Rowan – Calling – Six of Hardwoods (Swords)

Genus: Sorbus – Family: Rosacea

Rowan encourages us to listen to the call in our heart even if it means making difficult decisions that could result in leaving something or someone we love. Remember that endings are also beginnings.

The European rowan, Sorbis aucuparia, known as the “traveler’s tree,” was believed to help people from getting lost on their journey. The hard, dense wood of a rowan was used to carve walking sticks that supported those who followed their calling.

In the time of Plato, (Greek philosopher circa 428-348 BCE) the “sorb apple,” or fruit of the sorb tree, was eaten halved and pickled. In Plato’s Symposium, the sorb apple was a metaphor for cutting the original spherical nature of humans, as male and female, in half. This separation created the longing to find our other half or soul mate. Rowan calls us to seek our “better half.”

Rowan trees were planted in front of walkways to mark the place where one enters and leaves at the same time. This reminds us that as one door closes another immediately opens.

Rowans are native throughout the cool temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. They are medium-sized deciduous trees that can live to be 300-400 years old. Rowans, often called mountain ash, are unrelated to ash trees.

The name “rowan” stems from an old Germanic verb raud-inan meaning, “to redden” in reference to the rowans red berries. The traditional name for wild rowan was “service-tree” (Sorbus domestica)or “service-berry.” The genus name Sorbus, is Latin for “red or reddish brown” that was used to describe the fruit. When translated into English, sorb tree became service tree, which is unrelated to the verb “serve.” This process of naming the Rowan tree reminds us that one’s true calling is rarely a straight or easy journey.

Message: The rowan encourages us to keep moving in the direction we have planned even though it may be breaking our heart. This calling will eventually lead us back to our self. In Jungian psychology, this calling is known as individuation, where we subconsciously separate our self from our soul at an early age in order to create our own unique identity, along the way we eventually long to feel whole again and begin searching for our other half. This reunion of the self and soul is a conscious journey that requires us to make peace with the unconscious shadows of our self.

Challenge: Unwilling to travel or explore new places or realms. Feeling cast out and isolated, potentially self-destructive.