alder tree
Alnus Glutinosa

Tree of the God Bran

Fourth month of the Celtic Tree calendar, March 18 - April 14

Fourth consonant of the Ogham alphabet


Planet: Neptune

Element: Fire and Water

Symbolism: Release, Shield and Foundation, Determination, Discrimination and Inner Confidence, Royalty

Stone: Amethyst, Lapis Lazuli (understanding the mind) 

Birds: Hawk, Seagulls, Raven

Color: Purple

Deity: Bran, Apollo, Odin, King Arthur

 Folk Names: Owler 

Medicinal properties

Alder bark treated inflammations, rheumatism, and diarrhea. Bags filled with heated alder leaves helped with chronic skin diseases and burns. A gargle made from leaves and bark cured mouth ulcers and soothed tonsillitis. Alder oil and essence resonate with the Muscular System and can relieve stiffness and damp diseases, enabling us to move forward with flexibility and comfort.


Das Baum Tarot - Alder - II High Priestess

Magickal properties

Alder helps you face up to the things you've been avoiding.

It also was believed that Alder allowed access into the faery realms.

Alder tree essence is invigorating, and it also reduces nervousness and anxiety. 

Spells to aid success in your business and academic ventures work well at this time of year.  Sow the seeds of your success now.

Alder roots enrich the soil, and its timber resists decay. 

When immersed in water it hardens to the toughness of stone.


Because it was the source of fine strongly colored dyes, it was associated with the art of fabric making and the Goddesses of spinning.  Alder reminds us of the need to blend  strength and courage with generosity of spirit and compassion.

Alder was sacred to the Druids. The pith is easily pushed out of green shoots to make whistles. Several shoots bound together by cordage, can be trimmed to the desired length for producing the note you want and used to entice Air elementals. The old superstition of "whistling up the wind" began with this custom.

The Faces of WomanSpirit, A Celtic Oracle of Avalon by Katherine Torres PhD

The Faces of WomanSpirit

A Celtic Oracle of Avalon

by Katherine Torres, Ph.D.


Alder brings the delight of spring into your steps. She urges you to act on your desires without worry or fret. She empowers you with vigor. Her delightful orange face compels excitement within you and the knowing that the wisdom you have been gathering can now be used. Share it with others or move on your own, but Go For It, no matter what you are experiencing at this time.


Alder let me see your

Brightness and readiness

Strength and Knowing

Intensity of Action

And youthful vigor

For in this exchange I can



from The Wisdom of Trees by Jane Gifford


The Alder is a tree that supports and protects physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Its associations with both weapons and shields reminded the ancient Celts that part of the skill of the warrior lies in knowing when to take up the sword and when to take up the shield. Although an alder shield will protect you and give you courage and an alder-forged weapon will help you defend yourself, ultimately the most important aspect of the warrior is his or her intent. This is the key to success or failure. They alder reminds us of the need to blend strength and courage with generosity of spirit and compassion. There is a time to challenge things and a time to hold our peace. The alder teaches us this discrimination and the need to see beneath the surface of things. It combines the desire for self-preservation with the desire to serve and emphasizes the need for a firm foundation to stand on.

Tree Magick by Gilliam Kemp

Tree Magick 

by Gillian Kemp


The Alder Tree, a symbol of strength and battle, shows that you will win a battle.  You may need to martial inner conflict. 


The Alder's orange-red sap is associated with blood and war.  An explosive argument may occur because gunpowder was made from the Alder, but so too were shields, so you are protected from farm in a challenge. You will be meeting new males and females who may become friends, predicted by the green and yellow catkins. 


The males become cones; the females turn into cone-like growths.  It could happen even if the chances appear slim, just as this slender, slightly branched tree 

can survive almost anywhere. Victory is achieved.

The Great Goddess -

Eostar/Spring Equinox

Spring Returns, the sin warms the soil. Seeds awaken, pushing roots into dark earth. Shoots push up into the light, and sap rises as trees break into leaf. 

