Ash Tree Magic and Folklore

Ash Moon: February 18 – March 17

In Norse lore, Odin hung from Yggdrasil, the World Tree, for nine days and nights so that he might be granted wisdom. Yggdrasil was an ash tree, and since the time of Odin’s ordeal, the ash has often been associated with divination and knowledge. In some Celtic legends, it is also seen as a tree sacred to the god Lugh, who is celebrated at Lughnasadh. Because of its close association not only with the Divine but with knowledge, Ash can be worked with for any number of spells, rituals, and other workings.

  • Some traditions of magic hold that the leaf of an Ash tree will bring you good fortune. Carry one in your pocket – those with an even number of leaflets on it are especially lucky.
  • In some folk magic traditions, the ash leaf could be used to remove skin disorders such as warts or boils. As an alternate practice, one could wear a needle in their clothing or carry a pin in their pocket for three days, and then drive the pin into the bark of an ash tree – the skin disorder will appear as a knob on the tree and disappear from the person who had it.
  • The spear of Odin was made from an Ash tree, according to the Norse poetic eddas.
  • Newborn babies in the British Isles were sometimes given a spoonful of Ash sap before leaving their mother’s bed for the first time. It was believed this would prevent disease and infant mortality.
  • Five trees stood guard over Ireland, in mythology, and three were Ash. The Ash is often found growing near holy wells and sacred springs. Interestingly, it was also believed that crops that grew in the shadow of an Ash tree would be of an inferior quality.
  • In some European folklore, the Ash tree is seen as protective but at the same time malevolent. Anyone who does harm to an Ash can find themselves the victim of unpleasant supernatural circumstances.
  • In northern England, it was believed that if a maiden placed ash leaves under her pillow, she would have prophetic dreams of her future lover.
  • In some Druidic traditions, it is customary to use a branch of Ash to make a magical staff. The staff becomes, in essence, a portable version of a World Tree, connecting the user to the realms of earth and sky.
  • If you place Ash berries in a cradle, it protects the child from being taken away as a changeling by mischievous Fae.
  • The Celtic tree month of Ash, or Nion, falls from February 18 to March 17. It’s a good time for magical workings related to the inner self.

Dragons of Chaos and Destruction

Dragons of Chaos and Destruction

These dragons represent the negative power currents necessary to dissolve problems and sweep away troublesome people. They are of very dark colors: Black, gray, pewter, iron, dark magenta, purple, reds and greens so dark that they appear to be black. Their bodies are heavy and huge: in fact, they are the largest of all dragons. Their wide wedge-shaped heads sit atop long necks. Their serpentine tails are either barbed or with a spiked knob on the ends. Enormous wings carry them on swift flights.

When dragons of chaos and destruction make changes and help in rituals, they do everything in a big way. They go past your limited view of happenings, straight to the heart of the problem, so be certain you can stand their help before you call on them. These dragons work with re-creation of lives, relationships, and careers; breaking of barriers; changing luck; vast changes in general; work on past lives; divination; the confining or enemies or anyone who will hinder your forward growth or movement.

One of the very first recorded descriptions of a dragon is found in Babylonian records. The goddess Tiamat was considered to be the Great Mother Creator who built order our of chaos, on her own body. She was called a dragon and was said to be a monstrous creature with a scaly serpentine body, four legs, and horns on her head. After her spirit of initial creative activity. Tiamat spent her existence in repose. One of her offspring, the god Marduk, eventually killed her and build the earth and sky out of her body. This is a symbolic description of the activities of a chaos dragon: the breaking down of a static life-form and re-creation of another.

The ancient Egyptians said that before heaven and earth appeared a brood of serpents was created. They called these the Oldest of the Old. These serpents were very long and had only two legs. After the creation of the world and the universe, these serpents were confined, whether deliberately or by choice is not certain, in the Underworld, which every soul had to pass through on it way to judgment. The Egyptians advised that the soul should tread carefully on its journey, treating with respect the Oldest and his wife who reigned there.

The Egyptians also had a legend about the great serpent dragon Apep who daily threatened the sun god Ra when the Sun boat had to pass through darkness each night. The god Set who rode in the boat with the Sun god battled Apep on each nightly journey. When there was a solar eclipse, the Egyptians believed that Apep had broken out of his Underworld realm and had come into the physical world to do battle with Ra.

