16 Ailm – The Silver Fir
Ailm (pronounced ‘AHL-m’)
Represents letter(s): A
Divinatory meaning: Energy, power, intensity
Associated Tree/Plant: Silver Fir
Healing Properties: The sap of the silver fir is a diuretic, and can stimulate mucous membranes if taken in small doses. Larger doses can induce vomiting, and may cause nausea. The oil can be used as a base for many essences used in aromatherapy.
Magical Uses: The ancient Celts and Druids noticed that the cones of the silver fir closed when rain was about to come, and opened when the sunlight returned. This power to predict the weather led the Druids to assign other prophetic powers to the Ailm. Because its trunk grows straight and narrow, it is a symbol of honesty and truth-saying. Since firs are evergreen trees they are also a symbol of eternity and immortality. Since they are green even in the depths of winter, they are a hopeful reminder that life shall return in the spring. And because it is able to thrive and remain verdant even in the winter, it is a symbol of endurance and perseverance.
The Silver Fir is associated with the Moon, and as such it is a feminine power related to any Goddesses with lunar powers and associations. Legend has it that fir trees were used to mark the graves of important people, as they are tall trees that can be seen for miles, sometimes growing to a height of over 100 feet. A wand made of fir or pine will help in matters of perseverance and change. Wands or staffs of fir are also useful in the invocation of the Goddess. The silver fir is especially useful for rites at the equinoxes because it is a tree of balance and stability. In its Crone aspect, the silver fir has power over shadowy places, dark secrets and the unconscious mind. Because of this, it may be used to tame these forces in your life.
The Silver Fir is used for magic involving power, insight, and protection. To the Druids the tree represents hope. Wood from the silver fir is used for shape-shifting and magic involving change and transformation. A wand of silver fir aids in this undertaking.
Wood shavings from the silver fir make a pleasant incense, and the wood of this tree can be used to make musical instruments with powerful magic. Silver fir branches are a popular Yule (Alban Athan) decoration that offer protection and blessings to the home.
Gods/Goddesses Associated with This Tree/Plant: Brighid, Danu, Attis