#FolkloreThursday: rowan at Halloween
It's #FolkloreThursday and time to return to rowan trees! Every Samhain, or Halloween, when the veil between the human world and the fairy world is thinnest, and winter is approaching, the wives of Strathspey would drive their animals through the trees to help ward off evil and protect them for the season ahead. They'd do the same at Bealtainn, the beginning of May.
Rowan trees are seen as powerful protection trees, keeping away evil. They were sometimes manipulated to grow into an archway that people and animals could pass through - particularly at thresholds, like the entrance to a garden or piece of land.
This incredible rowan in Aviemore (above) has not one but two archways, and is on an old croft site.
The Gaelic name for rowan is beautiful - caorann - and comes from the word caor, which means blaze. This could relate to the bright red berries, or perhaps the colour of the leaves when they turn to a blazing fire in autumn. (Caor is also the name given to the the little broken bits of peat which blaze really quickly and easily.)
So, if you're passing a rowan anytime soon (especially on Samhain!), make sure you pass through it if you can, and if you can't, circle it three times sunwise (clockwise) for good luck!
If you'd like to hear stories and folktales of Aviemore and the Cairngorms, join an upcoming short guided walk!
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Sarah Hobbs - read more on the About page.