Sorbus acuparia

protection, portals & divination 
fire, sun & masculinity
Cancer & sagittarius

Even Tolkien’s ents had a fondness for rowan. 

Also known as mountain ash, witch-tree, and the dogberry tree, rowan trees are members of the rose family found all over Europe, North America, and Asia. 

The rowan has also been called “the portal tree,” as they often mark thresholds, and not only to the otherworld. It inhabits the place between where you are and where you want to go. 

They were often planted near gates and the front doors of dwellings for their protection, as they prevent evil from entering. They also aid travelers from losing their way and mark the journey from here to there — another sort of threshold. 

The protection of rowan trees extends towards the fae as well — stand underneath one or use a branch as a ward against their magick. However, they love the rowan tree, and to do it harm or cut it

down is to risk their wrath. Solitary rowan trees are often called fairy trees.

 

Rowans also have associations with the sun, Imbolc & the goddess Brigid. They are often used in spells for creativity,

healing, divination, success, rebirth, death, and transformation, as well as protection.

There are many species and hybrids of rowans around the world — with ornamental varieties as well. 

Rowans are hardy trees and are easy to care for. Although they are prone to disease in warmer climates. They stand up to 20 feet tall — some varieties are more shrubby — and take about 20 years to mature to their full height.

They tend to thrive at high elevations, and do their best in full sun. They will tolerate some shade, but it can stunt berry growth. 

Rowan trees have also been known to take root on the bark and branches of other trees, which happens after birds digest and deposit the seeds on those trees. 

These epiphytic trees — they aren’t parasites! — are known as “flying rowans.” They are especially potent magickally and are often put to use in protection spells.

Berries are usually bright scarlet in color, but some varieties are yellow, pink, and even white.

What’s special about the fruit, however, is at the base of each berry is a small 5 pointed star, or a pentagram, which is, of course, a symbol of witchcraft. 

Most often the berries are wildcrafted. But always use caution when wildcrafting! If you are unsure of what you are harvesting, it is better to leave the plant alone and come back with someone more experienced!

Birds love the fruit, but for human consumption, they must be cooked — or frozen — before being made into more edible products, as it destroys compounds our bodies don’t like.

There are traditions of harvesting the fruit after a frost, which I have never done, but it is said to work like cooking the berries does in terms of making them edible! 

They are also quite bitter when raw, so you wouldn’t want to eat them!

The berries are very high in vitamin C and have been used to make tonics, or turned into jam, tea, wine, ale, or other liquors. 

A string of dried berries on a red thread can be worn or carried for protection. Try harnessing the protective energies of a Cancer moon to charge it! Rowan vibes well with this sign. 

 Rowan’s wood is said to enhance psychic abilities and was traditionally used from spindles, staffs, wands, runes, dowsing tools, amulets, and other magickal tools. Just remember to thank the tree or leave a small offering before breaking off a branch to use! 

 Certain traditions believed that the wood should only be used for ritual use. The wood is also used for ritual bonfires, including Sabbats and funeral pyres. 

The energy of rowan trees can also be put to use in spells for transitions & transformation; try performing your spell beneath a rowan’s branches to harness that energy! 

Have you ever put rowan to use magickally? How did you use it?

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