Alder Tree Symbolism and Meanings

 9 min read

Alder trees have been significant to various cultures for centuries because of their strong protective capabilities. In Irish, Welsh, and Greek mythology, the alder is seen as a sacred tree that can guard against negative energy and is also representative of confidence, courage, and strength.

Alder trees offer a sense of hope and renewal and are significant in many cultures which are believed to have the power to bring new life into existence.

The alder’s relationship with nature is both complex and dynamic: his roots provide much-needed nitrogen to nourish the earth, and his wood does not burn easily but creates charcoal perfectly, on land his timber seems weak yet it becomes almost indestructible when submerged in water which is a sign of strength to face hardships.

Many people don’t know that alder trees have deep symbolism associated with them and in this article, we will talk about alder trees and their symbolism and meanings.

The alder tree symbolism include the following: protection, confidence, courage, land healing, balance of masculine and feminine energy, resurrection and rebirth.

Symbolism:Protection, confidence, courage, land healing, balance of masculine and feminine energy, resurrection and rebirth.
Divine Associations:Bran (Welsh), Phoroneus (Greek), Apollo, Odin, King Arthur
Astrological Association:Neptune

Alder Tree Symbolism in History

The alder tree has a rich history of symbolic meaning in a variety of cultures and religions.

Alder Tree Symbolism in Celtic Mythology

In Celtic mythology, alder trees were often associated with the Otherworld, a realm inhabited by spirits and deities.

The alder is linked to the Welsh deity known as Bran. According to legend, Bran uses his giant cauldron to resurrect the dead. (However, it is said that once they are resurrected, they can no longer speak but can communicate through gestures.)

The alder tree, according to myth, may be utilized by historians or mediums who are interested in connecting with humans who are no longer in physical form.

People have been observed sitting in quiet meditation beneath an alder tree or absorbing the flower essence for this purpose.

Alder Tree Symbolism in Norse Mythology

Alders are sturdy trees and are often associated with fire in Norse mythology as they are one of the first trees to regrow after a forest fire.

Alder trees have long been feared by those looking to build near them, as it was said that houses built near Alders were more likely to catch fire.

They are also a tree associated with witches, as it was believed that they would make flutes out of the wood to summon the North Wind.

Despite these spooky connotations, Alders are actually quite sturdy and resilient – often being seen as a symbol of vitality, good health and strength in difficult circumstances.

Alder Tree Symbolism in Christianity Religion

In Christian traditions, alders symbolize mourning and grief due to their tendency to grow near places where graves are located.

Additionally, alders were thought to have a special connection with water and were often planted near river side or lakes to protect against floods and aid in navigation.

Overall, the alder tree represents renewal, protection, and spiritual connection.

Alder Tree as a Symbol of Change

Alder Tree
Alder Tree

The Alder tree is often seen as a symbol of change and transformation. Alder also can transform nitrogen in the soil, making it more fertile for other plants to grow. This knack for regeneration and renewal further adds to Alder’s symbolism of change.

Additionally, Alder wood has been used for centuries in various cultural traditions for items associated with transitions, such as masks and marriage bed frames.

The next time you see an Alder tree, consider its symbolic significance or perhaps even use it as a metaphor for personal growth and transformation.

Alder Tree as a Symbol of New Beginnings

Alder trees have long been seen as symbols of new beginnings and renewal. Alder wood is associated with emotional healing and strength, making it a common choice for tools used in witchcraft and shamanic rituals.

In nature, Alder trees are often some of the first plants to grow on recently disturbed or burnt ground, quickly stabilizing soil and providing habitat for other wildlife.

Alder’s reputation as a symbol of new beginnings is well-earned – not only in myth and folklore but also in its powerful impact on the natural world. Alder trees truly exemplify renewal and rebirth in all aspects of their being.

Alder Tree Tattoo Meaning

In Celtic traditions, alder represents depth and strength, as well as a connection to the Otherworld. For some Native American tribes, alder signifies a transformation or rebirth, due to the way the tree recovers after a fire burns away its old growth. In Norse mythology, alder wood was used to construct Viking longships, symbolizing courage and exploration.

A tattoo of an alder tree may represent any of these meanings, or a personal connection to the symbolism associated with the tree.

However, it’s important to note that a tattoo should always have a deeply personal significance for the individual – do your research and ensure that this is truly a symbol you want permanently displayed on your body.

