The Magickal Vine…or Blackberry Bramble?

By Isabella @TheWandCarver
Instagram: @thewandcarver

Muin Ogham


This is going to be a tricky write, I have a feeling! For most of us who go by Robert Grave’s Ogham trees from the Celtic Birth Trees list, we all know that the tenth lunar “month” is Vine and its Ogham “Muin”, the 10th letter. However, as I noted in my travels to research this “tree” or lack thereof, I find that the Vine is not necessarily meant to be a vine of the grapevine type after all! The Druids classified anything with a woody stalk as a tree, and so therefore it is listed vines amongst the sacred Ogham ranks. Furthermore, grapevines typically come to mind when discussing vines, but it was more likely the Blackberry vines that captured the hearts of the ancient Celts. In my findings, Muin does not mean “vine” but according to Robert Graves means any thicket of thorny, winding bramble of plant and which further supports the idea that Blackberry, which is a prolific plant in most of Europe and the British Isles, is the likeliest for Muin. And, as the Ogham alphabet originated in Ireland, it is also less likely that it means vine – such as in grapevine – because grapes had never, at that time at least, been successfully grown in Ireland. However, as we can use Vine or Blackberry interchangeably for Muin, we shall stick to Vine for the writing of this blog. Also, before I move on and forget to mention, Vine is the Celtic Birth Tree for those born between 2nd September and 29th September.

Grapevine Groves Nursery
Grapvines, grovesnurseries.co.uk

It is widely thought by some that Vine is the correct source of wood for Muin because of the grape and wine. Wine has been used for centuries for both Pagan and Christian ritual. Writer Erynn Rowan Laurie, Authoress of Ogam: Weaving Word Wisdom, reckons Muin pertains to communication whilst Liz and Colin Murray, The Celtic Tree Oracle, say Muin is about prophecy. John Michael Greer, a neo-pagan American author, writer of The Celtic Golden Dawn: An Original & Complete Curriculum of Druidical Study, agrees all round but also believes Muin is a stave [or few as some call it] of not only insight but intoxication, as well. Not to put too fine a point on it but if you drink enough wine, you will have some great insights from your intoxication…and most of us are very communicative at the time! Mind you, I don’t think this is what they have in mind…Although, Robert Graves does say that the grape is indicative of “joy, exhilaration, and wrath”. He also says that wine is the “poet’s drink” of “poetic inspiration” and may send one “spiralling towards immortality”.

I think you may now understand why I thought this may be a difficult write. There is little, if any agreement upon the meaning of Muin, not even the wood can be agreed upon!

Magickal Properties:
The Celtic meaning of the Vine in Druid lore is rife with symbolism. The Vine is a theme repeated over and over in Celtic art. Interconnections and winding vines are commonly seen on tapestries, writings, knot work and carvings. This indicates the symbolism of connection, eternity, and diversity. – Rebirth and Reincarnation
In the Druid perspective, the Vine earned its symbolism from its growth patterns. They recognised the Vine grows opportunistically and would dig in wherever feasible to gain a strong foothold to assure its own growth – Protection
This is a powerful metaphor of “going with the flow” or “start as you mean to go on”. In other words, it is a message that when we observe the best of our environment/situation and stay in a relaxed, flowing state of mind, we can most likely gain our highest advantage. – Spirituality
The ever-watchful Celts also recognised the Vine’s predominant growth formation is in the shape of a spiral which is symbolic of consciousness, development, renewal, and growth. – Regeneration

402_grapevinetwigs
grapevine twigs – Google images

You can use Vine in protection poppets, incenses, and witch bottles like any other wood as well as to make amulets from.

And, of course, Vine makes a great wand 😊 Just ask Hermoine Granger!

Correspondences:
Planetary: Moon
Zodiac: unknown
Energies: rebirth, reincarnation, regeneration, spirituality, and protection
Gender: Masculine and Feminine
Deity: Considered sacred by the Tuatha De Danaan Gods of Irish Mythology
Animal: White Swan

Many thanks for reading and we hope you’ve enjoyed learning a bit about Vine. Warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x

Sources:

Wikipedia.com
Ogam: Weaving Word Wisdom, by Erynn Rowan Laurie
The Celtic Tree Oracle, by Liz and Colin Murray

The Magickal Apple Tree

Previously posted on 15 August 2017 on speakingofwitchwands.net

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Such a plethora of information could be given on the Apple tree I would do well to write a book! But, I imagine somebody has probably done so already. So many varieties, so much lore…so let us only speak of the common Apple tree mostly and the folklore which surrounds it according to the Druids and Magickal community. Who doesn’t love a good Apple story? Everyone loved Snow White and how the evil queen put her to sleep with the poisonous apple. Snow White, mind you, did not spring to life from Mr Disney’s imagination but has been a fairy tale since Medieval times. In fact, the story made the Medieval church of the times believe that enchanted apples could be given to a victim to cause demonic possession. How times have changed!

