By Hilde Kearney
Photo credit: Hilde Kearney
THE ASH IS THE COSMIC CONNECTOR BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH
The Ash tree is very powerful, and no wonder it was a sacred tree for many different cultures throughout the ages. The Celtic Druids, in Norse tradition, in certain Mediterranean areas, and also in the Germanic, Pagan universe to mention a few, it was a tree revered and honored for its many magical, medicinal and spiritual properties. The Gauls in Northern France worshipped a goddess called Onniona in the sacred Ash groves at the time way before Christianity. The Ash was considered by them to be a protector, a bridge between the worlds, and revered as a very sacred tree. The Celtic druids placed it among the 3 most important trees next to Oak and Hawthorn. The ancient alphabet of the Celts, the Ogham, is infinitely connected with the trees, as the letters of the Ogham alphabet are carved in wood, just like the ancient Norse alphabet, the Runes. According to the magical traditions of the druids, they would use wood from the Ash to make their magic wands. In the tradition of the Celtic calendar, the Ash represents the 3rd month, which was normally known to hold the energy of storms, rains, and floods that were come to fertilize the soil before new growth. Both witches and druids used their magic wands made from Ashwood to perform weather magic, attempting to disperse rain or brew up storms. At some point this ancient wisdom seems to have been repressed and forgotten. Why? Maybe they grew too powerful in their understanding of the ancient wisdom?
THE CELTIC NAME FOR ASH IS NION, IN OLD NORSE IT IS ASKR, AND IN MODERN NORWEGIAN IT IS ASK
We are going to take a good look at this tree, the Ash, to get to know it better, understand it better, and really truly open up our hearts for this friendly, wise giant, not only from an eye-level perspective, but all the way at its crown and its roots.
When John and I first met, we felt the trees’ presence wanting us to unite, we felt empowered in their energy, love, and wisdom. They were a part of uniting us, and a part of our journey, for that we are eternally grateful. We have talked about this before in our other articles. Then back in February 2020, only weeks before the crazy quarantine lockdown, John and I took the great leap of faith by following our heart’s voice. It had been on our mind to move to UK or Ireland since early in our relationship. Then finally making an international move from the safety of Norway setting new roots so to speak in Ireland, -it was a huge surprise that the place we settled in had a huge Tuntre planted that must be easily 200 years old. And guess what, it was of course an Ash. The world tree, Yggdrasil, calling us by its wisdom through time and space. Its trunk forms the Axis Mundi at the center of the universe. In the center of our world. It was like coming home. Guided by the trees for sure.
In Norway it is a tradition that every farm has a tuntre, a tree standing in the centre of the farm, surrounded by all the buildings. It was very common for the Tuntre to be an Ash. This was because of its protective powers, that it would protect the farm in a world of much uncertainty, but also as a cosmic connector.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE ASH
Let’s have a short look at the tree’s characteristics. We are not intending to go deep into this, only because there are so many amazing books already written about the scientific aspects to this amazing tree, that it seems superfluous to mention this, except a few trivia that blends in well with our understanding of the Ash and the story we want to communicate.
The Ash is among the largest trees of the northern hemisphere, the trees has formidable properties on so many layers that we will explore further in this article. It belongs to a majestic plant species, and can also say because of its sheer size that it is like royalty in the forest.
The Ash belongs to the Oleaceae family, and some of its relatives include the Olive tree, Forsythia, Lilac, and Jasmine. A very royal family indeed. The Ash tree can grow to a great height and is one of the tallest trees even up to 40m high, and the circumference can be as much as 4 m around the trunk at chest level. They grow old, 200 years, but some as old as 500 years. Ash is associated with water, the roots are deep and strong, and it can endure the strongest winds. It is mostly a deciduous tree, some subtropic varieties exist, that are evergreen like the Olive. The branches of the Ash have a slight curve upwards making it easy to spot even after its leaves shed in the autumn. The bare branches have a brown-black, big bud that also makes it easy to identify during the wintertime. The leaves come late in the spring, after blossoming, and they shed the foliage earlier than other trees shed theirs. Despite its power and strength, the Ash is very sensitive to frost, and does not like to expose the fresh leaves before any danger of sudden night frost have all passed. This is just another feature about the Ash that adds to its character as wise, mature, and insightful, giving an added maturity to the image of the Ash tree.
One very interesting feature to make note of with regards to the Ash is that it seems to be able to change sex from year to year. One year it will produce female flowers, and later it will produce male. It adapts, perhaps, to what it is needed to do in securing the next generation. We can find the Ash tree all over Europe, to the Caucasus and in western Russia, and is also found in North America.
