ritual and celebration burning

Superstition prevents most people from burning alder for purpose of ritual though some may place sprigs of alder into a fire at Samhain while thinking of someone passed on. Some folks believe the alder twigs call upon the spirit of the person remembered, but remember the Alder mythology of handling the consequences when we command.

wands and staves

Mythology and superstition still stands that only druids, priests and undertakers can hold alder woods and staves. Alders were once used to measure bodies for burials. Anyone else touching the cut wood was said to be cursed with bad omens.

One exception, though the wood is not a stave, is when alder is hollowed to provide a sound box for a harper's harp.


Alder sprigs are often carried on boats to protect the skipper and crew on sea and on inland water journeys, and to guide their way. At sea some believe Manannan Mac Lír is the protector of those who carry Alder with them.

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