May 13th - June 9th
Letter : H
Animal : Dragon, Goat, Night crow, Blackbird, Owl
Color: Purple, Dark blue
Flower: Wood Sorrel
Lore and Legend
Hawthorn is the first tree of the second Aicme, it is one of the peasant trees.It is always connected to the faeries and is considered highly sacred in many communities across Britain and Ireland. A lone hawthorn tree, growing on a hill is a portal to the world of faery, and the faeries will get angry and punish those who harm the tree.
The Hawthorn tree is often associated with periods of testing and challenge. Its dual nature, of flowers and sharp thorns, relates it to traditions of the triple goddess who is seen as both beautiful and kind, as well as cruel and harsh. Hawthorns are also often guardians of sacred springs and wells, demanding the very best behavior from all mortals who are in their presence.
This tree is also associated with the festival of Beltane, as it flowers during this season and is traditionally used as the crown of the May Queen, the personification of the Goddess.
The Hawthorn teaches that the Queen of the May is not easily won, and can only ever wed the Oak King. To win her as your beautiful bride entails successful completion of many tasks and the surmounting of seemingly impossible challenges. The prize is the Goddess herself, the sacredness of the land, and the highest possible achievement and honor.
Challenges of worthiness do not come when we are strong and at ease; they are unexpected, and strike when energy is down and when we are disempowered. The challenge is always to retrieve that power, despite „the whitening of the face“, when we literally blanch at what is before us.
Despite the challenges that the hawthorn represents, it is also highly protective, of the small animals that shelter in its thicket, as well as all people suffering vulnerability of any kind.
It is sacred not only to brides and virgins, but women in childbirth as well, who are all protected by its fierce thorns, physically or magically, the ultimate sacred enclosure within a woman’s body, only the good and truly worthy may enter.
In the Arthurian sagas there is a story about Sir Gawain marrying a hag called Dame Ragnell. He must answer the ancient riddle „what does a woman truly want?“ The answer is „sovereignty over herself.“ When Gawain accepts his bride’s right to her own self-determination, she changes into a beautiful maiden. This is the teaching of the hawthorn; the law of sacredness demands respect. The hawthorn also has association with the heart, and it is this knowing one’s own heart that is the key to its mastery; allowing the beloved to be true to their heart, and being true to your own as well.
The hawthorn is also connected to erotic desire, for the wonders of lovemaking, conception, and childbirth. For the Celts there was no shame attached to these natural processes. They were respected as an essential part of life, and as a sacred expression of the human capacity for love.
Unlike today, Beltane was not considered as a time for wedding for the Celts, this time was traditionally when divorces were made. If you could make your marriage pass the tests of May, and the hawthorn, then it was a worthy match indeed.
Hawthorn has also another role in her Crone aspect. Traditionally hawthorn was used to clear away negative energy, for example it was custom to plant a hawthorn near where an accident or death had occurred, to remove the negative influence on the land. Sacred to the Macha, an Irish Crone Goddess, the water used to wash a dead body was also sometimes taken and poured at the roots of hawthorn trees.
Its association with the Crone, as well as its connections with passionate love and emotional commitment, are sadly still considered frightful to some repressed psyches.
The ability to handle the surges of energy, wildness and passion the hawthorn embodies is a sign of maturity and spiritual development, not by denying them, but by embracing these qualities. Wholeness and inner sovereignty can then be achieved.
The Hawthorn is also associated with the Welsh Goddess Olwen, it is said she once walked the empty universe and her white track of Hawthorn petals became the Milky Way.
Hawthorn flowers are very useful in love spells where the seeker intends to attract a suitable life partner. It is also useful for assisting connection with the goddess, especially goddesses of the spring such as Bloddeuwedd and Creiddylad. This connection with goddess energy helps a woman to improve her self-image and her self-esteem; for men the connection gives courage in love.
An old custom was that a young woman did break a twig of a newly flowered hawthorn but leave it hanging, and overnight she would dream of her future husband. If the twig was found the next day, it could then be used in a love spell to draw him near.
Crowns of hawthorn blossoms were worn at Beltane festivities and ceremonies, and it was once popular, especially in Ireland, to leave out such crowns as gifts to the fairies. In farmsteads relationships with faeries and spirits were encouraged to ensure good crops and safety for the animals. These agricultural faeries, often known as „brownies“ were thought to lend both their protection and assistance around the farm. To thank them, a globe of hawthorn twigs was hung in the kitchen near the hearth. However, a great many other folkloric tales say that hawthorn should never be brought into the home at all. What is sure is that it should never be worked with, without its express permission. In Ireland and some parts of Scotland, the so called faery thorns, are so sacred to the local inhabitants that roads or other building plans have been diverted to avoid their disturbance.
Hawthorns are intimately associated with healing, and are, as mentioned already, often found growing next to holy wells. These hawthorns are dressed with “clooties“, strips of cloth used as prayers of thanks. These cloths are dipped in the healing waters and used to lave the rich or those in need of a blessing, before the cloth is hung upon the tree.