In Nordic myth, Niflheim was the lair of the great destructive dragon of chaos whose name was Nidhogg or Nidhoggr. Dread Biter, as he was called, lay coiled abut the root of the World Tree, constantly gnawing at it to destroy it. Nidhogg’s attempts at destruction were countered daily by the Norms who sprinkled the tree with water from their sacred well. But when Ragnarok, or the end of the world, comes the Norse say that Nidhogg will fly over the Hills of Darkness with the bodies of the dead on his wings. Another of Dread Biter’s tasks was to strip the flesh off all corpses.

Although dragons in general were looked upon as bringing disaster, depending of course upon their actions, chaos dragons are often quite literally omen of catastrophe. They can be seen in the area of disaster when other dragons create such things as great storms, earthquakes or floods, but their power lies in creating or precipitating wars, bloodshed, plagues, and desolation when humans have gotten things out of balance. Unfortunately, it seems to take such occurrences to make humans want to find a better way of doing things.

Although the dragons of chaos and destruction create upheavals and complete transformations and rebirths, they are not evil. Their magic power is vital to the magician. They require as much forethought and caution as when working with Fire dragons. But if your life and plans have become static, your luck stuck in a negative mode, or circumstances or people are making you feel helpless and hopeless, then these dragons will turn the tide of events. Just be very certain that you are prepare for the drastic change tat will come.

As with many kinds of dragons, the chaos dragons are connected with death and rebirth; in fact, more so than others of their species. Often, when riding the dragon in an attempt to destroy barriers and remove enemies, one finds oneself face to face with oneself–the worst enemy of all. This ride can turn into a dramatic rebirth for the magician if she/he is willing to accept what is being shown by the dragon.

This connection with death and rebirth can still be seen on coffin decoration well into the Middle Ages. A wooden coffin from Zobingen, Wurttembergisches Landesmuseum, Stuttgart has a beautifully carved and coiling serpent on it.

A close magician friend of mine had a problem, not of her making, with another magician. Louise’s problems began when she married and no amount of magic seemed to lessen the mental attacks. Finally she called upon the dragons of chaos and destruction. She did not specify what they should do; she only stated the problem and the fact that she wanted a definite end to the situation. Up until the final moments of the ritual, Louise had not been sure exactly how she was being attacked and had only a suspicion by whom, but the dragons let her clearly know. As she was working with the dragon mirror, she was given a glimpse of her attacker, heard an audible crack, and “saw” a second mirror shatter. The attacking magician must have had a shock upon finding her ritual mirror in pieces. The attacks stopped. Louise now has a huge dragon that protects her home as well as the little guardian dragon who plays with her cat. The positive results of this ritual came from several important factors; the cause was just; there were no specifics given as to what should be done; harm was not intended.

The dragons of chaos and destruction must be called only within a cast and sealed circle. All movements and gestures within the circle must be counterclockwise. Burn patchouli, basil and dragon’s blood or binding incense. Use black or the darkest of purple candles. Greet these dragons with the sword in your power hand, the staff in the other.

Credit for this information
 
“Dancing with Dragons”
 
D. J. Conway

Calendar of the Sun for Jan. 16th

Calendar of the Sun
16 Wolfmonath

Muspellheim Day: Surt’s Blot

Color: Red
Element: Fire
Altar: Upon cloth of red set a great burning brazier of fire, many red candles, and a bottle of high-proof hard liquor.
Offerings: Bring fire to sacred places. The windows should be opened for the hour before Sponde, allowing cold to penetrate into the House. Then at Sponde, the sacred fire should be lit.
Daily Meal: Hot spicy food, of any kind.

