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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