Follow the path to the edge of the forest, once there look for a pond with a Hazel tree at it's edge. There you will find wisdom...
Hazel has been a companion wood to people for a very long time. Sometimes, while walking in ancient woodlands you may come across hazel trees that were coppiced in their former life. This woodland management practice is where the tree is cut down to the stump allowing many smaller branches to regrow. Hazel isn’t the only tree that was cultivated this way but it is a very a very common one. Hazel trees have round bright green leaves which are sometimes brushed with a splash of red. The catkins, both male and female appear on the same tree. Eventually the female catkins grow into everyone’s favourite hazelnut!
Leaves: Rotund, rounded leaves with jagged toothy edge and pointed tip. Green in spring and turning deep yellow in the fall.
Flowers: Yellow male catkins beginning to grow usually in February, with smaller female flowers with red styles following.
Nuts: Oval fruits from the pollinated female flowers usually hang in groups of 1-4 and develop into a nut encased in a bract topped shell.
How to Harvest: Hazel grows in the lower understory of woodlands in Europe, North Africa, North America and Asia. And can also be found in hedges, edges and scrub land. The nuts are ready in the fall but are an essential source of food for many animals in the winter including squirrels, mice and birds so always gather with respect and leave some for everyone.
A year in the Life of a hazel tree:
A year in the life of the sacred tree of wisdom:
Folklore and Magic of the Hazel:
Energetically, Hazel is very much a tree of going with the flow. Working with this tree in the spirit realm helps us to release inhibiting thoughts, stuck patterns and processes. When we release such stagnation our creativity is free to roam and explore in many directions.
Hazel, in Celtic tradition, is the tree of Knowledge, and lore tells the story of the nine nuts coming from nine hazel trees, each nut full of potent poetic wisdom. These nuts dropped into a well that was below the trees, and within that well lived a salmon, who ate these nuts. Each nut eaten by the salmon becomes a spot on its skin, and gave the salmon all the wisdom and poetry of the world. Anyone who either ate one of the sacred nuts or ate the salmon was said to also be given the gift of this sacred sight and wisdom.
The hazel tree provides shade, protection and baskets. In Europe and North America, hazel is commonly used for 'water-witching' - the art of finding water with a forked stick. Magically, hazel wood is used to gain knowledge, wisdom, and poetic inspiration.
Wands were made of hazel wood to symbolize magic and healing. Forked sticks made of the sacred tree were used to find water or buried treasure. If a person is in need of magical protection, quickly drawing a circle around them with a hazel branch works a charm. Or, if you wish to call on the aid of the devic, or plant realm/Fae, it is said that stringing hazelnuts up on a cord and hanging them in your house will draw those powers near to you.
The name 'hazel' comes from the Anglo Saxon 'haesel', meaning 'cap'. This refers to the way in which the nuts are covered with a thin, leafy sheath, rather like a little hat. In the various Celtic languages, its name is surprisingly standard. The ancient and modern Irish use the name 'coll', which becomes calltunn or calltuinn in the Scots Gaelic, and is often the term used in tree Ogham divination.
The hazel seems to have arrived in Britain and Ireland through natural means in prehistoric times. Along with the birch, it was the first tree to colonize the lands after the last ice age, though it appears that humans were also partly responsible for the great spread and abundance of the tree.
Perhaps the most famous tale concerning this lore is that of Fionn Mac Cumhaill, and of how he got his wisdom:
It happened that there was a particular salmon swimming in the Boyne river, who was wiser than any other of the fish. The man who ate the flesh of that fish would receive this great wisdom for himself. The Druid Finnéces and his young apprentice Fionn caught the fish, and Fionn is asked to cook the fish - but not to eat any of it. However, during the cooking, hot juice from the fish spits onto Fionn's thumb, and before he can stop himself, he instinctively puts his thumb in his mouth to soothe the burning. As luck would have it, it was this part of the salmon that contained the concentrated wisdom that had been sought by his master. Fortunately for Fionn, Finnéces is understanding and acknowledges, with resignation and pride, the knowledge and power of his young charge. Unlike Taliesin, Fionn does not remain constantly in this enlightened state. In order to prophecy, he chews on the thumb that was burnt by the salmon.
In Scotland, at Hallowe'en we see a love divination performed with hazel nuts. Two hazelnuts are given the names of a pair of lovers and then placed upon burning embers. If they burn slowly, remaining together, this is taken as a sign of loyalty and love. But if the nuts crack, jump or roll apart, this is a sign that the lovers are a bad match, with one of them being unfaithful.
A variation on this is commemorated by Gray: "Two hazel nuts I threw into the flame, And to each nut I gave a sweetheart's name This, with the loudest bounce me sore amazed That, with a flame of brightest colour blazed. As blazed the nut, so may thy passion grow, For t'was thy nut that did so brightly glow."
Hazelnuts were also thought to protect against adder snake bites. There is an old charm that is to be spoken over one so afflicted, while a hazelwood cross is placed over the bite: Underneath this hazelin mote, There's a braggoty worn with a speckled throat, Nine double is he, Now from eight double to seven double And from seven double to six double… And from one double to no double, No double hath he .