MEDICINAL PROPERTIES OF THE ASH
The Ash’s medicinal properties in folk medicine have been many, and it is dating far back before the Vikings and Celts even. The Ash was known to have diuretic properties, it would also assist with constipation and it was known to be a strong anti-parasitic. The Catholic saint Hildegard von Bingen would use Ash for rheumatism and arthritis. The bark of the Ash has astringent qualities and has the property to promote the extraction of uric acid and bladder related problems. It was used against toothache, diseases of the spleen, STDs, and to stop bleedings. They would burn little wood chips and use the ash from The Ash to put on an open wound, to help it coagulate. The seeds from Ash were known to be a powerful aphrodisiac, you could bake the seeds into the bread you served your beloved to turn them on! It is on this note worth to mention that there are no contraindications with using the Ash for medicinal purposes in appropriate and recommended dosages!
THE ASH AND ITS CONNECTION WITH THE NORSE MYTHS AND LEGENDS
In the ancient Norse legends, they talk about Yggdrasil, -the world tree. It was a gigantic tree standing in the middle of the universe, creating the Axis Mundi, and forming the bridge between the worlds. In the Norse universe Yggdrasil was surrounded by 9 worlds. Asgaard was the realm where the Gods resides, Midgard was the world of the humans, and then there was many other realms, like those of the fairies, or of the dwarfs to mention a few. As mentioned above, it is thought that Yggdrasil was an Ash. Although there is some debate with regard to this, some suggest the Yew or some unidentified mystical tree, it is most often identified to be the Ash. In Norse mythology, the creation story tells us how the gods Odin, Vilje, and Ve found two logs of dead timber along the lake, and Odin stopped to breathe life force into it. (John loves this part of the story as it is full-on qigong mastery!) One log was an Ash, the other an Elm. With the gift of life from Odin, they then became the first humans, and the gods named them Ask and Embla, (remember from above Ask means Ash in Norwegian, it is also though that the name Embla means Elm) and it is easy to spot the similarity of the names from the biblical story of creation with Adam and Eve. I also have a personal feeling there might be a connection between the Hindu creation sound of the universe the AUM, as this resembles the A-E sound.
Also worth to mention about Odin, Ash was very sacred to him. He undertook a spiritual journey, in a shamanic initiation rite, that was very dramatic and ended in his death, metaphysically. The ancient legends tell about how he hung himself from an Ash tree, nine days and nine nights. Then the legend has it he gained enlightenment, and perceived the ancient secrets of the runes with his inner eye. Or if one again draws the parallel to Hinduism, with Third Eye chakra expansion, becoming omniscient, and gaining rebirth this time as a god. In this way, no wonder Ash became synonymous with representing divination, and wisdom. Odin experienced the death of the old, transformation, and spiritual rebirth, and this is how the Ash tree is known. Ash is also considered holy to ancient Roman mythology, it was the sacred tree of Neptun and was known to protect the sailors on the sea from drowning.
Are you a Lord of the Rings nerd like us? It might be a fun fact to note that Gandalf’s staff is made from Ashwood. Every empowered druid had a staff, not only for support as you walk along the rugged path, but a very powerful tool containing magical properties. It is also interesting to note the phallic quality of the staff as well, especially when you consider how the Ash was also an aphrodisiac.
WILD EDIBLE ASH!
Yes, incredible but true, you can certainly use parts of the Ash tree to supply your diet, and enhance it! When the Ash sets seeds, it will give millions of them, in big clusters resembling grapes hanging on the wine. These are great added to your smoothies, your salads, and your soups or stir-fries, to add that extra nutrition. Try it next time you make tempura. This is some of our favorite ways to use it for food. Always ask the tree first if it is ok that you take a helping.
THE SPIRITUAL PROPERTIES OF THE ASH
The connection between fertility and new growth is really worth noticing about the Ash. Even if this tree is cut down severely by humans it has the power to magically regenerate itself. Not that we would recommend that at all, as it ultimately is terrible harm and stress for any tree, and we would absolutely prefer that humans stopped this tradition of “pruning” them. All the world’s trees are friendly giants of wisdom and we should always treat them with friendliness, love, and respect. Just basically treat them as the holy sentient beings they are.
