Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Mardi: Herbal-Wise

The ash tree is a long-standing staple in European folk healing, magick and Wicca. Some of those teachings have rubbed off on hoodoo as well although, as you can imagine, the rituals are a little different.

Ash trees are hearty, long-lived and usually found in cooler climates. Like birch, they're easy to find up here in my current home. It really is no wonder than that much of our current folklore about the ash and its uses comes to us from Teutonic and Celtic legend.

To the Vikings, an ash tree was the World Tree, Ygdrasill, from which Odin hung to obtain his knowledge of the sacred runes. Similarly in Celtic imagery the ash tree, drawn with roots and branches forming a sacred and continuous circle, represented the ongoing nature of the life/death cycle.

Staffs and wands of ash wood have been a staple in European magick for centuries. A branch of ash was hung over the cottage door to ward of the Evil Eye and other troubles. Staffs of ash wood were used in healing rituals, as were the trees leaves. Scott Cunningham notes that ash leaves were floated in a bowl of water which was placed next to one's bed at night. This was thought to catch and prevent illness from troubling the sleeper. In the morning, the water was thrown out and the ritual repeated the next night. Women also fashioned garters of the green bark to turn away the jealousy of other, perhaps witchy, women.

Ash leaves placed under one's pillow are thought to bring prophetic dreams. An equal-armed cross carved of ash wood and carried to sea was a popular sailor's charm to prevent death by drowning.

Burning an ash log at Yule is considered an excellent way to ensure prosperity in the coming year. The fresh leaves, carried near the skin, are thought to attract the love of the opposite sex.

Hoodoo also recommends ash leaves for love. Add a few, along with rose buds and dried lavender, to a pink flannel bag. Dress this with whiskey or Oil of Attraction and carry the mojo daily. It is said you will be irresistible to the opposite sex.

Ash is also used in hoodoo for protection while traveling, much as sailors of old once did. Write your name, or the name of a loved one about to travel, on brown paper in blue pen. Place this name-paper along with three ash leaves and a comfrey root in a yellow flannel bag. Carry this mojo, or make sure your loved one does, until returning home. Bonne chance ~

Header: Tree-Clouds-Sky via EcoInteractive on Twitter


Timmy! said...

We certainly do have plenty available to us here, Pauline.

Pauline said...

Indeed; certainly not a hard-to-get herb here in Alaska.