The rowan tree (Sorbus aucuparia) is bound up with magic and enchantment. The genus name Sorbus means ‘stop’, possibly referring to the power of the rowan to prevent enchantment. The common name rowan is connected with the Gothic word runa ‘to know’, possibly referring to magic. In the Highlands the tree could only be used for ritual purposes. Evil witches had no power where there was rowan wood. Rowan twigs were commonly used as defensive charms in Britain, usually in the form of an equal armed cross bound together with red thread:
Rowan is connected with witchcraft, protection, divination and the dead. The berries are marked with the protective sign of the pentagram on their base, a sign of magic and the calling and banishing of spirits. The berries, wood and leaves can be dried and burned as an incense to invoke spirits, familiars, spirit guides and elementals. Rowan wood may be used for making tools of divination. The berries or wood can be used in an incense to banish undesirable entities. A rowan cross, made of two twigs of rowan, tied with red thread, may be hung in the home for protection. A rowan wand is used for casting a protective circle. Plant a protective rowan tree near your house.
© Anna Franklin, 2022