To the Druids, the Birch (often referred to as the “Lady of the Woods” due to its grace and beauty) represented renewal, rebirth and inception, since it was the first tree to come into leaf after the Winter Season. The Birch along with the Elder were said to stand on either side of the one “Nameless Day” (December 23). This slender but determined tree, which represented the seed potential of all growth, is hardier than even the mighty Oak and will thrive in places where the Oak will fail to flourish. It also signifies cleanliness and purity. Witches would use Birch twigs bound with Ash for their broomsticks or “besoms.”
The Birch deity is Lugh, also known as the “Shining One.” Lugh was a Hero God whose symbol in Wales was a White Stag and whose sacred symbol was a spear. Always accompanied by two Ravens, Lugh is sometimes depicted as having only one eye. The animals connected to the Birch are the Golden Eagle and the White Stag.
The Golden Eagle – The Golden Eagle once symbolized the soul…signifying resurrection and rebirth…the power of life over death. It also represented a metamorphosis or change of spirituality on all levels. Now almost extinct in Britain, this magnificent Bird is seldom seen except in the North of Scotland. Scottish Highland Chieftains still wear three golden-eagle feathers in their bonnets to proclaim their high rank. The Druids were believed to have the ability to change into the form of all birds and beasts, but among their favored choices was the Eagle, as well as the Raven and the Crow.
The White Stag – The Stag of ancient times was considered a beast of royal lineage and, as a horned deity called “Cernunnos,” became an important intermediary for the Celts between the animal kingdom and man, being guardian of the gateway connecting these two worlds. The Stag figures prominently in Celtic myths and legends. Antlers have been unearthed in Newgrange (Ireland), as well as at various sites in Britain, including Stonehenge and Glastonbury. It was a symbol of the metamorphic process of spiritual growth, high ideals and aspirations qualities associated with birch include inception, fertility, conception, cleansing, purification, birth and rebirth.