We thought it would be fun to explore the Ogham (oh-am) Tree Calendar in our newsletters. The tree calendar has thirteen months. Each month offers its own unique wisdom to us as we make our way through this life trying to live lightly, kindly and communally.
We’re now in the Ivy Moon, which refers to the Gort ruler of the 11th Lunar Moon. Ivy begins to thrive in October, continuing into the colder months with its evergreen leaves of diverse colours standing out as a welcome sight against the bare deciduous trees of winter.
Ivy is a hardy, tenacious plant. It can overcome almost any obstacle and tolerate conditions that many can’t abide – it weaves its way in the darkness, climbing up ruined walls and filling, forgotten, unwanted spaces.
Although it is common, this plant is full of magic. It’s associated with many myths and lots of mystery.
Ivy spirals as it grows up the trunks of host trees. This spiral growth is symbolic of the extreme life-force pulsating from the Earth. Uniquely, Ivy is not a parasite – it lays down roots, meaning it doesn’t need to take sustenance from the tree. Ivy doesn’t suffocate or strangle a tree, but simply uses it to climb up in its endeavour to reach the light. Even when cut back, its strong spirit makes it bounce back, persevering in its pursuit despite the setback.
If allowed to cover a garden wall, fence or an old tree stump, the ivy flowers in early Autumn will attract myriads of butterflies and insects with their sweet nectar. Take care though, some do say that to actually plant an ivy may bring bad luck – better to let some grow wild just in case! Ivy is a celebrated plant on many different spiritual paths. In some beliefs, because of its ability to regrow after being cut down, it is seen as a symbol of resurrection or rebirth.
The Druids considered it to be sacred, and a feminine counterpart to the masculine holly. When placed together, either growing or as decoration, they gave (and give) great protection as well as balance and wisdom.
Ivy was considered a talisman in many parts of Europe to guard cattle against evil and ensure fertility and plentiful yields of milk.
So, what does our awe-inspiring Ivy, offer us as learning in our own journey as OFN Ireland?
Like Ivy, we want OFN Ireland to have a strong life force and a heart that beats in harmony with Nature. Ivy’s healing and protective qualities remind us that we need to remain deeply connected to the Earth and those around us by supporting each other in these difficult times.
Ivy grows in harmony with its host. It teaches us how to be good samaritans – showing us the importance of helping those in need while not taking advantage of vulnerability nor kindness.
Ivy is a resilient, much-respected teacher – showing us how to keep going when things get difficult – how to persevere with seemingly impossible challenges until we reach our goal.
Ivy looks to others for its support, interweaving and making stronger connections as it grows, giving strength and protection in return. Ivy knows how to give and how to take, and the connection that it makes in its early days will last for years, often for life. OFN aims to provide a similar support network for users. We can look to Ivy for guidance as we build our tight-knit yet globally reaching community that we hope will pave the path to a long-lasting, resilient, sustainable and fairer food system for all.
Ivy Magic, Charms and Beliefs
- Bind together (touching down their lengths) a twig of ivy (female) and a twig of holly (male) with red wool, ribbon or thread to make a love talisman which will bring fidelity and good luck. This makes a sweet present for a wedding.
- Boys – see your future wife in your dreams by picking ten ivy leaves on the night of All Hallows (Oct 31st) and placing them under your pillow.
- Girls – carry a sprig of ivy in your pocket as you walk under the full moon. The first young man who talks to you unbidden will be your husband. (If you don’t want a husband, refrain from walking under the full moon with ivy about your person!!)
- Ivy which is allowed to grow up the walls of a house will bring protection and positive opportunities to those living within.
♡ ♡ ♡
[Text adapted from Eco Enchantments ‘The Thirteen Trees of the Ogham Moon Calendar ‘]