The rowan, or mountain ash (Sorbus aucuparia L.) thrives in poor soils and can colonize well in disturbed areas. In some parts of Europe, rowans are most commonly found around ancient settlements, either because of their weedy nature or because they were planted. Rowans flower in May. They grow to 50 feet and are members of the rose family (Rosaceae). Its seeds are poisonious!
The rowan, which presides over the month of December, has a reputation as a protector against enchantment and evil spirits. Rune staves, (sticks upon which runes were enscribed,) were cut from this tree. Rowan wood was also used to divine for metal, as hazel twigs are used for water.
Along with several other trees, the rowan played a central role in Druid ceremonies. Sprigs of rowan were hung over the main door of the house, and often worn to ward off enchantment or “the evil eye.” In Wales, rowans were planted in churchyards to watch over the spirits of the dead. Sacred to the Goddess Brigit. A very magickal tree used for wands, rods, amulets and other spell objects. A forked rowan branch can help find water.
Rowan is the supreme tree of protection, and is used for the churn staff, distaff, the pin of the plough and in many other domestic and agricultural implements. It is common to plant a rowan near the front door of the house, or near the byre door.