Iodhadh

Yew
Letter: I
Ruler of the Winter Solstice
21st December

The appearance of Iodhadh heralds the approach of profound change and transformation though the nature of it, good or bad, is not hinted at. On a material level it may a death or an ending of a way of life or it may be a challenge so great that it results in the change of long held ideas and ideals. Energetically this is a good time to rid yourself of the things that do no serve you and make way for new and better things in your life. Any trials and tribulations you may face are temporary, and will no doubt lead to a greater good in the end Remember, change come more often as an ally than an enemy.

Iodhadh – The Irish Ogham by Lunaria Gold

Yew

Common names: yew, common yew, English yew
Scientific name: Taxus baccata
Family: Taxaceae
Origin: native

Yew is one of the longest lived native trees in Britain, and one which is closely associated with death. One reason for this association is because the fruit of Yew is highly toxic, the other reason is that the Yew was commonly planted as part of the boundaries of graveyards and cemeteries. Yew is found in woodland settings, usually alongside beech trees, and in hedgerows, particularly in the south of England where it grows up to 20m in height. Yew is an evergreen and is easily identified by its reddish-brown bark and needle like leaves which grow in twin rows along twigs.  The leaves are dark green in colour whilst the red berries toxic to humans and animals alike appear at the very tips of the leaf. Yew is dioecious, with the male flowers appearing a small whitefish globes and female appearing budlike, first green then brown like acorns. Both flowers appear on the male and female trees respectively between March and April.

Magical Correspondences

Planet: Masculine
Element: Air
Gender: Masculine
Themes: reincarnation, the dead, ancestors
Stone: Olivine
Birds: Eagle, Hummingbird
Color: Black, dark green
Deity: Banbha, Dione, Artemis, Persephone, Hecate, Astarte, Odin.

Magical Uses

Iodhadh Iodhadh
Iii oood Haaaa Dh Iii oood Haaaa Dh
Iii oood Haaaa Dh
Iodhadh Iodhadh Iodhadh

Suggested Galdur

Yew is an excellent choice of material for making divination tools, be that runes, ogham or some other forms. Yew wands are also recommended for rituals of purification and banishing.

Add yew bark to your incense at Samhain or during rituals of ancestor worship to help bridge the veil. Alternatively add a bough of yew to the bonfire to effect the same.

You can also use yew in insense and or burned bough during Yule to purify and protect you and your home in the year to come. Alternatively incorporate Yew into your home decorations.

Use yew wood as a base for charms and talisman against the fear of death or fear of new beginnings to come, or to support in past life regression work.

Please note -yew is highly toxic and no part of it should be ingested (wood, bark, berries etc.). It is also inadvisable to consume anything which has been held by a yew vessel (ie goblet) as there have been instances where contents have become tainted thought contact with improperly sealed wood.

Mythology and Literature

Yew trees are closely associated with the boundaries of churches and their graveyards throughout Britain but the reason behind the association. One reason might lay behind the yew being an evergreen known to live hundreds of years and therefore being associated with eternal life. Though the example t reasons are unclear what is clear is that often the yew trees predate the construction of the church’s, and in some chases were constructed in such a way as to conform to a pre-existing yew groves. This conformity may indicate that the churches were being built on site of pre-Christian spiritual significance.

The long-lasting quality of yew goes beyond the living tree and extends to products made from the wood itself. Some of the oldest surviving foods found in the British archaeological record are made of yew, having survived well in the water-logged conditions of an Essex River bed. Yew was the preferred material for weapon making; be that spear, knife handles and the good old English Longbow. Yew wasn’t just used to make the weapons but was also used to make them even more deadly. Arrows and spears have been excavating with evidence that the tips had been poisoned with yew toxins.

The yew also appears in Celtic myth and legend as a wood for writing the Ogham upon to achieve a magical end, particularly the love story of Etain and Midir. The lovely Etain is kidnapped by the Fairy King Midir, after he discovered she is his lovely fairy wife reborn in mortal farm. In order to find her Etain’s mortal husband, the High King Eochy, seeks the help of a Druid who cut three wands of Yew upon which he wrote the Ogham, using them to reveal that Etain was being held in the Fairy Kings mound.

We’ll nerve each arm with ancient pow’r
To bend the toughest Yew:
And consecrate that happy hour
When Kent’s first arrow flew.
Be it mine alone from my airy throne,
To chaunt the victor’s high renown.
To hey, ho, nonny no, Merry be and bonny O,
Hail to the Kentish bow

The Fairy Queen and the Royal Kentish Bowmen
Tree Spirit Carved in Yew – Landwood Carvers

Sources and Further Reading

Learn Religion – Ogham
Ogham Lyberty
Living Library
The Goddess Tree
Eco Enchantments
Explore Churches
OBOD – Trees
Tree Symbolism
Woodland Trust

Author: knotmagick

Weaving Magick and Crochet in the madhouse I call home. I am a devotee of Hekate and a follower of Pan.

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