Folklore & Nature: Birch Bark

I pass forth into light–I find myself
Beneath a weeping birch (most beautiful
Of forest trees, the Lady of the Woods)

from ‘The Picture or The Lover’s Resolution ‘ by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The birch tree has firm roots as an important tree in folklore. It’s the first letter of the Celtic ogham alphabet, Beith and in early Celtic belief, the tree symbolized purification and rebirth or renewal. Besoms or brooms made from birch twigs were used to purify homes and gardens and even is the root of the iconic witches broom.

But the tree’s name hints at another use of the birch. The word ‘birch’ is believe to have originated from ‘bhurga’, a Sanskrit word meaning ‘tree whose bark is written upon’. Birch bark writings have been found throughout many cultures, and some are incredibly old. The

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