Tree of the Week – Alder

Alder is a tree little recognised by many people, but once you get to know the distinctive outline it will never be forgotten.

Alder riverside Lewes

The Alder loves water, and is happiest when growing near a lake or river.

It’s unusual because the male catkins and female cones appear together.

Alder catkins


In the Celtic tradition the Alder was seen as a protective tree.  Battle shields were often made from its wood, and the women of the tribe would weave cloaks for the warriors which had been dyed with Alder bark extract.

The Celtic god Bran the Blessed is associated with the Alder. His totem bird is the Raven, and his legend says that his talking head was buried under the White Mount, where the Tower of London now stands. Hence the legend that if the Ravens flee the Tower, England will fall.

The Ogham symbol for Alder is Fearn. Fearn - Alder

When this symbol is placed into our energy field it allows us to face situations with courage. It is a symbol of balance, demonstrated by the male and female aspects of the tree. It is a tree of the Sidhe – the Faerie folk – and we can call upon them to help us  search for the truth when we feel overwhelmed. They will also offer their protection in conflict if we use this symbol to communicate with them.

With the help of Alder we can walk our Spiritual path without fear, with courage and confidence, knowing that we are protected by the Spirits of Nature. The Ogham symbol of Fearn allows us to call upon these energies for guidance us on our journey.

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