Ogham: The Mysterious Language of Trees: Rowan

Rowan

After November 1st, we enter the darkest time of year. A bright branch of Rowan is like a torch in the night and at the heart of each flame-colored berry is the five-pointed star of protection. Little wonder a Rowan wands were used to ward off enchantments.

The Faery gateway of the Green and Burning Trees, suggests the  green and burning quality of Rowan.

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Witches Wheel

Rowan berry, rowan berry
Ends in a yellow star.
A wand of rowan above our beds
Is an anchor in dark December dreams…

Luis ( loush)

The lovely Rowan is the fire in the night. With its bright orange berries, it lights up the perpetual twilight of winter with a touch of brilliant warmth much like the hearth fires our ancestors gathered around as they hunkered down for long hours indoors.  For most of their waking hours, the fire and the candles were the only sources of light. Small wonder that a tree bearing the color of flames would be perceived as protective.

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There was a time when fire was so scarce that it was kept very safe and was never allowed to go out. Our very early ancestors did not know how to create fire; they knew it as a gift from the Gods. Fire was carried in lamps and delivered from lamp to lamp. Woe to the person who let the fire go out!

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In the Book of Balymote, “Luis is the delight of eye that is Luisu”, or the lambent color of flame. In modern Irish Luise indicates a red glare with added luster or sheen. As fire keeps off predatory animals and freezing cold, it also has the power to ward of demons, faeries, and ghosts. To that end, rowan is planted in graveyards to keep the dead from rising. The wood of the Rowan was used by the Druids on funeral pyres for it had power over death and rebirth.

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The association of Rowan with fire is one reason it is ascribed to Candlemas and the Goddess of the eternal flame, Brighid. The poetry of this may be why the Ogham was made to correspond to the Julian calender of a January 1st New Year. But the symbolism of the Rowan also suits the festival of Winter Solstice. The use of Rowan as a protective amulet toward off the darkness of December, to survive for the time when the light begins to return, is a strong point in favor of Rowan belonging to December.

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The magic of Rowan guards us against the forces of chaos and destruction, strongly linked in the minds of our ancestors with darkness and the creatures that prowl unseen and hungry at the doors and windows. Rowan promises rebirth with the increasing warmth and light that comes after the Winter Solstice.

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Rowan was said in ancient times to have been guarded by dragons.

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Rowan Tree and Red Thread,
Gar the Witches tyne their speed.

Rowan tree and red thread slow down wicked witches, for it has the power to bind to malevolent forces. Magic wands made of Rowan branches are excellent for this purpose. In celtic countries, spindles and spinning wheels were made of Rowan.
Rowan, also known as Mountain Ash, is one of the trees of the sacred Faery groves of oak, ash, and thorn.  Scottish Faeries are known to hold celebrations within stone circles protected by Rowan trees.

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It is so sacred to the Scots that the old law does not allow use of any part of the tree except for sacred purposes.
Another reason for the Rowan’s protective influence, and its magical nature, can by found by examining the berries themselves, for at the end of each one is a tiny five-pointed star, or pentagram.

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Rowan Working

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It is the deepest dark of winter. You sit close to the fire to stay warm. The fire sets you dreaming so that you see the flames part and desire to walk between them. In you minds eyes, they flames become two Rowan trees. Pass between the trees, bright with red berries, into the snowy landscape on the other side, bringing with you the fire of Luis. Let it illuminate your path.
A necklace of Rowan berries is the Red Thread that confers protection from evil spells.

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Divination by Rowan: You need protection and nourishing through this time. Creativity, vision art, poetry and storytelling are inspired as you slow down and focus inwards with the flame of passionate inspiration to guide you. Health and strength improve.
Magic can be done by placing Rowan twigs above the doors and windows for protection. Place Rowan twigs in the shape of a cross and bind with red thread to be carried as a protective amulet.

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Another name for Rowan is Witch Tree or Wicken Tree and can be used for divining precious metals in the way hazel is sued to find water. Rowan can be used to increase psychic powers, and is a fine ingredient in spells for healing, success, safety, and is used to make excellent magic wands.

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Magical Correspondences:

Ogham Name:
Letter: L
Tree: Rowan
Deities: Brighid
Birds: duck
Animals: unicorn, bear
Color: flame red
Uses: magical protection

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The Erotic Realm of Faery

The Erotic Realm of Faery

What are Faeries Really?

