THE HAZEL NUT

A Journal of Celtic Spirituality and Sacred Trees

Issue 4, September 1993


In This Issue:
Out On a Limb: Editorial - Imré Rainey
From Further Out: Editorial - Muirghein (Linda Kerr)
From Brighid's Hearth: Colds & Flus - Imré Rainey
The Origins of Our Modern Calendar - Muirghein ó Dhún Aonghasa (Linda Kerr
Poetry: The Binding - Epona
Folklore & Practical Uses: Hazel - Muirghein ó Dhún Aonghasa (Linda Kerr)
Lunar Energies & Esoterica: Hazel - Epona & Imré
Folklore & Practical Uses: Vine - Muirghein ó Dhún Aonghasa (Linda Kerr)
Lunar Energies & Esoterica: Vine - Epona & Imré
Poetry: Once Upon a Time - Epona
Poetry: The Gorgon's Mask - Epona
Poetry: Pride Before the Fall - Raven
Poetry: Ritual - Epona
Introduction to Runes - Stormy
Bubbles From the Cauldron - book reviews, etc.

Staff:
Publisher: The Garden Club
Editor: Imré Rainey
Layout Editor: Muirghein ó Dhún Aonghasa (Linda Kerr)
Staff Writer: Brighid MoonFire (Michelle Bell)
Cover art by Imré Rainey


THE HAZEL NUT, Volume I, Issue 4, Copyright © 1993 The Garden Club. August/ September 1993, Hazel/Vine Moon. THE HAZEL NUT is published monthly by The Garden Club.

All rights reserved. Copyright reverts to the individual artist or writer upon publication. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from the editor and author.
Opinions expressed by authors do not necessarily reflect the views of the editor and The Garden Club. The publisher and editor make every effort to ensure the accuracy of all information published, but cannot be held liable for errors, changes, or omissions, or for any incurrances from the application or the practice of any matter contained herein.

THE HAZEL NUT is the official publication of The Garden Club. Its purpose is to provide a forum for networking, personal contacts, and research and information, as well as to spread understanding of the bedrock of our tradition, the Celtic tree calendar/alphabet (Beth-Luis-Nion system) as researched and explained by Robert Graves in The White Goddess. Each issue, in addition to our regular articles, we will feature one or more of the lunar trees; its herbal uses, folklore, esoterica, and other aspects. In this we hope to help you make the most of the trees and the lunar energies in a positive way.
Hazel is the ninth tree in the Celtic tree calendar. It usually occurs around August or September, and this year it runs from August 17-September 14.
Vine is the tenth tree in the Celtic tree calendar. It usually occurs around September or October, and this year it runs from September 15-October 14.

OUT ON A LIMB...
FROM THE DESK OF THE EDITOR

Earlier this year, the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a proposal that would essentially remove any herb, vitamin, or food supplement that was used for any reason other than nutrition off the market.
"The [FDA] Task Force considered various issues in its deliberations, including...what steps are necessary to ensure that the existence of dietary supplements on the market does not act as a disincentive for drug development."
This is a last-chance effort by the FDA and the American Medical Association (AMA) to stifle the ever-growing interest in alternative medicine. The proposal states that any 'dietary supplement,' including vitamins, amino acids, herbs, minerals, etc., that are considered beneficial towards the healing of ailments and replace the use of conventional drugs should be removed from public access and require a prescription by a doctor if they are to be used. For example, niacin as a cholesterol reducer, mullein as a remedy for congestion, valerian as a sedative, and chamomile as a sleeping aid, would require a prescription from your friendly neighborhood doctor, even though they are readily available in Nature. The reasoning behind this is that 'dietary supplements' that are found in natural form or on the vitamin shelf cannot be easily calibrated in dosages and are therefore dangerous and most likely poisonous (even though the FDA holds the position that most of the natural remedies are fake). Now, when was the last time that you heard of someone being poisoned because they drank too much chamomile tea (compare this with the outrageous side effects associated with any given drug; yet the FDA condones their usage)?
On a happier note, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Senators Richardson (Democrat-New Mexico) and Hatch (Republican-Utah) have submitted Senate Bill S-784 and House Bill HR-1709, both titled the "Dietary Supplement, Health and Education Act of 1993," which will:
1. broaden the definition of dietary supplement to include herbs and other supplements,
2. exclude dietary supplements from the definition of drug and food additives,
3. allow truthful and scientific information about dietary supplements, and
4. disallow the FDA from intervening with the truthful and scientifically valid advertising and labeling of dietary supplements.
If we are to protect our rights to health care, we must let our Congresspersons and Senators know how we feel about the issue. Write them at:

