The Mighty Ash

According to the Celtic Tree Calendar we are now in the month of the Ash tree or ‘Nuinn’ as it is known in the Ogham. (Feb 18th – Mar 17th)

In Norse mythology the World Tree’ Yggdrasil is said to be an Ash tree, it is also believed that the first man ‘Ask’ was formed from the Ash. Some sources say that the first woman ‘Embla’ was formed from a Rowan tree which is also commonly known as the ‘Mountain Ash’ due to the similarity of its leaves to those of true Ash trees.

“All Life is figured by them as a Tree. Igdrasil, the Ash-tree of Existence, has its roots deep down in the kingdoms of Hela or Death; its trunk reaches up heaven-high, spreads its boughs over the whole Universe: it is the Tree of Existence.

At the foot of it, in the Death-kingdom, sit Three _Nornas_,Fates,–the Past, Present, Future; watering its roots from the Sacred Well. Its “boughs,” with their buddings and disleafings?–events, things suffered, things done, catastrophes,–stretch through all lands and times. Is not every leaf of it a biography, every fibre there an act or word? Its boughs are Histories of Nations.

The rustle of it is the noise of Human Existence, onwards from of old. It grows there, the breath of Human Passion rustling through it;–or storm tost, the storm-wind howling through it like the voice of all the gods. It is Igdrasil, the Tree of Existence.”

Thomas Carlyle 1795-1881

But bringing us back into the world of the Celts, it is also St Patrick’s Day on the last day of this ‘lunar month’ and here we have a connection – it is said that Saint Patrick used a stick made of Ash wood to drive the snakes out of Ireland.  As there is no evidence to suggest that (post-glacial) Ireland has ever been home to any snakes, this legend most likely refers to him driving paganism out of Ireland – serpents representing the energy of the Goddess.   

Another legend tells us that the town of Aspatria (Ash Tree of Saint Patrick) in Cumbria acquired its name when the Saint, whilst preaching in the area, thrust his staff into the ground – as he always did – only this time his message took so long to get through to the people that the staff actually took root!

Here’s a snippet of folklore regarding the Ash from the late Henrietta Munro, Caithness author and historian …

 ‘If you have an ash in the garden and you want to cut it down, please ask its permission first – otherwise it will curse you. Never use ash twigs for your pea sticks as they will harm the plants and take all the good out of the soil. Ash makes splendid firewood – remember the old rhyme “ash new or ash old is fit for a queen with a crown of gold”.

Wishing you ALL the VERY BEST for the coming month 😉

Kim X

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