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The Alder - Tree of protection

Updated: Aug 12, 2020

Back in September 2019, I went along to a mindfulness walk in Highbury Park in Kings Heath with Sherri Meese, who runs Walk ‘n’ Wonder. It was here that I first found this magnificent tree, and instantly felt drawn to it. I was going through a period of intensely poor mental health at the time, getting to the point where the only place I was comfortable outside of the house was under the boughs of the Alder, in the middle of the meadow. The sinews of her strong trunk became a thing of wonder for me, as I learned her every curve, every patch of lichen. Watching her change as winter drew in felt like a mirror was being held up to me; with the spring and my recovery offering the same reflection. A friendship was borne from under the canopy, with poetry being left within the gnarled nooks of the trunk, and as lockdown eased, meeting friends to sit in the log circle beneath. 

The alder offered me a sense of protection and grounding when I needed it most. Sparking creativity and bringing so much joy. People say nature is the greatest healer. Never have I agreed with anything so profoundly. This tree, and the raw beauty of Highbury Park continues to play a huge role in my recovery, I’ll be forever grateful for her sacred and steadfast protection. 

The Alder tree enriches the soil it grows in, and was sacred to our Celtic ancestors. She is often seen growing along rivers and streams, or in boggy land. When not alongside a stream, the Alder is often found in a cluster, known as a Carr. In Celtic folklore, these Carrs were a place of sanctuary, and were used as hideaways. The green dye which can be extracted from the Alder flower, was used to dye cloth, being used to camouflage clothing worn by outlaws - think Robin Hood! It's said that fairy folk used the dye to hide themselves from human eyes.

Where's your favourite place in nature? Have you had a particular affinity with anywhere during lockdown? I'd love to hear about it!

Sending love and blessings x

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