The gorgeous production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream by the Ballet Russes is charged with eroticism and the glamor that goes with it. Indeed Shakespeare’s play with its two pairs of lover lost in the moonlit forest, love spells, jealousies, flirtations, deceptions, bands of flower fairies led by the Trickster Faun, Puck,  is a rite of fertility magic. The choreographer has captured the hive quality of fairy beings, fused together in dances of sensuality and ecstasy. Oberon enters with his train of night and crown of branches. Beside him is the child, a grim reminder of the sacrifices of old, for it is Midsummer when the Summer King gives his life to the harvest. Titania is tricked by Puck into making love to one of his hoofed brethren, a donkey, for the fairies do not discriminate.

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Faeries are more than nature spirits. They are the spiritual Intelligences of the earth. Its is Faery from which life springs and to which it returns in never-ending cycles of death and rebirth. Earth is a sexual planet. We see this all around us: constant reproduction, growth, flourishing, impregnating and dying off so more life can be born. This is what earth does. It what faeries do. Therefore Earth is also a Love planet, for love charges eroticism with spiritual power. Mothers tend their young with love so that they will have the strength to survive.

Faeries serve the life force. They are morally neutral but can be bent to human will. To those in harmony, the faeries will appear beautiful and grant gifts of knowledge and creative power. To those of wicked intent who call upon them for selfish purposes, the fairies will take on that pollution.

It’s sad that so there is so much left hand path magic going on today because the spirit world is darkening and suffering and becoming distorted by it, and we see what is happening to the earth. The dark and light Seelie Courts are a totally modern pop phenomenon brought about during the primal rift that separated the worlds.

In the old fertility religions, the peasants would couple in the fields in imitation of the faeries. They shared the erotic life of Faery in recognition that this is the way of the Earth. Done with full spiritual awareness of the energies involved, this was good magical participation at the high tides of the solar festivals. I believe blood sacrifice associated with Midsummer were a degradation of the original rites, because blood was used to embody spirits. This was not necessary before the coming of the Wasteland.

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Wells and Springs are Entrances to Faery

Wells were one of the main entrances and exits between Faery and the outer world. The Arthurian Legend of the Wasteland describes what happened when these portals between the worlds were shut down by invaders. In The Elucidation, the tale is told of a temple of priestesses that tended the sacred wells.  A drink of water from the Priestesses of the Wells was charged with healing power because of its links with the Love vibrations of the Earth and wisdom of the Faeries.

An army of brutal, warlord invaders, led by King Amangons, attacked the Priestess’s temple and raped them and stole their sacred goblet. After that, the wells were closed and the faeries were buried underground, no longer able to interact with mortals and help the earth to flourish. rape destroyed the the sacred sexuality of women and corrupted the lustiness of men to brutality. The continuity of the life forces was severed, the links between the world broken. Thus the earth did not bear fruit and was laid waste.

This was when the sacrifice of the Summer King came about represented by the little boy who is King for a Day with Oberon.

The importance of Faery can thus be seen as very great. Every wound to Mother Earth is a wound to Faery and to the spiritual envelope that is the Anima Mundi or Soul of the World. can we restore the Wasteland before it too late? Even in the Arthurian legend in the 12th century the Grail, representative of the cup of the  Priestesses of the Wells, was withdrawn because of war and destruction of sacred sexuality and feminine.

theladyofshalott_rossetti_1857Lady of Shallott, Rossetti

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What is Winterspells Faery Witchcraft?

Winterspells Faery Witchcraft

Chateau Reine Blanche

Chateau Reine Blanche

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I have received inquiries about my free e-course recently that lead me to believe I must clarify where I am coming from as far as my magical path is concerned.

What is it, actually, and what is its purpose?

In the global environment of the web, there are so many versions of magic and witchcraft, couched in so many cultural contexts and traditions, that I have been made aware that my Euro-American, Native American perspective grown out of the 1960′s and 1970′s era of social change, is not as obvious to others as it is to me.

I began this blog as a potential platform for my magically inspired fiction: dark fantasy, ghost stories, occult thrillers, weird history, and paranormal tales. As many of my fictional ideas and images are harvested from my life experience,  it seemed logical to tell some true stories on a blog and, since I want to get my  fiction  published,  I chose to keep it off-line for now. In writing content to the initial version of this blog, I began peeling back layers of memories and found that the important events in my life share an underlying theme of occult study and magic, and sometimes ordinary events perceived in non-ordinary ways. I am a symbolist and tend to mythologize events in order to make them meaningful, or to cope with the difficult stuff.  In trying to understand why this is so, I came to the conclusion, quite a while ago now, that my unusual abilities (I have been seeing spirits since early childhood, raised kundalini the first time I sat meditation, left my body easily to go ‘out and about’ in the night, and entered and exited Faery at will) fired my imagination, driving me, by an overwhelming need, to ground my visions and insights into the various mediums of art.

