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Rowan cross made by Wytchenwood

Rowan cross made by Wytchenwood


Rowan or Luis (its Ogham name) is the second consonant of the Ogham alphabet and in the Ogham calendar, it time is January 21st to February 17th.

The Wytchen tree is sacred to the English Goddess Brigantia and to Brigid, ancient muse of the Irish Celts.  As Goddesses of spinning and weaving, they prepare the never-ending fabric of life and guide the passage of the Sun through the constellations and the seasonal cycles.  Rowan was thus the wood traditionally used for the making of spindles and spinning wheels.

The crosses of the Wytchen tree, also known as Quickenwood & Quickbane, are also employed to keep malefic witches away and to protect from the evil eye and their malevolent spells and bewitchments; therefore they are hung above doorways and at windows in the belief that rowan wood would stave off and repel any form of magical or malicious attack; nothing malicious can cross where rowan hangs…neither witch, fairy or disease.

It is truly believed that a lone rowan tree is the gateway to Elfhame.

The Wytchen tree’s magical protective power is believed to come from its red berries.  Berries from the Rowan tree have a small pentagram on them at the base of the berry making it very important and magical to the Druids; the pentagram being the most ancient and universal symbol of protection and especially protection from enchantments and sorcery.  The Rowan’s old Celtic name is Fid na ndruad which means Wizards Tree and this shows its long tradition of being associated with Druids, sorcerers and magical folk.  The name Rowan also has roots in the old Norse word “Runa”, meaning a charm and so it again shows its importance within Western Europe as a powerful magical amulet.  It may well have roots in the old Swedish “Roon” too, which means “Red”.

The Rowan was planted near ancient stone circles, cairns, barrows and in churchyards to protect the spirits of the dead.

The Rowan is also associated with visions and portents, with vitality and reawakening and with spiritual strength.  It is also closely linked with serpents and dragons and so protects earth energies in ley lines and standing stones.

The smoke from burning Rowan is used to call up spirit guides and to foretell the future of lovers.  Carrying a talisman of Rowan, such as the berries worn as a necklace or bracelet, increases psychic powers and is believed to increase the chances of success in all areas.  The berries are also believed to bring good luck when incorporated into a charm or talisman.

In the Irish Romance of Fraoth, the berries of the Rowan were guarded by a dragon and contained the nourishment of nine meals.  They could heal the wounded and add a year to a person’s life.  In the legend of The Quickening Tree of Dubhous, the Rowan had wonderful berries that could turn a one hundred year old man into a youthful thirty year old.

A leaf from the Rantree (Rowan) when pressed into a secret book will conceal it from the eyes of the curious.  When four of its leaves are laid in the shape of the cross and secreted beneath the threshold of the house, it will bind any disrespectful actions of those who enter and stand as a barrier to others, preventing them from entering at all if they approach with ill intent.

There are many uses for the magical Wytchen Tree berries within sorcery; their importance and use have spanned many ages – a true testament to the continued belief and reliance on their magical properties.

Rowan wood is gathered on a single day in the year and must last throughout the coming year; Old Holy Rood Day, or to be precise and less christian about it, the 13th May and always from a different tree or group of trees each year.  Tradition dictates that you must go home via a different route than the one taken going out, so the gathering of  Rowan wood is no easy job of work and the distance travelled  to collect it becomes further and further every year.

And one other thing; it’s considered very misfortunate should the tree that gave the wood for your specific charms die or be cut down.  Always ensure that any Rowan wood wand or charm you buy comes from a still living tree; if it does not and the tree has been cut down or the wood was bought from a wood yard, then it will be less than useless to you – it might even be detrimental.