Today this tradition has become confused; many nonbiodegradable ribbons and other ties are left at sacred places as so called offering that can actually harm the tree as they do not break down and restrict the trees growth, not to mention the littering. Remember that these are sacred places and should be honored appropriately and thoughtfully.
As sacred faery sites, hawthorn trees near wells or natural springs are places where the veil between the worlds is thin and interchange between the mortal and the spirit world is possible. They are also places of great earth energy, where the soul of the earth herself rises to the surface with the water. As such, they are excellent places to perform divination, healing magic, or to develop a relationship with the genii loci (spirit of the place). Just sit quietly beneath the hawthorn’s branches and rest your eyes upon the water. In time you may feel a presence or get a flash in your mind’s eye as the tree or the local guardian makes contact with you. Always thank the spirit and show great respect to it an its sacred domain.
Hawthorn twigs (fallen, never broken or cut) or a chain of hawthorn berries make excellent protection for animals and the beds of children and pregnant women. When magically charged, it can ease fears and anxieties and helps to heal a broken heart.
Carefully gather a few thorns from the tree.
On a piece of paper, write the name of the person or situation from which you seek protection, and then wrap it around the thorns. Bury this in the ground - if possible near the tree from which the thorns were collected.
Whispers from the Woods, by Sandra Kynes
The berries can be burned as an incense to encourage dynamism in your life. It can be used to build courage to develop initiatives and bring clarity and insight to problems.
A tea made from the flowers can encourage sight into Faerie and contact with otherworldly beings. You could also carry hawthorn berries or leaves in a pouch if you are troubled, depressed or sad in order to bring happiness, for that purpose you could mix it with lemon balm, for example.
Herbally, hawthorn is excellent for all nervous disorders and heart- related issues, both physically and emotionally. There are so many possibilities to use hawthorn medicinally, that a quick search on the internet will show you many results. You can use the berries, the blossoms and the flowers.
As a vibrational essence, the hawthorn lends courage through difficulties and creates movement through stuck emotions or repressed desires, instilling fresh emotional energy. It opens the heart to pleasure and intimacy, and it helps individuals lose fears of commitment. It lends energy to become grounded and more present, manifesting primal life force.
Hawthorn is a balancing herb, it brings a sense of stability and comfort, a safe place from which to open our heart and feel emotions fully without allowing ourselves to be knocked off balance by them. Hawthorn cleanses the heart of negativity and restores the ability to hope, trust and forgive, making it an excellent herb for those who feel that they have been battered and beaten by life.
Hawthorn suggests challenge in both positive and/or difficult ways. Use your growing energy to rise to a test. It may question your worthiness, and even if you fail, you will be nearer your goal than before. Hawthorn leaves you changed, transformed into something more real and capable than before. It shows you the truth of your heart. That truth may not always be pleasant but it is always worthwhile. You are encouraged to consider your boundaries and remember to respect the boundaries of others in equal measure. It can signify love, union and connection with the goddess if your heart is ready.
Understand that no matter how thorny a problem may be, you can use your spiritual strength to protect and guide you. You may also find that you can provide strength to those who depend on you.
Oak - Duir
June 10th - July 7th
Animal : White Horse, Salamander, Wren
Color : Black, Dark Brown, Gold
Flower : Coltsfoot
Lore and Legend
Oak is the primary chieftain tree, held above all others.
In earlier times the Elizabethan navy felled so many oaks to build their ships, that it almost became extinct until it became the first tree species to be protected by legislation.
We can find a famous ancient oak tree in Windsor Great Park, from which Herne the Hunter is said to ride out for the Wild Hunt every Samhain. There is also the Major Oak of Sherwood Forest where Robin Hood took refuge, and than there are also the famous oaks in Glastonbury, Gog and Magog, which bear the name of two ancient British giants.These ancient watchers were said to guard the gates of Avalon. Once, they formed the head of an avenue of oaks leading towards the Glastonbury Tor and believed to have been a ceremonial path used by the Druids.
A legend from Wales tells of 'Merlin's Oak' - a tree said to have been planted from an acorn by the Magician himself on the outskirts of Carmarthen, which is said to have been his birth-place. He laid on his tree a powerful spell of protection, which would bring disaster to the town if the tree were ever felled. The tree lived to a great age before it was struck by lightning and burned, but even then its blackened trunk was preserved behind railings for over a century. When it was eventually removed to make way for a roundabout, Carmarthan was badly flooded!
The name for oak in Irish, dara, or in the Ogham, duir, share the root for the word druid, which means „one with the wisdom of the oak“. Traditionally the druids’ grove was amongst oak trees, or it focused upon a single oak. The druid’s close association with the oak tree shows its significance as an access point to spirit and even deity, a signifier of the values they held dear. Sometimes it is even argued that druids worshipped the tree themselves. The oak was highly revered as representatives of the gods and severed as manifestation points and centers of focus for magic and spiritual practice.
The Oak King is also a well know representation of male sovereignty and the fertility god of the green world. The primary purpose of kingship is to protect and provide for the people, and using power in a responsible manner. This lesson was drawn from the Hawthorn, that we’ve discovered last week, from there comes the purpose for energy, development, and the right use of power earned from rising to the challenge of the goddess.
