The Hazel tree was seen as feminine in nature, and with the Hazel Moon falling at the end of autumn it came to represent the growing wisdom as the Goddess gradually turned from living mother to wise old crone. As the hazel moon begins to wan, go out doors to a place where can see the crones waning crescent riding low in the sky. Take with you some diluted rosemary oil or rosemary water. Rosemary is an herb associated with knowledge and protection. Face the waning moon ask the crone Goddess to bless you with her wisdom as you anoint yourself with the rosemary.
“Hag of night, bless me with wisdom’s sight
Crone of the Moon, grant me your instinctive boon
Goddess of might, help me think clear and right
Mother of all, please answer my call.”
(anoint heart area).
The Hazel was considered to be the Tree of Wisdom and to fell one was once a crime punishable by death. It was believed that magickal skills and knowledge could be gained from eating Hazel nuts, which are the emblems of concentrated wisdom. The Hazel is also strongly associated with mediation and meditation. The Druids were the inheritors of the knowledge of measurement and calculation, skills of the earlier “dodmen” who were the prehistoric surveyors of the key lines and trackways portrayed in the ancient chalk-cut figure of the Long Man of Wilmington who is shown holding staves or rods. Also skilled in the law, the Druids were often called upon to mediate in disputes concerning property and land boundaries, in much the same way as the surveyors of modern times. Twigs of Hazel are favored by water-diviners and for other methods of divination due to the sensitive nature of the tree and its close affinity with the element of water. It was once believed that the Mushrooms which grow on a Hazel could provide an individual with the ability to relocate what he or she may have lost.
The Hazel was a favored tree of the Druids, some of whom preferred its wood over that of the Oak for their staffs, given its conductive nature. This was, however, purely a matter of preference. Staffs made of Hazel were once considered as a sign of authority among the Druids. Pins made of Hazel were once used to protect houses from fire and the trees planted as shade from the Sun. Ground Hazel nuts were often employed in the curing of coughs, the soothing of sore throats and the relief of head cold symptoms. The dry skin covering the nut was once ground into a powder and used to relieve heavy menstrual flows. The Hazel was said to be a reminder to trust and listen to intuition which, in essence, is trust in the self. It was believed to promote thought processes and the flow of inspiration while accepting responsibility for actions.
The Hazel deity is Oghma (also known as Ogma), son of Boann and The Dagda. The God of Communication and Writing, as well as Literature and Eloquence, Oghma is said to have invented the Ogham Alphabet and made a gift of it to the Druids. He is often considered the Patron Deity of Poets. Oghma was also the champion or designated warrior representative of the Tuatha De Danaan and fought with Llugh against the Fomorians (ancient Irish Sea Gods). In myth, he assumed the role of helping to escort the recently-dead to the OtherWorld. Credited with more personality than many of the old Irish deities, Oghma was given two nicknames. The first was “Cermait” which means “honey-mouthed” and is related to the Irish gift of the gab also known as blarney. The other was “Grianainech,” which means “the sunny-faced,” believed to come from Oghma’s great wisdom. Oghma was married to Etan, daughter of Diancecht the Irish God of Medicine, and three of his sons eventually became co-rulers of the Tuatha. In the final battle at Mag Tuireadh, Oghma managed to wrestle the sword from the King of the Fomorians, but was obliged to pay for this mighty accomplishment with his life. He is often equated with Heracles, Greek hero and son of Zeus.
The Hazel is also sacred to Manannan mac Lir, a chameleon-like Sea-God who was a shape-shifer and master of disguise. Son of the Sea-God Llyr, Manannan dressed in a green cloak and wore a gold headband. The Isle of Arran (also known as the “Land of Promise”) in the Firth of Clyde and the Isle of Man (which was so named in Manannan’s honor) once fell under his particular protection. The animals associated wiht Hazel are the Stalking Crane and the Rainbow Salmon.
The Stalking Crane – At one time, the Crane was a common animal in the British Isles. According to one late Celtic tradition (apparently originated after the arrival of Christianity), Cranes were people paying a penance for wrong-doing. The Crane was associated with the Cailleach and Manannan mac Lir, who made his crane bag from the skin of this bird. The Crane, with its colors of black, white and red, was a bird of the Moon and sacred to the Triple Goddess. It symbolized magick, shaminic travel, learning and the keeping of secrets, as well as being associated with deep mysteries and truths.
The Rainbow Salmon – Considered by the Celts to be the one of the most ancient and most wise of animals, the Salmon symbolized inspiration. In Irish myth, Salmon swam in the River Boyne under the overhanging Hazel tree from which the nine nuts of poetic wisdom fell. These nuts were consumed by the Salmon who absorbed the inspiration encapsulated therein. The Salmon were then eaten by Fionn mac Cumhal who subsequently acquired the knowledge of all things and later became leader of the Fianna, an Irish warband of immense strength. According to Celtic legend, Fintan the “White Ancient” was able to assume the form of animals, one of which was the Salmon. Salmon would also be the animals which would lead Gwrhyr to the Mabon and eventually toward wisdom and rebirth.