Friday, March 12, 2010

The Sacred Ash Tree

The Ash Tree was very sacred to many cultures around the world. It was called by many different names according to different traditions. Some of the names were; The Tree of Tortu, the Tree of Daithi, Branching Tree of Uisnech.
     Our Celtic and Norse ancestors looked upon the Ash tree with honor and respect. It was one of the nine sacred woods used in making the Beltainne bon-fires. The Maypole was thought to originally be made from an Ash tree. In the Celtic legends the ash tree was sacred to the god Lugh, who is celebrated at Lughnasadh. In Druidic traditions, if a magickal staff was made out of ash, then the user of the staff would be connected to the realms of earth and the sky. The handle of the traditional witch's broom was made from the ash. The ash tree was thought to originated in the Celtic underworld Annwn or in the underworld sea realm of Tethys. A Welsh Magician named Gwyddion had a staff made from ash.
     One day he tricked Arianhrod to give the young Llew his arms which she has sworn never to do, this having placed a conditional curse of fate upon him. Gwyddion magickal created a phantom army fleet of ships which tricked Arianhrod into giving Llew his arms this of course removed the curse upon his destiny. Later in the tales of Llew, he is said to rest as an eagle in an Ash tree.
     In Scotland many oaths and vows were taken by or under the ash tree.
     As I said before, our Norse ancestors honored the ash tree in their folklore and myths. Yggdrasil, which is the world tree of Scandinavian myths was consider traditionally an ash tree. The tree that Odin hung himself upon to discover the runes from all of humanity was an ash. Even Odin's spear was considered to be made from ash. The Norse even made mead from a sugary substance that was extract from the ash tree called, Mead of Inspiration.
     Traditions and folklore dealing with the ash goes back to the Greek civilization where the ash was sacred to Areas, the Greek god of War.  Also in Greek mythology, the Meliae were nymphs of the ash.
     Through out time and many cultures that had came and gone, there were many usages for the sacred ash tree. People would hang locks of their babies' hair upon the tree to prevent them from the whooping cough. To cured an infant of hernia, the child would be passed three times through a cleft in an ash at sunrise.  It was also thought to heal warts and boils, as well. If one wore a needle in their clothing for a period of three days and then hammer the needle or a pin into the bark of an ash, the skin disorder will appear as a knob on the tree and disappear from the person who had it.
      The leaf of an ash was thought to bring good fortune if you carry the leaf in your pocket. Those leaves with an even number of leaflets on it were especially considered to be lucky.
      In Greece, when a baby was born it was customary to plant an ash tree. As the child grows along with the growth of the ash, the state of the ash would serve as an indicator of that growing person's health and strength. Because of this, if anyone harm an ash tree can find theirselves the victim of unpleasant supernatural circumstances. In some cultures, witches were suppose to live in the ash trees. In Germany folklore, Askafroa also known as the wife of the ash was an evil spirit which was said to cause much danger. To satisfy her it was said that you had to make a donation to her on Ash Wednesday.
     In the British Isles, newborn babies were sometimes given a spoonful of ash sap before leaving their mother's bed for the first time. This was though to prevent disease and infant mortality. In Northern England, if a maiden placed ash leaves under her pillow, she would have prophetic dreams of her future lover. Another traditon connecting the ash with infants was ash berries placed in a cradle would protect the child from being taken away by the mischievous Fae and a changeling left in it's place.
     Some sailors would make small crosses of ash and carried it upon them when out to sea to prevent them from drowning.
     The tree produces seed pods that are roughly key-shaped. Some thought these were the Keys to Wisdom. Some people actually made keys out of ash wood which they carried on their body to protect them against any black or negative soceries.
     I think this is one of the worst and cruel remedies that I have came across in my research.  Another use of the ash tree was to cure lameness and swellings in cattle and people. A shrew would be runned over them and then it would be put into a hole bored into an ash tree. Then with the shrew inside, the hole would be plugged up. Then if any animal or person who was brushed with the leaves of this particular ash tree would be cured.
    Since I began to publish this blog through a lot of research, I found out that our ancestors didn't let anything go to waste and everything if anything was very sacred to them. Their life depended on it, not as ours do today because we have the technology, but still these trees are and should be very sacred to us, just as they was to our ancestors. You never know one day we made need to know this knowledge again. We may have to use it again.

3 comments:

birkenasche said...

nice post,... thanks...

Grannulus said...

Thank you. I enjoy writing these posts.
Blessings to you & yours,
Grannulus

CONCERTMAN said...

Witches broom handle, WOW. And in America, we make baseball bats out of the White Ash. Fraxinus excelsior can succumb to the Emerald Ash Borer too. Soon this traditional tree will need our help. It would only be right, after all it has done for mankind. I learned a lot, and pix are cool too. Thanks..