Today’s card is the Ash, also known as Fraxinus excelsior in scientific terms. According to Greek mythology, the first man was born from an ash tree and thereafter it was considered good luck to plant an ash tree upon the birth of each new child. The health of the ash would then determine the overall health and longevity of the child it represented. The ash tree was also sacred to the war god, Ares. Which suggests that humanity’s warrior aspect is an essential part of our personal strength. The Ogam for this tree is Nuin, which translates into the word Strength. The ash is, therefore, symbolic of strength but also wisdom. Three of the five sacred (holy) trees in Ireland are ash trees as is Yggdrasil, the ash World Tree of Norse mythology from which all wisdom flows. its rootedness in the Earth as well as its ability to tap into the flow of ancient knowledge which was protected by the Norns. Odin was said to have hung himself from the ash to bring runes to mankind.
The custom of erecting a May Pole stems back to the tradition of the world tree and ash was often used for this reason. Throughout Europe, from ancient times until the present, a tree is cut and trimmed before being brought into the center of town to be erected. There it would be decorated with white, red, and black ribbons to represent blood, seed, and earth; the pole was considered sacred to the Gods and elaborate dances would be performed around them, weaving a pattern that echoed our interconnectivity to the universe and the dance that we weave around the central point of heaven. Many modern Pagans perform this ritual, embodying the ancient customs and Gods as they celebrate the union of the Lord and Lady.
Strength itself comes from wisdom, not the application of brute force but also endurance. Sometimes in wisdom we need to know when to just hang on when the going gets tough. The Green Man Wisdom here, ‘Strength Grows From Deep Roots’ tells us that wile strength often presents itself in the darker places along our path, it is also a sense of rootedness and certainty. Not just to be used in dire circumstance such as threat or war but also as a sign of inner presence and a sense of knowing our self truths. The tree draws its life energy from the Earth itself, the life-giving sap flowing like blood through the veins. Growth is another aspect of strength for, in order to grow, we must draw on our inner resources. If they have been weakened, this makes our ascension more difficult. Whatever it is we seek, this card calls us to take a look at our ‘roots’ and be sure of our inner direction before we act. Wisdom may indicate that course correction is needed.
May you find that wisdom has you firmly grounded in your truth at this time! Bright Blessings!