In the Wild
Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea)
*Also known as balsam, blister fir, Canadian balsam, and eastern fir
White Fir (A. concolor)
*Also known as Rocky Mountain white fir
The balsam fir can grow up to eighty feet tall and has a narrow, spire-like crown. Its bark is a grayish color. The branches grow at right angles from the trunk; the lower ones droop. The flat, curved needles are a little over an inch long. They are dark green on top and silvery-blue below. The oblong to cylindrical cones are grayish green with a purple tinge and stand upright on the branches.
The white fir typically grows forty to seventy feet tall, but in the wild it can reach over one hundred feet. It has a narrow, conical shape with a spire-like crown. With age, the crown becomes flattened. The flat, pale blue-green needles are over two inches long and have the same color on both sides. Its barrel-shaped cones are three to six inches long. They are yellowish-green and turn brownish purple with age. They stand upright on the branches.
Throughout Europe, the fir tree was considered the king of the forest and home to powerful woodland spirits. Because it was associated with Artemis/Diana, huntsmen would hang a wolf’s head from a fir tree as an offering while asking for her protection. In the past, fir tree resin had a wide range of medicinal uses in Europe and North America.
Fir is a tree of beginnings, energy, growth, and healing. Burn fir needles for purification before ritual and in preparation to receive inspiration. Burn or hold a few needles for grounding energy after ritual or magic work. Holding a sprig of needles or a cone fosters clear communication and creative expression. Place a sprig in your workspace for inspiration.
As an all-purpose purifier, fir provides protection and helps to overcome and remove hexes. The scent of fir heightens awareness for divination and spiritual work, and is especially effective for connecting with forest spirits. Use a sprig of fir or a couple of cones for money and prosperity spells, and for support during channeling.
Fir is associated with the elements air, earth, and fire. Its astrological influence comes from Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn. This tree is associated with Artemis, Athena, Bacchus, Cybele, Diana, Dionysus, Frigg, Inanna, Isis, Osiris, Pan, and Persephone.
Figure 43. Fir is associated with the ogham Ailm.