Duir means „door“ as well as „oak tree“, and oak groves are places where the otherworld, the sky world, and the world of earth meet. Oak trees are guardian spirits, providing the ability of shamanic flight between the worlds and encouraging spiritual development. At the same time, they provide stability and strength. They are father figures and guardians of the soul’s journey.
The Oak King is the King of summer, as such he is one half of the god’s dual nature, the other half being the Holly King, the hunter god of winter and the underworld.
Duir also means „rutting deer“, its root word deru developing into meaning „oak“, „door“, and „stag“.
There are connections between the oak, stags, various Celtic Gods, such as Cernunnos and Llew Llaw Gyffes, as well as several mysterious antlered goddesses.
With oak we have a symbol of kingship at the height of power and ability. That power is gained by holding and correctly wielding the life force, not by denying it.
It is also connected to the Celtic god of storms and lightning, Taranis, and to the god Thor.
Oak trees which have been hit by lightning are especially magical and of the greatest druidic significance.
Timber circles or woodhenges as for example Woodhenge close to Stonehenge in Wiltshire, were made of oak. At seahenge in Norfolk in the UK is a circular enclosure of oak posts enclosing an inverted oak stump which was clearly of ritual significance. These give testimony to the oak’s great importance as axis mundi or World Trees, the central point upon which all existence turn.
Perhaps the „henge“ structures were a representation of the gods themselves to both the Celts and their Neolithic ancestors, but we will probably never know that for sure.
You can use the acorns for love and fertility magic. Lovers used to place acorns in a bowl of water to see if they would stay together; if the acorns drifted apart, so would the couple in due time.
A spell from the fourteenth century to prevent unfaithfulness of wives was to place to halves of an acorn under a woman’s pillow.
You can wear an acorn necklace during your magic work to contact the oak’s great strength and sovereignty. Acorns are also useful to connect with the hunter gods and goddesses and those who are associated with lightning such as Thor, Taranis, Zeus, as well as Andraste, Brigidh, or Danu. Acorns are useful for contacting any ruler-type god, as the oak occupies such a central pivotal position in all tree magic. Oak, as both, the door and the guardian between realms, can be seen as a magical passport, offering access and protection to all realms.
Acorns can be used as charms to attract love, good luck, fertility, wealth, or security.
Carefully inscribe them with what you want to attract and leave them to do their work. After a while you can bury them, and they will continue to work as the tree grows or the acorn returns to the soil.
You can also burn the acorns, the leaves or the bark as an incense, either alone or in a blend for empowerment, divination, healing or journeying, or for love and money magic.
To protect yourself against storms and lightning you can inscribe acorns, or oak wood with the name Taranis.
Oak galls, or also called oak apples were used for divination to predict the fate of the nation as a whole. The gall was broken into at special times of the year, probably Beltane and Samhain, and its contents foretold what was to come for the following season. Ants inside foretold a good harvest, a spider meant pestilence, a maggot meant sickness, a worm famine, and a flying insect meant war.
Oaks are magically connected to the mistletoe. Mistletoe was called Druid-lus, the druid’s herb, as well as „all heal“ due its many healing and magical properties. These are thought to vary depending on what tree the mistletoes grows upon; mistletoe growing on the oak has different properties from mistletoe growing on any other tree it colonies, such as the apple tree.
The combination of oak and mistletoe in magical working lends extra power and manifestation potential, as well as extreme fertility. In earlier times mistletoe was hung over beds for fertility and to ensure healthy pregnancy, if you add oak, it will help with becoming a good parent and provider.
Oak wood helps center the mind, allowing it to focus on the task at hand and ignore distractions. Oak helps promote both observation and intuition. Oak magic inspires bravery, presence, leadership skills, prosperity, and strength.
I personally have oak leaves in my car to protect my travels.
You can use oak galls for healing or you can bind strips of bark into a bundle and ask the oak for its assistance as you tie it. Ask the tree to help you with healing, wether for yourself or another, and tell it what you need to happen. Ask for its advice as well as its magical assistance. Don’t forget to ask the tree’s permission first, and allow plenty of time for quiet so that you may hear its messages. The ball may then be charged in sunlight and worn by those in need of healing. When the work is done, the bundle or the gall, should be laid upon the the earth or buried so the illness can be earthed and transformed.
A foot wash made of oak leaf tea soothes weary feet and also helps one to find the right path through life. Water found in the trunk’s nooks is especially magical and would be understood as a vibrational essence today, but of course this water is not safe to drink.
As an vibrational essence, oak is a great empowerer, helpful to find the energy to fight against great difficulties without loss of hope or draining of energy. It applauds courage and can also instill it in those who are trying hard to endure.Oak can help you to discover your inner sovereignty by holding and developing your inner authority and mastery, leading to a greater ability for kindness and responsibility. It is also a powerful spirit ally that protects your connection across the worlds and keeps you grounded and present in the process.
Oak can also help if you have difficulties to reintegrate into ordinary reality after going into an alternate reality such as ritual, extended spiritual practice, meditation retreat, or shamanic journeying.
