Alder Moon March 18 - April 14
In the Celtic Tree Calendar, Alder signifies the 4th month which forms the bridge between the cold, wet season, and the imminent dry, warm time of the year.
The Alder month, called Fearn by the Celts, pronounced fairin, is a time for making spiritual decisions, magic relating to prophecy and divination, and getting in touch with your own intuitive processes and abilities. Alder flowers and twigs can be used as charms to be used in Faerie magic and whistles were once made out of Alder shoots to call upon Air spirits.
A dark and enigmatic tree, Alder prefers to grow on riverbanks and waterlogged moors, in the liminal space, where the boundaries between earth and water merge. As it soaks up the water, it becomes dense and heavy, yet resistant: Alder does not succumb to rotting, in fact it has the power to dry up damp, watery bogs. It is because of this ability that alder wood was used for the foundations of houses, especially those built near lakes and rivers. Most of Venice is built on Alder stilts. Bogs and moors are often considered to be spooky places, frequented by fairies, dangerous water spirits and folk from the otherworldly realms and so, Alder also became associated with that magical twilight zone.
Perhaps because of the ability to stand strong in waterlogged land, Alder was also thought to offer protection against fire, especially if hung above doors.
The leaves of the Alder were used to line shoes to prevent feet from aching, also the leaves were used in bedding to help relieve rheumatism.
Alder is the sacred tree of Bran, God of divination and patron God of bards, poets and musicians; and of Morrigan, a Goddess of divination and sovereignty, both these deities are ferocious in battle and guardians of the land.
Magical uses for Alder –
Standing up for yourself and what you believe in
The Woodland Trust
Image: Olli Kilpi from Unsplash