Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Celtic Tree Month of Reed (Elm)

* 12th Moon of the Celtic Year - (October 28 - November 24)

* Latin name: Latin name: American Elm - ulmus americana; European Elm - ulmus procera; slippery Elm - ulmus fulva.

* Celtic name: Negetal (pronounced: nyettle).

* Folk or Common names: In Britain where the Reed tree is the dwarf elm, it is called the Water-Elder, Whitten, or Rose Petal. Since I use the immature Elm tree in place of the Reed tree, the Elm is usually known as Elm, and sometimes Piss-Elm (due to the smell it makes while being burned as a green wood).

* Parts Used: Bark, leaves, wood.

* Herbal usage: The Elm has many medicinal uses. Slippery Elm bark can be powdered and made into a milk for babies that can't tolerate cow's milk. In fact, Slippery Elm bark is good for many purposes. In tea, it can ease insomnia and sooth an upset tummy. It is also useful for enemas and makes good poultice material. This type of poultice can be used on wounds, infections, ulcers, burns, and poison ivy.

* Magical History & Associations: The birds associated with the month of Reed are the owl and goose, the color is grass green, and the gemstone is clear green jasper.

Symbols of this Celtic month are The White Hound, The Stone, the Planet Pluto (Pwyll), The Fire Feast of Samhain Dis, Pwyll, and Arawn. Identified with the submerged or hidden dryad, The Month of Reed represents the mysteries of death. In fact the Fire Feast of Samhain celebrates the dead and on Samhain, the boundary between the Otherworld and this world dissolve. It is a night of great divination. Or in another fashion, it represents the hidden roots to all life.

The Month of Reed is associated with being both a savior and custodian. Pwyll, the Celtic ruler of the Otherworld was given "The Stone" , one of four treasures given to him for safekeeping. The Stone represents the right of the kings and queen to have divine power. Thus the Reed is also the symbol of Royalty. The White Hounds represent the dogs that guard the lunar mysteries. The Elm tree is a tree of Saturn and is associated with the element of earth. It is sacred to Odin, Hoenin and Lodr. The elm is also associated with the day of Tuesday.

* Magickal usage: The month of Elm / Reed is a good month for using music in magic, especially music made by bagpipes and flutes, and also for doing divination.

Elm is sometimes said to symbolize the dark side of the psyche and so can be used in psychic workings. The Elm is commonly known as "the elf friend". If you desire to have contact with wood elves, pick a grove of Elm trees and sit under them and sing. Around about dawn, the elves will have gotten over their initial shyness and come out to join in the singing.

Elm trees are also thought to provide a channel for the communication with divas. To get an Elm tree to help you in this quest, offerings can be brought to a favorite tree and left. The best offerings are wine, mead, tobacco, coins and sage. Tiny twigs of Elm can be worn in a bag around a child's neck as a charm to produce eloquent speech in later life. Elm wood may be bound with a yellow cord and burned to prevent gossip.

The Elm represents primordial female powers and therefore the Elm is a tree with great protective qualities. The wood from the Elm can be made into talismans and charms that can be worn for protection. The Elm also has the qualities of regeneration, boldness and fidelity, and so added to its protective qualities, it is excellent when given as a good luck token to departing friends. Using Elm is spellwork adds stability to the spell.

According to Edain McCoy in her article, "Willow for Love, Oak for strength" (1997 Llewellyn Magickal Almanac), a tea can be made for the month of Reed that includes a pinch of slippery Elm:

REED MOON TEA - Fertility, love, protection.

1 part red clover
1 part hyssop
1 part boneset
pinch of slippery elm

**Note: Please be very, VERY careful when taking this tea! These are powerful herbs, meant to be used by more or less experienced herbalists and witches. Boneset is toxic in large doses or if taken over long period of time. To use, put in a tea ball and steep for 5 or 6 minutes.

(from Sarah Nunn, aka Sarah the Swamp Witch.)

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