Oak teaches strength, security, and the ability to sustain growth over a long period of time, and through all kinds of circumstances. It encourages you to open the doors of your perception, that allow you to do and be more than you were before, in addition to assimilate this new way of being. Oak is a symbol of growth on all levels, materially, intellectually, emotionally, and spirituality via the connection in yourself between earth and sky, divinity and matter. As it is so closely connected to sovereignty, it encourages right action and being fully present and conscious of your actions, embodying wholeness and nobility.
Remember that duir means gate or door, so watch out for unexpected opportunities and take advantage of them. Oak may lead you to discoveries you may never have realised existed. Your journey may take many slow years or decades but the outcome will be worth it in the end. It reminds you to use your spiritual gifts and to have faith in the vision of what you are working towards.
It could also indicate a stubborn strength which resists and breaks in the storm.
Holly - Tinne
July 8th - August 4th
Animal: War Horse, Starling
Color: Dark Grey, Red
Lore and Legend
Holly is one of the seven chieftain trees. It was often used by the druids for solstice fires. It burns amongst the hottest of all trees and also makes particularly good charcoal; John Matthews refers to Holly as fires of coal, in his book „The Celtic Shaman“.
As it burns so hot, it was a preferred fuel for blacksmith’s fires when burned for the forging of swords, this gives us a clue to its fierce nature.
You can understand Holly’s fire as well on a metaphysical level; being fuel for the life force and leading to the illumination of the soul.
The holly’s use in smith craft links it with the Celtic smith God Govannon in Welsh tradition or Goibniu in Irish tradition, who possessed the mead or ales of eternal life, as well as the Saxon smith God Weyland.
These gods are associated with strength, endurance and the attainment of skill. Goibniu’s eternal-life-granting mead may also be a reference to his great life force and vitality.
These attributes are all within the distinct energies of the holly, which sees fertility and life force continue through the barren winter.
Robert Graves says that the Oak and the Holly are twin brothers, and when we look at the symbolic meaning of both trees it seems to be so.
We can also see the Holly as the shadowy counterpart to the oak king. As we saw already for the Oak, we know about the fight between the Holly King and the Oak King.
At the Summer Solstice the Oak King is killed, or sacrificed by the Holly King.
This cycle is often linked to the Goddess Creiddylad, she represents the Earth Goddess that the two suitors are fighting and dying for. The Holly King represents the time of darkness and the underworld. Creiddylad spends half of the year with one king, and half of the year with the other.
The cyclic struggle between these two halves is recorded in many ancient tales, including the tale of „Gawain and the Green Knight.“
The Green Knight enters Arthur's court at the New Year bearing a great bush of holly as his insignia. He and one of Arthur's knights, Sir Gawain, whose name means the Hawk of May, engage in a beheading contest. Gawain, who as his name suggests, symbolizes the waxing year, strikes off the head of the Green Knight, but the Knight, who is magically still alive, will do the same to him next time around meaning, no doubt, at summer's end.
The Holly King is primarily a sacrificial king: As a winter counterpart for the Oak King, he ensures the safety and provision for the tribes under his protection.
Tinne also means „link“, referring to it’s linking, pivotal position between the worlds, and here we see the similar symbolic with the Oak tree. The Holly King oversees those ways via its ability to raise the life force. Where the Holly King can be seen as an element of antlered gods like Cernunnos, we can see the horns as reflecting this rise in power and potency.
However, personally I see Cernunnos more as the Oak King, and Gwyn ap Nudd as the Holly King, as I feel with Gwyn ap Nudd we have a darker aspect, and he is associated with war, battle and death, just as the Holly.
As Holly is the lord of the Underworld, he is also connected to issues surrounding the shadow self. Fears and stuck patterns can threaten to overwhelm and destroy spiritual progress and magical development. Here holly lends the courage to persevere and face these issues.
The oak teaches us to handle responsibility, and with the holly this responsibility is seen to continue through a span of time, which brings new problems and matters of endurance through the inevitable lean times that always appear periodically, as well as the reaping of your actions, some of which may not be desirable.
The holly has the ability to withstand the harshest of weather, and its spiked evergreen leaves are testimony to its great life force and responsive and defensive capabilities.
Holly is also sacred to the gods Odin and Thor. Odin’s spear Gugnir was made of holly, and was said to never miss its target.
Before the Christmas tree came to England in the nineteenth century, a great ball of evergreens and holly berries hung in cottage or hall, decorated with ribbons, paper roses, apples and oranges.
In some parts of England and Germany, holly trees are referred to as 'he' and 'she', those with prickly-edged leaves being male, while the smooth-leafed variety signified a female tree. Whichever type was brought in determined whether the man or woman would rule the household in the coming year.
Holly was often paired with ivy, whose black berries symbolized night and darkness. In some regions, holly played the king and ivy his queen.
Holly is used for love and long-termed commitment spells.
If you want to bring in a husband or wife, collect nine holly leaves, at midnight, with clear intent and permission, in a square of white cloth. Make a libation to the holly tree and observe complete silence during collection and wrapping, and keep them under the pillow for at least a month.
