In our tradition we divide the year not only by eight solar and agricultural holidays, but also by the Kalends. We celebrate twelve months of the year by the common calendar, plus a special thirteenth month for Samhain. These month cycles are associated with different totemic spirits. Each month is assigned an animal, a bird (or other flying creature), and a tree. October's totems are Salmon, Hazel, and Lapwing.
The totemic associations are as follows:
Salmon – (Bradan) oldest animal; wisdom, knowledge, inspiration
Hazel – (Coll) wisdom, intuition, creativity, divination, the source
Lapwing – (Curracag) resourcefulness, distraction, wisdom, divination
Hazel is deciduous and grows to the height of a small tree/large shrub –
12-20 feet tall. Hazels are plentiful in copses, oak woods, and
hedgerows, and they thrive in damp places near ponds and streams. Their
bark is smooth and light brown with lighter brown specks that are the
pores of the tree. They have tough, elastic stems and slightly
heart-shaped, asymmetrical leaves.
associations include fertility, wisdom, marriage, divination, healing,
protection, intuition, dowsing wands, individuality, finding the hidden,
luck and wishes. Hazel’s atmosphere brings exhilaration and
inspiration, and it has been called the ‘Poet’s Tree.’ It has
associations with faerie lore and entrance into faerie realms. It is
aligned with the element of Air and with the feminine.
is one of the “Seven Chieftain Trees” of the Celts, and the unnecessary
felling of hazel trees brought the death penalty in Ireland.
Hazel is considered to be the Tree of knowledge for the Celts. Its nuts
are ultimate receptacles of wisdom. Hazelnuts were considered the food
of the Gods.
Hazel was used in combination with other
woods (oak, apple and willow) for various magical purposes, and it has
associations with love divinations and love wands (possibly due to the
shape of the leaves).
Because it is plentiful near water, Hazel is associated with wells and springs. For example, nine hazels
of “poetic art” surrounded Connla’s Well, the destination and home of
the first salmon. Magically speaking, silver snakes and silvery fish
dart around its roots, which signifies swift energy. Hazel brings speed
through the air and water.
In Cornwall, it was used for
dowsing (to find water, ley lines, thieves, murderers and treasure). In
France, it was used for beating the bounds (to define the boundaries
and make sure they didn’t fall into a state of neglect). In Wales, twigs
were made into wishing caps.
Hazel’s healing qualities
were used to cure fevers, diarrhea, and excessive menstrual flow. The
kernels were used for clearing cough and head congestion. The nuts were
used in divination rituals, especially concerning love.
wands or rods bring poetic and magical inspiration. They can also be
used as “talking sticks” for order in large group discussions. The
Druids also believed they could achieve invisibility from hazel rods
fashioned in a certain manner.
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