Class Work

Dec. 15th, 2008 11:18 pm
elyxer: (Rena Slytherin)
[personal profile] elyxer
This is work I'm doing for another community, so feel free to skip.

Rowan: The Mother of All Trees and Plants

The Rowan tree grows throughout northern Europe (Sorbus Aucuparia). The word "Rowan" is derived from the Old Norse name for the tree, raun or rogn, and might be related to the word "rune" which means "magic, secret." Some say the Runes (a type of alphabet used by Germanic tribes for over a thousand years) were traditionally carved from sticks from the Rowan tree, with each letter of the alphabet being named for a different tree. An early name for the Rowan tree was "Luis," which is the second letter of the Rune alphabet. Common names for it include Mountain Ash (although it is not a member of the ash family), Delight of the eye (Luisliu), Quickbane, Quickbeam, Quicken, Quickenbeam, Ran tree, Roan tree, Roden-quicken, Roden-quicken-royan, Round wood, Royne tree, Rune tree, Sorb apple, Thor's helper, Whispering tree, Whitty, Wicken-tree, Wiggin, Wiggy, Wiky, Witch wood, Witchbane, Witchen, Witchen tree.

Rowans are mostly small deciduous trees 10-20 m tall, though a few are shrubs and can live to be over a hundred years old. It is a member of the Rose family. The leaves are arranged alternately, and are pinnate (feather shaped), with 11-35 leaflets; a terminal leaflet is always present. It is also a tough, dense tree, striving in poor soil and other areas where land has been overworked. The flowers are born in dense corymbs; each flower is creamy white, and 5-10 mm across with five petals. The fruit is a small pome 4-8 mm diameter, bright orange or red in most species, but pink, yellow or white in some Asian species. The fruit are soft and juicy, which makes them a very good food for birds, particularly waxwings and thrushes, which then distribute the rowan seeds in their droppings.

I added pictures to show the colors and the feather shaped leaves.

The Rowan tree has been considered magical for thousands of years by many different cultures. One of the earliest references to the Rowan is in the ancient Finnish creation myth about the goddess "Rauni." According to this myth, the earth was barren and devoid of all plants when she came down from heaven and took the form of a Rowan tree. After Rauni had intercourse with Ukko, the God of Thunder, the result of their union was the creation of all the plants of the earth. According to this ancient creation myth, then, all plants and trees are descended from the Rowan tree as a result of it having been struck by a mighty bolt of magical lightening.

Rowan trees were said to guard against the evil effects of dark magic. Rowan is thought by many to be the preferred wood for making wands and amulets. A "Flying Rowan" (called a "Flogronin" in Norway and Sweden) refers to a young Rowan tree that has taken root within the fork of an older tree. Wands made from a Flying Rowan are considered especially powerful and often used by diviners to locate metal and (when forked) water. As Glennie Kindred states, "The Rowan... has the ability, perhaps more than any other tree, to help us increase our psychic abilities and connections. It has a beneficial energy which will increase our abilities to receive visions and insights which in turn will increase our communication with the spirit realms."

The density of the rowan wood makes it very usable for walking sticks and magician's staves. This is why druid staffs, for example, have traditionally been made out of rowan wood, and its branches were often used in dowsing rods and magic wands. Rowan was carried on vessels to avoid storms, kept in houses to guard against lightning, and even planted on graves to keep the deceased from haunting.

To quote Glennie Kindred again, "Whatever your connection to the Rowan, be sure to look out for the changes that will occur as a result of any communication with this tree. It should not be underestimated and its influence will bring about a quickening of your energy on many subtle levels. For this reason, it has always been used by the wise ones and revered as a powerful influence and should be treated with the greatest respect."

I chose this tree because of its aesthetically pleasing appearance as well as its magical properties. This tree is the embodiment of magical power; every part of it can be used to create some magical aide from potions ingredients to staffs and wands. It strives under the harshest of conditions, using whatever is present to supplement its growth, and blends in most of the time, producing bright red berries every three years to stand out and say, “Look at my accomplishments.”

After spending a few hours with the Rowans, I have no doubt that these trees are the epitome of all that is Slytherin.

This diagram shows all the parts of a branch of the Rowan tree.

Extra Credit


The Alder tree has magical properties of strength and foundation, making it ideal for use in spells to promote these traits. It is also useful in water magic and water spells. The Alder is the tree of fire. In the battle of the trees, the Alder fought in the very front line. It is described as the very "battle witch" of all woods, the tree that is hottest in the fight. From the alder, you can make three different dyes, red from its bark, green from its flowers, and brown from its twigs; this symbolizes the elements of fire, water and earth. The Alder wood is the wood of the witches. Whistles may be made of this wood to summon and control the four winds. It is also the ideal wood for making the magical pipes and flutes. To prepare the wood for use, beat the bark away with a willow stick while projecting your wishes into it. The Alder is a token of resurrection. It is associated with Bran, as He used His body as a bridge to span dangerous waters. Alder indicates protection and oracular powers.

