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Thursday, 26 September 2013

Green Man Tree Oracle: Alder

Green Man Tree Oracle
I don't have any personal associations with alder trees. I am not familiar with them. It is not a native species to North America, so I've read, but was brought there in colonial times. It is native to Britain, and occurs throughout most of Europe, but in America, it is naturalized only to the northeastern USA and eastern Canada. Chances are I never saw one in my childhood, and I certainly never heard anyone referring to an 'alder tree'.

So I am entirely dependent on the companion book for ideas. John Matthews writes in the companion book to Green Man Tree Oracle that the Alder card represents defending your territory or keeping the way clear before you.

I found a lovely page about the alder tree at
Goddess Tree: Alder. It provides lore about alder trees gathered from several sources, with citations.

All the sources agree that the alder tree has something to do with battle and defense. So, that would have to be my interpretation, though I have to say the sleepy, sorrowful looking green man in this card doesn't make me think of battle and defense. I notice a standing stone next to the tree on which is carved a raven, which is associated with the alder, apparently.

In a drawing, I suppose I would say this card suggests keeping defenses up, setting clear boundaries, but if I hadn't done this bit of research first, I would have been at a loss, as I have no personal associations with this tree.

While I've found it interesting to look into the tree lore and I think the cards are lovely, this deck is probably never going to be one I turn to regularly. I'm glad I've got it, though.


  1. It might have helped if they'd included a bridge and a shield, things associated with the alder. On the other hand, that would have taken away from the beauty of the tree, suggesting cutting it down... I found it interesting to read about the tree appearing to "bleed". As you've said, this is interesting stuff to learn about, but unless I cemented that learning somehow, I would need to put keywords or something on these cards :/

    1. I know what you mean, but like you I'm not going to write on them. I just probably wont' use them. Shame.

    2. Well, at least we can still sometimes pull them out and admire them :D