For those of you who have followed my blog for a time you will remember previous post surrounding Celtic Tree Lore. This is an area which is very dear to my heart as the willows which surround my home as well as the wee (which is not so wee anymore) oak which I nurtured from a twig have all help to show me the wonderful relationship that one can have with such creatures if they allow themselves to be open. I have had much comment and question in regards to these post. Therefore I am going to bring them back and try and probe a bit deeper than before into their attributes as well as the magic that each of them can give to us.
With today being Chinese New Year as well as the beginning of the year of the Dragon, it seems only fitting that we start off with the Rowan tree. January 21st, was the beginning of the Tree Month of Rowan. Associated with the dragon, the Rowan tree is a symbol of protection and defense. Believing that Rowan could ward off evil spirits the Celts often used it on a daily basis. During the festivities of Beltane, garlands of Rowan would be fashioned and tied with string which had been dyed red using the Rowan berry. These garlands were then put on livestock as well as the animals stalls to ward off evil. One might even see a cow with springs of rowan hanging from her tail held only by the brightly red strings.
Rowan trees intentionally were planted in churchyards to protect and watch over the spirits of the dead. As the body was being carried to the churchyard for burial, it would be sat beneath a Rowan during any stops needing to be made. This insured that the soul which had departed would not be taunted by any evil before it was finally laid to rest.
Bracelets made of rowan berries were worn by the women as a means of protection. As well as cross necklaces fashioned from rowan wood. Such wooden crosses were also often placed at the head of a newborn’s cradle as a means of protection. It was believed that a child who was born with exceptional beauty or charm was often sought out by the fairy folk. The Rowan was believed to keep the fairy from doing such mischief.
Many believe that Rowan has the power to protect one from the mischief of fairies. As this may be true, the Rowan is also a tree which is most loved and cherished by the wee folk. It is believed that anyone found harming a Rowan runs the risk of bringing upon themselves the wrath of the fairies. It is through the method of grave illness that the fairies are said to get their revenge. However I do not believe that anyone should harm any tree for no reason. There is an old Irish legend called the Forest of Dooros. It was said that the fairies which lived in this forest loved the Rowan tree. Even more so they loved to partake of the Rowan berry. Nothing seemed to bring them more delight. As they ventured from fairyland to mortal land they would bring the berry as nourishment. Yet on one occasion one of the berries brought from fairyland fell to the ground without them knowing . From this berry grew a great Rowan tree. The berries which it bore tasted sweeter than honey itself. It was said that if one ate just one it would render then drunk. If one ate two berries they would live for a hundred years. If they continued and ate three berries they would become as if they were thirty years old again, and thus stay that way for a hundred years. They fairies knew that their magic needed protection. They asked a great giant named Sharvan to watch over the tree for them. Sharvan had a keen liking for the human kind, especially at meal time. This being the case, very few who have ventured forth to partake of this treat have ever been heard of again.
The Rowan tree is one of great power and much depth. If you find yourself blessed to be a part of a Rowans life, do not take it lightly. They bring with themselves great ability, as well as greater understanding of that which most do not know.