Florida-Senators: Bob Graham and Connie Mack
Congress: Earl Hutto, Pete Peterson, Corrine Brown, Tillie Fowler, Karen Thurman, Cliff Sterns, John Mica, Bill McCollum, Michael Bilirakis, C.W. 'Bill' Young, Sam Gibbons, Charles Canady, Dan Miller, Porter J. Goss, Jim Bacchus, Tom Lewis, Carrie Meek, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Harry Johnston II, Peter Deutsch, Lincoln Diaz Balart, E. Clay Shaw, Jr., Alcee Hastings.

Georgia-Senators: Sam Nunn-D and Paul Coverdell-R
Congress: Jack Kingston-R, Sanford Bishop-D, Michael 'Mac' Collins-R, John Linderr, John Lewis-D, Newt Gingrich-R, George Darden-D, J. Roy Rowland-D, Nathan Deal-D, Don Johnson-D, Cynthia McKinney-D.

Tennessee-Senators: Jim Sasser-D and Harlan Mathews-D
Congress: James H. Quillen-R, John J. Duncan, Jr.-R, Marilyn Lloyd-D, Jim Cooper-D, Bob Clement-D, Bart Gordon-D, Don Sundquist-D, John S. Tanner-D, Harold E. Ford-D.

Alabama-Senators: Howell Heflin and Richard C. Shelby
Congress: Sonny Callahan, William L. Dickinson, Glen Browder, Tom Bevill, Robert E. Cramer, Jr., Ben Erdreich, Claude Harris.

Addresses: United States Senate, Washington, DC 20510, and United States House of Rep., Washington, DC 20515.

We should all pull together to protect our access to natural remedies, but of course no herb or medication should be taken in lieu of a doctor's visit and professional diagnosis. This is especially true in chronic conditions, or symptoms which occur after taking the natural remedy.

Blessed Be! - Imré


FROM FURTHER OUT...
RAMBLINGS FROM THE LAYOUT EDITOR

You may have noticed this issue is LATE! Well, so did we. In light of that, and our crazy schedules, we've decided to start publishing bi-monthly instead of monthly, beginning with this issue. We'll cover two lunars every issue, with twice as many other articles. The cover price will increase, but the subscription rate will remain at $10.00. Ad and classified rates will stay the same. Bi-monthly issues will give us a little more breathing space, and permit us to bring you more quality articles and researched information. It will also come out more frequently than a quarterly publication, allowing for better networking and event announcements.
In reading through this issue, you may have noticed there are two articles which contain a section describing the names of the weekdays. We didn't really intend for this to happen; it just did. However, there is no actual duplication -- each one has its own approach that sets it apart. Just one of those things.
We also hope you enjoy all the poetry in this issue; this is of course in honor of the poet's moon, Vine. We had some excellent submissions, but we're going to need more for the next issue, which will cover Ivy and Reed. Which brings me to the next subject:
We need submissions from you! You don't have to send in a footnoted research article (although we would be happy if you did); write about a favorite ritual you've done, a good herbal remedy you've used, a poem, artwork, review, etc. We do request full documentation and footnoting on articles of historical content, or a subject with which you do not have personal experience (for examples, see Folklore and Practical Uses, any issue). And don't forget classified ads and announcements! Network with people; advertise your class; sell your incense.
PLUS...if you know of anyone anywhere whom you think would be interested in The Hazel Nut, send us their name and address, along with $2.50 (new cover price plus postage), and we'll be glad to send them a sample issue. Help us get the word out -- we don't exist without you!

Until next time, party on, dudes! - Muirghein


FROM BRIGHID'S HEARTH: COLDS & FLUS

by Imré Rainey

As time should have it, we are coming back around to the season of cooling weather, colorful leaves and clogged sinuses. We know all about the stuffy head, the wheezing cough, the chills and sweats, and we've decided to offer you an alternative to pharmaceuticals which should give you enough peace so that you can enjoy the more positive aspects of the season. Here are a list of various herbs that can be used as infusions (teas that are steeped in hot, not boiling, water for 20 minutes) unless otherwise specified.