It is said that a man, who carries holy leaves, is irresistible to women, perhaps because they were carrying the energy of the holly king or the antlered god with their robust and dark sexuality.
Holly wreaths were placed at the front door at the winter solstice, it is magically very protective, especially during the winter months when the appearance of its red berries shows its heightened life force, holly lends its great fiery and fertile energy to the house.
You should avoid to bring Rowan and Holly together in your house, as both are trees with a very fiery energy, and you want to avoid that a fire lights up.
If you cut holly without permission, its fierce spirit may turn against you.
Holly is also used in sleep magic to induce good dreams and cure insomnia.
You can place holly wood or leaves under your pillow for prophetic dreams or to gain wisdom, but you may also find yourself encountering aspects of the underworld or your own deep subconscious, so be prepared what it may reveal.
You can use holly wands for protection and in spells for legal success, or you can burn the leaves, which are also useful for protection, legal spells, courage, endurance and to attract success into any project.
It can also be useful for sexual magic, for example in long-term relationships where it may help to rekindle desires. Hang the holly over the bed, or burn it as an incense and it will help raise life force and libido, especially for men as its masculine, fiery energy will increase appetite and vigor.
The tiny white flowers of the holly, which bloom in May, were once thought to have the power to turn water to ice if sprinkled onto its surface.
Red Holly Berries symbolize the life-giving blood of the Mother Goddess. Gather three berries (or a multiple of three) and carry them in your hand to a body of water. As you say your incantation, drop the berries into the water. Visualize a circle of light surrounding you as you go through your spell. (adapted from Whispers from the Woods, by Sandra Kynes)
When planted around the home it protects the inhabitants and guards against lightening, poisoning and mischievous spirits. When confronted by wild animals throwing a stick of Holly at them would make them lie down and leave you alone.
Holly berries are mildly poisonous and dangerous to children.
It helps those troubled with suspicion, hatred, jealousy, anger and revenge by opening the heart and relieving those feelings. The essence of Holly can help with any negative emotions because it possesses a "power of peace."
Holly helps to deal with the challenges of the shadow self, it helps to overcome these difficulties and the feelings of fear, or insecurity that can accompany them by raising and freeing up the emotional energy. When you are able to release those difficult feelings, or inner turmoil, healing and a more positive outlook can eventually be achieved.
The root of those difficulties, though, isn't necessarily how other people treat us, but how we treat ourselves, how little we love ourselves sometimes. When we are cut off from the source of love, when we don't love ourselves unconditionally, when we judge ourselves as less than perfect and feel that we have flaws which make us undeserving of love it is easy to find evidence in the external world that how others love us is equally imperfect.
Dr. Bach said: "Holly protects us from everything that is not Universal Love. Holly opens the heart and unites us with Divine Love."
Holly invites the raising of internal energy to endure through difficulties and melt through the snows of winter in the soul’s life.
As we all go sometimes through periods of hardship, physically, emotionally, or spirituality, holly will encourage us to raise our life force and it ensures we will have the energy to make it through and bring illumination to our darkness.
Challenges will be overcome with unity and a harmonious effort. Just be sure that the cause is just. We must train and practice what we learn over and over again until our skills are instinctive. The need to learn daily is a must.
We have to cultivate our intuition until it is instinctive and then we will be able to respond to fast moving situations, and accept reality in the here and now. Like a chameleon, you must acquire the ability of slipping in and out of multiple behavior patterns. You must be able to respond to the situation and environment at hand.
It can also indicate a fresh start, a second chance, or a time of renewal and permanence, promising a fortified heart and a happier life. Parties and reunions lie ahead, just as the Holly tree enjoys winter while anticipating the spring.
Some may see this as the Justice card in the Tarot, as we must be aware of our actions and that there will always be a reaction, also the need for balance may indicate this. But we can also see this a bit like the Hanged Man of the Tarot, as holly represents personal sacrifice in order to gain something of greater value.
Other keywords for the Holly are: unifying strength, restored balance, restored direction, communication, unconditional love, and responsibility.
Hazel - Coll
August 5th - September 1st
Letter : C
Animal : Salmon, Crane
Color : Brown ( orange)
Flower : Vervain
Lore and Legend
Hazel is one of the chieftain trees and in earlier times, to fell it unlawfully incurred the death penalty. In Celtic tradition the hazel is associated with poetry and wisdom. This kind of poetry is not only concerned with writing stanzas and preserving Celtic lore, but with attainment of divine knowledge, and awareness of all things.
The Irish oracular poets, the fili, were renowned magical practitioners and seers. (And still today we often see, with Tarot or Oracle readers for example, that a lot of them have a huge interest in poetry and books.)