Eostar was the ancient, Germanic Goddess of the spring. Her colorful eggs are the symbols of renewed life. The magical, fertile hare, that leaps up from the fields just as the life force leaps up within us, was her sacred animal.

Day and night are balanced now. Justice means balance - balancing one set of needs against another, balancing what we take with what we give. May justice arise, cracking through the deadening systems of oppression like grass breaking through pavement. 

Plant a seed, this springtime. Hold it in your hand, and envision a world in which we live in balance with nature, at peace with one another, where creativity and love can flourish. Place your seed in the earth. Water and tend it as you tend those qualities and take those actions which can bring that world to birth.

Starhawk 2007, and We’Moon’08

Celtic Moon sign - Alder Moon


The alder is amazingly resistant to water. As a result, it was often used in construction under water, from bridges to foundations to stilts for homes located close to rivers. This resistance makes the alder a powerful force in psychic battles. 

If you were born under this sign, you have tremendous courage in the face of obstacles and the power to win in disputes. Watch for a tendency to create wars where there are none, and be careful not to dissipate your strength through engaging in meaningless debate.
Written by Kim Rogers-Gallagher, and Llewellyn's Witches' Datebook 2000


At the time of the Spring Equinox, or Ostara, the Alder is flourishing on riverbanks, roots in the water, bridging that magical space between both heaven and earth. The Alder month, called Fearn by the Celts, and pronounced fairin, is a time for making spiritual decisions, magic relating to prophecy and divination, and getting in touch with your own intuitive processes and abilities. Alder flowers and twigs are known as charms to be used in Faerie magic. Whistles were once made out of Alder shoots to call upon Air spirits, so it's an ideal wood for making a pipe or flute if you're muscially inclined.

Alder month is the right time to find a way of expressing our hopes and dreams for the New Year, forgiving any leftover angers and coming to terms with what's written in our own Book of Destiny. The Alder grows quickly and its energy can help us move along our Path, forgiving and accepting others and ourselves. For example, if there is a dispute with neighbors, Alder could be planted to restore harmony and turn anger into beauty. 


Spells to aid success in your business and academic ventures work well at this time of year. Sow the seeds of your success now.


by Liz and Colin Murray

The Celtic Tree Oracle by Liz and Colin Murray

The Alder, like the Willow, is a water-loving tree. Its timber is oily and water resistant and therefore used extensively for underwater foundations: parts of Venice and many medieval cathedrals were built on Alder piling. Bran the Blessed, or Bendegeit Bran, is the god liked with this tree in the Ogham alphabet. He is reputed to have used his body to span the river Linon, forming a bridge to raise his followers above the dangerous waters, as the wood does when used as a building material. Mortally wounded in battle with the Irish, Bran prophesied  the events that would follow his death, instructing his followers to cut off his head and carry it with them. They traveled to Harlech, where the head sang for seven years: then to Gwales, the head remaining uncorrupted and prophesying the while. Eventually, they came to rest in London, Caer Llyndain, and buried Bran's head at the White Mount, or Bryn Gweyn, now the site of the Tower of London.  It was held that as long as the head remained concealed it would give protection against plague from across the sea. King Arthur, it is said, once dug it up: and unwise actions, since the Saxons then invaded the country.

Alder Tree photograpgh by Allison Reed

If you felled a sacred Alder, it was said that your house would be burned to the ground.

Woodman, spare that tree!
Touch not a single bough!
In youth it sheltered me,
And I'll protect it now.

- General George P. Morris


O alder, thou art hostile,

delightful is thy hue,

thou art not rending and prickling

in the gap wherein thou art.

 taken from "Buile Suibhne Geilt," 

an Irish legend known as the "Frenzy of Mad Sweeney"

Image: Looking up an Alder Tree in Humbolt County, CA

Original photography by Allison Reed


The Fairy Bible

by Teresa Moorey


The Alder Tree is delicate in appearance, but is tremendously strong and is linked, as are many trees, with the creation of humans, for Irish legend tells how the first man was made from alder, and the first woman from rowan. Such stories indicate that our deepest essence is connected to that of trees - physically, karmically, and spiritually.


