Today with gold in our hearts we are preparing for the next journey. In the oldest known Gaelic calendar, known as Beth-Luis-Nion, a tree calendar which links trees with alphabet and seasons, the year is divided into 28 days. From December 24th to January 20th, the tree is Birch, the Gaelic is Beth.
Several years ago I met Welsh poet Hilary Llewellyn- Williams. This is an extract from her poem;
‘After Twelfth Night comes the reality
of winter. When the greenery’s stripped down
it’s barefaced, blowing under the door.
Mean days dragging out a fraction more
before dark, make our myth of spring
ridiculous. I walk out into the stark
endless moment of January.
These brittle twigs swept clear of leaves
whipping along the light
points of dark bud concealing green,
I’ll tie a bundle to my broom for flight;
no shelter here, the rain falls through
this frost wood, the sky stares between.
Think of the covered hills
filling with cleaner light, and a gap
in the clouds for something to glance through.
I stoop in the cold shade
gathering twigs for a journey.’
So the invitation is to connect with the Birch tree. If you can get outside, take your golden heart to Birch. She will recognise you, as in the autumn she was a golden haired maiden with a thousand of golden leaves. Let her greet you like a friend. Take her a small offering; a pebble, flower, shell, some bread crumbs…and ask her for some of her twigs. If you can’t do this physically you can do it in your imagination.
Tonight put the twigs, or imaingary twigs under your pillow. Ask the spirit of Birch to guide your dreams as you begin the new journey towards Spring. In the morning write down whatever you remember or any feelings, no matter how ridiculous they may seem to you. We can do this for three nights, so don’t panic if you don’t remember any dreams!