It is said that the Hazel holds all wisdom, or awen, within its nuts. Legend tells us that the nuts were consumed by the sacred salmon of wisdom, who dwelled in Connla’s well, this is a legendary place either under the sea or in the Otherworld. It's not clear where Connla was, but as recorded in the Dindsenchas it should have been near Tipperary in Ireland. This well is also known as Nechtan’s well and the well of Segais - the mythical source of all the rivers in Ireland. The salmon ate only nuts from the nine sacred hazel trees that surrounded the pool (notice the number nine again, as Hazel is also the ninth tree in the ogham). The salmon swam out to the sea and back again, transmitting this knowledge from spirit, the sea, to generation after generation via this magical process. Eating the salmon of wisdom lent knowledge of all arts and sciences, and this was the fate of the hero Fionn mac Cumhail, who is also connected to the hazel, as mythology tells us that the best Celtic warriors were educated in druidic wisdom. Fionn had a famous magical shield named „the dripping ancient hazel“ because it was cut from the hazel tree upon which the head of the god Balor of the evil eye had hung for fifty years dripping poison. Another druid warrior was Cuchulain, who stressed the wonder of this wisdom, calling it „the sweetest of woods“.
The Hazel tree is also sacred to Oengus mac Óg, the god of love and eloquence who carried a hazel wand. Oengus words, „friend of cracking“, suggest the hazel’s willingness to aid mortals in the cracking or dismantling of mental and/or spiritual programming to become able to flow in and out of all things, thus gaining divine wisdom.
Even today the term „in a nutshell“ means someone’s understanding of a subject being complete and simple in its summation. It is a tree that shows us the wisdom found in the micro- and macrocosmos, a single point of focus reflecting the whole of creation within it.
Scottish lore tells us, similar to the Irish legends, of a sacred well guarded by hazel trees in which two magical salmon lived. Those were so holy that to eat them would induce punishment by the gods, as the wisdom and power the fish held, was for them alone.
In British folklore, silver snakes are said to surround hazel roots. This is its vibrant life force, its awen, the ability to be connected and understand all things as swift as thought. This relates again to the words of Taliesien in the Fold of the Bards, where he says “I am a wiseman, I am a serpent.
When you meet a snake on your shamanic journey, you probably need to shed something in favor of something greater. The catkins of the Hazel may indeed remind us of a golden snake.
It is said to be under the rulership of Mercury, and there are many connections between the hazel and the god Mercury/Hermes, who oversees matters of communication and knowledge. Both these messenger gods carry a staff of hazel, sometimes depicted with ribbons or silver snakes wrapped around it. These silver snakes became the caduceus, the wand of the heaIer.
This leads us to the goddess Brigidh, who is, amongst other things, also known for her healing attributes. She is also the goddess of poetry and the home, and hazel is also sacred to her through her death rites and „keening“, ritualized mourning. Keening is …… to wail in lamentation, especially for the dead.
„Keening“ feature in the tale of the battle of Moytura, where Brighid keened for her son, here the hazel aided communication between life and death.
Hazels have a friendly, helpful, and clever attitude to poets and spiritual seekers, and if you want to contact trees, a hazel would be a good tree to start with.
Hazel wood is excellent for making all purpose magical wands, and especially for healing. A forked hazel stick is traditionally used to find water or buried treasure, the two forks representing the snakes or dual forces of life and death.
Dowsing rods can also help to detect lines of earth energy. These are also known as dragon currents or Ley lines, and they can bring health or illness, and attract many spirit presences. Places where these lines cross are often locations of sacred sites.
And again, before you cut off a stick, please ask the trees permission first and you can even explain to it, what you want to use the sticks for.
As hazel is sacred to the Irish god of love Oengus, as we saw before, they are used in many love and fertility spells. One spell for example involves wrapping hazel flowers, the catkins, in green or pink cloth, carrying them close to the heart before reciting an incantation to your love, and then burning the package in the hearth or over a pink or green candle.
Traditionally, hazel was sewn into Welsh sleeping caps to induce good and inspired dreams, as well as to make „thinking caps“ of woven hazel twigs.
Hazel is also protective against storms.Or you could for example drive three pins of hazel into the doorpost for protection against fire.
A necklace of nuts ,especially in multiples of the number 7, can be worn to attract the Faery Folk, otherwise hazelnut necklaces are thought to bring good luck into the house, and have also been found in prehistoric tombs.
The nuts have been chewed to induce poetic and magical inspiration, and insight.
If outside and in need of magical protection quickly draw a circle around yourself with a hazel branch. To enlist the aid of plant fairies, string hazelnuts on a cord and hang up in your house or ritual room.
Use the wood in your spells or magical work to gain knowledge, wisdom and poetic inspiration. It will also help you to provide artistic ability, magical knowledge, and optimism. The energy of hazel wands promote love and creativity allowing a person to move beyond self-serving modes of existence. Hazel is the bringer of change and also promotes creative expression and eloquence.
For protection of vegetables, seeds and fruit from magic folk as well as birds and insects, use a Hazel Wand to draw a cross with equal arms, followed by a heart then another cross into the soil.
The nuts are a good source of nutrition, as they are rich in healthy fatty acids, vitamins E and B, and numerous minerals.
Crosses made of hazel wood were once thought to draw poison from snake bites and to help cure toothache.
Energetically, the hazel’s swift and clever nature is essential in the pursuit of wisdom in the Celtic tradition. Its connection to the bardic mysteries obscures its excellent assistance in the creation and writing of effective magical spells. It is a pathway for druids to contact the awen. It teaches the way to eventually achieve divinity via the primal and perfect wisdom of the soul.