The magical aspect of the wood from the Ash was also well known by the witches of Europe. They fashioned their broomsticks from Ash. No wonder, the witches were known to possess the ancient, secret wisdom of divine sexuality. The image of a witch flying across the night sky, howling at the moon with a broomstick looking like a huge, erect phallus made from Ash wood between her legs, certainly brings sex magic to mind -and the fertility aspect of the Ash. With the rise of Christianity, and the new power structure the all powerful church fathers apparently wanted to build in Europe, this ancient wisdom of divine sexuality was literally put to the torch as the witch burning pyres became one of the most horrific persecutions of medieval Europe. However in recent years, the Catholic church, has in an attempt confront their own responsibility in committing these horrors, also admitted and brought focus to the fact that the way the Catholic early munks directly targeted the Sacred groves of Europe and the sacred ancient trees around Europe, and then later the world at large, has ultimately been one of the saddest losses for humanity as a whole. Not only as a loss for the old spirituality, and wisdom traditions of nature, but for Christians to have also lost that part of connection with nature. Hopefully all is not lost, and this can still be restored. Look out for our next posts which will delve into the topic of the Sacred Groves, and more about the Ogham trees, as this is so close to our hearts. We will also further discuss how this was a direct attack on the principle of the divine feminine, our birthright, the power of the kundalini, and we will explore the sad whys to what happened.
MAKING PEACE WITH IT ALL
Just visualize the immense Ash tree standing in the center of the land, and with the protection of the goddess peacefully connects to her beautiful, bountiful, and fertile land. The Ash in particular is a symbol for our cosmic connection to source energy. It is extended and vast, in its feminine grace and beauty. Always in my meditations when I feel into and connect with the Ash tree, I immediately feel the cosmic pull and overpowering friendliness energy, and a rush of feminine grace too. By connection and love we bring in the transforming energy of the Ash, and this is the power that shapes our present now, and also brings us into a balanced future with harmony and peace for all of creation.
THE POWER OF THE GODDESS
Although I always feel a feminine grace energy when I tune into the Ash, maybe it would be more fair to say, that the Ash is not a feminine tree in its energy, nor is it masculine energy. It is the connecting axis between these energies. Think about how we mentioned earlier that the Ash can actually change sex. Or maybe it is more androgynous, -or again, maybe it embodies what it needs. -What the situation needs.
The feminine element of water is a characteristic, as mentioned over, Ash trees have a strong link with the holy wells of Europe and the spiritual traditions that existed before Christianity. It is worth to note here that in Ireland, the land of holy wells, the most prominently found tree is the Ash. They were frequently found to be surrounded by the Holy wells only outnumbered by Hawthorn it is believed. Even in The Norse mythology, it talks about how Yggdrasil the world tree has a holy well connected to each of its three giant roots.
The statement given by the Catholic church that the biggest tragedy in the waking of Christianity was the chopping down of the trees, and in particular the Sacred Groves. Set into motion systematically by the monks, back in the early days of the christian church as an attempt to eradicate the “heresy” of the ancient natural spirituality. It shows humanity’s deep disconnect, and lack of understanding of who we really are. It shows us a way of thinking that was so unbalanced and out of alignment, in its thirst for power. We humans are nature, we are a part of nature’s circle of life. Somehow that was all ignored and forgotten in the political power battles of Europe. In the process of chopping down the sacred trees, and more particularly the sacred groves, we chopped off our own limbs. We derailed our spirituality and our cosmic connection. Don’t get me wrong, I think Jesus as a soul walking on the earth, was amazing, and I love him. But further I really do believe he would have been absolutely furious and heartbroken had he known what was to happen in his name. Remember the story of Jesus in the temple as a 12-year-old? He gets so furious with the Jewish rabbis for doing business in the temple, and scolds them publicly. That takes guts from a child, and shows a soul who is not afraid to speak his truth authentically. Had he seen the way the church fathers treated nature, and laid the foundations in his name, he would have been quick to react, I am absolutely certain.
ASH HEALS THE COLLECTIVE WOUND OF HUMANITY
We have looked at how the Ash was used for divination, prophecy, and inspiration, and also protection. If you sleep with a bowl of Ash leaves next to you at night it will protect you from challenges and unwanted change. It can help you enhance your abilities, or enhancing skills in arts and crafts, in divination, in weather magic. But there is something even more empowering as a gift from our friend the Ash.
Ash is the key to healing the wound of the loneliness of the human spirit and the human heart, the intense feeling of apparent separatism that the soul encounters when she/he incarnates. It forms a link between human souls and the spirit world beyond, the universe itself. It is revered as the tree of initiation. It holds the key to universal truth and cosmic wisdom.
