By: J Nighteagle
Few trees Figure more prominently in the folklore of Northern Europe then the birch. Deemed sacred to Thor, Norse god of thunder and lightning, the birch symbolizes youth and spring time. It is one of the hardiest trees in the world; Growing further north, and, with the rowan and the ash, higher up mountains then any other species.
The birch is called The Tree of Inception” with good reason. Not only does it self-sow, forming groves , but it is one of the earliest forest trees to put out leaves in spring.
Birch lore turns up in many cultures. The Dakota Sioux burn birch bark to discourage thunder spirits. Dutch farmers decorate a birch branch with red and white ribbons to safeguard horses in their stables. Scandinavians carry a young dried leaf for good luck on the first day of a new job. Basque country folk use birch oil to anoint love candles.
A bough on the roof protects a German home from lightning strikes. A birch grove guarded the house and land in colonial New England. Many sources claim that smoke rising from a fire of birch logs purifies the surroundings. It is also called the tree of December.