The changing point of the season is the perfect time to attract magical success. Spring Equinox, March 21, day and night are of equal length, perfect balance of light and dark. A time of awakening from this point the sun appears to move further north bringing forth new growth until June 21, Summer Solstice, the first harvest of life the marvelous sun brought.
Tuning into the seasonal activities, the wheel of life connects you with the universal rhythm. Life is continuously changing, evolving, dieing, and being re-born. Winter is fading and releasing the emptiness. Spring has sprung, seeds begin to open up, and soon they will become solid forms. Now, it is a time when the sun begins to spread more light releasing energy, bringing new life to the earth. The upcoming Spring Equinox reminds us to stay in balance while the shifting occurs. Life takes on an added dimension when you match your activities with the changing season, and follow the Laws of Nature.
We came to earth in physical form to experience life, creating bonds through thought and touch. Every experience lived, positive or negative, becomes part of who you are, making you a stronger person within yourself, affecting all who enter your life.
On the Celtic Calendar March 18 to April 14 is the month of the Alder tree which is ranked second from the top, the Chieftain in the ‘Cad Gaddeu, better known as The Battle of the Trees’.
ALDERS IN THE FRONT LINE
BEGAN THE AFFRAY
The alder tree thrived near bodies of water. The black bark will produce a red dye, and the flowers will produce a green dye. The tree was known for its broad leaves. The personality of the alder tree is ambitious, opposite impulsive.
The alder tree represented the elemental force fire. At the spring vernal equinox, the tree would be the first to bloom. In God form, the tree is known as Bran, the blessed. There was a legend that stated Bran woke from his nightly dream. A Goddess of great beauty stood before him. He held in his hand a silver branch from an Alder tree. The Goddess requested Bran to voyage with her to the Otherworld. Once he agrees the silver alder branch leaps from his hand to hers. Together they set sail.
Picture courtesy of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alder
In the Tarot the alder tree represents the Major Arcana card Strength; a message to calm animal tendencies by using a gentle hand to calm the situation. Strength is accomplished when one understands the process of change takes time, and that every day brings newness.
Strength represents rulership and control of one’s self, having the courage in life to move forward with patience and perseverance. Exercise one’s power by influencing without being judgmental. Understand self, the person or situation without pity or anger. Open the heart to the truth, why are you where you are today? What choices were made leading to where you stand? Take responsibility for your part.
Venture to a stream, or anywhere close to water, to find an Alder tree and summon the wood spirit who resides to share their strength blending the energies to help continue building solid foundations. When you find what you seek knock three times upon the trunk and request, Spirit of the wood, say I summon thee requesting you appear. Then wrap both arms around the trunk to blend the energies. Relax for a few minutes breathing in through the nose, releasing out the mouth. When becoming calm, close your eyes, empty your mind and stay still till you receive a message. Before leaving thank the Alder tree for sharing their energies. Leave a small creature a treat under a leaf at the base of the trunk.
Each major arcane card stands for a stage on life’s journey that one must experience.
March 18 - April 14 - The Alder Tree, Godform Bran, ambitious and impulsive, Tarot equivalent Strength. Life Lesson – temper self with tolerance and patience despite all set backs, don’t dissipate strength through anger.
The tale of Bran and The Great River Crossing, a great king, avenger of his sister Branwedd, a true Celtic hero.
Long ago in the Land of the Mighty lived four brothers and their beautiful sister, Branwen. Each brother held a great power. Manawyden was known to be dutiful and noble; Nissyen was honest and known for making peace; the youngest, Envissyen, was always creating trouble and known as a mischiefmaker. Bran, the eldest, was king and keeper of the cauldron of re-birth. His cauldron had the ability to return dead soldiers back to life form.
The King of the Otherworld, Matholwch, sailed to the Mighty Land to request Branwen’s hand in marriage. Bran believed with his heart and mind, that the union between the two would be good for the people of both countries. The King agreed and a great celebration took place. After the hand-fasting the people danced, while eating, into the wee hours of the morning.
While Matholwch and his bride slept, her brother, Envissyen, returned from his travels. The caretaker told of the union which had taken place. Envissyen was enraged for not being included in such an important decision. Using the excuse that he was defending his sister’s honor, he slaughtered all her new husband’s horses that had been resting in the stables.
The two kings woke to the news of the horrible deed. Matchlock was shocked. He ordered his ships to be prepared to sail right away. Bran, trying to make amends, sent his men to offer his brother-in-law a choice of the finest horses, including a handsome sum of gold and silver. Matchlock went to meet with Bran for compensation. Bran gifted the king of the Otherworld the cauldron of re-birth.
Branwen and Matholwch lived happily and the people of his land accepted his bride. A year later their heir, Gwern, was born. Not feeling the gift of the cauldron was enough Matholwch’s advisors and close friends sat back plotting their revenge. After months of poking, prying and giving their opinions, they finally convinced Matholwch that the king of the Otherworld had not paid enough for his brother-in-law’s offense. His beautiful bride and Queen was taken from him. His advisers ordered her to be treated worse than an enemy could have imagined.
Branwen suffered for three years, finally shape-shifting into a starling, a symbol of family communication, she returned to her homeland to tell her brothers of her hardship. Matholwch, hearing of Bran’s rage for the mistreatment of his sister, burned the bridge between the two islands. Legend states that Bran carried his army and ships on his back across the water.
Matholwch watched, and as the troops arrived, he surrendered, promising to treat his wife with love and affection. He also agreed to pass the crown to his son, Gwern, to rule. Bran wanted more. The king of the Otherworld then told Bran he would build him and his men a luxury castle. Bran agreed. Peace ruled once more, or so it seemed.
The castle was close to completion when Envissyen, with Bran’s army, went inside to inspect. There, built into the mortar in each corner, soldiers waited to destroy his brother. Envissyen took the life force from each, one by one. Before the crown could be placed upon Gwern’s head, Envissyen, also suspicious of this offer, grabbed Branwen’s son tossing him into the burning fire. Branwen leapt to save her son only to be blocked by the war breaking out between the two armies.
Bran attempted to protect his sister and his land. Matholwch’s army continued to grow in numbers. The gift, the cauldron of re-birth, was being used to bring the soldiers to life. Once slain, the soldiers would be tossed inside to be reborn. Bran’s army continued to be outnumbered.
Envissyen, pretending to be a dead soldier, gained entry. Once inside he stretched himself until the cauldron cracked open. When the war was over all but seven kinsmen perished. Bran himself was injured in the heel by a poisonous spear. He commanded one of the seven to chop off his head, then carry the head to the White Hill in London. The kinsmen buried him facing France to protect against invaders.
On the journey, Bran’s skull related the knowledge of the cauldron’s secrets to his sister, Branwen, The Legend states that Branwen died shortly after her brother of a broken heart.
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