Today is the beginning of the month of ‘Fearn’ the Alder according to Robert Grave’s ‘Celtic Tree Calendar’ ~ extending from March 18th “when the alder first blooms” to April 14th which “marks the drying up of the winter floods by the Spring Sun.” ~ it also includes of course the Vernal Equinox or ‘Ostara’.
Alder trees can live both in and out of water and are often found growing in thickets along the banks of rivers, streams and other watery places – Alder wood being so water resilient that it was used to build the ‘crannogs’ (lake houses on stilts) in Scotland and Ireland ..
Alder was also used to make the shields of Celtic Warriors who believed in the protective spiritual powers of this wood – for not only the physical battle but their mental and emotional well-being too.
The famous Witham Shield originally had a wooden backing.
The Alder is also associated with the God Bran the Blessed, ancient guardian of Britain who asked that his ‘talking head’ be buried at the White Mount in London, (upon which the Tower of London now stands), so that Britain would always be safe from invasion.
‘Bran’ comes from the old Welsh for ‘raven’ and these birds were indeed the totemic animal of Bran. To this day six ravens are always kept at the Tower for the protection of it and the Kingdom.
‘During World War II, only one raven was able to survive the hardships of the bombing during the Blitz, so the Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill, ordered more ravens to be brought in, in order to bring the flock up to the correct size.’ ~ Wikipedia
Photo courtesy of A. Norppa
So Fearn stands for strength, courage, protection, confidence, guidance, counsel and wisdom – so much needed for us all right now ❤️
The elements associated are Water and Fire in equal balance which perfectly represents the desire of the Warriors who sought to blend the noble qualities of ‘generosity of spirit and compassion‘ in with their ‘ardency‘ for the fight.
With its long yellow male catkins, green and black female ‘mini-cones’ and wide almost shield-shaped glossy green leaves, this tree so often planted when fertility needs to be brought back to poor soil, is truly symbolic of the ‘generosity of the Gods’ and the ‘good health of the land‘.
Stay safe and blessings to you all .. Xx