As the year progresses from mid-January to February, the Celtic calendar shifts from the month of the rowan into the month of the ash. The month of the ash begins on Feb. 18 and concludes on March 17. The period is also called the month of Nuin (pronounced NEE-uhn), with the word Nuin meaning, “ash” and serving as a letter in the ogham. The ogham script for the tree consists of one vertical line with four horizontal lines equally spanned on the right side of the vertical line.
The ash tree as sacred
In “Plant Lore, Legends and Lyrics,” Richard Folkard writes that the Ash tree is also known as the Fraxinus excelsior, meaning “higher ash” or “taller ash”; The Venus of the forest and the husbandman’s tree. The Ash is sacred to the ancient Scandinavian’s, Greeks, and Romans and is commonly considered a positive omen. In Teutonic myth, the tree is “most venerated,” and in Scandinavian myth, the Yggdrasil is an Ash tree where one will find the chief seat of the gods beneath its shade. According to Greek and Norse traditions, the first human was formed from the wood of the Ash tree.
Pliny asserts that Ash wood has magickal properties that protect those who carry it from serpents: This notion was based on the belief that a serpent, fearing the Ash tree’s shade, would rather move through fire than approach the tree or crawl over a twig from the Ash. Common Ash lore suggests that the pendent winged seeds, also called keys or spinners, when in abundance are indicative of a harsh winter to come.
Hilderic Friend writes in “Flowers and Flower Lore,” that both the twigs and leaves of the Ash were once used for protection against serpents. The spear shafts, axe handles, and the boats of many mythological heroes are also crafted from Ash wood. In Wiccan traditions, the Yule log is made of Ash wood and some witches make or buy besoms with handles made of Ash. Further, on the Order of the Bards, Ovates and Druids website, the tree is identified as the feminine counterpart to the masculine Oak and the site suggests that the Oak and Ash represent “the All-Father and the all-embracing World Mother.”
Being an elegant tree and “Venus of the forest,” the ash tree is associated with Venus, the Roman goddess of love. Folkard explains that Cupid once used arrows made of Ash before using ashes made of Cyprus. Sometimes the goddess Nemesis is depicted with a wand made out of Ash wood. Some lore suggests that the Ash tree is a major attractant for lightning, so the tree also corresponds with the Greek god Zeus. Astrologically, the tree is one that is under the planetary influences of Jupiter and the Sun.
Celtic astrology and the ash
According to Whats-Your-Sign.com, individuals born during the month of the ash are naturally creative, intuitive, artistic and highly imaginative. Those who are born under the sign of the ash are often inspired by the outdoors, natural landscapes and being out in nature. Areas of interest for individuals that fall under this sign include the sciences, theology and the humanities. On Celtic Radio, ash people are identified as gregarious, spontaneous, quick-witted, curious and persuasive; The site suggests there are two types of ash individuals: Those born during the first two weeks of the sign have a “new moon character, “and those born under the last two weeks of the sign having a “full moon” character.” The individuals with a “new moon character” can be demonstrative or impulsive in relationships; Those born with a “full moon character” are “natural exhibitionists” with a generous spirit. Those born under this sign are naturally inquisitive and have excellent communication skills, but some people born under this sign can be irritable, nervous or have issues with self-esteem.
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