The Advice of Fearn

The tree associated with fearn is the alder (Alnus glutinosa) and the meanings associated with it are advice, oracules, protection and guidance. It’s the protection that comes with good advice, friends and family that’ll look out for you and give you shelter if you need it. If you find yourself unsure or confused, you may seek out counsel, perhaps from other people that you know, or perhaps from other ways of knowing that we are not used to, something slightly more intuitive. We have the habit of thinking that the conscious mind is all there is to “who we are”, but there are other insights and resources within us that we haven’t tapped into. An aperture apears in the limits of identity and knowledge, and we find solisism isn’t an option in this world of many different beings.

If ever my pride gets in the way of listening, I shall endeavour to remember fearn‘s advice!


Today’s meditation gave me an insight about the first five fews (the first aicme), beith, luis, fearn, saille and nuin. There is a sense here that corresponds with the process of individuation. First we begin with beith, starting on the journey, being purified and initiated for it. Next comes luis which offers us some protection and definition of a psychological/psychic kind. We could say that the individual has begun to define themselves through the ego. Next comes fearn; now that we have defined self we can come face to face with other. This can be other people or, since I mention the ego, the unconscious. The ego must begin  to reach out and define its relationships with other and become conscious of the unconscious – the latter is achieved with saille, which provides “non-rational” ways of knowing, through dreams, symbols and art (which may be confusing without the protection and guidance of luis and fearn, self and other). The ego learns to be more flexible and fluid, following its intuition. Next nuin gives a link of communication and a synthesis between conscious and unconscious, self and other. Nuin can sometimes be found after luis, so we may say that the process of linking started then, but it is fulfilled at the end. It’ll be interesting to see how this process is reflected through the other aicmes.

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2 thoughts on “The Advice of Fearn

  1. If you haven’t, its worth poking about in the relationship between alder and water – they create swamps if left to their own devices, and they don’t rot when wet, Venice is built on alder! According to Kipling it was a popular wood for shoes, as well. Given the association between water and intuition, that has some interesting possibilities to it, i think.

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