Congestion:

ephedra - Ephedra sinica
eucalyptus oil in a vaporizor
fenugreek - Trigonella graecum
Coughs:
mullein - Verbascum thapsus
horehound - Marrubium vulgare: horehound doesn't taste very good so you might want to use it in extract form.
Sore Throats:
fenugreek gargle
marshmallow root - Althaea officinalis
raspberry leaves - Rubus idaeus
Fever:
white willow bark - Salix alba
feverfew - Chrysanthemum parthenium
barberry - Berberis vulgaris
cayenne pepper - capsicum frutescens
These herbs can be used singly or in combination with each other.

This formula can be a good general tonic for a cold:
Cayenne - 2 parts
Golden Seal - 1 part
Myrrh Gum - 1 part
Mix the powdered forms of these herbs and put in capsules; take 2 capsules 3 times a day.

Any remedy should be taken along with good-sense measures: plenty of fluids (fruit juices), raw fruits and vegetables, and rest. It is also a good idea to limit your intake of sugar and caffeine. Sugar causes your body to use vitamins essential to good health just to digest it; caffeine flushes out these vitamins before they can be used at all.


THE ORIGINS OF OUR MODERN CALENDAR

by Muirghein ó Dhún Aonghasa (Linda Kerr)

Early Calendars

The word calendar is derived from the latin calendarium, meaning an interest or account book, and is related to the Latin word kalend, meaning "I cry!"1 The town crier of ancient Rome used this expression when he announced the beginning of the months, the market days, and the day near the middle of the month (the Ides of the month). This was necessary because the Romans began each month with the appearance of the new moon. From their "moontime" of one new moon to the next comes the word moonth -- month2. The first day of the Roman month became known as the Calends, the day on which the priests called the people together to announce to them sacred days and festivals to be observed during the month3.
The ancient Romans seemed to have kept time by two calendar systems. The calendar of moonlight was used for civil and military purposes, with watchers to note the first appearance of each new moon. The country people of Rome used a calendar more suited to farming, beginning in the Spring on March 25 and consisting of twelve fixed months. These months maintained a fixed position in the year's calendar4.
As the soldiers of early Rome were drawn from the small farms, they tended to use the farmers' calendar, blending it with the soldiers' calendar. Here they encountered the difficulty of aligning the lunar year with the solar year. The fixed calendar months did not correspond to the moveable months of the calendar of moonlight; there being sometimes 12 and sometimes 13 new moons in a year (actually there are 12.368 lunar months in a solar year)5. Even after numerous, though irregular, adjustments were made, the Roman year still did not correspond with the solar year, and slipped out of position.
By the time of Julius Caesar (63 B.C.), there was a discrepancy of about three months between the actual spring equinox and the calendar equinox6. He therefore established a new Roman calendar to replace the old one, which had been in use since about 753 B.C.7 Caesar decreed that the calendar year should correspond with the solar year and fixed its length at 365 days, with an extra day every fourth year, for a total length of 365.25 days. The first Julian year was 46 BC8.
The new calendar was a modified version of the calendar of Thoth. Caesar had studied this Egyptian calendar, which had been developed about 3000 B.C., during his military campaign there. It was remarkably simple (in comparison to the old Roman calendar, especially), with the only correction being that which we call the "leap year."
However, the true length of the solar year is 365.2422 days, instead of 365.25 days. The difference is only 11 minutes and 14 seconds, but in 125 years, this amounted to a whole day9. The Egyptian priests had discovered this in their thousands of years of record keeping, and allowed for it by omitting a leap year every 125 years. Either Caesar wasn't told about this small but essential fact by his astronomers, or thought it unimportant. Yet after 1000 years the error was 8 days10.

