Known to the druids by the name of “Feam,” alder is also often called Scottish mahogany, Irish mahogany, King of the Forest, and Tree of the Fairies. Said to be a charm against malicious fairies that’s guarded by water sprites, it’s extremely ill-advised to cut one of these trees down! What’s more, the Celtic saga Battle of the Trees describes Bran as being identified by the branch of alder he carries. Alder is a powerful tree to involve in your witchcraft!
Energy ~ Masculine
Planets ~ Moon, Mars
Elements ~ Fire, Water
Deities ~ Odin, Bran, King Arthur, Apollo, Astarte, Aphrodite, Pan, Lugh, Orpheus, Branwen, Arianrhod
Zodiac ~ Pisces
Alder shoots can be easily made into whistles and panpipes, which hold great sway over the wind and Air elementals. Meanwhile, due to mingling the elements of Fire and Water, alder is also a great aid for balancing the yin and yang in your life! Medicinally, this tree can be used as an astringent, tonic, antiviral (especially for herpes), hemorrhagic, antibacterial, emetic, vulnerary, febrifuge, anti diarrhoeal, lymphatic, and possibly anti-inflammatory treatment.
With regards to the casting of spells, alder wood wands are recommended for rituals involving charisma, journeys, self confidence, bravery, supervision skills, and spiritual growth. They are also used in shielding the astral self from unwanted intrusion from other realms. Witches of the Stregha path have long known the secrets of the Alder wood. The Italian witches prized the sap of the alder wood to make red dyes for potent Nanta bags; freshly cut alder will turn crimson from the sap, associating it with that which is living and breathing.
Alder wood should also be used for magicks that are intended to balance action with emotion. This tree can be used in magicks that are designed to protect the heart and chest area: talismans worn about the neck are excellent for this. Said to be the gateway to the faery realm, alder also makes a great aid for magick involving the fae. Some ancient texts suggest that alder also allows spirits from the Otherworld to enter our own.
If one intends to make an alder wood wand for wind magick, it must be taken exclusively from branches separated by the wind. The wand should be imbued with the energy of the full moon associated with alder in the Celtic Zodiac, that being the one in-between March 18th and April 14th. Imbued with the power of Air through ritual, such a wand is a potent aid for wind and weather magick, and should be covered when not in use.
In flower language, alder blossoms mean “Conquers Adversities” and “Strength from Within.”