The Old Corpse Road Folklore Collective
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A Druid sacred herb. The Celts passed it through the smoke of the summer solstice fire, then wore it into battle for invincibility. The people of Scotland wore it as a charm against faery influence.
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.
Roses attract the Faery to a garden. Their sweet scent will lure elemental spirits to take up residence close by. Roses can be used in Faery love spells. When performing the spell, sprinkle rose pet als under your feet and dance softly upon them
or Great Sallow - Deciduous shrubs and small trees of the northern hemisphere, of several varieties. They have downy leaves and twigs and bloom from March to May with fuzzy catkins that appear before the leaves. Pussy willows needs sun and good soil. They grow wild beside roads and streams, in marshes and at woodland edges.
When planted in a garden or hung dried on the front door, primroses will attract the company of Faeries. If you have them growing under your care, do not let them die! The Faery will be deeply offended by your carelessness.
Honey fungus or Armillaria is a genus of parasitic fungi that live on trees and woody shrubs. It includes about 10 species formerly lumped together as A. mellea.
Armillaria is long lived and form some of the largest living organisms in the world. The largest single organism (of the species Armillaria ostoyae) covers more than 3.4 square miles (8.9 km²) and is thousands of years old. Some species of Armillaria are bioluminescent and may be responsible for the phenomena known as foxfire and perhaps will o' the wisp.
As a forest pathogen, Armillaria can be very destructive. It is responsible for the "white rot" root disease (see below) of forests and is distinguished from Tricholoma (mycorrhizal) by this parasitic nature. Its high destructiveness comes from the fact that, unlike most parasites, it doesn't need to moderate its growth in order to avoid killing its host, since it will continue to thrive on the dead material.
Bioluminescent Honey fungusAmong European rural people, especially in Gaelic, Slavic and Germanic folk cultures, the Will-o'-the-wisps are held to be mischievous spirits of the dead or other supernatural beings attempting to lead travellers astray (compare Puck). Sometimes they are believed to be the spirits of unbaptized or stillborn children, flitting between heaven and hell. Other names are Jack O' Lantern, or Joan of the Wad, Jenny Burn-tail, Kitty wi' the Whisp, or Spunkie.
Anybody seeing this phenomena might merely have been seeing, without knowing, a luminescing Barn Owl, at least in some instances. As strange as it may seem, much anecdotal evidence supports the fact that Barn Owls have a luminescence which may be due to fungal bioluminescence (Honey fungus) or some other cause.
The ivy is not considered a tree, but depends on a host tree for support. Ivy belongs to the evergreen family, and oversees the month of September. It's leaves are deep green and rather waxy, and it has thin tendrils that attach themselves to surfaces, and are strong enough to force their way into bricks, cracks, and plaster. Ivy can grow in such abundance on a host tree that it smothers the tree and actually kills it.
Ivy berries can be used for medicinal purposes, but can be poisonous if taken In large quantities. A broth of fresh leaves can be used to cleanse sores or wounds. A powder made from dried leaves and berries can be used to clear stuffy heads, and is also believed to be a cure for hangovers.
The Ivy was considered to be a very powerful tree to the Celts because of its ability to kill even the mightiest Oak tree. Because of its tendency to create dense, inpenetrable thickets in the forest, it is seen as more powerful than the vine, and rather sinister in nature.