The Wisdom of Birch, Oak, and Yew by Penny Billington

The Wisdom of Birch Oak and Yew

One of my favorite books to recommend to those exploring Druidry is The Path of Druidry by Penny Billington. Many of the best parts of that book are carried over to her book The Wisdom of Birch, Oak, and Yew. Readers who enjoyed the first book will discover even more reasons to appreciate this take on Druidry as they walk through the forest of Birches, Oaks, and Yews.

While this is not a true sequel to The Path of Druidry, it feels a bit like a continuation of that work. The chapters are not structured as nicely as in The Path of Drudiry, but a focus on study then heavy practice outside remains. Readers familiar with the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids will see the similarities with some of the Ovate work in this title. The purpose is to bring readers into closer relationship with three trees and be able to call upon those tree lessons when needed.

The Birch chapters teach us how to be flexible and be comfortable with newness in our lives. These chapters also form the foundation for how to form relationships with trees. Different methods of communicating with trees or visualizing their lessons are taught to readers. I think this alone makes this a great read for any Druid hoping to become better at plant/tree communication.

The Oak chapters focus on strength and nurturing. Readers will be comfortable with the techniques used by this point. This will provide more space for depth in the workings and practical elements of the lessons. I don’t know many Druids who don’t develop a deep love or respect for the Oak tree.

The Yew chapters teach about boundaries and mystery. I’ll admit this was a hard tree to connect to. Wisconsin does not have many native or even ornamental yew trees. Finding a tree that is as old as yew trees and has the connection to boundaries is also tricky. I used our Cedar trees which form a hedge to blow winter winds. I think this section might prove more insightful for those who have Yew trees, but still workable for those of us who don’t.

I wish the structure of this book had been a bit more like The Path of Druidry, but overall found it to be a great continuation of the work within Druidry. Anyone currently studying with OBOD in the Ovate grade will find this a trusty companion to that course. Those looking to develop stronger ties to trees will also find much to enjoy and learn from here.

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