The Celtic Tree Month of Hazel (Coll) August 5th – September 1st.
HAZEL LORE: The Tree of Knowledge
Long ago, hazel trees were prized by the Romans who used the limber twigs to support their grape vines. These vines were sacred to the Roman god Bacchus, and goats who were found feeding on them were sacrificed to Bacchus and roasted on hazel spits. The Romans were also responsible for giving Scotland it’s Latin name of Caledonia. Hazel trees were plentiful in Scotland and the Romans called it Cal-Dun or Hill of Hazel. Since the medieval times hazel has been held sacred, particularly in Ireland where it is part of a Celtic triad – Apple for beauty; Hazel for wisdom; Oak for strength. These trees were in fact so sacred that cutting one unnecessarily carried the penalty of death. Hazel was often used in funeral pyres and it was also found in the coffins of people of note like chiefs and rulers.
In Irish legend, 9 hazel trees grew around the sacred well of Connla. The trees produce flowers and fruit (nuts). The nuts fell into the well and were eaten by the salmon, the legend says that the salmon will have the exact number of spots as the number of nuts it has eaten. The salmon became the carrier of all knowledge.
PLANT INFORMATION This tree is found all over the world ( Europe, North Africa, Asia, Britain and the US). It can be found growing in damp places, hedgerows, and oak woods. It resembles a large shrub more than a tree although it grows to heights of 12-20 feet. Hazel trees have heart shaped leaves and produce yellowish catkins (male) along with reddish flowers (female) which can be seen between April and May. There are aproximately 15 species of Hazel and they all produce nuts, called hazelnuts, filberts or cobnuts depending on where you live. The nuts are ripe by September and can be eaten right off the tree, The uneaten nuts fall off the tree and will actually germinate if left. The wood from this tree is tough and limber. It is used to make walking sticks, fishing poles, baskets and hampers. It’s an excellent firewood and the charcoal is used for making gunpowder and crayons.
HAZEL IN MAGICK
Hazel is used for divination and dowsing rods are often made from it. This was actually documented by Roman author, and philosopher, Pliny the Elder. The art of dowsing is called rhabdomancy and traditionally a divining rod was cut at night and from the eastern side of the tree. Before the 17th century these dowsing rods were used not only to find water but treasure, thieves and murders. An interesting fact is that this form of dowsing is still practiced in the Celtic nation of Cornwall. Cornish legend says that the dowsing rod is guided to water or ore loads by piskies who guard the hazel trees. The nuts can also be used for divination. It is said that if you eat hazel nuts prior to divinatory workings you will gain increased knowledge. You can also use the wood, leaves, and nuts in dark moon rituals. The nuts were talismans carried for various reasons. People carried them to prevent toothaches. And they were said to help cure snakebites. Along this line St. Patrick used a hazel rod to drive all the snakes from Ireland. In Scandinavia this tree was sacred to the Thunder God, Thor and were used to protect a person again being struck by lightning.
In Scotland, on Halloween, 2 hazel nuts are given the names of lovers and put into the embers of the fire. If they burn quietly and stay together, the lovers will remain together. But if they crack and move apart they are ill matched. Hazel nuts are also considered good luck, and said to increase fertility. New brides were often given strings of hazel nut as gifts.
Ancient sailors also wore crowns of woven hazel twigs called wishing caps. These caps offered protection against bad storms at sea. The ancient druids believed that that if you wore such a crown you could become invisible.
This wood is also good for crafting wands and record of them can be found in ancient Egyptian and Chaldean records. According to Greek myth Apollo gave a hazel wand to Mercury. With it Mercury was able to instill good virtues into mankind.
HAZEL PEOPLE If you are a hazel person you should pay attention to your own natural rhythm. It is easy for you to be impatient and you should sit back and let thing s happen naturally. You will be much happier. Hazel people are also understanding, moody, honest and tolerant partners and have excellent ideas of right and wrong. Choosing Hazel or Hazelnut as a magickal name represents someone who is wise and experienced.
Folk Names: Coll, Poets Tree and Dripping Hazel
Deity Associations: Mercury/ Hermes, Thor, Artemis, Arianrhod, Mannen Mac Lir, Ogma and Diana.
Ruled by: Mercury and the Sun
Star Signs: Virgo, Libra, Gemini
Sacred Stones: Lapis, Amethyst, Sapphire
Colors: Brown, Dark Blue
Animals: Salmon, Crane
Key Word: Intuition
Written by CatSister/LBolotin 2010/ Updated 2019 from the following resources:
The New Book of Magickal names by Phoenix McFarland
Flower and Tree Magic by Richard Webster
Whispers from the Woods by Sandra Kynes
Photo courtesy of freeimages.com
I invite you to check out my websites!
The Desert Path: The dusty ramblings of a desert pagan. https://thedesertpath.com/