Ash calms your thoughts, brings peace and harmony, friendliness. Infuse your self in the energy of the Ash tree, to connect deeply to your inner source of wisdom and maturity, for empowerment, or for assisting to open up for the kundalini power within you. This is your birthright and has been kept secret for us for too long. True strength comes from knowing your own weaknesses.
OUR SACRED ASH MEDITATION
To go along with this post and for our love and gratitude for this amazing giant, we have created a Sacred Ash Meditation. As the Ash tree can switch its gender from year to year, — it is the tree that becomes one with all, one with consciousness. Thus, we feel it carries a deep connection to the sacred bond that unites us all, to the life-force energy of Qi, Prana, or Ki. A cosmic connector, grounding through its roots, feeling how we are rooted in Mother Earth, then up the trunk, connecting with the heart energy of the Ash. Then stretching far above up through the crown, and feel it taking you into cosmos, connecting with Father sky.
- Relax and soften your body, feel it sitting comfortably in your chair.
- Deepen your breath, inhale slowly and deeply 3 times.
- Inner smile, connecting with your heart
- Visualize yourself bare feet in the grass, inside your very own crystal grid, your divine cosmic blueprint
- Invite into your energy field the energy field of Yggdrasil, -the world tree from Norse mythology. The world tree is known to be an Ash.
- The world tree is a very sacred tree, it is the divine connector, uniting Father Sky with Mother Earth.
- Feel the roots of the Ash take your roots deep into Mother Earth to ground you, interlacing her own roots with your roots, and the roots of all the trees of the world.
- See your roots go even deeper, to the core of the earth, uniting with the heart of Mother Earth.
- Feel into her heart frequency, and merge with her. Tell her how sorry you are for all the activities you personally, or humanity as a whole, are doing consciously or unconsciously, that may have harmed her in any way, big or little. Tell her you love her, and want to live a life in her inspiration and in alignment with nature. Ask her to help you with this, and also ask her on behalf of humanity to help us with this.
- Send her gratitude.
- Next take your attention up the roots of Yggdrasil, and feel into the trunk of Yggdrasil. Merge with the heart of Yggdrasil, the energetic heart of the tree is in its trunk.
- In the lightness of the heart frequency of Yggdrasil that you are now merged with, next you feel your toes slowly , slowly starting to hover off the grass. You are weightless, and you are light. You hover even higher, into the canopy of the tree.
- Hover all the way up to the crown of the tree.
- There is a strong pull that takes you up to Father Sky. The Ash is the connecting bridge, the axis mundi.
- Melt into the cosmic heart, and connect with all. Feel the connection with all, that you are all, and all is you, and you are all connected.
- In this energetic field everything is possible.
- It welcomes you in an emerald green brilliant light.
- In between the brilliantly shining vast canopy you can see a portal appearing.
- You are held in the energetic powerful field of the trees and united with all of cosmos, everything that is through love, bliss, and peace.
- As you gaze past the portal, you get a glimpse of the new cosmic grid for you, with even more connecting energy points than was in the old one.
- You are invited to step through the portal. It is necessary for you to activate your own part of this endless cosmic grid your self.
- As you step through, you are invited to leave behind anything that no longer serves you, old emotional patterns, mental programming, or any physical conditions. Leave it there on the ground next to you, and a small violet flame appears to transmute it. Send gratitude.
- As you step through the portal of endless opportunities, feel how your heart expands even further. You now feel such peace, such bliss.
- Let the portal of opportunities shower you in its light with more and more magic, mysteries, abundance, and blessings of peace.
- The peace of Mother Earth and Father Sky.
- Know that you are a valuable part of this cosmic grid, and that it is important that you activate the parts of your cosmic grid that has been inactive to now.
- Put your attention to these energy points and pathways in the cosmic grid, see them fill with the light of peace. See that it is fully restored according to the highest plan of the universe for you.
- Know that you are a part of the cosmic grid and it is always there for you. you can access the wisdom, peace, bliss, abundance, and love of the universe instantly, whenever you should need it.
- Fell union, we are all one.
- Feel gratitude, express how thankful you are
- Feel peace, embody peace, expand in peace.
- When you are ready to come back, slowly, slowly feel yourself starting to sink , observing the brilliant emerald green canopy. You slowly sink further, observe the heart frequency of Yggdrasil as you sink down next to its mighty trunk.
- Then softly you can feel your toes in the grass again, and you start to feel your body again. Feel the bliss and peace in every cell of your body. Take this amazing feeling with you into your day.
- Open your eyes when you are ready.