Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Celtic Tree Month of Alder

* 4th Moon of the Celtic Year - (March 18 - April 14)

* Latin name: Smooth Alder - alnus serrulata.

* Celtic name: Fearn (pronounced: fair un).

* Folk or Common names: Alder, Gummy/Gluey (European), Rugose/wrinkly (Tag), Tree of the Fairies.

* Parts Used: Parts Used: Branches, wood, bark, leaves.

* Herbal usage: Alder is in the hazelnut family and was used by Native Americans as a medicinal plant. Tea can be made from bark and is useful in treating diarrhea, coughs, toothaches and the discomfort of childbirth. A potion made from the bark can also be used externally as an eye wash or for a wash for poison ivy, swellings and sprains.

* Magical History & Associations: The birds associated with this month are the raven, the crow and the gull; the colors are crimson, green-brown and royal purple; the day is Saturday; and the gemstone is fire-garnet.

The Alder, a Masculine herb, is associated with the element of fire, and the planet of Venus. The Alder is sacred to Bran the Blessed and Cronos (Saturn). Alder is also sacred to Faery kings and elf kings - from the word Alder comes elder (not the tree) as in 'elder' kings. The Fey of the Alder have been described as water spirits or as "Dark Faeries". They are very protective of the tree and when they leave their trees, this Faerie will take the form of a Raven. In tree Folk-lore, the Alder is known as the tree of fire - In the battle of the trees, the Alder fought in the very front line. It is described as the very "battle witch" of all woods, the tree that is hottest in the fight.

* Magickal usage: The month of Alder is a good time to do magick designed to celebrate the connection and tie between all women, and the mother-daughter bond.

The Alder has applications in magick done for spiritual decisions, duty, prophecy, oracular strength, intelligence, mental prowess, resurrection, air magic, water magic, strength, spirituality, teaching, weather magick, and protection from outside forces.

Alder leaves or twigs can be carried in a pouch to act as a protection charm and as a powerful force in psychic battles. Ash talismans or charms can also be carried to aid in the preservation of ideas.

The Alder is known as the "fairy's tree" in Celtic lore, so is good for fairy magic. The faeries are said to like to dance under the trees when they are flowering. Carrying Alder twigs or flowers acts as a charm for communicating with the fey.

Alder is often used in resurrection magic and also used in building/construction magic. Alder wood is often called the "wood of the witches". Whistles may be made of out of young shoots to entice Air elemental spirits. This gives a Witch the ability to summon, control and banish elementals or the four winds. It is also the ideal wood for making the magical pipes and flutes for use in magickal ceremonies.

Alder produces a red dye from the bark, a green dye from the flowers and a brown dye from its twigs. Some Witches use these dyes in coloring ritual garb with the red dye signifying fire, the green dye: water, and the brown dye: earth.

While the Witch is dying her robes, she should say:

"These leaves from trees, these herbs and flowers,
Make holy with your living powers
Raise the power! Bestow the magick!
Set earth's seal upon my magick!"

When harvesting bark or leaves from the Alder, remember to ask the tree if it will allow you to take the parts and be sure to leave the tree an offering of thanks when you are done. To prepare Alder wood for use, beat the bark away with a willow stick while projecting your wishes into it.

(from Sarah Nunn, aka Sarah the Swamp Witch.)

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