As a vibrational essence, hazel aids in releasing the sources of frustration and unhappiness by helping you to let go of expectations and patterns of thinking that cause doubt, fear and discontent. Focusing on the things you can control and releasing the things you can’t bring inner peace and calm. It will help you to unleash potential and support those undertaking a course of study and the development of skill. Hazel aids in finding the freedom to explore new directions and to follow your inspiration and it can also ease clear communication. Hazel can help to free us to let go of all limitations which restrict growth, advancement and potential unfolding. Liberated of the need to be in control of the direction and flow of our lives, we find joy and freedom in movement and spontaneity.
As we know by now, hazel embodies many talents; poetry, divination and the powers of meditation, a channel for creative energies, especially that which allows you to inspire or increase these capacities among others, through your work, interests and pursuits. The Hazel, in fact, allows you to be a catalyst of transformation.
Allow your intuition to bring ideas to the surface, because here, Coll suggests that you are skilled in poetry, divination and meditation and this will allow you to inspire others as well to increase their capacity in these areas. Teach them by example.
Go with your intuition all the way to the source and you will be rewarded with great wisdom.
It also asks you to stay flexible. This might be the beginning of a new stage in life.
When you get Coll in a reading it suggests that the time of divine inspiration is at hand.
You have endured the challenges and now radiant light breaks through the clouds, illuminating everything with meaning and beauty. By living in connection with our own souls, our inner and outer lives become gradually aligned. Yet, like the hazelnut, all this potential is held in a single point, the individual, until such time when it can manifest in the world. Thus we find balance between the self and creation. We are able to draw upon the whole as we choose. Often then, result is a joyful surrender to the greater All That Is - Illumination. Ultimately this signifies both the pursuit and the purpose of wisdom. Your evolution is at hand.
Apple - Quert
Associated with the time of Samhain, sometimes found with the September 2nd until September 29th
Animal : Unicorn, Hen
Color : Green, Yellow, Green Pink
Flower : /
Lore and Legend
Apple is one of the seven chieftain trees.
The letter Q, for Quert, is nonexistent in Old Irish, but it has been interpreted as referring to the old Irish word „ceirt „ or „rag“ as a reference to wandering lunatics, a recurring motif in Celtic myth.
Another association would be with the word „cu“ meaning wolf or hound, a synonym for the warrior. Both of these in this context refer to the individual’s ability to face death, physically or psychologically, and gain entry to the otherworld or altered states of consciousness before returning as a fully able being with new insight.
This connects the apple with the Cailleach, the old veiled one, the goddess as Crone in whose hands the human soul is taken from the world to return again renewed. One of her symbols is the five pointed star, the pentagram, which can be seen in the apple when cut in half, a testimony of the apple’s profound magical nature.
Another clue to its magical nature is, that it is said that unicorns are wandering beneath the apple trees.
The apple is referred as „shelter of lunatics“. Lunatics, like cow- and swineherds, in Celtic literature, occupy a mystical position, as they are often shapeshifters and beings of power, responsible for the protection of a tribe’s wealth.
In the tale of „The Táin“ we are told the story of two pigkeepers who fight each other.
The battling swineherds Friuch and Rucht argued and changed into many forms during their fight, birds, stags, phantoms, and dragons. They have casted wicked spells on each other, but neither was able to harm the other. Finally they settled as the famed brown and white bull.
This links to the shamanic divine „lunacy“ that led individuals to live alone in the forest, tuning into the energies of the green world and shunning most human interaction.
There are many such characters in the old stories, such as Myrddin, and the Scottish Lailoken, who often carried apple branches as symbols of their passage through the otherworld. This is the silver branch featured in many myths, the branch often bearing apples, blossoms, and leaves at the same time in addition to silver bells. The branch made sweet music that heals and soothed all who heard it.
Magically it aids perception of all kinds, its link with madness revealing how our notions of reality are mutable projections. To have these notions changed can induce a crisis but they are sometimes able to leave us with a broader sense of the world than before.
To step outside ordinary consciousness may also mean stepping outside of society and losing the respect and protection it affords. The path of the lunatic and the path of the visionary may be equally lonely and hard, yet the traveller is able to draw from the well of spirit and receive nourishment from its otherworldly source.
Apples are associated with immortality and otherworldly paradise, and they are a symbol of wholeness and vision, reminding us of our divine natures and our perfection in the eyes of the gods. They are also associated with the magical Isle of Avalon, the Isle of apples. It is an otherworldly place of healing and renewal where souls come back to wholeness by the grace of the goddess, who gives to all, regardless of their status or worthiness. This is another aspect of the apple, its connection with giving and as a heal-all, the promise that all, no matter how lost or wounded, can achieve healing.
Apples were also important to the Norse Gods, who remained eternally young and energetic thanks to the apples kept in a chest by Idun, the Goddess of youth and renewal.
Our ultimate protection is inherent in the apple, the promise that our divine infinite nature can never truly be harmed or endangered, and we are all of equal value to the goddess.
Sadly, these positive aspects were turned on their head in the Old Testament, where apples became associated with sin, shame, and lust, the forbidden tree of knowledge.