MAGICAL ASPECTS: Controlling the four winds, banishing and controlling elementals, resurrection. Making magical dyes.



Branches are used for wands and in protection spells. The Ash is sacred to Poseidon and Woden. It is considered to be the father of trees. The Ash is the tree of sea power, or of the power resident in water. Special guardian spirits reside in the Ash; This makes it excellent for absorbing sickness. The spirally carved druidical wand was made of Ash for this purpose.

MAGICAL ASPECTS: Ash can be used in spells requiring focus and strength of purpose, and indicates the linking of the inner and outer worlds. Sea power, karmic laws, magical potency, healing, protection from drowning.



The Birch tree has magical properties of purification and blessings, making it a wonderful choice for spells of this type. This tree is also useful in spells of health, vitality and new beginnings. It is associated with Thor, probably in recognition of his role as an agricultural and fertility deity. It’s used in Purification rites. With the exception of the mysterious elder, the Birch is the earliest of the forest trees. The Birch is used extensively in cleansing rituals. Throughout Europe, Birch twigs are used to expel evil spirits. Birch rods are also used in rustic rituals to drive out the spirits of the old year. Long associated with fertility and healing magic, birch twigs were used to bestow fertility on cattle and newlyweds, and children's cradles were made from its wood.

MAGICAL ASPECTS: Controlled by the Lunar influences. Birth, healing, protection, Lunar workings, fertility and healing spells.



The Elder tree has magical properties of offering and changes. This tree is associated with the faery creatures and is useful when working with the fae. Traditionally, it is taboo to burn the wood of an elder tree as it is seen as sacred to the Goddess and to the faery folk. It’s a waterside tree and has white flowers that bloom to their peak in midsummer (as is also true for the Rowan) thus making the Elder another aspect of the White Goddess. The Elder is also said to be the crucifixion tree. The inner bark and the flowers have long been famous for their therapeutic qualities. In Norse mythology, the Goddess Freya chose the black elder as her home. In medieval times it was the abode of witches and it was considered dangerous to sleep under its branches or to cut it down. Sticks of Elder were used as magical horses by Witches. Elder indicates the end in the beginning and the beginning in the end. Life in Death and Death in Life.

MAGICAL ASPECTS: Witchcraft, banishment, magical art, waters of life.



The Hawthorn tree has magical properties of purity and protection, making it an excellent choice for spells of this type. This tree is associated with faery creatures and may be useful in spells to communicate with them. Other magical properties of this tree are pleasure and stimulation. The Whitethorn or Hawthorn or May Witch takes its name from the May. It is a generally unlucky tree and its name, translated from the Irish Brehon Laws, had the meaning "harm". The Goddess, under the name Cardea, cast spells with the Hawthorn. In many cultures, the month of the Hawthorn (May) is a month of bad luck for marriages. The Hawthorn blossom, for many men, has the strong scent of female sexuality and was used by the Turks as an erotic symbol. The monks of Glastonbury perpetuated it and sanctified it with an approving tale that the staff of Joseph and the Crown of thorns were made of Hawthorn.

MAGICAL ASPECTS: Purification, enforced chastity, male potency, and cleansing.



The Hazel tree has magical properties of wisdom and creativity, making it ideal for these types of spells. This tree is also useful to enhance perceptiveness and magical skills. The Hazel is a tree of wisdom. In England, all the knowledge of the arts and sciences were bound to the eating of Hazel nuts. Until the seventeenth century, a forked Hazelstick was used to divine the guilt of persons in cases of murder and theft. We have retained the practice of divining for water and buried treasure. In Celtic tradition, the Salmon of Knowledge is said to eat the 9 nuts of poetic wisdom dropped into its sacred pool from the hazel tree growing beside it. Each nut eaten by the salmon becomes a spot on its skin.

MAGICAL ASPECTS: Hazel wood is used to gain knowledge, wisdom, intelligence, inspiration, and poetic inspiration.



The Holly tree has magical properties of balance and magic enhancing. It is often used in the Yule season as a symbol of life and rebirth. This tree is also useful to in spells to help overcome challenges and tests. Holly means "holy". In Arthurian legend, Gawain (representing the Oak King of summer) fought the Green Knight, who was armed with a holly club to represent winter.

MAGICAL ASPECTS: Holiness, consecration, material gain, physical revenge, beauty. Used in spells having to do with sleep or rest, and to ease the passage of death.



