“The tribe of B, for Birch, and the daughter. the ash of the wood, is chief, for of the beti they first wrote oghams, and it was in beti that ogham was first written..."
As the first letter of the alphabet, Birch represents inception and birth, and is associated with two prominent feast days celebrating the awakening season. At Candlemas, a small cradle was placed in the ashes of the hearth. Within were a representation of Brigid, and a wand of birch. Beltane, May 1st, was when family and beasts were moved to the summer shielings (pasture). A birch sapling decked with flowers was stripped of branches, leaving a green tuft at the top. This became the maypole around which young people danced with a King and Queen of May. Both were forms of fertility rites.
In one story when Diarmid eloped with Grainne, they had taken refuge in a wood, a clearing with seven doors, their bed made of rushes, into which Diarmid placed young tips of birch.
A drink made from the sap of birch is called uisge beithe - birch water, water of life... ...(Extracts from the original thesis)
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