It is the Shaman’s, or Faery Seer’s, duty to enter the Otherworld and bring back treasure…

As the years passed, I naturally developed my own Magical Path.  I look forward to completing my Life Story/ Magical Timeline, on this blog so I can see the overall pattern. This may or may not be instructive to readers, but I hope it is at least interesting.

Ricahrd Dadd

Richard Dadd

What the Winterspells Magical Path Is:

* Earth Based Magic

combined with

*Artistic Expression

My first love is nature, my second love, the arts.

Configurations of the landscape, an arrangement of trees or rocks, open and closed spaces in the woods, seaside at dusk and dawn, mountain passes, places with histories of ritual, healing, or horror, act as doorways into the Unseen. The beauty, mystery, and transformational power of the natural world comes first. The occult idea the natural world is a ‘veil over the face of the Goddess’ woven with mountains, seas and forests,  fueled my intense desire to see behind that veil into the pristine, dare I say, Edenic, dream of the Creator.  In attempting to do this, I have learned and developed techniques along the way that enable me to  enter and explore parallel dimensions very close to mundane reality.

I  especially hold keys into  the Realm of Faery.

Why Faery? Because the Faeryland is, where the greatest beauty, poetry, art, inspiration, music, dance, sensuality, stories, forgotten worlds, mysteries, and power begin. It is creative womb of the Goddess.

* Winterspells Faery Witchcraft is in the Romantic Tradition.

You can see that  my path is Romantic by the images I consistently choose, such as the mysterious la Chateau Reine Blanche, or Castle of the White Queen in France. In medieval times, widows wore white, thus the White Queen was often so, if not a ghost, a spirit, or a Faery.The mist over the lake suggests that the chateau is in the Otherworld; one must often cross water to enter Faery. The land of the dead is inferred in this equation, but not in a chaotic, nihilistic way, rather as the twilight place between the living and the dead that vibrates with a very special kind of light.

I am steeped in the literary Romances of King Arthur and the Grail Quest. The Celtic Twilight of Yeats, Fiona Macleod, Bards, Ovates and Druids, Irish music, Scots border ballads, Elizabethan folk music, all inform my imagination. Especially resonant are Shakespeare’ plays, the life of Queen Elizabeth I, Dee and Kelly, whatever number King James and his Demonologia.  The witches of 17th century Scotland shown in crude woodcuts of the period, so like the brooding atmosphere of my native Massachusetts. deeply inspire me. And of course fairy tale images haunt me still…


This magical life is Romantic in the old sense of the word — full of drama, dark and light, a search for the soul in all its shades and colors, a quest for adventure, opulence, even extravagance, courage, strong emotions, and sacrifices for the sake of love and art.

What Lies Behind the Veil of Nature

Winterspells Faery Witchcraft, is a way of life that focuses on beauty and the seeking of spiritual treasures. It follows a path between the worlds.

This way is heart centered, for the heart center in our bodies is the energetic link between us and the whole of nature, the Faery, and the stars from which we come.  We are all stars; everything on earth is composed of congealed light. The light vibrates, sings, moves in waves, and flows through everything that lives through the heart center.  When we are in alignment with this energy, magic happens.

I avoid dark paths that deny love and seek to use power as a weapon. This is not out of self righteous judgment, or some hypocritical pretense to be ‘good’.  I love dark symbols, dark literature, dark gods, the Dark Ages. Rather, it is because the light shines in the dark. And because in the dark is mystery, discovery, moonlight,  starlight, quietness; darkness is the atmosphere that leads to inner reflection and dreams. In order to be mature, we must see into our dark places and release forces into consciousness that may have been exiled there out of ignorance and social pressure, but are still very important parts of our psyches.

I think it was Dion Fortune who said something along the lines of, “Be careful exorcizing your demons or may cut off the best part of you.”

