Which Witch

Rowan Berries
Rowan Berries

Google thinks Rowan (Mountain Ash) berries are edible, but he doesn’t advise eating them. They taste terrible. They have more vitamin C than Lemons and you can tell straight away. The best I could find was a recipe for Rowan jelly, I assume it’s a bit like Crab Apple jelly. Crab Apples are a fruit that you wonder why the tree bothered. They are hard and bitter. They may not poison you but they try their best. I’m guessing that Rowan Berry jelly will be the same – you need to use loads of sugar and even then it makes a better accompaniment to savouries than a jam. Perhaps like having Apple Sauce with pork, for instance.

But it’s as a protection against witchcraft that Rowan really comes in to its own. A house with a Rowan growing nearby is protected against all sorts of things that go bump in the night. If you want to upgrade to the ‘Pro’ version though, it isn’t so straight forward. Pieces of Rowan tree must be placed carefully over the front door of the house, the door to the cowshed and pigsty too. They must be put there by an unknown person who must not speak to anyone when he comes to do the job. The branches should not really be cut with a knife but a kitchen or other household knife is acceptable. The branches must be cut from a Rowan tree that the branch collector did not know existed and, having found his tree and cut his branch he must return home by a different route.

As all this had to happen on St Helen’s Day, around the beginning of May. The countryside must have looked like Piccadilly Circus on that day.

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