As we feel the shifting energies from Winter moving towards Spring, we honor the Green Allies who are stirring and awakening. They guard our homes, they offer us their shelter, bring us healing and comfort, and provide the very air we breathe.
Since ancient times, in every culture, certain trees have been recognized as sacred. Most sacred trees were revered for their special qualities – their unusual size, appearance, or beauty; the steadfast, life-giving fire and raw materials they provided, or simply their spirit. Even today, certain trees are seen as “special” or more significant- the magnificent oaks, redwoods, sequoias, and the evergreen trees that we bring into our homes each Winter for Yule or Christmas.
To the Celtic tribes of northern Europe, the ash tree, known as Nion (pronounced NEE un), was one of the most Sacred Three species. The ash includes the European Ash – Fraxinus excelsior and the Flowering Ash – Fraxinus ornus. In addition, the New World’s native, the White Ash – Fraxinus americana, should be included, for its magical energy.
Because the ash generally has a straight grain, it has been used by many different cultures to make spear and arrow shafts. Its flexible, springy strength also makes it very durable, and a favorite for making bows. In North America, strips of brown ash were split along the grain, to weave baskets, and it is said that it was an ash stick that Moon gave to Feather Woman when She taught her how to dig for vegetables and roots.
The ash is considered a masculine energy, and is associated with the element of Water, the Sun and Jupiter. It is also sacred to Thor, Mars, Uranus and Gwydion. Ash is especially sacred to Odin since the ash is usually thought to be the species of Yggdrasil, the World Tree, amongst the Scandinavian nations. In Norse mythology, Yggdrasil supports the Universe. The ash is also the tree of the sea God Poseidon, and because of this, it is the tree of sea power, or of the power resident in water.
We just happen to currently be in the Celtic tree month of ash, and tomorrow, I’ll share more about what this means, as well as other magical lore about this very holy wood.
Remember — The last day of the month is sacred to Hecate. She is the mighty Triple Goddess who guards the crossroads. For it is Hecate, Goddess of the Night, who teaches us the ancient Mysteries. Honor Her this night by giving to those who are in need.