Apple came to visit unexpectedly this morning when I stood looking at the bright stars in an otherwise cloudy and stormy early-morning-sky. One of her branches laid down on the grass, as if to remind me of making the ogham oracle, to make a wand, to make apple pie from the apples gathered in the autumn!
Quert is in the set of the second five Ogham.
Apple, Malus domesticus, but often the crab apple (Malus sylvestris) is used, is a symbol of faithfullness and love.
The essence of Quert is of the loved and the loving. Yet she also teaches us that we walk our own path alone.
Apple Cider Vinegar was used by the early Egyptians and recorded as being given by Hippocrates to treat his patients in 400BC. I would recommend using a tablespoon of it every morning: in a cup of warm water, maybe sweetened with honey.
Wassailing the apple trees on 12th night (near January 6th) was once a custom (and is revived in places nowadays) to ensure the health and abundance of the crops: a large fire is made, a ‘wassail cup’ of hot, spiced cider is passed from hand to hand. Some is poured into the roots of the trees, and some is soaked into toast and placed in the branches. Pans and metal rods are banged and often fireworks let off so that the devil and any evil spirits abroad will be frightened away and the trees will not be harmed.
As I entered the realm of the standing stones beyond the woodlands, I crossed the stream and Willow called to me and halted me for a moment.
Willow is a water loving tree, there are many species but this seems to be Salix alba. She is wonderfully flexible. Her essence will help to heal, allowing pain and complications of life to wash away. She can strengthen your self-esteem, her magic reminding you that you are an amazing being and an essential part of this limitless universe.
Cerridwen and the moon appear at this early friday hour of the moon, and willow weaves
I harvested Stargate Essence in the centre of Stonehenge
I created a standing stone portal as the adventurer mystic and the coming weeks will work with it as summer turns slowly into autumn while we work hard during these harvesting days.
Duir is required to be there but with me now Saille is as well
Today I met Oak as I searched for a cool place in the heat. Duir is the seventh letter of the Ogham tree alphabet, it is in the second five Ogham, corresponding to the letter D which means Oak (Quercus robur). Duir means solidity, steadfastness, strength and courage and protection.Oak is the doorway.
Duir essence gives strength and vigour, it opens portals to other places and realms, it offers us opportunity. Young oak teaches us hope, old oak reminds us to stay flexible. Go, enter the doorway and go into the new day!
Walking in the sun at the edge of the woodland I met Onn (Ohn) Ulex europeaus or Gorse. She is in the fourth five ogham. She is comforting, her embrace keeps us nurtured and cared for, safe and warm.
She is a teacher of optimism, a source of light and inspiration and her essence will inspire us and spark the source of creation in ourselves, guiding us through inertia into new energy.
In the area where I lived as a small child there were a lot of these “Gaspeldoorn” as it is called in Dutch, but in Netherlands it is on our red list of endangered plants. Gorse bears yellow high scented flowers in spring and often throughout the year. She attracts bees, thus giving us mead The spikes can be used to fasten your clothing. Gorse was hung as an omen against evil above the door in the middle ages. Although it is poisonous (Cytisine alkaloid) , it was used to feed cattle and horses. In the Netherlands it was used as firewood and as fertilizer.
Gorse as a “herb” heightens awareness of colours and brings a feeling of slight intoxication but in larger doses it induces death and I can imagine this plant being regarded as a sacred plant by our ancestors.
I love her smell! But I thread carefully along the sunny road where she grows because she likes to hold on to me and keep me in her embrace.
today I met Yew in the forest.
Yew (Taxus baccata) is the fifth ogham called Ioho or Iodho on the fourth five Ogham; it is the last of the traditional ogham symbols
“Ioho, most sacred yew, keeper of silent wisdom
Honoured are you who bear the lives of the dead“
The essence of Ioho transcends endings, teaching us about regeneration and transformation, about death and transition, encouraging us to go beyond pain and grief at times of change on the spiral we all experience.
The wood of Yew is very strong, it was used to make longbows; extract from the seeds and leaves were used to poison tips of arrows and swords. Most parts are very toxic and remain so even if they are dried and old, however a medicine against cancer, used in chemotherapy, is made from the leaves of the Yew from one of its alkoids (taxol). About a thousand years ago Yew was used as a cardiac remedy (Zamab in the Canon of Medicin)
The seed is poisonous but the red aril around it is not poisonous, and is gelatinous and very sweet tasting.
When working with yew for a wand or a staff be aware that both the wood and yew sawdust, are highly poisonous.
I like to sit beneath Yew when I travel to other levels of existence or ask for guidance.
My woodland essence for today is Coll, which is Hazel in English, “Hazelnoot” in Dutch and Corylus avellana is the botanical name. It is in the second set of 5 Ogham. It’s essence is Worldly wisdom, it can not be taught in a book or schoolroom, it is perfect knowledge that is blown our way at some point in our life.
Hazel feels like cooperative and calm understanding, offering a deep wisdom and shelter.
I often have the feeling that she guides me to focus when I need it.
The hazel grows in my garden, planted there by mice and she comes in different colours, like the chocolate on the right.
She has given food and shelter to human beings and their livestock for a long time, but she is especially wonderful to use in divining and as a staff. Some years ago I found a hazel staff at a secret holy well in the fields and used it to guide me around Glastonbury and Southern England till I reached the centre of Stonehenge from where she magically disappeared.
The Celts equated hazelnuts with concentrated wisdom and poetic inspiration, there are several variations on an ancient tale that nine hazel trees grew around a sacred pool, dropping nuts into the water to be eaten by salmon which thereby absorbed the wisdom.
My woodland Essence for today is Ngetal, the 13th letter of the Ogham alphabeth Associated trees are not always agreed upon, for Ngetal there are 2 species used: Graves used the Common Reed (Phragmites australis) for this Ogham (and he is followed by Llewellyn and well known others) Broom (Citisus scoparius) is probably more likely.
Broom essence is that of healing and cleansing, washing away habitual behaviour and cleaning up negativity and things that no longer serve.
My Tarot-card of the day this morning was the Four of pentagrams, hinting to me that I might be holding on to things I value, holding on to material security. Maybe I should re-organize some things and let go.
Mmm, I wonder, I hardly ever draw this tarot card, last time was in 2009.
Yet, still lot of habitual cleaning up to do before I die, hence both cards today?