The magical Rowan tree protects us from negative energies, spells and invocations that wish us harm. It has a sparkling energy, bright in the landscape. Illuminating in the day and shimmering in the frosty moonlight. He Rowan helps us find our way home to our heart space. The five pointed star that crowns the bright red berry forms a mystical pentagram, an ancient system of protection from around the world. The Rowan supports vision and intuition and enables us to feel into our true potential. Strengthening and increasing our vitality and life force.
Folklore and Mytyhology
Rowan was once widely planted by houses as a protection against witches. The colour red was considered to be the best colour for fighting evil, and so the rowan’s bright red berries have been associated with magic and witches. In Ireland, it was planted near houses to protect them against spirits, and in Wales rowan trees were planted in churchyards. Cutting down a rowan was considered taboo in Scotland.
The wood was used for stirring milk to prevent the milk curdling, and as a pocket charm against rheumatism. It was also used to make divining rods.
In Greek mythology the Gods sent an Eagle to battle the Demons and return the stolen youth cup of eternal youth. The feathers and drops of blood which the eagle shed in the ensuing fight with the demons fell to earth, where each of them turned into a rowan tree. Hence the rowan derived the shape of its leaves from the eagle's feathers and the appearance of its berries from the droplets of blood.
The Rowan is said to protect from Witchcraft. The tiny five pointed star or pentagram on each berry was an ancient protective symbol and the colour red was deemed to be the best protection against enchantment. The rowan was also denoted as a tree of the Goddess or a Faerie tree by virtue of its white flowers offering protection all year round.
The Rowan tree is one of the most sacred trees in Scottish folk tradition. ‘Scottish tradition does not allow the use of the tree’s timber, bark, leaves or flowers, nor the cutting of these, except for sacred purposes under special conditions.’
The Ojibwa tribe of Canada tell a legend of their great spirit 'Manitou' instructing the people to place a drop of blood on each Rowan tree in the land. If they did this he would provide red berries in the deepest winters to feed the birds, animals and by doing so the Ojibwa themselves.
In Wales, the rowan tree has traditionally been considered to be a sacred tree. It was planted in churchyards to protect against and act as a warning to negative forces and evil spirits. Reputedly not one churchyard would be without it. Coffins were rested under a rowan tree on the way to the funeral rather than being left out in the open, where they were vulnerable to approaches by such forces.
Uses of Rowan
The wood is pale yellow-brown with a deeper-brown heartwood. It is strong, hard and tough, but not particularly durable. It is sometimes used in turnery, furniture, craftwork and engraving.
Rowan berries are edible to humans – they are sour but rich in vitamin C, and can be used to make a tart jam.