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Celtic sacred trees - Wikipedia

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Do you believe that this item violates a copyright? Amazon Music Stream millions of songs. Amazon Drive Cloud storage from Amazon. Alexa Actionable Analytics for the Web. The oak tree features prominently in many Celtic cultures. The ancient geographer Strabo 1st century AD reported that the important sacred grove and meeting-place of the Galatian Celts of Asia Minor, Drunemeton, was filled with oaks.

In an often-cited passage from Historia Naturalis 1st century AD , Pliny the Elder describes a festival on the sixth day of the moon where the druids climbed an oak tree, cut a bough of mistletoe, and sacrificed two white bulls as part of a fertility rite. Britons under Roman occupation worshipped a goddess of the oak tree, Daron, whose name is commemorated in a rivulet in Gwynedd.

Sacred associations of oaks survived Christianization, so that St Brigit 's monastic foundation was at Cill Dara, 'church of the oak', i. In Welsh tradition Gwydion and Math use the flower of oak with broom to fashion the beautiful Blodeuwedd. When Lleu Llaw Gyffes is about to be killed by Gronw Pebyr , his wife's lover, he escapes in eagle form onto a magic oak tree.

In British fairy lore, the oak is one of three primary magical woods, along with ash and thorn.

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The ash tree also features strongly in Irish mythology. The mountain ash, rowan , or quicken tree is particularly prominent in Scottish folklore. There are several recorded instances in Irish history in which people refused to cut an ash, even when wood was scarce, for fear of having their own cabins consumed with flame. The ash tree itself might be used in May Day Beltaine rites. Under the Old Irish word nin, the ash also gives its name to the letter N in the ogham alphabet. Together with the oak and thorn, the ash is part of a magical trilogy in fairy lore.

Ash seedpods may be used in divination , and the wood has the power to ward off fairies, especially on the Isle of Man.

In Gaelic Scotland children were given the astringent sap of the tree as a medicine and as a protection against witch-craft. The French poet who used Breton sources, Marie de France late 12th century , wrote a lai about an ash tree. The pome fruit and tree of the apple is celebrated in numerous functions in Celtic mythology, legend, and folklore; it is an emblem of fruitfulness and sometimes a means to immortality.

Wands of druids were made from wood either of the yew or of the apple. An apple-tree grew from the grave of the tragic lover Ailinn. In the Irish tale Echtra Condla The Adventure of Conle , Conle the son of Conn is fed an apple by a fairy lover , which sustains him with food and drink for a month without diminishing; but it also makes him long for the woman and the beautiful country of women to which his lover is enticing him.

Afallennau Welsh, 'apple trees' is a 12th-century Welsh narrative poem dealing with Myrddin Wyllt. The Breton pseudosaint Konorin was reborn by means of an apple. Both the wood and the edible nuts of the hazel have played important roles in Irish and Welsh traditions. Hazel leaves and nuts are found in early British burial mounds and shaft-wells, especially at Ashill, Norfolk. The place-name story for Fordruim, an early name for Tara, describes it as a pleasant hazel wood. In the ogham alphabet of early Ireland, the letter C was represented by hazel [OIr.

Initiate members of the Fianna had to defend themselves armed only with a hazel stick and a shield; yet in the Fenian legends the hazel without leaves was thought evil, dripping poisonous milk, and the home of vultures. Thought a fairy tree in both Ireland and Wales, wood from the hazel was sacred to poets and was thus a taboo fuel on any hearth.

Heralds carried hazel wands as badges of office.

Witches' wands are often made of hazel, as are divining rods, used to find underground water. In Cornwall the hazel was used in the millpreve , the magical adder stones. In Wales a twig of hazel would be given to a rejected lover. Even more esteemed than the hazel's wood were its nuts, often described as the 'nuts of wisdom', e. Hazels of wisdom grew at the heads of the seven chief rivers of Ireland, and nine grew over both Connla's Well and the Well of Segais , the legendary common source of the Boyne and the Shannon.

Celtic sacred trees

The nuts would fall into the water, causing bubbles of mystic inspiration to form, or were eaten by salmon. The number of spots on a salmon's back were thought to indicate the number of nuts it had consumed.


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The salmon of wisdom caught by Fionn mac Cumhaill had eaten hazel nuts.