Celtic Tree Month of Ash
The common ash is a major tree of the lowland forests in much of Europe. It is the third most common tree across Britain and is often the dominant tree in the woods. It has deep, penetrating roots that sour the soil, making it tricky for other plants to grow beneath it. The Ash is an important timber tree because it is so tough, strong and flexible. In the past it was used by the Anglo-Saxons for their spears and shield-handles. More recently other uses include tool handles, furniture, sports equipment, walking sticks, tent pegs, oars, gates, wheel rims, and even aircraft wings on the De Havilland Mosquito which flew in World War II.
There are few trees that feature so prominently in the mythologies and folklore of many cultures than that of the Ash Tree. Probably the most well known Ash tree is the Yggdrasil or World Tree of Norse mythology, this inspiring tree has been revered and honoured for centuries as the connecting path between heaven and earth. The tree was seen to span the universe: its roots in hell, its branches offering support to the heavens and with Earth at its trunk. Yggdrasil was the Cosmic Ash upon which Odin hung for nine days until He discovered the runes. It was also the horse of Odin, who like the mare of Muhammad, bore him to the skies for a glimpse of heaven.
In Celtic cosmology in particular it connects the three circles of existence - past, present and future. In Greek tradition it was said that Zeus created humans from Ash trees. On-Niona was the Gaulish Goddess of the Ash groves. The Irish word for Ash, Nion, was also the word for heaven, Nionon. The Icelandic word Aske meant “blaze of great fire”, Ash being one of the best fire woods (especially when burned green!) as well as leading to the fires of enlightenment. Considered a Solar tree, its wood is used for the Yule Log. Druids carved charms from its wood. Ashen divining rods were cut on Summer Solstice. A Druidic Ash wand decorated with spirals was found on Anglesey.
Flower: Wood Anemone
Diety: Lir, Gwydion, Odin
Ash bark can make an infusion that is a mild laxative and diuretic. The rood bark is the most potent with astringent properties, and was used to treat liver diseases and arthritic rheumatism. Other uses include reduce fever, treat kidney and urinary infections, expel intestinal parasites, and treating malaria.
Ogham Name : Nuin
Letter : N
Month:19th February – 17th March
Colour : Green
Animals : Snake, snipe
A Druids Herbal – Of Sacred Tree Medicine by Ellen Evert Hopman
Photos by Sunchylde Dryadmoon