Tree Magic – Welcome to the Rowan Tree Month!

Today marks the start of the Celtic month of the Rowan Tree, the tree most associated with protection, intuition and psychic powers.

I have a soft spot for Rowans. I’ve often come across them growing in some remote place, far from other trees, blown by the winds and yet still strong and graceful. There is something peculiarly magical about them; the smoothness of the bark, the delicateness of the leaves, the rich froth of their blossoms in May and the startling colour of their summer berries.

Even in the deeps of winter, Rowan trees bring magic. When covered in frost their bark reflects both Moon and stars so that they looked “star-dressed”. They bring a touch of fairie to our world. Try sitting underneath one and see what happens!

According to Greek myth the rowan was created because of the actions of Hebe, cup-bearer to the gods, from whom the demons stole the cup. The gods sent an eagle to retrieve the cup and in the following battle, wherever a feather or a drop of blood fell a Rowan Tree sprang up, which is why the tree has feathery leaves and blood-red berries to this day.

The Rowan Tree was sacred to the druids, perhaps because of the contrast of its white flowers and red berries (red and white being symbols of sacredness throughout the ages) but also because of its associations as a visionary aid, one of its names being “Delight of the Eye” which refers as much to the Third Eye as it does to the way to the tree actually appears.

Other names for the Rowan include quickbeam, quicken, witch-tree, witchwood and sorb apple – all of which contain references to the Rowan’s legendary ability to enhance psychic powers, prophecy and magic. It is the female equivalent of the Ash Tree (another name for it is Mountain Ash). In Scandinavian myth the first woman was born from a Rowan, the first man from an Ash.

Druids often planted Rowan Trees in their places of worship. You’ll sometimes find them still growing close to stone circles or where ley lines cross. It was once believed that the powers of the Rowan were essential to maintaining the health of the land. Perhaps they still are? They are certainly worth looking after, as are all trees.

The Celtic Festival of Imbolc falls within the Rowan Tree Month. Imbolc is the festival associated with the Goddess Brigid, daughter of Dagda, one of the Tuatha de Danaan, who brought four magical treasures to Ireland. The Rowan’s connection with Brigid links it with the fires of inspiration and with the rebirth of the Spirit, which comes at Imbolc.  Brigid is said to have had arrows made of rowan-wood which would burst into flames when she fired them.

This is most probably a reference to the psychic qualities said to be gained by imbibing the juice of rowan berries (be careful though, they are poisonous to children). Groves of Rowans were grown and tended as shrines of oracular practices…in other words they were places were people went if they wished to see more clearly into the future.

This year the Rowan Tree Month is especially important, because not only does the celebration of Imbolc fall within it, but the Chinese Year of the Dragon also starts during the same month (tomorrow in fact!). There is a long association between Rowan Trees and dragons, each of them being symbols of protection. Irish myths and legends are filled with stories of dragons guarding Rowans.

My guess is that this was a two-way street, the dragon guarding the tree, which in turn protected the lines of energy beneath the surface of the earth (the dragon-lines as they were once known).

Given that we only have a Year of the Dragon once every dozen years, this year may be a time for particular focus on developing your psychic abilities and listening to your intuitions. Let’s hope that it is also one of increased attention to the wellbeing of the earth itself!

Wishing you a month filled with Rowan Tree Magic…

With best wishes,


PS – If you have enjoyed this post you might like to check out my mystery-adventure story, which has a 5-Star Amazon rating and includes a lot of Tree Lore. You can see more about it at the top of this blog, or when you click on any of these links. Thank you!

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4 thoughts on “Tree Magic – Welcome to the Rowan Tree Month!

  1. Thanks for the information on the Rowan Tree. In Canada, we have the Mountain Ash (my mother planted one in our back yard) but I have never heard it referred to as the Rowan. I had a Scottish Grandmother and have always been fascinated by Celtic myths & legends so I appreciate learning about this interesting tree. I would love to visit the British Isles someday. 🙂

    • essitolling says:

      Glad you enjoyed the post. One of my grandmothers was Scottish too, so I appreciate your love of Celtic myth and legend. It runs in the blood. If you are interested in trees and their properties, I’ll be bringing more of this into future books in the Tilly Greenway series (especially Book 2). I’ll also be writing some more about various other trees as we go through the year. Hope you get to visit sometime soon. When you do, make sure to take in Southern Ireland as well as the Scottish Highlands! Best wishes, Essi.

  2. ahhh now i love the rowan 🙂 it was the first tree i planted when i moved here to my house in the new forest (oak was the second!) i have close links with Brigid (i have Irish heritage) and born close to imbolc so the rowan is special to me. i have dowsed my garden and as i have planted it has developed interesting spiral energies…i have looked into the ley lines and found that i live between two that go from the isle of wight up to old sarum and ends at the beckhampton long stone. i also have a lot of barrows close to me so i think this area is full of energy.
    a lovely post thank you!

    (i am lee-solstice dreamer-williams by the way!)

    • essitolling says:

      Hi Lee! Yes, there’s something fey about the Rowan. I just wrote a quick poem about it, which I’ll post later. It sounds as though you live in a lovely spot. You might like to know that the West Kennet Long Barrow features in Watchers. If you are thinking of visiting Ireland, let me know. I have a base on the West Cork/Kerry border, a place that is choc-a-bloc with standing stones, stone circles and “Fairie Forts”…Best wishes, Essi 🙂

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