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The Celtic Month of the Ash Tree

 

Following the wheel of the year through the Celtic tree calendar, February 18th begins the time of the ash tree and its ogham character Nion. While the tree calendar is a modern construct, it holds meaning because of the concepts it has come to symbolize and the significance it has for twenty-first century magic, ritual, and everyday life.

The energy of this period (from February 18 to March 17) helps us discover that boundaries are not limitations, because they also provide connections. Gaining a fresh perspective on the interwoven aspect of boundaries and connections can help fuel creativity and spark a sense of renewed purpose.

In Norse mythology, the World Tree, Yggdrasil, was an ash that connected heaven and earth. The ash tree helps us realize that the world is a lot bigger than we may have believed because of the many unseen places. Ash is associated with the Celtic god Manannan, and according to myth this tree came from his undersea kingdom. Ash is associated with the otherworld and the ability to access other realms.

Along with oak and hawthorn, ash was considered part of the triad of powerful fairy trees. In addition, it was reputedly the favored broom handle wood for witches’ besoms.
Collect a few ash seeds for your altar and make a circle around the base of a candle upon which you have carved ash’s associated runes and/or ogham. Use this setup during divination sessions or to boost the energy of spells. Put a few seeds in small muslin bag and place it under your pillow at night to aid in dream work. Ash provides connection with other realms whether dreaming or journeying.

The seeds can also be used in protection spells and charms against any form of negative magic. Light a candle inscribed with the ogham Nion and place it on your desk or workspace when seeking creative inspiration. Burn a small ash twig to enhance love spells.

The common ash (Fraxinus excelsior) reaches eighty to one hundred thirty feet tall, and the white ash (F. americana) fifty to one hundred feet. Both trees have straight, gray trunks and dense crowns of foliage. The name ash relates to the color of the bark. Each leaf stem sports nine to thirteen lance-shaped leaflets. Small, greenish-yellow flowers produce clusters of seeds that remain on the tree until spring when they are blown off. Also called keys, the flat seeds are oval and straight, unlike the maple seed, which is curved.

 

 

 

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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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