On the Calendar
American mountain ash (Sorbus americana)
*Also known as dogberry, mountain sumac, and wild ash
Common mountain ash (S. aucuparia)
*Also known as European mountain ash, quickbeam, sorb apple, witch wood, and witchen
Native to North America, the American mountain ash is a small, shrubby tree reaching fifteen to twenty-five feet tall. It has serrated, lance-shaped leaflets. They are dark green with gray-green undersides and turn yellow in the fall. The common mountain ash grows twenty to forty feet tall. It has medium-green, serrated, lance-shaped leaflets that turn yellow to reddish-purple in the fall. Both trees produce dense, flattened clusters of white flowers that bloom in May. After the flowers, orange-red berries develop and ripen in late summer.
In England during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, rowan had a negative reputation because it was linked with witchcraft. The most likely reason for this is because the berry carries a pentagram design at its base. Herbalists avoided using it for fear of being labeled a witch. Because rowan was associated with the storm god Thor, rowan was planted near homes and stables in northern Europe to protect the structures from lightning. In addition, rowan was used by the Celts when reciting magical incantations.
Write the name rowan or draw its ogham character on a candle for protection during rituals or astral travel. Rowan is a powerful ally for divination and for contacting elementals. Burn a small piece of bark or twig to enhance psychic abilities. Cut five branches to the same length and lay them out in a pentagram shape on your altar to attract success. Hold a rowan branch to connect with your spirit guides when seeking their advice. Rowan makes a good magically protective walking stick. Enhance its power by carving its ogham into the wood.
Rowan is associated with the elements earth and fire. Its astrological influence comes from the moon, Saturn, the sun, and Uranus. Rowan is associated with the following deities: Aphrodite, Brigantia, Brigid, Cerridwen, the Dagda, Hecate, Luna, Pan, Selene, Thor, and Vulcan.
Figure 2. Rowan is associated with the ogham Luis.