Its connections with vitality, pleasure, and otherworldly delight changed to a more fearful view.
In the English west country there a two festivals honoring the apple, one is called Appleday, celebrated when the fruit is falling ripe from the tree, and the other is the tradition of wassailing, held at numerous dates in December and January when the apple trees are fed with hot cider and drums are beaten to thank the apple spirits and cleanse the orchards of negative energies.
Traditionally at the apple harvest, the last apple is always left on the tree for the apple man, the tree spirit who blesses the apple harvest for the following year.
The wood of the apple tree is wonderful to make wands, especially for healing and love spells.
Both the fruit and the blossom are used to symbolize love, beauty and immortality. You can use them in incenses, perfumes, or mix it with beeswax to make your own candles for love and healing spells. The blossoms are also used in love sachets.
To ensure happiness in your relationship, cut an apple in half and share it with your loved one.
Another spell with an apple for example, is to carve your and your lover’s initials into an apple and bury it. Should a tree grow in that spot, your love is said to be especially blessed.
Apples are also used in divination, and there are various methods for that. For example, if a girl has more than one potential lover, peel an apple and pull out the seeds. Place a wet seed on your cheek for each boyfriend. The last one left stuck to the skin represents the suitor who is the true love. Or throwing apple peel over the left shoulder to see if it forms a person’s initial.
Or eat an apple at Samhain whilst looking into a mirror, it is said you will see the person you are to marry over your shoulder.
In Germany it was tradition to pour the water from a newborn baby’s bath over the roots of an apple tree to grant the child good health, attractiveness and fertility.
The Apple Tree Spirits are friendly and protective towards children, and it is excellent to take a troubled child to spend some time in a orchard. The tree spirits will send the child good dreams and healing sleep.
Apples were also used in Anglo-Saxon sympathetic magic. A holy name was written on the apple which would be eaten on three consecutive days. The apple would then cure all illness in the person physical, mental, or emotional.
Apple wood is also good for carving ogham or other sigils.
The silver branch, adorned with bells or flowers, makes a powerful magical tool for use with tree spirits and gaining entry to the otherworld. It is an especially good tool for otherworld journeying, where it can aid clear vision and effective navigation.
The apple is also considered one of the foods of the dead, so they are often piled high on Samhain altars, for Samhain is sometimes known as the "Feast of Apples.“
Since apples were symbols of Avalon, capturing one from the water represented crossing to the holy isle.
Apples are associated with cleansing and purification.
Eating an unripe apple is good for curing diarrhea, whilst eating whole ripe apple is helpful as a gentle laxative. Apple wine was a well respected cure-all in the ancient world, but it needs to be at least a year old. Apples are a good source of iron, vitamins A and E, they also heal the skin when boiled and mixed with fat and rose water.
And there are many other health benefits with apple cider, and cider vinegar, but I will focus more on the vibrational essence.
So, as a vibrational essence, apple can help to remove negative or unclean energies. It heals self-disgust, shame, fears of contamination, and poor body image.
It is an excellent energetic cleanser, good for people who are very sensitive to toxic vibrations of all kinds. It can also be used on animals for fleas and plants for mildew or greenfly infestations.
Apple essence can also be used for soothing, and gaining perspective and vision. It heals sexual issues, and connects to otherworldly energies, especially through dreams and healing sleep. It aids in transitions between the otherworld, which is good for those suffering from burnout resulting from demanding psychic or magical work. It helps to take better care of yourself.
As an ogham, quert works with the connection between body, mind, and spirit, aiding the seeker in the quest for wholeness. It suggests in operating from right action, coming from a inner sense of wholeness and returning to wholeness. In divination it suggests that right action can be found when acting from a sense of vision and goodness, Kindness, to the self and others, as well as generosity and compassion are timeless heal-alls that lead the soul to wisdom.It can also suggest that it is necessary to make a choice. It is time to stop procrastinating or you just may end up with nothing at all. It represents a choice of beauty, the beauty of life and youthfulness.
It tells you to rest and heal yourself from strife, illness, fatigue, or injury. It is an invitation to regain your connection with nature. Associated with the holy isle of Avalon, the apple represents rest and healing, recovery, and a peaceful relaxing Otherworld journey to the magical isle. The Apple is associated with the Lady of the Lake, a mystical Faerie who taught the healing arts to mortals. Apple may also signify that you have the ability to heal others, and point out a pathway of learning for you. Pulling the Apple stave, you are invited to work with ‘the divine madness of the shaman’. It calls you to journey to the Otherworld by its many names - Avalon, Avallach, Tir na Og, and so on. Apple also represents the spiritual warrior who fears not to travel beyond the mortal realm to face death, sacriﬁce and hardship, in order to beneﬁt his or her tribe. The apple represents shelter and protection on these intense shamanic journeys. In modern terms, Apple invites you to dare to be different in order to discover your own truth. The apple offers protection, strength, comfort, and respite for your ordeal.
Book : Celtic Tree Magic by Danu Forest,
Online : www.druidry.org, www.thegoddesstree.com, www.thriveonnews.com