The Hazel Tree
When we look to the ancient stories of Celtic lore, we hear tales of how the Hazel is associated with wisdom and inspiration. This sacred tree is said to be cloaked in a powerful magic which can imbue those who eat its fruit.
Nine magical Hazel trees were said to once line the borders between the human world and the realm of the gods; these Hazel trees bore branches laden heavy with fruit and their nuts would often fall into a nearby stream, where they would be consumed by the salmon. After eating the hazelnuts, the fish would gain all the knowledge of the world and were known as the Salmon of Wisdom! Bright, glistening spots appeared on the sides of the salmon to show that they had been blessed by the Magical Hazel trees. Those who ate the hazelnuts (or the fish) were said to gain prophetic abilities and live a life full of wisdom!
The Celtic word for nuts is ‘cno’, and the word for wisdom is ‘cnocach’, which are very similar, so even today the story of the Hazel and the Wise Salmon lives on!
In Greek mythology, Hermes (messenger of the gods and himself the god of border crossings) was said to carry a staff made from a Hazel tree to aid him in his travels through the human and spirit realms! Hermes’s Roman equivalent, Mercury, also carried a Hazel staff which bestowed him with great wisdom.