and was first discovered in the Alps, at which time it was believed to be a kind of ice or "krystallos."Rock Crystal has been valued since ancient times as a magical stone of divination and was formedinto spheres for the art of crystal-gazing. Sometimes, shadows would materialize within the Crystalas it cooled...shadows which resembled mountains or pyramids, usually indistinct and barelydiscernable. These shadows were known as "phantoms" or "ghosts" and though consideredimperfect for divination, such ethereal inner shapes lent a certain unique enchantment to theparticular sphere. In Medieval Europe, alchemists believed that if Rock Crystal were cut in a certainmanner and then placed in sunlight, it would have the power to make any solid thing invisible. To theJapanese, it was the "perfect jewel," being a symbol of purity, patience and perseverance, and inAncient Rome, noblewomen carried Crystal balls in their hands during the heat of Summer, believingthey had been formed from ice and thus, possessed cooling properties. American Indians treasuredthe Crystal as a sacred stone, believing it to possess a life and energy which was treated as a sacredtrust. Some tribes would "feed" their Crystals with sacrificial blood whenever a Deer or Caribou wasslain, believing this would keep the spirits within the stones aware of their reverence. The Druids aresaid to have used Rock Crystal to make themselves invisible so that they might travel undetected. If held in both hands, it was believed to induce serenity and peace of mind, as well as sharpening themental processes. An aura of mysticism and magic continues to surround the Crystal and it may bemany centuries before all its secrets are truly revealed.Flower:
The flower of the Birch is the Common Daisy, which blooms from the earliest days of Spring untillate in the Autumn and covers the ground with its flat leaves so closely that nothing can grow beneath them.It is said that the Daisy awakens with the Sun and sleeps with the Moon. As a symbol of innocence andfidelity, some authorities claim that the lineage of the Daisy may be traced to "Belenos," a Celtic God of Lightand a Solar deity. Others maintain that the name is derived from the Latin
(meaning "pretty" or "charming") while yet others believe its name is taken from a dryad named "Belidis." The healing powers of the Daisy were often employed by the Druids, particularly on the battlefield. Under such circumstances,those who could counteract the debilitating shock of injuries accompanied by the immense loss of blood,were considered to be great wound-healers. Knights of old would wear a chain of Daisies on their persons toprotect them in battle. If such a knight wore a double band, then he was recognized as being betrothed.Worn as a charm, the Daisy was said to protect the wearer and afford a cure for ulcers and warts. The Daisygrows profusely over wide areas throughout the world and is an evergreen plant of hardiness whichcomplements the durability of the Birch. There is an old English proverb which states that Spring has notarrived until one's foot can be set upon twelve Daisies. To dream of Daises in the Spring or Summer isassociated with good luck, but the same dream in the Autumn or Winter is considered to be bad luck. Thetears of Mary Magdalene, as they fell upon the ground, are said to have created the first Daisies and,according to Celtic legend, the spirits of infants who had died in childbirth scattered Daisies on the Earth tocheer their sorrowing parents.
The celestial body associated with the Birch is the Sun ("Sul"). In terms of Celtic mythology,the Sun was a powerful deity whom the Welsh Bards called "Taliesin" and whose brilliance was referenced inmany romantic and intellectual deeds which are the subject of numerous poems. In similar fashion, the IrishCelts also have many tales recounting the great deeds of their greatest of all Warrior Gods...their Sun-Kingnamed "Lugh." Lugh had many titles, one of which was "Lugh of the Long Arm," since he was believed to beguardian of two Great Gifts of the Ancient Irish...the Magical Sword and Spear. This belief in Lugh wouldeventually evolve over time into the beliefs surrounding Christianity and Jesus Christ...the "sun" or "son" of God who, coincidentally, may have belonged to an ancient Jewish order known as the "Essenes" or "Brotherhood of Light." Lugh is also credited with being the inventor of all arts and crafts.
The Birch deity is Lugh, also known as the "Shining One." Lugh was a Hero God whose symbol inWales was a White Stag and whose sacred symbol was a spear. Always accompanied by two Ravens, Lughis sometimes depicted as having only one eye. He was a deity of many skills, a diverse God whose jurisdiction included the Sun, light, grain harvest, fire, metallurgy and weaving. He was also know to be aprotector of the weak. Lugh, whose destiny it was to kill his grandfather, was Chief Lord of the Tuatha DeDanaan and may have originally been a King of the Fomorians who was adopted by the Tuatha De Danaanand then by the Celts. Though divine, Lugh is thought to have possibly been sired by an earthly father and,because of this association, is perceived as a "bridge" between the mortal and immortal worlds. More statuesand holy sites were erected to Lugh than to any other Celtic deity and he is often equated with the GreekGod, Apollo. Lugh's final claim to fame is that his name became part of the term used to describe a certainfairy common in Irish folklore...over time, "Little Stooping Lugh" or "Luchorpain," evolved into the word"Leprechaun," the tiny expert cobbler and guardian of hidden treasure.
Animals:The Golden Eagle
- The Golden Eagle once symbolized the soul...signifying resurrection and rebirth...thepower of life over death. It also represented a metamorphosis or change of spirituality on all levels. Nowalmost extinct in Britain, this magnificent Bird is seldom seen except in the North of Scotland. Scottish