Hornbeam – Confidence – Guardian of Hardwoods (Knight of Swords)

Genus: Carpinus. Family: Betulaceae.

Hornbeam encourages us to be confident and to flex our muscles, physically and intellectually. It is time to break free of any self-imposed mind-trap that is preventing us from chasing our dreams.

Hornbeam, Carpinus butulus is also referred to as ironwood or musclewood, because of its smooth bark and muscular trunk. Hornbeam is literally named for its incredibly hard wood, which was compared to horns. The word “horn” was combined with the Old English word “beam,”based on the German word for tree (baum). The genus name Carpinus, comes from the Celtic word carr (wood) and pin (head or nail). The wood of hornbeam was typically used to make gears and pegs for waterwheels and windmills.

The phrase “chasing windmills” reminds us to believe in our dreams and to chase after them with confidence and an open heart.

The wood of hornbeam is so dense that when burned its embers become a slow-growing charcoal that can smelt iron. Hornbeams are rarely used for carpentry due to the woods extreme hardness and density. It was used to make screws and nails even after metal became commercially available.

Hornbeam reminds us to have confidence in our ability to endure and to continue on during hard times.

Hornbeams are deciduous hardwood trees in the birch Betula family. There are about 30-40 species that live in temperate regions throughout the northern hemisphere. They resemble beech Fagus trees, based on their smooth gray bark and oval-shaped leaves but the leaves of hornbeam have serrated edges. In folk medicine a tonic made from hornbeam helped to relieve tiredness and exhaustion.

Carpinus betulus, or common hornbeam is native to western Asia and Europe, it was also known as yoke elm. American hornbeam, Carpinus caroliniana is a shade loving tree native to the eastern half or North America. Hornbeams can live to be 300 years old.

Message: Hornbeam encourages us to remain optimistic even in the face of adversity. This is a time of knowing and trusting in the strength and integrity of our core (heart.) By doing this we gain the confidence in ourselves to pursue our dreams. This is a call to action that reminds us that life is too short to be sitting around and waiting for things to change. We must make the effort to change and begin moving in the direction that is calling us.

Challenge: Not accepting challenges as opportunities for change. Remaining stuck, stubborn, rigid and or weak.