Birch – Beginnings – Six of Hardwoods (Swords)

Genus: Betula – Family: Betulaceae

Birch trees are symbolic of the one who never stops wondering. They remind us of our childlike innocence and our inner resolve to adventure beyond the confines of the ordinary world. This ability sparks the imagination and heralds a time of new beginnings for the body, mind and soul.

Birch trees are a pioneer species because of their ability to colonize disrupted or damaged ecosystems. They were some of the first trees to appear after the glaciers receded. They can be found growing among the charred ruins of a forest devastated by fire. This represents our ability to create new beginnings, even after catastrophic events. Because they are hardy, quick growing and relatively immune to disease their appearance signals a time of health. Birch will help provide energy to begin a new adventure in life.

Blue birch forest

There are approximately 60 species of birch. They are easily recognized by their unique bark, which peels off in strips (the only exception is gray birch). In this way, Birch encourages us to peel off the layers that hold us from moving forward. They speak to our soul as a child filled with wonder and potential so we can live out our dreams.

Birch bark has long been prized for being water-repellent, lightweight and flexible for making shelter and canoes. The trunk of a birch was used as the center pole in yurts and tee pees. The spirit of birch reminds us of the many gifts we already have that can help us create a new way of living.


Birch bark also inspired the idea of paper, which stimulated the mind to create words and symbols. In fact, the first letter in the Celtic Ogham “tree alphabet” is beithe, named for the spirit of the birch tree. The first consonant of the English alphabet is the letter B, also inspired by birch. A way to deepen our relationship with the tree spirit of birch is to begin writing or journaling our adventures.

Message: When birch appears, it is reminding us to reconnect with our childlike sense of wonder and innocence. It signals a time of new beginnings and adventures. Embrace this period as an opportunity for growth, renewal and initiation. Allow yourself to see life with the curious and carefree mind of a child. This will be a time of inner expansion, healing and self-discovery.

Challenge: We may be resisting change and or challenges in our life creating a sense of confusion, carelessness and or foolishness. See this as a wake-up call.