In a few days time, on 5 August we leave the old month of Holly tree and move into a new Celtic month – the month of the Hazel tree.
Now the ancients started their days (and, so new months) from the prior evening from our reckoning, and so that would make it the evening of 4 August, but the choice of which evening/day to celebrate the new month is up to you). But do celebrate and mark the time in some way. The month of the Hazel tree ends on 1 September.
Did you know…Turkey is the largest producer of hazelnuts in the world with approximately 75% of worldwide production.
It’s always good to celebrate a new month in large ways or small. I would encourage you, at the very least, to draw aside one evening to ‘welcome in’ the new month, even if for say, twenty minutes. It’s can be a deeply moving, profound, spiritual event.
Slow down, and maybe read and/or recite some poetry and spend some time mulling over the words, and meditate upon them. A glass of wine or two might assist. The Hazel tree is connected with knowledge and wisdom, and so a poem or quote associated with knowledge or wisdom might be appropriate, or maybe use a quote from here that evening. There’s also a link to a great and relevant story, below.
And, also, how about giving thanks for all the good things that have happened in the previous month, and think ahead to what might happen this month, seeking light and love and energy, and guidance for the month ahead from the Source of All.
‘All our wisdom is stored in the trees.’ (Santosh Kalwar)
The hazel tree, corylus avellana, itself, is a deciduous broadleaf tree native to the UK. Usually coppiced, but when left alone they can grow to a height of about thity-five feet (12m) and can live for up to eighty years (and, perhaps, four times that age, if coppiced).
The hazel tree has a smooth, grey-brown bark, which peels with age, and has pliable, hairy stems. Leaf buds are oval, blunt and also hairy.
‘The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.’ (John Muir)
Bees usually find it very difficult to collect hazel pollen and can only gather it in small quantities. This is because the wind pollinated hazel has pollen that is not that sticky and actually repels one grain from another.
Once pollinated by wind, the female flowers develop into oval fruits, which hang in groups. They mature into a nut with a woody shell surrounded by a cup of leafy bracts (modified leaves).
Hazel trees grow across much of Europe, as well as parts of north Africa and western Asia. In the UK it’s often found under the canopy of the lowland oak, ash or birch woodland, and is also found sometimes in scrub and hedgerows.
Did you know…The hazelnut became Oregon’s official State Nut in 1989.
As with the harmony of nature, hazel tree leaves provide an abundance of food for the caterpillars of many moths, including the large emerald, small white wave, barred umber and nut-tree tussock. They may support many species of butterfly, particularly fritillaries. Coppiced hazel trees also provides shelter for ground-nesting birds such as the nightingale, nightjar, yellowhammer and willow warbler.
Hazel nuts are also eaten by woodpeckers, nuthatches, tits, wood pigeons, jays and a number of small mammals. Hazel flowers provide early pollen as a food for bees. And the tree trunks are often covered in mosses, liverworts and lichens, and the fiery milkcap fungi grows in the soil beneath.
‘She said that the planting of trees, like the education of children, was a gift to the future.’ (Cassandra Danz)
Myth & Symbolism
The Hazel is associated with ‘knowledge’ and there is a wonderful story about a young man named Fionn, which includes the hazel tree and the salmon of knowledge, and is a story to tell, retell at this time of the year or on the evening of your new month celebration, and to quietly ponder upon it (see here).
Hazel has a reputation as a’ magical tree’. In many parts of Europe, a hazel rod is supposed to protect against evil spirits, as well as being used as a wand and for water-divining. In some parts of England hazel nuts were carried as charms and/or held to ward off rheumatism. The hazel’s connection with the Well of Wisdom is evident by the tree’s frequent presence at holy wells throughout Britain and Ireland, where pilgrims. still continue to this day, festoon its branches with votive offerings in the form of pieces of cloth.
‘Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.’ (Kahlil Gibran)
The hazel’s association with wisdom extends to other cultures of the ancient world. In Norse mythology it was known as the Tree of Knowledge and was sacred to Thor; the Romans held it sacred to Mercury; and Hermes’ magic rod may have been made from hazel.
Whatever you do, my encouragement to you is to celelebrate the new month one evening as we enter the new month of the Hazel tree. Appreciate the marking of time, the new month, and trees. Yes, love trees. Wishing you and yours a blessed Hazel tree month, Tadhg.
‘Make peace with people, make peace with animals, make peace with trees!’ (Mehmet Murat ildan)