Celtic Tree Month of Alder or Fearn (FAIR-n) March 18th to April 14th.
This tree is a member of the Birch family and is native to the British Isles, Europe and North America. Alders require a great quantity of water and can reach 65 feet or more if left to grow undisturbed. The tree itself grows in a rough cone shape with branches that are evenly spaced down its long trunk, The leaves are roundish and finely toothed and in the spring it produces flowers and catkins. The wood from this sacred tree comes in a number of colors. When alder is cut down the wood changes from white to reddish-yellow which bears a remarkable resemblance to blood. This caused our ancestors to believe that the tree bled when cut and it was considered unlucky to cut one down. The wood is oily and water-resistant and in past times was used for shields, the foundations for houses and is still used today in cabinetry and door making.
In healing, alder has been used as a substitute for quinine. It has also been used to treat parasites, inflammation coughs, poison ivy, toothache, sprains, and strains. On an interesting side note the inner bark is a great natural pesticide.
In Myth & Magick The time surrounding the Vernal Equinox is and was important in the wheel of the Celtic year. The alder represents free will and liberty. In some places today it is still a crime to cut down this sacred tree. The person who is dumb enough to cut one down is seen as the cause of any trouble that happens in his neighborhood. The alder tree is also associated with courage and the evolution of spirit. This tree spirit can be called upon for help during disputes, where you need to see clearly to make the right decision or when you simply need to draw and bring forward your own inner strength. Alder is associated with all four elements ( earth, air, water, fire) which makes it good for elemental magick. Flutes can be made from the wood and whistles from young alder shoots can be made to summon air elementals. Alder is also a fairy tree and as such is good for fairy magick. The leaves and twigs can be used in charms and talismans for protection. Dyes can be made from the bark, flowers, and twigs to dye ritual robes. Red: Bark/ Green: Flowers/ Brown: twigs.
People born in the month of Alder make excellent oracles, they can tell you like it is and manages to do it gently. However, alder people must remember not to abuse their power, and just like the tree itself, they tend to mature slowly. Alders are powerful and make steadfast allies, they are trailblazers who set the pace for others to follow. If you are an alder person, just remember to slow down once in a while and take a good look around you.
As a magickal name, Alder works well for people who tend to be secretive and changeable or for those with fire signs. Choosing this name can bring out sensitivity in people who have trouble letting it show.
Names: Tree of Fire
Deity: Bran, Proteus, Branwyn, Freya, Cailleach, Teutates, and Ares
Animals: Snake, Fox, Hawk, Gull, Raven
Use in Spells for Weather, Spiritual growth, Teaching, Banishing, Protection, Healing
Flower and Tree Magic, Richard Webster
Whispers from the Woods, Sandra Kynes
Old Tree photo by eblind/ freeimages.com