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Nutting Day and the Magic of Something Small

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

For centuries in England, September 14th marked an occasion called Nutting Day, which was a family outing to the woods to gather nuts. Sometimes, entire villages would go nutting together accompanied by musicians making it a festive and noisy event. By contrast, September 21st was called Devil’s Nutting Day and people were warned to stay out of the woods because that was when devil took his share. 

Hazelnuts can be gathered from late August to early September, however; they were believed to be particularly magical when gathered on September 14th. Although the Celts regarded the hazelnut as highly charged for magic, the reason for it being more potent on this date is unknown. In Celtic mythology, hazelnuts were closely associated with salmon and water. Although the details of various legends differ, the hazelnut was considered a repository of wisdom. This wisdom was passed along to the salmon that ate the nuts, as well as anyone who ate the salmon.

To use hazelnuts in your own magic, place a circle of them on your altar to aid you. To enhance creativity, place one or two on your desk or workspace. Hazelnuts are also effective in spells to initiate changes in your life. 

The hazelnut husk remains green even after the nut has ripened. If you collect unopened ones, store them in a dry place until the husk turns brown, which will make it easier to remove. You will also have to crack the inner shell to get to the nut. Eat a few hazelnuts before divination, especially sessions involving clairvoyance. Also eat hazelnuts before shamanic journeying to aid in acquiring knowledge. Hazelnuts are especially powerful for divination at Samhain. 

Beechnuts also ripen at this time year. These nuts are encased in spiky woody husks that can be hard to open. Give them a few days indoors and they do it on their own. Splitting into four sections, the husk curls back looking like a bristly four-petaled flower with the nut at its center. Like the hazelnut, beechnuts were believed to impart wisdom when eaten. They were also used as amulets.

Place a few open beechnut husks on a shelf in the kitchen to attract abundance and prosperity to your home. Use a couple of beechnuts in a spell to manifest what you seek. Eat a few of the nuts to foster creativity and encourage second sight. Save a few beechnuts for Samhain to enhance contact with ancestors.

Of course, we can’t forget acorns, which are also falling and easy to gather at this time of year. Throughout the centuries, people have marveled at how a small seed can produce such an amazingly large tree. 

Capable of living for many centuries, oak trees were considered especially sacred to the Greeks and Romans, who associated them with their most powerful gods. The Celtic gods Bilé and the Dagda are closely linked with this tree, as are Druids and the Green Man. All this power is embodied in the humble acorn. 

Use acorns in spells to manifest what you need. Carry one for protection or place several on a windowsill to protect your home. An acorn on your altar during ritual or meditation aids in connecting with ancient wisdom. Place three acorn cups (the top of the nut) in a row on a kitchen windowsill and ask for abundance, blessings, and love for your home. Leave several acorn cups in your garden with gifts for fairies.


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  The author of over a dozen books, Sandra describes herself as an explorer of history, myth, and magic. Her writing has been featured in SageWoman, The Magical Times, The Portal, and Circle magazines, Utne Reader and Magical Buffet websites, and various Llewellyn almanacs. Although she is a member of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, she travels a solitary Goddess-centered path through the Druidic woods. She has lived in New York City, Europe, England, and now coastal New England where she lives in a Victorian-era house with her family, cats, and a couple of ghosts.  

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