I went to the old birch tree and got the impression that I should visit a younger birch tree so I did. It wasn’t much younger, but it was closer to the edge of the woods where the many slender birch trees stand, bathing in the winter sun. Its white bark was hanging off in certain places. One larger branch had fallen over and was beginning to rot. Shelf mushrooms bloomed from its pale hide.
Here was the birch as it is often understood in magic. This birch tree was simultaneously dead and alive. The dead branch was also transforming into new life – that of mushrooms who will help turn the branch into soil. That soil will give rise to new trees – possibly bigger, stronger trees who can withstand the North Country weather a little longer than the birch could. In time, those trees will fall and, eventually, the birch will be the first tree to pioneer the new forest. That is the way of the birch.
I asked permission to take part of the fallen branch – the part that had yet to succumb to rot – and brought it inside. I had been contemplating why I was inspired to do that. What was I going to do with so much birch? I suddenly realized that I should somehow use part of it to make an offering to the still living part of the birch tree for its very vivid lesson to me. It seems fitting. Perhaps I will use the rest to make a wand and some charms for magical workings. I am still very new to working with ogham and trees but the more I get out into the forest, the more I understand and the more I want to learn.