Celtic Hazel Tree Meaning
One look at the hazel tree and it's easy to see why the Celtic meaning of the hazel tree deals with creativity, and why the druids held it in such high regard amongst the Ogham ranks.
The hazel's unusual branch formations make it a delight to ponder, and was often used for inspiration in art, as well as poetry.
The bards, ovates and druids of the Celtic day would intently observe its crazy curly-Q branches. Doing this would lead them into other worlds of delightful fantasy. Much the same way our modern imaginations can be captured by a good movie, the creative Celts were artistically motivated by the seemingly random and wild contortions of the hazel.
A more commonly known fact is that the hazel is considered a container of ancient knowledge. Ingestion of the hazel nuts is proposed to induce visions, heightened awareness and lead to epiphanies. Indeed, the legend of Fionn Mac Cumhail tells of his gaining the wisdom of the universe by simply coming in contact with the essence of the hazel nut.
He did this through the salmon, which was known to eat the hazel nuts that dropped around a sacred pond encircled by nine hazel trees. It was fabled that from their diet of the nuts, the salmon too were keys to infinite knowledge. Fionn burned his finger while preparing a soup of these very salmon. Instinctively, Fionn thrust is finger in his mouth to soothe the burn and by this slight contact he became enlightened.
Interestingly, in modern times the hazel nut has proven itself to be a brain food. Pound for pound the hazel nut have double the protein, and good fats than eggs, making them natural nourishment for brain function.
When you are creatively stuck, or your intellectual growth seems stagnate, call upon the energy of the hazel tree. Better yet, eat a few hazelnuts, or make a necklace from the nuts. Often such necklaces were worn for protection as well as to illicit visions. Likewise, hazelnuts were (still are) eaten just before engaging in divinatory, foretelling or meditative practices.
Post script: Pick your hazelnuts after they have fallen from the tree. It is considered bad form to pick them unripe off the branches.
Don't stop now - click on the tree branches below for more Celtic meanings of trees!