Celtic Tree Year~The Ash Tree~18th Feb-17th March

The Ash Tree
Fraxinus (which means firelight in latin) belongs to the olive and lilac family. It contains 45–65 species of usually medium to large trees, mostly deciduous. The tree’s common English name, ash, goes back to the Old English æsc, meaning”spear”. The seeds, are known as keys or helicopter seeds,

If you are born between 18Feb – 17Mar –

According to Celtic Astrology you were born under the Ash moon, this the third moon/month in the Celtic calendar. The Ash wood was believed to be enchanted and was used to make wands and spears for the druids. It is a hallowed tree, said to “court the flash” that is it is prone to lightning strike. An old English saying goes:

Avoid the Ash,
It Draws the Flash-

this is possibly because the Ash can grow to 150ft tall

British folklore attributes the ash with a range of protective and healing properties, particularly related to the health of children. Newborn babies were often given a teaspoon of ash sap. Sickly children, would be passed naked through a cleft in an ash tree to cure them. The cleft was often specifically made for the purpose and bound together again after the ceremony to heal over as the child also healed. It was then believed that an energetic bond was created between the child and the tree and fate of the tree linked closely with that of the child. So if any harm fell upon the tree then their human sibling would suffer some kind of harm in their life. Consequently many Ash trees had vigilant protectors who would look after them.
The Witches broom or Besom was also traditionally made of an Ash staff, together with Birch twigs and Willow bindings. Interestingly, it is thought that the besom was used in the form of shamanic flight. We’ve all seen many pictures of witches flying on their broomsticks! So hallucinogenic mixtures may have been smeared upon the handle, to be absorbed through the skin of the hands, whilst the Witch danced around with the pole between the legs, as if ‘Riding’ the broomstick into the otherworld, to gain insight and information . The Ash staff may have been used for the main handle because of its connection to Yggdrasil-theWorld Tree which allows the Shaman to travel between the 9 worlds.

Witches were said to live inside Ash trees, in the Germanic tradition there was the Askafroa or wife of the Ash who was an evil spirit said to do much damage. To appease her it was said to be necessary to make a donation to her on Ash Wednesday. In the Greek Hellenic traditions the Melai Nymphs were said to dwell within Ash trees

There is no reason other than its name why the Ash tree is associated with Ash Wednesday, however in some parts of England children used to bring a twig of black-budded ash to school on this day and any child who failed to remember this risked having their feet stomped on by other ash-twig-bearing children!

Ash wood is very strong, tough and elastic, and was used for Chariot and coach axles as well as oar,s tool handles and weaponry. The tree coppices/pollards well, giving strong straight poles. The density of the wood also makes it an ideal fuel, One of the traditional woods used as the yule log was ash. Ash is the best wood for burning and can be used seasoned or green.

Yggdrasil, (literally means s Odins horse) is the World Tree in Viking mythology and is an Ash, Yggdrasils trunk reached up to the heavens, and its limbs spread out over the World. Its 3 roots reached down into the Underworld. A squirrel Ratatosk ran up and down the tree carrying messages from the dragon Nidhogg who gnawed the roots continuously and fed on human corpes- representing the force of Death to the Eagle in the canopy, and back. A deer fed on the ash leaves and from its antlers flowed the great rivers of the world. A magical goat grazed by the tree, and its udders gave not milk but mead for the warriors in Odin’s Great Hall. The gods held their councils under the canopy of their guardian tree.

Odin, god of the Vikings, hung himself upside down on Yggdrasil as a sacrificial ordeal, during which he lost an eye to ravens. Ultimately though, he was rewarded with insights and wisdom, notably knowledge of the system of the Runes. Both he and Thor, the god of thunder, were said to possess magical spears made of ash wood. The Vikings were also known as the Aescling meaning ‘Men of Ash’.

Like the Vikings, the Gaels also thought of the ash tree (ooshin) as protective. Of the five legendary guardian trees of Ireland, three were ash. Ash is also the second most popular tree growing beside Irish holy wells, and on the Isle of Man ash trees were said to protect the purity of springs. In England the ash is the commonest tree as a place name element after the thorn.

The Ash can be seen as the feminine counterpart to the -Father Oak: in these two trees, the oak and the ash, the concepts of the All-Father and the World Mother, are embodied. There have been archaeological Druid finds of Ash wands carved with spirals in Wales which provides evidence of the powers of the Ash, suggesting that it was revered and employed by the Druids.

The Ash tree is associated with positive enchantment and focus of will and intent, which can aid in healing In terms of Astrological associations – Ash corresponds to the energies and season of Pisces which is the month of March. It is attributed to the water element. Ash trees bud in March-April time which may explain its placement in the celtic Calender. The fruit of the Ash tree, the keys, can be pickled and eaten in accompaniment with salads. The Ash tree comes into full bloom in May time and is known as The Venus of the Woods.

In Folk Magic, small crosses of ash wood were carried and were said to prevent sailors from drowning whilst at sea. The use of Ash Keys is generally thought to be protective against negative spells. Ash Wands are thought to have been used for the raising and directing of healing energies and enchantments. Ash leaves placed under the pillow before sleep were thought to bring prophetic dreams or were placed in water containers since it was thought the leaves fought off illness.

Another use of the tree was for the curing of lameness in cattle and general pains – which were thought to be caused by a shrew running over them. Thus a shrew would be placed deep into a hole bored in an Ash tree, and plugged up. It was then thought that any animal or person who was brushed with leaves from that particular tree would be cured. In Richmond Park in London, in the mid-19th century such a shrew ash was widely visited with the intention of healing children of whooping cough and other ailments.

It was also a folklore tradition that Snakes could not bear to be near an Ash tree or a wood cut from an Ash. In Irish folklore if shadows were cast upon crops by Ash trees, it was though the crops would be ruined. At many of the sacred wells in Ireland, Ash stumps have been found, which suggest its association with healing/wishing and well dressing traditions.
Ash trees were also thought in northern England to cure rickets and warts. There is a well-known English folklore verse which predicts how much rain there will be in summer from the dates when the Oak and Ash trees bud:
Oak before Ash we are in for a splash
Ash before Oak we are in for a soak.

Which means the summer will be wet or very wet I suppose-not wrong there then.

So Ash folk your aim in Life is to show others how beautiful this world is and teach them to care for Mother Earth and in doing so reminding them to tend to their own spirit in harmony with the Land. A little warning here though you need to keep your own feet frimly planted in the ground as you do have a tendency to daydream. Dreaming is good but you need self discipline to avoid becoming a ‘space case’! You are sensitive, artistic, often kind and affectionate even romatic! Some of you can be gifted Mediums but all of you are very connected to the higher energies.

ash

 

So blessings to the Ash Folk!

PS If you look carefully at the picture you can see my son in the branches of our Ash Tree.

One response to “Celtic Tree Year~The Ash Tree~18th Feb-17th March

  1. Tracey-Lee Scully

    What a lovely post. Thank you so much for sharing. I look forward to learning more throughout the year, on each tree. Lots of love to you and yours Seersha! x

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