Bramley Apple
The original Bramley apple tree bbc.co.uk

In Celtic tradition, the Other-Worldly Avalon was also known as the Avallach, the Isle of Apples, ruled by Fairy Queen, Morgan le Fay (Freeman, page 196). This is the land of faeries and the dead, where King Arthur was taken to be healed by his sister, Morgan. Like their cousins to the North, the Celts attributed the power of healing and youth, or rebirth, to apples. Apples are one of the magickal trees part of the Celtic Ogham tree alphabet, its Ogham name being Quert.

The gifts of the Apple Fairy are everlasting youth and beauty, although sadly such matters often give rise to strife….  The apple fairy invites us to enjoy sensuous pleasures of all descriptions, in the knowledge that there is plenty to go around, and that nothing that is truly ours can ever be taken away from us.” ~ From The Fairy Bible, Teresa Moorey

The Apple tree is very much a symbol of rebirth and reincarnation. Apple branches have been carried in funeral cortèges as a symbol of reincarnation.  In The Poetic Edda, eleven apples are given as a present to keep the Aesir ageless. Buckets of apples were found in the 9th century Oseberg ship burial site in Norway and fruit [and nuts] have been found in the early graves of the Germanic peoples in England. In Norse tradition, the Apple is the tree of immortality. The Goddess Idunn was the keeper of the apples, which she fed the Norse Gods and Goddesses to keep them forever young. Apple wands were also used in Norse love rituals. To the Norse, apples represented long life, wisdom and love.

Love. Love spells and offerings of Apples have long been tradition. There is an old Scottish custom of eating an apple on Samhain night whilst gazing into the mirror. Legend says that you will see your true love reflected there.

Spell for Love

Use a crab-apple, or a cultivated apple if you don’t have crab-apples available. If possible, use one that you have hand-picked. Carve the initials of the one you love and desire, and your own initials, in a ring around the apple. Bury it in the ground, or commit it to a body of water. adapted from Whispers from the Woods, by Sandra Kynes

Apples have form for being brilliant healing fruits, firstly by eating one but in other ways as well. Apples are particularly good for any kind of healing magic. They can be used to invoke a healing goddess into a Witch or Druid, who then can employ ‘laying on of hands’ on the patient. For long distance healing, the apple wand can be used as a catalyst to send the healing energy to the patient, or can be charged with healing power and given to the patient at a later time. If the laying on of hands is not your style, you can use an Apple wand over the ill person.  Have him or her lie on the floor, and pass the wand lying over their solar plexus or heart chakra, to help him/her take in the healing energy the group is raising. There are unlimited variations and ideas for using the energy of Apple to heal.

Apple Awen
Druid Apple Awen pendant ~ photo by i.macy

Apples trees are sacred to the Druids as an-t-uil-oc [Mistletoe], is often found on Apple trees. This makes the Apple tree an especially holy tree to the Druids, along with the Oak. The Apple Tree is closely linked to Druids in their aspect as magicians and shamans. Bards and Shamans carried apple branches/wands (with bronze, silver, or gold bells), called the Craobh Ciuil (Branch of Reason), as symbols of their office (Blamires, page 142).

Apple Druid Wand 2
Druid Apple Wand w/bell ~ photo by i.macy

The Ogham name for Apple is ‘Quert, the tenth month of the Celtic Tree calendar, 2nd September – 29th September by some charts, although the one we use lists Vine as this month’s Ogham. It is the tenth consonant of the Ogham alphabet. According to the Word Ogham of Óengus, Quert is the ‘force of a man’, or the epitome of health and vitality in a man or woman. The apple is in the heart of the ogham grove, and is the source of life. It is from the apple that we receive healing, renewal, regeneration and wholeness, especially after being wounded, exhausted, or ill (Mountfort, page 100). Pulling the ogham stave Quert is a mandate to rest and heal yourself from strife, illness, fatigue, or injury. It is an invitation to regain your sense of wholeness and connection with nature.

Apple Ogham Pendant
Apple Ogham pendant with Quert ~ photo by i.macy

Planet: Venus

Element: Water

Symbolism: Love & Trust, Health, Garden Magick

Stone: Emerald, Rose Quartz

Birds: Grosbeak

Colour: Yellow-Green, Pink

Deity: Demeter, Hera, Pomona, Frigga, Freya

Folk Names: Fruit of the Gods, Fruit of the Underworld,

Silver Branch, The Silver Bough, Tree of Love

       “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces,  I would still plant my apple tree.” – Martin Luther (1483-1546)

Many thanks for reading and warm blessings upon all whom this way wander x