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The Birch

The Celtic new year began with Samhain. Samhain was the day that fell at the 
middle point between Fall Equinox and Winter Solstice.  This year it would 
have been practiced November 6, 2000. (interesting in light of the 
presidential election) The Celtic Year had 13 months as there are 13 lunar 
cycles for each full solar cycle.  One source puts the names of the months as 
associated with a tree for each month.  The first is the White stemmed Birch. 
 On the Isle of Man, off the West coast of Scotland, criminals used to be 
ceremonially birched.  It was felt that the birching drove all evil 
influences that may have "made" the criminal a criminal.  In looking to the 
new year one should "cast out" the bad of the old year to start anew. Old 
things have passed away giving way to the new bright and pure future ahead. 

The Birch is a graceful, slender tree with a characteristic while bole. Birch 
trees "shed" their bark or "skin" giving the lesson that you must shed the 
old ways and take on New in the new year.   

Birch people like the tree are graceful, slender and uplifting to others, who 
have a cleanliness in their attitude and purity in their expressions of their 
spirituality. They also are vivacious, attractive, elegant, friendly, 
unpretentious, modest, do not like anything in excess, abhor the vulgar, 
loves life in nature and in calm, not very passionate, full of imagination, 
little ambition, create a calm and content atmosphere. 

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