Folklore, Myth and Symbol of Alder Trees

Alder Tree Branches
Alder Tree Branches

The alder tree is sacred to Phoroneus in the Greek tradition. In German tradition, the Alder Woman appears as a seductive woman. But she can turn into a hairy or bark-like creature if she wants to teach someone a lesson.

In the Wolfdietrich Saga, she is a haggard-looking woman known as “Rough Else”. She bewitches the hero who goes mad (just like Merlin in Welsh mythology) and lives in the forest for six months eating plants.

Then, with him on board, she travels to another country where she is queen. She bathes herself in a magical well that transforms her into the most beautiful woman imaginable, becoming Sigeminne, which means “Victory of Love”.

The Alder Woman’s story is reminiscent of an ancient Celtic goddess who marries a mortal king. Like the goddess, she is the spirit of her surrounding land.

This connection to the land also appears in the alder’s Greek name, klethra, which comes from kleio meaning “I embrace, I surround.”

According to Welsh legend, King Bran (meaning “Raven”) was compelled to go to war against Ireland to rescue his sister, Branwen. Mortally wounded, he ordered his loyal followers to remove his head and then sang and made prophecies after dying.

After seven years, the head was buried at the site where the Tower of London now stands, and it is said that this explains why there are ravens there today.

Robin Hood and other outlaws reportedly dyed their clothes green with a dye made from alder to become less conspicuous in the forest.

The Alder Tree in Today’s Society

There are about 35 types of trees and shrubs in the Alnus genus and they are mostly found in northern temperate regions.

The male catkins hang down and are drooping, while the female catkins are short and turn into woody cones later on. The common alder tree is found near lakes, rivers, and wetlands.

Its bark is smooth and greenish brown when young, but it turns a very dark brown or grey as it gets older and the bark becomes deeply fissured. The empty cones often stay on the tree throughout winter, while the seeds fly off or float away on the water.

Alder trees develop terrific character as they age, with wide trunks. Some of the oldest alder trees in Europe are located in Sheepscombe, Gloucestershire, England.

Young alder leaves ooze stickiness and boast a spectrum of colors, from purplish red to bright green.

Practical Uses

Alder wood, which is high in protein, is not frequently utilized in construction since it attracts woodworm. However, underwater, it shines when it comes to durability.

Alder poles are commonly used as foundation supports for riverside or lakeside buildings and bridges. Traditionally, this timber was also employed for water pipes, pumps, and sluices as well as charcoal.

Natural Healing

It was customary in European herbal medicine for country people to use alder bark to treat inflammations, rheumatism, and diarrhea.

Heated alder leaf bags were reported to help with chronic skin problems as well as gargles made from the leaves and bark that helped cure mouth ulcers. The tree essence is energizing and also relaxes tension and anxiety.


Are Alders Tree Protected?

Alder Tree Pine Cones
Alder Tree Pine Cones

Alder trees are protected under certain circumstances, as they are considered an important species for wildlife and ecosystem health.

In the Pacific Northwest, for example, alder trees are a crucial food source for mammals such as deer and elk. They are also important for birds and insects, providing nesting material and food sources.

Because of this, cutting down alder trees without permits or proper management plans can be illegal in certain areas. However, it’s important to note that not all alder trees are protected; non-native species may not have the same ecological value and can be harvested sustainably.

It’s important to research local regulations and familiarize oneself with the specific types of alders in a given area before removing or altering them in any way.

Overall, protecting native alder tree populations is vital for maintaining healthy ecosystems.

What Does Ogham Mean?

The Celtic tree calendar falls between March 18- April 14, and the fourth consonant in Ogham is known as Fearn. This old language is represented by a vertical line with three horizontal lines from it pointing to the right.

Ogham, also sometimes referred to as “Celtic Tree Alphabet,” is an ancient system of writing found primarily in Ireland and dating back to the 4th century.

Each character represents a letter, but they are written along a central line rather than as individual letters on a page. In addition to being used for communication, ogham was also used as a method of divination or fortune-telling.

Each ogham character corresponds to a tree or plant, and what character is chosen for divination can provide insights into the question at hand.

Though it fell out of use following the spread of Christianity in Ireland, ogham has experienced a revival in recent years with interest in Celtic culture and history.


The alder tree is a symbol of strength and protection. It can also represent new beginnings and renewal.

If you are looking for a way to express these ideas, consider using the alder tree as your symbol.