Hazel

Submitted by Owen McCafferty on Thu, 2009-11-26

Bardic tree of wisdom, promoting fertility, poetry, and knowledge; favorite wood of diviners and dowsers.

Druidic wands are made from the wood.

Planted in nines around sacred wells.

The nuts bestow all knowledge to whoever eats them and are eaten before divination.

Rain is invoked by beating the earth with hazel branches.

The hazel is the quintessential Celtic tree because of its legendary position at the heart of the Otherworld; here the nine magic hazelnut trees hang over the Well of Wisdom and drop their purple nuts into the water where the Salmon of Knowledge and Inspiration eats them.

Many early Irish tales say poets and seers “gain nuts of Wisdom,” a metaphor for heightened states of consciousness; this belief may have root in a potent brew made from hazels that causes hallucinations.

There are numerous reference in Irish literature to drinking “hazelmead”.

Scottish Druids ate the nuts for prophetic power.

Tara, the seat of Irish kingship was built near a hazel wood.

The monastery of Clonord was built where the “Wood of the White Hazel” once stood.

Throughout Britain, the tree is found at holy wells where it was decorated with prayer rags by pilgrims.

In legend, the hazel, apple, and hawthorn are often found at the border of worlds where magickal things happen.

Young lovers roasted hazelnuts over the fire at Samhain (called “Nut Crack Night;” if the nut stayed together, their relationship would stay steady, but if it flew apart, then the love would not last; this connection between hazels and love is very ancient.

Country folklore has always linked hazelnuts with fertility.

New brides were greeted with the nuts much as rice was later thrown to indicate fertility.

A prolific show of hazel catkins in the spring indicated many babies would be born that year; “plenty of catkins, plenty of prams” was the saying.

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