It seems that the charm takes the adder to have left some part of himself within the bite, and that this 'double' can be gradually teased out of the victim by use of the rhyme. On finding a snake coiled asleep, a hazel stick should be stuck into the center of the spiral while a charm is said for the making of the adder-stone. An adder stone originally comes from lore in Britain, but they are also found in northern Germany, and are a type of stone with a naturally occurring hole in them. In Britain they are also called Hag stones, witches' stones, snake's eggs or adder stones. Adder stones were believed to have magical powers of protection against diseases, evil charms, nightmares and gives the power of such a stone the ability to see through fairy disguises and into their inner realms. They were also said to protect the owner from snake bites. Some magical uses of the hazel tree are as wands and divining rods used to find water. It is said that the best time to cut a hazel wand is in the spring when the sap is rising, as this is when it is at its most powerful. Hazel can be used at all times for protection, and placing a sprig of Hazel over your doorstep is said to hold much protective powers.
If you are able to find a hazel tree locally, ask its permission take a small branch or gather some nuts to work with. Conversely, if you can’t find a hazel tree, hazelnuts are readily available at grocery stores, and are wonderful to have around for eating and as offerings. Place a bowl of hazelnuts on your altar while you work with the tree this month.
Hedgewalking with Hazel
Hazel, the tree of wisdom and growth, loves to be given offerings of seaweed or any kind of fertilizer so that it can nourish itself and continue to put out the large quantities of energy required to make hazelnuts. When crossing the hedge to the Hazel try focusing on questions pertaining to difficult aspects of your life where the struggle requires equal parts logic and wisdom. An example would be in taking a new job or moving house, where the spiritual is just as important as the practical.
Hazel/Coll Ogam: This is the ogam of wisdom and nourishment. If you draw the hazel it is suggesting that all that is happening now, things you are planning or wanting to take action on will go smoothly. You have the wisdom within you, trust that. If you draw it reversed it may be that there is a bloc somewhere, either from an old belief that needs to be removed or your own inner fears about moving forward. Trust thew wisdom of Hazel to support you in this and try to move ahead, fear and all.
Magic Making and recipes:
Making a Hazelnut Witch’s Ladder:
This charm is working with the principle that Hazel is one of the nine sacred Celtic trees, often place ninth in the tree Ogham. Hazelnuts are a symbol of prosperity, luck, wisdom and protection. Nine is also a sacred number in magical workings and traditionally witches ladders had knots in either 3, 9 or 13.
What You Need: 9 hazelnuts Twine or yarn Any other charms you want to include A small nail or poking tool to make holes Your clear intentions
To Make: Hazelnuts are surprisingly soft and pretty easy to make holes just using a sharp thin nail. Begin to string them on the twine one at a time, knotting your intentions and wishes into the charm with each knot. Add any other charms in a bunch on the end. Charge up your charm by holding it in your hands and offering your breath. Hang in your home or carry with you a little piece of hazel magic.
Wisdom Spread-Hazelnut Chocolate Butter 2 cups raw unsalted hazelnuts 1/3 cup dairy-free dark chocolate, melted 1 tsp pure vanilla extract 1 Tbsp maple syrup 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1/2 tsp sea salt
Instructions: 1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C). 2. Place hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for about 15 minutes. Keep an eye on them, turning if you need to. 3. When ready carefully take out of the oven and scooch them onto a clean tea towel. Once cool enough to handle, rub the towel over the nuts to remove the skins- check out the video. There is also a boiling method that is pretty easy which you can find on youtube, but I like the flavor better when roasted. 4. Next pop your nuts in a heavy duty food processor or blender that can handle nut butter. Blend on low until the butter is formed- this is usually between 5-10 minutes depending on your blender. 5. Next add the remaining ingredients and blend until well incorporated. If you want it a little smoother you can add a tablespoon of coconut oil. But this is optional. 6. If your wisdom spread doesn’t taste quite sweet enough or salty enough go ahead an add more seasoning so it is just right for you. 7. Put into a clean jar with a pretty label and keep in cupboard. Should last a couple weeks at room temp just fine.
This is especially yummy stirred into hot milk for hot chocolate or warmed and served over your favorite granola parfait.
1/2c.finely chopped hazelnuts
Instructions In a large mixing bowl, combine butter and sugar. Cream until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolk, milk, and vanilla. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, and salt. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in the mixing bowl, and beat until just combined. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until dough easily forms into a ball. Shape into 1-inch balls. Roll each ball in the chopped hazelnuts until well-coated. Place each ball 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets. Press an indentation in the center of each dough ball using your thumb or the end of a wooden spoon. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until set when you lightly touch an edge (carefully). Remove cookies to wire racks to cool completely.
Fill with great gobs of your hazelnut wisdom spread and enjoy!
By Jessica Rose
What does it mean to be wise?
To know the secret names of all the blessed things Who live under the sun and sing under the moon?
What does it mean to be wise?
To know the answers to any spoken question or to be like the old god who sacrificed his eye So he could truly see?
What does it mean to be wise?
To eat the sage hazel and wear a braided crown upon my own brow filled with ancient rememberings.
Perhaps to be wise is Knowing which well to drink, And which cauldron to stir And how to live and love So that I flow through life like holy, sacred waters Shaping my world to the container of my soul.