4.3.11

Sacred Celtic Trees - Part Four

Article

The sacred Celtic trees are rich in mythological history and have inspired many traditions in folklore. The Hawthorn, Hazel and Holly, are the fourth in the list of sacred Celtic trees.

For the ancient Celtic culture, trees were an important asset to their way of life. They provided shelter, firewood, tools, weapons, dyes and medicines; were important to their ancient rituals, and the mythological meanings are still sometimes applicable in societies around the world, today.

Hawthorn (May)
In Celtic traditions the most common name for the Hawthorn tree was the May tree. The May blossoms appear on the tree at the beginning of the month of May in the south of England, at the time of the Beltane or May Day celebrations. Armfuls of May blossoms were used to decorate doorways and make garlands for traditional Maypoles. The Hawthorn signifies rebirth, and the trees wood was often used in Mayday festivities.



Hazel
Hazel wood is pliant and was traditionally used for divining underground water. A hazelnut on a string also made a good dowsing pendulum. A Celtic legend tells of nine hazelnuts of wisdom, which fell into a sacred pool and was eaten by a salmon. Whoever ate the salmon would then receive infinite wisdom.



Holly
Holly is traditionally used to decorate the home at Winter Solstice. Its red berries and green leaves in the dead of winter symbolise everlasting life. A Holly tree growing near the home is thought to provide protection from thunder, lightening and demons. A masculine tree, its wood was also used to make spears and chariot wheels in ancient times.




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