“Stranger,
here you will do well to linger; here our highest good is pleasure”
Epicurus

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Tree of Life

November 4, 2019

The Autumn season is well and truly upon us, but despite the cold and dark evenings our gardens and hedgerows are still dotted with late blooming flora and for those who seek it, the last of the year’s crop of fruit.

A group of trees which are particularly heavily laden at the moment with their bright, vibrant red berries are the Rowan, Mountain Ash and Whitebeam, all of which come from the Sorbus genus of the rose (Rosaceae) family They were popular additions to the painstakingly landscaped gardens of the Georgians but today they are more commonplace as ornamental plantings on roadsides and in parks and can be rather overlooked with their bitter berries often left to fall and rot under foot.

In fact they have a long and sacred history and the Rowan was highly revered as the ‘Tree of Life’ by ancient civilisations including the Celts and the Romans. They would be planted near to dwellings in order to summon courage, wisdom and protection and were seen as a force for creation. Look closely and embedded onto the bottom of every berry is the ancient protective symbol of the pentagram.

The berries are at their most vivid at this time of year and indeed, red has traditionally been considered the most protective of colours. The berries are perfectly edible once cooked and are considered a super food with a long list of health benefits as a natural remedy.

Easily foraged, this misunderstood fruit can be preserved as a jam, jelly or country wine and enjoyed throughout the cold Winter months.