Today’s card is the Hazel tree, also known as Corylus avallana in scientific terms, and it is the last card in this series. The Ogam for this tree, Coll, meaning ‘fairest of trees’ in the secret language of Druids. In the Celtic tradition, the hazel is deeply connected to wisdom and is its fruit, the hazelnut, is known as the ‘food of the Gods’. It holds in important role in the Celtic iconography of learning and literature from their history tells many tales of heroes who, when eating the nuts, were gifted with an extra boost of wisdom, separating them from the rest of humanity. Irish tradition also speaks of the wisdom of the salmon; Celtic lore speaks of the sacred salmon who lived in a pool that lay under a hazel tree. The salmon ate the fruits of the tree, which were then carried to the sea by the salmon, and then back in their annual spawning season. In this way, it represents that passing of information from generation to generation and from age to age along the wide expanse of human existence.
The Celtic god of love, Aegus mac ind Oic, was said to carry a hazel wand and, for this reason, it was sad that the success or failure of a courtship could be predicted by the hazel. The lovers placed two hazelnuts in a fire or pool of water. If the nuts remained closed, this was an indicator of a long-lasting marriage. However if the nuts came apart in either the flames or the water, it was thought that the couple would soon do the same. In ancient times in the Welsh tradition, people sometimes wore caps woven from hazel twigs which was said to bring good dreams and wise understanding. Twigs of hazel are still used as dowsing rods and in the hands of an expert, can be extremely accurate at finding water and minerals such as crystals. It is said that twigs cut at midsummer were to most effective when the hazel had been properly consulted and thanked for its sacrifice. Such importance was laid on the hazel tree that, in Irish history, it was a death penalty offense to purposely cut down a hazel tree.
The Green Man wisdom here is ‘Seek Wisdom in the Depths’ and tells us that wisdom is much harder to come by than knowledge. It comes to us in moments of grace, moments of fear and loss, and in moments of need for divine intervention Wisdom is always inside of us, but when we are presented with a plethora of information from all sides, it is important that we use wisdom to determine truth from falsehood. This card suggests that we seek the wisdom of the ancients, the guardians of the Otherworld, where every thought, deed, and memory is stored. By attuning ourselves to this storehouse of collective memory, we find that we can tap into additional wisdom that our limited linear experience can afford in one lifetime. The depths of ancestral wisdom refines our knowledge into something that is far more appropriate and powerful In the case of situations where critical thinking is needed. The message of the hazel is to look deeper into your well of wisdom and seek out the the primal information that can illuminate any action or situation.
May the voices of the ancestors whisper words of wisdom in your ear today!
*Stay Tuned – The Rider-Waite Holographic Tarot Deck will be featured beginning tomorrow, Monday, April 16th!