What Winterseplls Faery Magic is Not:

* Manipulative

* Destructive

* Ugly

I have had many experiences of the dark. Many of these were painful. I don’t seek pain; I hate it! If it seeks me then there is an imbalance I need to know about,  or some part of me needs to grow — or even to be removed. By the same token to use magic to inflict pain on another because they wound our vanity has no purpose  except to return the wound. Since many relationships are fraught with projections and misunderstandings,  a magical attack may be against the wrong person, or retaliation for our problems against those we perceive as being better off. We may want to impose ourselves on others, to pass our pain around, or buttress our need for control. This kind of attack thus uses uncreative, destructive, dead energy. In my opinion, since magic involves wonder at the beauty of creation, it is not magic at all.

Misuse of power literally shuts the doors to the dimensions where real magic is worked.

Dark Magic, magic for manipulation, for power over  others, will always fail. Why? because the organ of connection to the ground of being where magic can be worked can only be approached through love. Negative, ego-minded, ugly motives may open doors into the Unseen, but the places they access are dead ends that will ultimately turn on the magician.  ‘Power- Over Magic’ always backfires. Our myths, and even our popular fiction, are full of stories about malign magicians getting something worse than they bargained for.

Here is an example: Animals are highly in tune with Faery, very much in twilight mind. Being so open and heart centered, animals will always respond in a trusting, friendly way to people who are the same. If you are hostile, mean, potentially violent, even if your energy field is merely darkened by spiritual pollution, animals will give you a wide berth — especially cats. When your energy field radiates love, kindness, and clarity even wild animals will approach you.

I have always gotten along with animals, especially cats who are particularly psychic.  When I lived in London, I was subjected to constant, vicious psychic attack spurred by the vanity and envy of another Tarot reader in Camden Market.  My aura was constantly being torn at by spirits that, in then process of trying in, inflicted literal physical pain on me. Sometimes the negative vibrations that evil witch sent my way would get into my being, and turn my aura very dark indeed. I was often stressed out and emotionally unbalanced by the draining toxic vibrations of her vindictive sorcery.

During that time, animals ran away when they saw me coming. This was very upsetting, not only because I missed my contact with the animals, but it was also a strong sign that I was in worse shape than I ever dreamed. The  evil  coursing through my aura on those dark tides was noticed by the neighborhood cats! Of course, once I saw this, and got some help, ( another wild story) I regained my good reputation among my furry friends.

I am sure the woman who cast those horrid spells got a nice blow back –simply  because energy must return to its own level! The clean dimensions cannot accept it. There is no resonance. Negative energy is polluting and must find its way back to its source. Not only that, but the negative magic she sent out was carried on the strength of her emotions — her spells were such an intimate part of who she is that they must snap back like a rubber band.

Sooner or later, everything goes back to its creator. It is not a matter of tit for tat. It is the Law of Nature.

It is the heart that speaks to trees, to stones, to hills, and wild creatures; it is the heart that calls forth the Other, and the heart that opens the twilight vision, the second sight, the third eye. The heart responds to beauty, Silence is the medium through which the ancient voices of Earth will speak to us. Silence, and listening to the soundlessness as we gaze into the Unseen. The shift in awareness that happens in the silent core of the heart, erases all ego striving, quiets the mind, ends discussion. One walks into the Otherworld as one walks into the sea, sensing the change in temperature, the currents moving against the the body, the play of light on the mirror-like surface of the waves. If your heart is open, and respectfulness is your frame of mind, deeper doors may open to you. You are allowed in because you cause no harm, you are allowed because you bring love and beauty. The Faery are always curious about the vibration of love, drawn to beauty, and anxious to participate with us on that level.

Winterspells Faery Witchcraft is Life Affirming.

Body and Spirit are One, God/Goddess are One, it is all One energy. We don’t have to go anywhere — to another planet, or a star system, or space ship, or  leave our bodies, or strive toward any other condition that denies life.

We are already in the star system! We are made of starlight, and the Earth floats in a universe of stars.

Below is a small lesson in magical perception. Even if you already know this one, it is fun to be reminded.

Apple of the Goddess

Take an apple.

Cut it crosswise in half

Pull it apart

inside, see the star

A five pointed star

made with seeds.

A pentagram inside an apple made by the Goddess and opened by Eve who desired knowledge of Earth.

The stars are in the Earth

The Earth is a star

All creatures, stones, trees, oceans, mountains, clouds are stars.

Reach into the starry matrix with your mind

Touch the currents of energy

Hear the ethereal music of the spheres

You do not have to strive, deny yourself, attain, or ascend

You are already there.

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