The Gregorian Adjustment

By the sixteenth century the error in the Julian calendar amounted to 10 days. In 325 A.D., the spring equinox had fallen on March 21. By 1582 A.D., 1,257 years later, it was on March 1111.
To compensate for this error and prevent its recurrence, Pope Gregory XIII made what is called the Gregorian Adjustment. He decreed that every year divisible by four (every fourth year) should be a leap year; except the years beginning the centuries, which should have the extra day only when evenly divisible by 400 (this had the same result as omitting a leap year every 125 years. The remaining error would only be one day in about 3,000 years)12. He also took this time to move the beginning of the year from March 25 to January 1.
To correct the 10-day error that had developed, those days were to be dropped from the calendar. When the adjustment was put into effect in October, 1582, October 4 was followed the next day by October 15.
Not everyone was quick to embrace the new calendar system. The Catholic countries of Spain and Portugal, and parts of Italy, adopted the Gregorian Adjustment on the same day as Rome. It was adopted by the Catholic states of Germany the following year, and in France at about the same time. The Protestant German states did not adopt it until 1700.
"In Great Britain and in her American Colonies, where there was objection to everything originating in Rome, the old calendar, with the new year beginning on March 25th, was used. Because of the confusion arising from the use of a different calendar from that used on the Continent, the British Parliament passed an act in 1750 adopting the Gregorian calendar13." By then, since 1700 was a leap year by the Julian Calendar, but not by the adjusted calendar, there were 11 days to be eliminated. The day following September 2, 1752 was to be followed the next day by September 14, "not only in Great Britain but in her American colonies as well. In the course of time the dates of events prior to 1752 were changed to correspond to the new calendar14." In accordance with the Gregorian Adjustment, the beginning of the year was moved from March 25, which had been New Year's Day in England and the Colonies, to January 1, the time of the year's beginning in the other countries of Western Europe15.

Reactions to the Calendar Change

In 1582 and again in 1752, the change in the calendar gave rise to considerable controversy, including near-riots by simple folk who thought they were being robbed of 11 days of their lives. Debtors found their loans coming due before they were prepared to pay them. Workers hired by the month or half-year demanded to be paid for the lost days; shopkeepers refused to pay for work not done. Nobody was happy16.
There was also great confusion over the dates of certain traditional events and holidays, especially Christmas and the wassailing of the apple trees on Twelfth Night. "Seeking a sign, great crowds gathered at Glastonbury at Christmas (new date) 1752, to see what the sacred thorn would do. Local tradition asserted that the thorn was a descendant of one that had sprung from the staff of Joseph of Arimathea when he brought the Christian gospel to Somerset within a few decades of the Crucifixion. It had the reputation of always coming into bloom on Christmas Day, and indeed, in 1645 a clergyman, Rev. John Eachard, quoted the fact as proof that 25 December was Christ's birthday. So the crowds assembled to see whether the thorn would adapt itself to the new calendar.
It did not. No blossoms appeared till 5 January -- the appointed time by the old style of reckoning17." As a result, when the flowers failed to appear the people refused to accept the new calendar. Hence the proper date of Twelfth Night remains January 17 (old style), as opposed to January 6, New Style18.
A certain American, just before the date on which the adjustment would go into effect, wrote half-jokingly: "Be not astonished, nor look with scorn, dear reader, at such a deduction of days, nor regret as for the loss of so much time, but take this for your consolation, that your expenses will appear lighter and your mind be more at ease. And what an indulgence is here, for those who love their pillow to lie down in Peace on the second of this month and not perhaps awake till the morning of the fourteenth19."

Month Names

Our modern month names stem from the ancient Roman months. Originally the Roman calendar had 10 months, the last six of which were numbered. Two months were added by Numa; January at the beginning and February at the end of the year. This order was reversed in 452 B.C.20 The old Roman month names were (in order): Martius (March), Aprilis (April), Maius (May), Iunius (June), Quintilis (fifth), Sextilis (sixth), September (seventh), October (eighth), November (ninth), December (tenth), Ianuarius (January), Februarius (February)21.
In 44 B.C., after two years of operation of the new calendar, the name of the fifth month of Quintilis was changed to Julius (July) to honor the name of Julius Caesar, who had been recently assassinated22. In the year 8 B.C., during the reign of Augustus, the month of Sextilis was renamed Augustus (August) in honor of the Emperor23.

