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Have you ever seen...
you must have!
That flash of flame
at water's edge.
Bird-loved berries 
burning delicate frame.
There was no hiding
from the heat
which so swiftly came.
And through the walls 
between the worlds,
I heard my name...


Perched on the edge, their stick slender and strong beneath their hand, black cloak tattered along the edges by the winds, flame-haired Quickbeam watched over the traveller approaching the gate below.

“Why?” They called out. The traveller looked up, startled.

“Why what?” He replied.

“Why are you travelling?” Quickbeam clarified.

Quickbeam always asked, before unlocking that gate between the mountains. Only one reason sufficed, from any traveller, one and only one was acceptable; that they had a purpose. It didn’t matter which, as long as there was something. 

And there always was. 

To find healing, knowledge, adventure. To escape hardship, or success. To discover one’s self. To simply move and breathe and be. There was always a reason. And better, knew Quickbeam, if it were a guiding spark that offered hope when the going got tough. 

“I… I don’t know.” Replied the traveller.

Quickbeam grinned, beckoning him to sit upon the ledge beside them awhile, berry-tinted mead at the ready.

“Then you’d better stay with me until you do.”


Latin Name: Sorbus aucuparia

Other Names: Mountain Ash, Quickbeam.

Edible: Berries contain vitamin C (dried or cooked, do not eat fresh berries.)

Herbal Properties: Astringent, Antirheumatic, Diuretic, Laxative, Antiscorbutic, Emmenagogue, Aperitive, Hypoglycemic. Used to treat for candidiasis, kidney disease, sore throat, period pains, diarrhea and hemorrhoids. Also reducing inflammation, especially of respiratory system, and increasing metabolism.

Contraindications: Avoid during pregnancy. Excessive use may cause vomiting, do not eat fresh berries. (Ask a professional before use… I am not a doctor!)

Magical Properties: Strongly protective, especially of the home. Rowan and red thread together are a traditional protective charm against magic and bad luck. Psychic power, divination and healing, an all-round magical booster. Creativity, success and transformation through its association with fire. Opens the gateway to otherworlds. The second tree in the Ogham tree alphabet. 

Historical Notes: There were often taboos against using the wood, or cutting it with a knife. Twigs were bound into an equal armed cross for protection woven with thread (Brigid’s Crosses), or used to divine for metals. Rowan berry jelly is traditionally eaten with game meats in Scotland, and the berries are used in various alcoholic drinks.

Physical Properties: Red berries have a pentagram on the base. The wood is resilient and its strength lends it to making good walking sticks. As the trees are small it is used accordingly, for handles, spindles and spinning wheels, traditionally. The bark and berries can make a black dye.

Clues for Identification: Clusters of flowers in spring, bright red berries in autumn. Leaflets in sets with pairs opposite each other and one at the tip (similar to ash). Small tree, can grow in silly places like cliff ledges.


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Over to you in the comments. Tell me why you’re travelling… And what do you know of the Quicksilver tree?

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