Muspellheim Invocation

In the beginning there was Ginnungagap,
The darkness ever-stretching in every direction.
Then came forth two worlds out of that darkness,
And one was the world of Fire, home to Surt the Black.
And the World of Fire touched the World of Ice,
And from that touch came the life of all the Worlds.
Hail, Master of Muspellheim,
Guardian of the Wand of Light,
Eldest of the elders, first upon the World Tree,
Primal Flame that shines in the dark,
Your soul is of the power that births universes,
Your heart is the power of the fire beneath the earth,
Your flesh is the molten stone pouring forth,
Your hands are the flame that leaps forth,
The smoke of your hair is as dark
As your sight is bright and blinding.
Hail, Master of Muspellheim,
Keeper of the Eternal Flame,
Bringer of the first red light
Into the darkness of Ginnungagap,
Bringer of the first red warmth
Into the frozen cold of Niflheim,
Melter of ice, destroyer of worlds,
Spark of hope that begins life again.
Bless us, Surt the Black, Obsidian Lord,
From birthing coals to funeral pyre.

(The liquor is poured into the fire as a libation. All come forth and take candles, and light them from the flame. Then the fire is carried into each room of the house, and the windows are closed, and the heat resumed, and all hearths relit. Fires should be fed well and burn high on this day.)

Trees and Creation

In the Norse Tradition, Yggdrassil, the world tree, supported the nine realms of existence. At the top was Asgard, the home of the Aesir, the principle deities, led by Odin and his consort Frigg. This level also contained Vanaheim, the kingdom of the wind, fertility and sea gods, with whom the Aesir fashioned an uneasy peace, and Alfheim, home of the light elves. On the middle level was Midgard, the land of the humans. They shared this level with Jotunheim, the land of the Frost Giants and Nidavellir, the realm of the dwarves, who guarded their treasure and made artifacts for the deities. The lowest realm was divided between Niflheim and Hel, realms of the dead and Svartalafheim, home of the Dark Elves.

In Eastern Europe as well as in Asia the mythological world tree was considered the axis of the world with the pole star at the top. Shamans, the magickal Priests or Healers of indigenous people worldwide, climb this tree in a trance to reach other realms. Look up through the branches of a very tall tree on a starry night and you will see how this belief came into being.

The tree appears in numerous creation myths. In one Maori legend, the tree was the first thing to appear at creation and on it grew countless buds that contained all created life. A number of Nature North American creation myths tell how the first humans climbed pine or fir trees from the underworld and broke through on to the Earth. In Viking myth the first man was fashioned by Odin and his brothers from an Ash (Aesc)and the first woman from an Elma tree (Embla). The Gods found the trees while walking on the seashore.

Stang

Stang 

The stang is a straight branch with a fork or Y at one end, and is most used in ritual circle as a type of centerpiece representing the magick of the three –the trinity– in the following ways: Earth, Sea, and Sky; Body, Mind and Spirit; God, Goddess and Unity; the three faced of the God; the three faces of the Goddess; and the crossroads of life. Stangs used today are normally five to six feet in height and are often decorated with ribbons and flowers that match the seasonal ritual. The stang also relates to the legend of the World Tree, and in some ritual groups it is the pole of libation, where gifts of food and liquid are arranged or poured by the base in honor of the Gods. This is similar to the pole erected in the center of a Voodoo rite, dedicated to Damballah, called the Ponteau Mitan. The stang is normally place at the north (the seat of all power) or directly behind the altar. A few groups, often with Druidic leanings, place the stang in the center of the circle.

Rod

Rod
 
 
Egyptians, Babylonians, Sumerians, Greeks and Romans also carried rods and staffs as symbols of authority in daily life as well as in magickal practice. Some rods were made for specific purposes, such as protection for women during childbirth, and were consecrated to Bes. The rod is a particularly interesting magickal tool with symbolism linked to power, authority, and the World Tree (Tree of Life/Yggdrasil/Pole Star), and appears in stories of Egyptian, Greek, Jewish, and Islamic magick. If one carried a rod, he or she had the power to settle all disputes, especially if empowered during a storm that carries both thunder and lightening. In European lore, a rod empowered on the Halloween full moon carried great authority over the spirits of heaven and earth. Ancient civilization believed that the rod was thought to command all types of spirits and send messages to god/dess. In measurement is approximately three feet in length, or from shoulder to fingertips. Modern magickal rods are either painted in the color of a Wiccan tradition or group, or are carved or painted with magickal symbols and sigils or the magickal person’s choice. Long-handled wooden spoons (with a handle at least three feet long) can also be carved, painted, empowered, and used in the same manner as the magickal rod.