Ash in Northern European and Celtic Mythology
In Northern European lore, the famed World Tree—Yggdrasill—may have been an ash or a yew. This tree is at the heart of the nine worlds. Each world has its own inhabitants, from Asgard as the realm of the gods and Midgard as the world most familiar to humankind; to Hel as the underworld and the subconscious. The creation, destruction, and rebirth of the worlds are woven into the mythology of Yggdrasill.
|Yggdrasill, public domain Wikimedia Commons|
In Celtic lore, the ash was sacred, especially to warriors. Steve Blamires states in Celtic Tree Mysteries that the ash was a favorite wood for fashioning spears. He goes on to suggest that the spear is not just a physical weapon but symbolic of a magical weapon and relates it to the spear of the Celtic god Lugh—the god of many talents.
The Ash Tree in Natural Medicine
The leaves from the white and European ash are used to make a tea for weight loss as it has diuretic and laxative properties. Ash bark is believed to have liver and spleen cleansing attributes. In homeopathy, the white ash is used for uterine problems and European ash for rheumatic conditions. The berries of the tree, also called keys, are used to relieve gas.
The Ash Tree in Magic
As mentioned above, the ash spear is a magical weapon and corresponds to the wand used by modern witches and Pagans. This, paired with the ash being associated with masculine and sun energy, enhances the purpose of this magical tool which serves to direct energy in magic.
While a magician may want to interchange the ash spear and wand in ritual, a spear could be used for magic which calls for more strength, will and focus, especially in the context of magical battle. This battle could be with a foe or some aspect of the self, which takes just as much, if not more, determination.
When things that no longer serve the magician are removed, the situation at hand can be approached from a new perspective. Meditating on the physical flexibility of the ash tree aids the magician in understanding how that same trait is needed mentally in order to remove obstacles to bring forth the spiritual properties of rebirth after a period of creation and destruction.
References not mentioned in article:
- Hopman, Ellen Evert. Tree Medicine Tree Magic. Phoenix Publishing, Inc., 1991.
- Gundarsson, Kveldulf Hagan. Our Troth Volume 1: History and Lore, second edition. BookSurge, LLC, 2006.
© Trish Deneen