Ogham Astrology Birth: March 18th – April 14th
Ogham Letters Meanings Alder Tree
The third letter of the Ogham tree alphabet is Alder (Fyehrn).
Alder – sometimes known as the Goddess tree – is another protective tree, only this time it is protection of the heart and the watery excess of emotion. It was used in battle in ancient times and known as the very battle-witch of all woods.
Spiritual Meaning Alder Tree
Alder tree likes to have wet feet. It is found on the edges of rivers and streams and is resistant to rot. In the older days its wood was used to make roadways and tracks and any kind of construction where protection from damp was required. It is associated with water spirits, especially the ‘white fairy horse’. Irish tradition claims that the first man was created from an alder and the first woman from a rowan tree.
It is also associated with the protector god Bran whose nephew an Irish king, was named Gwern, the Welsh word for alder. In the “Battle of the Trees”” by the poet Taliesin, Bran carried alder sprigs for protection. The poem tells about the qualities of the tree and the Ogham in a way that only one who knew the code could understand.
Robert Graves, who did a lot of research on this in ‘The white Goddess’ discusses this Battle of the Trees and explains that in ancient times to know the name of the enemy’s gods was to be able to summon them and fight a battle of a different kind. There was a man and a women in that battle who unless their names were known they could not be overcome. A bit like the Rumplestiltskin myth.
“Sure-hoofed is my steed impelled by the spur
The high sprigs of alder are on thy shield
Bran art thou called, of the glittering branches.
Sure-hoofed is my steed in the day of battle
The high sprigs of alder are in thy hand
Bran thou art, by the branch thou bearest –
Amathaon the Good has prevailed.”
The closest Australian equivalent is Pullea stutzeri – Hard Alder.
A wood herbaceous shrub that can grow as tall as 6 meters.
Medicinal Uses and Benefits Alder Tree
The part of the alder that is used internally is the inner bark, which is gathered by scraping the bark off a twig or branch with a sharp knife. (Not the trunk or you could kill it). A concoction (1 teaspoon boiled for 20 minutes) can be used for fevers, to stop internal bleeding and for haemorrhage in the lungs. A wash of the tincture can be used for external use to eliminate lice and scabies. It is a blood purifier.
Call upon the spirit of Alder to help build a bridge in times of conflict, in order to avoid being storm-tossed on the oceans of passion. Use the protective sacred-warrior shield of alder to withstand tidal waves of fear anger and self-doubt. Let Alder build a raft to float you safely over a sea of troubled feelings. From within the sacred grove. by druid priestess © Jyoti Eagles.