Alder has the gift of not decaying in water, so it is used to make bridges. Possibly because of this it is associated with the Welsh god-giant, Bran, who made his body into a bridge across the River Shannon, to invade Ireland and come to the aid of his sister, Branwen. The Welsh were victorious, but Bran was slain. His head - still living, and still possessing oracular powers - was buried in the White Hill of London, and the ravens that inhabit the Tower of London are Bran's sacred birds. It is said that England will not fall while they live there. The alder fairy may fly forth in the form of a raven. He can impart all the secrets of good defense to you, teach you how to look for omens in bird flight and develop the gift of prophecy.


The Song of the Alder Fairy

by Cicely Mary Barker

Alder Fairy by Cicely Mary Barker

By the lake or river-side
Where the Alders dwell,
In the Autumn may be spied
Baby catkins; cones beside —
Old and new as well.
Seasons come and seasons go;
That's the tale they tell!

After Autumn, Winter's cold
Leads us to the Spring;
And, before the leaves unfold,
On the Alder you'll behold,
Crimson catkins swing!
They are making ready now;
That's the song I sing!

Alder is a charm against malevolent fairies.

Water sprites are said to protect alder trees, so be cautious of cutting one down.

Green Man Tree Oracle

The Green Man Tree Oracle
by John Matthews and Will Worthington


Alder has a strong association with defence. It weaves a spell of protection to guard against attack, be it of a country or an individual. In Celtic myth, we read of palisades of alders that deter invasion or keep prisoners confined, and these fences are sometimes described as being decorted by a row of severed human heads. But Alder needs no such grisly displays - it offers a wholehearted defence, if necessary with a fearsome aspect. Your own deep instincts know when someone or something is threatening your boundaries, or when your personal territory is invaded. If you do not comand it to leave, if you do not defend your space, then you dishonour yourself by giving away your power. The appearance of Alder in a reading suggests a need to defend your territory or to clear the way before you.

When cut, the sap of the alder assumes a rusty colour, which gave rise to the idea that the tree was bleeding. In the ancient world this was seen as an indication of the tree's generosity, that it was giving of itself to help defend the land. Seeing as alders grow most often by water and generally help to make the soil rich by their very presence, this was not difficult to understand. Since time immemorial the alder has provided a strong dye, and this has led to its widespread use by spinners and weavers.


Ogham The Celtic Oracle Alder OGHAM The Celtic Oracle
by Peter Pracownik and Andy Baggott

You have an opportunity to set some firm foundations, although you need to guard against them being underminded by negative emotions. You have untapped emotional strength within you and spiritual help around you that you can call upon if the going gets tough. This is a time to build bridges, not burn them, so think carefully before decision making. Inspiration can come from beyond the physical world if you have the awareness to seek it. Hold steadfastly to what you know in your heart, listen to your intuition and seek guidance from the spiritual realm more than from your fellow man. Have faith in your path understanding that you make your own destiny.

When Alder is cut, its wood changes color from white to orange to red, giving the appearance of bleeding, and it is thus associated with "Fear Dearg" - the "Red Man" who, according to Celtic legend, helps humans lost in the Otherworld to escape back to this reality. Alser is a fairy tree often found growing on the banks of strams and in damp places. Where land and water meet, there is always access to the otherworld.
Whistles made from green Alder wood are said to summon the wind and good water spirits. The three dies: brown from its twigs, red from its bark and green from its flowers, symbolize Earth, Fire, and Water.

I move forward with ease and grace.

I honor the energy of alder, for the protection of my inner oracle.

I will listen to the voice of the Goddess Within.

So mote it be.


Pray Peace



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