In the Celtic Tree Zodiac, Alder is the wise spirit for March 18 – April 14.
This is a time of rebirth, sunrise, initiation and indeed, resurrection.
Alder is the tree which fairies love. These nature spirits appreciate the beautiful and subtle; the play and celebration of life coming back from the soil. There is also the flowering, the vitality of new energy, the dancing and flowing of water, the emotions and exuberance of life.
In Celtic mythology, the alder tree was symbolic of a balance between female and male principles since it possesses both female and male catkins on the same branch. The alder is a member of the birch family generally found near streams, rivers, lakes and wetlands.
Irish Druids held Alder trees sacred, the green shoots can be easily hollowed out to make whistles that are used to invoke Air Elementals.
The Alder Moon is associated with the return of Persephone from Hades in reunion with Her mother Demeter.
Do not fell a Sacred Alder, or it is said that your house will be burned to the ground!
The Alder is associated with Fire and the power to reduce water.
To the Celts the Alder is the Faerie’s tree. The flowers and twigs are known as charms to be used in Faerie magic. Alder is also sacred to Faery kings and elf kings – from the word Alder comes elder (not the tree) as in ‘elder’ kings. The Fey of the Alder have been described as water spirits or as “Dark Faeries”. They are very protective of the tree and when they leave their trees, this Faerie will take the form of a Raven. The Fey are said to dance beneath an Alder three that is in bloom.
The Song of the 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
Alder is the tree of the god Bran and fourth month in the Celtic Tree Calendar.
Alder sap was used to make gunpowder and its wood was used to make shields. The ancient Celts used this association to remind them that the true wisdom of the warrior is to know when to arm yourself and fight and when to take up the shield and defend. Couple strength and courage with generosity and compassion.
Bridging that magical space between both heaven and earth this is a time for making spiritual decisions, magic relating to prophecy and divination, and getting in touch with your own intuitive processes and abilities.
The theme of balance: earth and water, the physical and the emotion, are held by Alder. When cut, it changes color from white to red or purple. Red is the color of fiery coals and transformation, while purple associated with royalty and resurrection. In times of great changes, the critical issue, and even the success of a particular endeavor, depends upon maintaining balance.