Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mardi: Herbal-Wise

Rowan trees, also known as European mountain ash, are indigenous to Northern Asia and Europe and now grow all over the northern areas of North America.  Because the trees – which are really bushes and not relation to the North American ash or to the birch – cannot thrive where temperatures do not dip below freezing in winter, they are not a fixture in hoodoo practice.  They are used in Pow-Wow, according to Silver RavenWolf, but their use is most notable in modern Celtic, Druid and Wiccan disciplines.

The rowan is particularly prolific in the British Isles, where the influences of not only ancient Druid but also Gardenarian practices are strong.  This makes rowan, along with trees such as oak and holly, particularly fond in these areas.  As an example, the so called Celtic Tree Calendar’s month of Rowan begins on January 21 and ends on February 17.  This calendar, though sometimes purported to follow an ancient Celtic method of time keeping, is in fact a latter day invention probably developed by Robert Graves.  For more on this, see Mary Jones’ excellent discussion here.

In modern magick, rowan wood is used to make dowsing rods and wands.  Scott Cunningham advises carrying a piece of rowan wood to increase psychic powers.  Rowan wood or leaves may also be burned on their own or added to incense to achieve the same result.

For the purposes of protection, rowans should be planted as close to a home as possible.  Rowan walking sticks are helpful for protecting those who must venture forth at night, while a rowan branch kept in a house will protect it from lightening strikes.  Rowan was also carried aboard ships to see them safely through dirty weather.  A rowan grave marker is said to ensure that the spirit of the deceased will not wander forth and trouble the living.

Scott Cunningham also recommends the use of rowan berries, particularly in workings for healing, success, power and luck.  Please note, however, that all parts of a rowan bush are potential poisonous and should never be ingested.

In Scotland, Wales and Cornwall, old wives tied two rowan twigs tied together with red thread to form a powerful protective amulet.  Bonne chance ~

Header: A rowan tree on the British coast via Wikimedia Commons


Timmy! said...

I'm not familiar with rowan, but I guess it would grow around here then.

I also found the discussions in the link pretty amusing...

Pauline said...

You would have to think it would grow in our neck of the woods.

And yeah; I like Mary Jones. She gets right down to the heart of the matter.

legal herbal incense said...

I have read some where that while a rowan branch kept in a house will protect it from lightening strikes.

Pauline said...

That's my understanding too, LHI. How effective that would actually be I'm not sure but it certainly can't hurt.