- 3rd Moon of the Celtic Year – (Feb 18 – March 17)
- Latin name: White Ash – fraxinus americana; European Ash – fraxinus excelsior; Flowering Ash – fraxinus ornus.
- Celtic name: Nion (pronounced: knee un)
- Folk or Common names: Ash, Common Ash, Unicorn Tree, Guardian Tree
- Parts Used: Leaves, wood, bark, twigs, sap, flowers
- Herbal usage: Ash leaves and the tender tops can be used in the spring to make a fasting tea that is a diuretic and can be used as a help for weight loss. Ash bark is known as a liver and spleen cleanser and can make the immune system stronger. The flowering Ash has sap that contains a sugary exudate called ‘manna’, which can be used as a laxative.
- Magical History & Associations: The bird associated with this month is the snipe, the color is half clear & half deep blue, and the gemstone is sea-green beryl. The Ash, a masculine herb, is associated with the element of water, the sun and Jupiter; and is sacred to Thor, Woden, Mars, Uranus and Gwydion. Ash is also sacred to Odin since the Ash is often known as the Yggdrassil (or the ‘Ash Yggdrasil’) amongst the Scandinavian nations. In Norse mythology, the Yggdrassil supports the Universe, has three main branches and is believed to have sprung from the beginning of time out of primordial slime and ashes. The Ash is also the tree of the sea God Poseidon, because of its watery power. Frennett (frenetic chaos), a substance used by berserkers, may have been made from Ash bark. The Ash was supposed to be serpent repellent – Pliny held that there is such an antipathy between an adder and an Ash-tree, “that if an adder be encompassed round with Ash-tree leaves, she will sooner run through the fire than through the leaves”. The ceremonial Yule log is often made of Ash – this log is kindled each Yule with a piece from last years fire and allowed to smolder for 12 days before it is ceremonially put out. The Ash tree is famous, although anonymous, since it’s the tree from which the Hanged Man is suspended in tarot decks
- Magickal usage: The Ash was one of the sacred Druidic three: ‘Oak, Ash & Thorn’, and the month of Ash is a good time to do magick designed to learn your inner self. The Ash has applications in magick done for sea power, ocean rituals, karmic laws, magical potency, healing, protection from drowning, love, rain making, women’s mysteries, prophetic dreams, general protection, Prosperity, and health. Ash is often used for making both mundane and magical tools – it’s said that tools with handles of Ash are more productive than tools with handles of other wood. Witches brooms often have the staff made from Ash, and Ash wood was used for spears and shields since it was known as a protective wood. Placing Ash berries in a cradle prevents the child from being traded for a changeling by an evil faery – and Ash talismans can be worn as protective amulets. Ash is known to keep away serpents and to protect against their bite. If there are no snakes to be found, Ash can be used instead to keep away nasty people who are bitchy, quick to criticize, impatient, or psychic vampires. Special guardian spirits reside in the Ash; This makes it excellent for absorbing sickness. The spirally carved Druidic wand was made of Ash for this healing purpose. In years gone by, weak-limbed children were passed through split ash trees which were then bound up. If the tree grew straight, the child would as well. Ash can be used in medicine pouches or can be used in magick for wart remover: the wart is stuck with a pin that has first been thrust into an Ash, while these words are said:”Ashen tree, Ashen tree, pray these warts off of me.”
The pins are then stuck back in the tree and left. The druids attributed special powers over water to the ash tree. They used its wood to make it rain or to ward off water’s destructive power. The Ash is the tree of sea power, or of the power resident in water. Ash leaves placed under the pillow will induce prophetic dreams, and carrying an Ash leaf will attract the love of the opposite sex. The Ash is often called The Unicorn Tree, because unicorns are supposed to be fond of the tree. To catch a glimpse of a unicorn, carry Ash wood or leaves. Whenever you need to harvest a piece or part of an Ash tree, remember to ask the tree if it will allow you to take a branch or other part and be sure to leave the tree an offering of thanks when you are done. A nice offering would be a bit of mane from a unicorn (eg).