with this tree sign will more than likely become bolder, brighter, and better than their peers. This can be successfully done as they never lose sight of their own sense of self-worth.

  • Birch (Jun 24 – 3 days after the Summer Solstice which is Jun 21) – Tree of creativity, action, and illumination.

When given this tree sign, one always creates the love, life, and laughter that they desire in their universe. They are not afraid to embrace their own power and they do so with pure progress.

  • Olive (Sep 23 Autumn Equinox) – Tree of logic, reason, and rationalisation.

A tree sign such as this one prefers to know the truth as well as the mystery. In doing so, they make good sense out of what often makes absolutely none whatsoever, to discover greater wisdom.

  • Beech (Dec 21 Winter Solstice) – Tree of skill, resourcefulness, and preservation.

Gort (Ivy) September 30 to October 27

Someone with this tree sign is highly gifted in matters of discovering and carefully preserving. They make use of what others often deem useless, to show a greater knowledge and understanding.

And then, you have this one which I found on maryjones.us  I believe she took directly from Robert Grave’s Birth Tree calendar as it is the one we go by ourselves:

Beth (Birch) December 24 to January 20

Luis (Rowan) January 21 to February 17

Nion (Ash) February 18 to March 17

Fearn (Alder) March 18 to April 14

Saille (Willow) April 15 to May 12

Uath (Hawthorn) May 13 to June 9

Duir (Oak) June 10 to July 7

Tinne (Holly) July 8 to August 4

Coll (Hazel) August 5 to September 1

Muin (Vine) September 2 to September 29

Ngetal (Reed) October 28 to November 24

Ruis (Elder) November 25 to December 23

December 23 is not ruled by any tree for it is the traditional day of the proverbial “Year and a Day” in the earliest courts of law.

As I said, there is a quite noticeable difference in the trees and dates from only these two examples. The reason for this is simple. The Ogham consists of 25 trees. Each tree has a mark which has a name. Only 13 Ogham and trees are used in the Birth Tree calendar. And the other thing is, the Ogham came before the CBTC, not created for it. Some seem to think that the series of marks were written by the Druids on stone or pieces of wood, most likely corresponding to their Ogham, however, it is also pretty well known that the Druid never wrote a dicky bird, their knowledge was always passed down by word-of-mouth. Mr Graves created a rigid 28-day cycle for each month of his calendar which gave it a thirteen-month spread, although all calendars that I’m aware of had 12 months of varying amounts of days, going by the lunar cycle. The year did not begin with Happy New Year celebrations as we know it today. The New Year begins with Winter Solstice…well, the “month” does stretch into January.

Some eclectic Neo-pagans are influenced by Robert Graves’ “Celtic Tree Calendar”, which has no foundation in historical calendars or actual ancient Celtic Astrology.  Celtic Reconstructionist Pagans reject it utterly as a complete fabrication with no historic basis. Whilst this may strike many as quite “new-age” and oh dear, there go those pesky Wiccans trying to make Paganism theirs, what of it? Most people whom have read their CBTC meaning for their birth month see themselves in the reading, 100%. The readings do resonate with the people born in those months.  As a Hawthorn, I certainly see myself in the meaning:  passionate, creative, curious, great listeners, insightful, funny, and great at seeing “the big picture,” but you may not truly know who they are.

Enjoy it. Everything was new once, as we know. And if you pop by our shop, you just may find an ogham pendant for your birth month, if you are so inclined.

Elder Ogham Pendant
Elder Ogham Pendant – photo by i.macy

With thanks to

Druid Tree Lore

Mary Jones

Wikipedia