Budding Moon, Bone Moon…

Moon magic affects us all. Even when we’re shut up inside with the lights turned on, we still feel the pull that draws tides upon shores, the pulse of leylines weaving this way and that beneath our feet. We can’t escape it. At the centre of our brains, several tiny crystals of magnetite (our in-built Sat-Nav) ensure we are all just a little bit lunatic!

This particular Full Moon looks both forward and back (perhaps it should be called the Janus Moon?) with one eye turned towards winter, another towards spring. Here are some of the names it has been given over the years: you can choose which one is most appropriate for you, depending on where you are in the world.

In mediaeval England it was known as the Storm Moon. Elsewhere it was called The Bone Moon, The Little Famine Moon or The Snow Moon. All these describe the face that is turned towards midwinter, when chill winds blow and the earth is cold, when fingers are chilled to the bone and hunger hollows cheeks.

Snow Moon is most appropriate for us this year, with heavy snows falling earlier in the week and sharp frosts each night. It’s a perfect time to light the fire, draw up a chair or two and tell tales of yesterday, tomorrow and today…

Other names describe the face of the second Full Moon of the year that looks to the mellower airs of spring . In China it is known as The Budding Moon and the Dakota Sioux of North America call it The Moon When Trees Pop.  I love that phrase! What a great way to describe what’s happening within the bark and sap of each tree right in those places where spring is already stirring. Fizz. Pop. Zing!

Like The Budding Moon, I’ve been feeling a little restless recently, wishing to be up on the tops with the wind in my hair. So here are a few lines to acknowledge the fact that this Full Moon falls within the Celtic Month of the Rowan Tree, most fairie of all the trees and one that always calls me to the wilds…

Best wishes,

Essi.

  The Song of Rowan

Come away with me! sings the Rowan Tree,

To where the winds are blowing!

Come away with me, where all is free

And mountain streams are flowing!

Come away with me! she sings to me,

To the seas of purple heather!

Come away and dance in the wild with me –

No matter what the weather!

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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,

Essi.

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