Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Carpe Diem #996 Hazel

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Again I am late with publishing our new episode, but ... well time is not always on my side. Today we are exploring the deeper meaning of Hazel (or Coll in Gaelic). Hazel is renown for it's magical and wise powers through the centuries and the druids used Hazel wands in their practice. For this episode I have done some research and the "knowledge" I share here is extracted from a website about druidry /druidism.

The hazel might be said to be the quintessential Celtic tree because of its legendary position at the heart of the Otherworld. Here, nine magic hazel-trees hang over the Well of Wisdom and drop their purple nuts into the water. In some accounts, the hazel-nuts cause bubbles of ‘mystic inspiration’ to form on the surface of the streams that flow down from the well; in others, the Salmon of Knowledge and Inspiration eat the nuts and send the husks floating downstream; those that eat the nuts (or the salmon) gain poetic and prophetic powers.

The hazel's association with wisdom extends to other cultures of the ancient world. In Norse mythology it was known as the Tree of Knowledge and was sacred to Thor; the Romans held it sacred to Mercury, who - especially in his Greek form, Hermes - was the personification of intelligence. Hermes' magic rod may have been made from hazel. The English word derives from the Anglo Saxon ‘haesl’ which originally signified a baton of authority.

Hazel woods frequently figure in the sacred landscape. In Ireland, hazel is coll, and the early triad of gods of the Tuatha Dé Danaan, MacCuill, (son of HazeI), MacCecht (Son of the Plough) and MacGréine (Son of the Sun) supposedly divided the island into three so that the country was said to be under the plough, the sun or the hazel, for ‘these were the things they put above all other’.

The hazel's connection with the Well of Wisdom is visibly recalled by the tree's frequent presence at holy wells throughout Britain and Ireland, where pilgrims still continue to festoon its branches with votive offerings in the form of pieces of cloth. Moreover archaeologists have found an early Celtic shaft-well in Norfolk, England which contains offerings of alms, placed in layers and embedded in hazel leaves and nuts.

As might be expected from their legendary reputation for bestowing prophetic powers, hazels have been used for divination throughout the centuries. Druidic wands were made from the wood, and it has always been the preferred wood for water divining and dowsing. Until quite recently young lovers roasted hazel-nuts over fires at Hallowe'en, which was also known as ‘Nut-crack Night’. The way they burnt steadily together or flying apart, foretold the course of their relationship in the coming year.


Hazel was also used widely throughout the centuries for protection against evil. Finn bore a hazelwood shield that made him invincible in battle. No harm could penetrate a hurdle fence of hazel around a house or a breastband of the wood on a horse. A shipmaster wearing a cap into which hazel had been woven was guaranteed to weather any storm.

The magical power of the hazel still lives today whenever a water-diviner uses hazel-rods to dowse for water. As the rod bends to reveal the water within the earth, it may be that it is also straining to reconnect with ancestors, the nine sacred trees at the Well of Wisdom deep within the memory of the land.

beneath the Hazel
I meditate
secret wisdom revealed

© Chèvrefeuille

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until July 17th at noon (CET). I will (try to) publish our new episode, a new Tokubetsudesu, later on.

1 comment:

  1. Carpe Diem Challenge # 996 Hazel:

    a growing hazelnut cache
    nocturnal thieving
    of a wood mouse