It is well known that plants have healing properties, being very beneficial in preventing and even curing different health problems. But plants also have a spiritual use, and many of them are given magical powers or properties by different cultures. Let’s learn more about ash tree symbolism, spiritual meaning, and uses.
The case of ash is quite a distinct one since Celtic mythology considers it a sacred tree to which supernatural powers are attributed. Meanwhile, in Christianity ash is a pagan tree, which is known as a dwelling place of demons.
The truth is, ash is a tree that has been worshiped by different cultures such as Romans, Greeks, Celts, and Vikings. Spiritual cleansings are made with its leaves and protective amulets are manufactured from its wood.
Today we will know a little more of all the magical properties that this tree offers, according to the different beliefs and cultural traditions.
Ash Tree Symbolism in Different Cultures
The ash has large roots that sink deep into the ground. For the Celts, this symbolized the people’s ability to dig inside themselves to find nourishment and inner stability. In fact, it is also a great symbol of stability and security. Those belonging to the sign of the ash do not tolerate those who are not concrete or those who rely solely on spirituality, forgetting the more concrete side of life.
Also according to the Celts, the ash was a kind of connection between the sky and the earth that allowed a flow of energy between these two different spheres. Therefore, spectacular things happened inside. Children, for example, were cured of certain diseases (such as hernias) thanks to the bark of this tree.
The ash was commonly used in ceremonies for protection rituals because it was believed that great energies were contained within it. Specifically, the ash was thought to be excellent for guarding children by protecting them from evil.
In fact, it was often used as a healing agent for childhood diseases, in the form of herbal teas and herbal preparations. Its association with children may recall many Nordic myths within the Celtic tradition.
In many ancient traditions, the ash tree symbolizes fertility. A Scandinavian legend presents this tree as the original support of the world, associating it with the myth of creation since it gives rise to both the upper and lower worlds.
As a symbol of rebirth, transformation, and initiation it was often used by Druid populations during various rituals and ceremonies.
The tree was associated with young warriors and for this reason, they were given an ash lance with which they would pass a series of tests.
Fintan, therefore, planted five magical trees (three of which were ash trees) to mark the borders of the provinces of Leinster, Munster, Connaught, Ulster, and Meath.
As mentioned, the old and great solitary ash trees have always been the symbol of mediation between heaven and earth for the central European people; in fact, they allowed the two parties to exchange energies and souls.
The tree is often used to represent Yggdrasil, the sacred Celtic-Druid tree upon which we climb to reach the camp of the Gods, where every day we drink mead, fight wars between gods and then return whole, without a touch of death.
Legend tells of four deer grazing its sprouts, endangering the entire Universe. The three Norms (which in the German-Scandinavian mythology embody wisdom) live in the Yggdrasill Ash and have the task of protecting it by watering it every day, so the tree can continue to grow.
The first root of the tree reaches the land of Ases, the heavenly gods, second one to the land of the frost giants and finally, third root reaches up to the sky. Below it there is a very sacred place: the court of the gods.
Yggdrasil survives their twilight. Once this terrible ordeal is overcome, the Earth emerges from the sea and becomes green and lush.
A new sun appears in a sky populated by divinities, daughters of those deaths, while Baldr, the good god – whose murderer had caused the catastrophe – resurrects.
Enclosed in the wood of the ash, a man and a woman, Lif and Lifthrasir, will survive, who will feed exclusively on the morning dew. They will be new progenitors of humanity.
In addition to the importance given to him by the legend of Yggdrasil, ash tree has had very different symbolic powers and meaning over time:
- Its wood was used in ancient popular rituals to ignite the propitiatory fire of the new year and to favor the arrival of spring rains to awaken other plants, still numbed by winter sleep.
- It was the plant dear to Poseidon, God of earthquakes that shook the earth and attracted the heavenly fire and fertilizing rains.
- In the past, its wood had the reputation of being an effective talisman against drowning and of being endowed with healing powers against hernia, rickets, bone fractures and articular rheumatism. Those who had benefited from his medicinal power had to scrupulously monitor the tree and forbid it to be touched by anyone because their life depended on it; if the tree had been felled, the illness would have struck the healed person again until he/she died.
- According to ancient traditions, Ash has an exceptional power over snakes that even flee its shadow. Pliny said that a snake trapped between fire and a circle of Ash leaves would rather throw itself into the flames than stay in the circle of leaves. This unusual action of snakes is continued in the sixteenth century, so much so that in the countryside it was customary to use Ash leaves against bites of reptiles even up to the early 1900s.
- Among the Celts, ash trees were considered symbols of rebirth and capable of performing miraculous healings.
- In the Celtic tree alphabet, ash tree was the third tree in the series and indicated the month preceding the spring equinox. For this reason, until a century ago, it was customary in France to light a new fire with its wood, asking it to bring the first spring rains down so that they could revive vegetation after a long winter.
Magical Uses of the Ash Tree
Ash tree symbolism is linked to the Sun and to elements of Fire and Air. Its planetary link to healing practices is associated with Venus, but it is to be remembered that Ash is also associated with the God Poseidon (and Neptune).
Magical use: Both sorcery and magic, in general, make use of this plant, and it indicates it as effective for breaking spells, spells and for expelling malign presences (astral larvae, adverse thought forms).
Fumigations of this plant defend from attacks of occult and malefic influences. According to the tradition of witchcraft, it is considered the best wood for making healing sticks and talismans.
Being a wood rich in liquids, it has a tendency to deform during the drying phase, therefore the best thing to do is to mitigate the risk by frequently anointing the wood with seed oil, cooked linseed oil.
Popular belief holds that some ash leaves placed under or near the ear can promote prophetic dreams.
Being tied to Odin, it is certainly appreciated on the occasion of the feast dedicated to him that falls on January 17th.
The plant is used in many traditions, two of which are Wicca and witchcraft.