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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in rowan

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Celtic Month of Rowan

Published in the 1940s, The White Goddess written by Robert Graves has served as the basis for a great deal of popular information on the Celtic ogham. Despite being the grandson of ogham scholar Charles Graves, Robert took liberties with the history of the ogham alphabet and added embellishments such as the thirteen-month ogham tree calendar. The appeal of this calendar for working with the energy of trees has captured the imagination of many of us who have incorporated it into our magical practices.

While it is a modern construct, the tree calendar holds meaning because of the concepts it has come to symbolize and the significance it has for twenty-first century magic, ritual, and everyday life. In 2019, I am exploring the wheel of the year through the plants of the Celtic tree calendar.

January 21st begins the time of rowan and its ogham character Luis. Commonly known as rowan in the United Kingdom, in North America this tree is known as mountain ash. Although the leaves of the rowan resemble those of the ash, true ash trees are in the genus Fraxinus. The energy of this period is associated with the coming of new life born from the darkness of winter. Rowan is associated with protection, strength, and creativity. It is also associated with the goddess Brigid whose fire guides us to the light within.

During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in England, rowan had a negative reputation because it was associated with witchcraft. The most likely reason for this is that the berry carries a pentagram design at its base. Some herbalists avoided using rowan for fear of being labeled a witch and suffering the consequences. In northern Europe, this tree was planted near homes and stables to ward off lightning strikes because rowan was associated with the storm god Thor who had the power of protection. Rowan wood was used by the Celts when reciting magical incantations.

Draw the ogham character Luis on a candle for protection to burn during magic, ritual, or astral travel. Because rowan is a powerful ally for divination and for contacting elementals, burn a small piece of bark or twig to enhance psychic abilities. To attract success, cut five branches to the same length and lay them out in a pentagram shape on your altar. Hold a rowan branch to connect with your spirit guides when seeking their advice.

Rowan makes a good, magically protective walking stick. Enhance its power by carving its ogham into the wood. Burn a piece of rowan wood or a dried leaf to express your dedication to a deity or to acknowledge the blessings in your life.

Native to North America, the American mountain ash (Sorbus americana) is a small, shrubby tree reaching fifteen to twenty-five feet tall. Its lance-shaped leaflets are dark green with gray-green undersides. They turn yellow in the fall. The common mountain ash or European mountain ash (S. aucuparia) grows twenty to forty feet tall. It has medium-green, lance-shaped leaflets that turn yellow to reddish-purple in the fall. Both trees produce dense, flattened clusters of white flowers that bloom in May. After the flowers, orange-red berries develop and ripen in late summer.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Celebrating the rowan flowers

It is of course the rowan berry that most Pagans will think of when considering this tree. The bright, orangey red berries of the rowan or mountain ash have a traditional use in protective magic. However, you don’t get berries without flowers, and the flowers are out now.

It’s a good opportunity not just to celebrate this moment in the life of a rowan, but to also consider the beginnings of things whose ends we engage with. Many trees are in flower - as I write this post the horse chestnut outside my window is resplendent with bright candles of white flowers.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Nimue Brown
    Nimue Brown says #
    Mmm, that's an evocative sort of smell. I'll add the musky smell of fox wee to my list of good-stinky things! I realise there's mo
  • Claudia Priori
    Claudia Priori says #
    Yes! Sometimes it's the stinky things that remind us of the wildness of this earth. I love to walk along the beach where the seawe

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