The Ivy was sacred to Osiris as well as to Dionysus. Vine and Ivy come next to each other at the turn of the year, and are jointly dedicated to resurrection. Presumably, this is because they are the only two trees that grow spirally. The Vine also symbolizes resurrection because its strength is preserved in the wine.

MAGICAL ASPECTS: (VINE) Faerie work, Joy, Exhilaration, Wrath, Rebirth. (IVY) Fidelity, Constancy, Love, Intoxication.



The Oak tree has many magical properties including fertility, balance, protection and strength. This tree is also useful in spells to promote power, success, truth, strength and courage. The oak tree is the tree of Zeus, Jupiter, Hercules, The Dagda (The Chief of the Elder Irish gods), Thor and all other Thunder Gods. The royalty of the Oak needs no enlarging upon. The Oak is the tree of endurance and triumph, and like the Ash, is said to count the lightnings flash. The Oak is a male wood which is ideal for the construction of any tool that needs the male influence such as Athames, certain wands and staffs. The midsummer fire is always Oak and the need fire is always kindled in an Oak log.

MAGICAL ASPECTS:Used in spells for stamina, lust, and fertility; endurance, triumph, strength, power, dominion, and prosperity. A wood of sacrifice; the guardian and liberator.



An evergreen, it's old title was "the sweetest of woods". External symbol of life and immortality. It is one of the few trees that are androgynous. It was also worshiped by the ancients as a symbol of fire because of its resemblance to a spiral of flame. It is regarded as a very soothing tree to be near.

MAGICAL ASPECTS: Strength, life and immortality, rejuvenation. The scent of Pine is useful in the alleviation of guilt. Dreaming of pine trees indicates issues of guilt.



The Druids believed the Reed to be a tree because of its dense system of roots. Cut reeds were used as pens and symbolized wisdom and scholarship. Identified with the submerged or hidden Dryad, the Reed was representative of the mysteries of death. It was associated with being both a saviour and a custodian as well as a symbol of royalty. It was used in the making of instruments such as flutes and pipes. Pan, the Greek God of Herds, Fertility and Male Sexuality (whose name is the root word of "panic"), is often depicted playing a syrinx...a pipe comprised of seven reeds.
The Reed grows in silence, thin and slender, by watersides and marshlands, standing in clumps at the edge of rivers. It is representative of arrows that fly up into the unknown air to land at the very source of that which is being sought, symbolic of the direct approach required when confronting a dilemma...whether that dilemma comes from within or without. The Reed expressed the desire to search out basic truths and was also symbolic of music. Within many woodwind instruments, the Reed will create a balance.

MAGICAL PURPOSES: Fertility, Protection, Love and Family Concerns.


Rowan also known as Mountain Ash

The Mountain Ash or Rowan tree has magical properties of protection, insight and cleansing. This tree is also helpful in enhancing magic and magical skills. The Rowan is seen as the tree of life. It is also known as Mountain Ash, Quickbeam, The Witch or Witch Wand, and has long been known as an aid and protection against enchantment. . In the British Isles, Rowan is used as a protection against lightning and magical charms of all sorts. In ancient Ireland, the Druids of opposing forces would kindle a fire of rowan and say an incantation over it to summon spirits to take part in the battle. The Rowan is also used for many healing purposes. The "Quickbeam" is the tree of quickening. Another use was in metal divining. Sticks of the Rowan were used to carve Runes on. It was also used in the art of metal divining. Rowan spays and crosses were placed over cattle in pens and over homes for protection. Its lovely red berries feed the birds in winter. The berries have a tiny pentagram on them, the ancient symbol of protection.

MAGICAL ASPECTS: Used as a psychic enhancer and for healing magic. Also, for divination, astral work, protection. and control of the senses from enchantment and beguiling.



The Willow tree also has many magical properties including psychic power and intuition. The tree is used in moon magic, passage from physical to spiritual and connecting with the crone energy of the Goddess. It is also said that spirits, faeries and all manner of astral beings are attracted to the weeping branches of the willow tree. The Willow was sacred to Hecate, Circe, Hera, and Persephone, all death aspects of the Triple Moon Goddess, and was often used by the Witches in Greece. In western tradition it is a symbol of mourning and unlucky love. The Latin name for the weeping willow refers to the psalm in which the Hebrews mourn their captivity in Babylon by the willows. A Female symbol, the moon owns the willow. It is the tree that loves water most and is sacred to the Moon Goddess who is the giver of dew and moisture, generally. The Willow is the tree of enchantment. Can be made into a tool to make wishes come true.

MAGICAL ASPECTS: Used in love, healing, and fertility rites and spells. A wood of Moon magic, psychic energy, healing, and inspiration. Being a feminine wood, Willow indicates cycles, rhythms and the ebb and flux.

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