The Seven-Day Week

In the Thoth calendar the year was divided into 12 months of 30 days each24, with five days (six in a leap year) tacked onto the end of the year. These days were not considered part of any month, and were named, instead of numbered as the months were. The names for these days were those of important deities: Osiris, Horus, Set, Isis, and Nephthys. The extra day may have counted as a double day for Nephthys25.
The Thoth system was to influence many other calendars, including our own. Moses, after leading the Israelites from Egypt in 1500 B.C., devised a calendar plan based on the Thoth calendar, but built around weeks rather than months. The seventh day of the week was to be a holy day called the Sabbath. Using their 365.25 day calendar, he divided the year into 52 weeks of seven days each, with 1.25 days left over26.
The year was to start on the autumn equinox. At the end of the 52 weeks, totaling 364 days, the remaining day, or two days in a leap year, which were not considered part of any week, would be used as a time of celebration27.
No priestly reminders were needed of the Sabbaths, but the priests did have their part to play with the great festival of spring known as the Passover. The Israelites escaped from Egypt at the time of the full moon that came just after the spring equinox. The re-enactment of the various events of that exodus from Egypt, which took the place of the old spring festival, called for the strong light of the full moon to illuminate the area being used. The date of the celebration was established as the first Sabbath after the first full moon after the spring equinox28.
As many other cultures did, the Israelites kept time by two calendars: the civil calendar of week days, which was used to note market days, loan dates, and other functions; and the calendar of moonlight, or religious calendar, used for special religious festivals29.
Due to the extra day(s) at the end of the 52-week year, both the year and each of the four seasons began on the first day of the week and ended on the last day of the week. The Jews later modified this system by making the extra day(s) a part of the week. As a result, the first year would now begin on the first day of the week, the next year on the second day of the week, the third year on the third day, and so on for common (365 day) years. "After a leap year the starting day jumped over a week day; the third-day beginning of that year, for example, would be followed by a fifth-day beginning for the next year. It was from this leaping-over of a week day that leap year got its name30."
After this modification, the Christians had taken over the plan of the seven-day week from the Jews. In 321 A.D. Constantine, having earlier converted to Christianity, signed an act making the seven-day week legal throughout the Roman world. He thereby combined two unlike systems of dividing the year; the seven-day week of the Jews, and the 12 months already in use by the Julian calendar.
The Angles and Saxons of northern and western Europe had a calendar similar to the Egyptian one, with five named days left over at the end of the year. They brought this five-day 'week' to England from across the North Sea about 400 A.D.31" The Christian missionaries, who were sent out from Rome to convert these "barbarians," added two more names to these five, giving their seven-day week the weekday names we still use today.
These week names are Anglicized versions of important deities among the Norse, Gothic, and Germanic groups:

Tuesday - Tiwsday or Tiwesdaeg. Tyr, god of war ("daeg" means day).
Wednesday - Wodensday or Wodnesdaeg. Norse god Odin, or Wodin. Tyr's father.
Thursday - Thorsday or Thunresdaeg. Thor, Norse god of Thunder.
Friday - Frigsday or Frigedaeg. Norse goddess Freya. Wife of Odin, mother of Thor. Named a day after her lest she be jealous and work evil upon them.
Saturday - Seternesday or Saterdaeg. Norse god Seterne; also the Roman god Saturn who presided over the sowing of the seed. His festival was Saturnalia, December 17. Because of the wildness of the revels during the festival the name has come to mean a time of wild revelry and tumult32.

The two days added by the missionaries were:

Sunday - Sunnandaeg, from "sunnan" meaning sun. It is regarded as a name surviving from ancient sun worship. As the Resurrection of Christ occurred on the first day of the week the early Christians began to assemble for worship on that day instead of on the Jewish Sabbath, which is Saturday.
Monday - Monandaeg or Moonday. The moon was worshipped as the wife of the sun, among other things33.

"The Anglo-Saxon names matched in nature and order those of the Egyptian deities whose names were used by Thoth for his five "extra" days at the year's end. They also matched the names of deities that the Chaldeans gave to those same five days of the calendar they adopted from Egypt34."

Egypt: Osiris, Horus, Set, Isis, Nephthys
Chaldea: Nergal, Nabu, Marduk, Ishtar, Ninib
Rome: Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn
Anglo-Saxon: Tiw, Woden, Thor, Frig, Seterne

Why did the Anglo-Saxon names match the names of the other times and cultures? One possible explanation is that the Egyptian calendar came to north-central Europe at an early historical time. In addition, weight and measure systems were similar to those of Egypt; all of these probably came to Europe with Phoenicians trading at Black Sea ports about 1000 B.C. The Norseman's calendar was identical to that of Egypt, except that the year began in midwinter rather than in autumn35.

"As I gather up the pages I have written, the calendar on the wall reminds me in its printed way that it is
ONE WEEK TO MAY
I know that when this May comes the sun overhead will be where it was on the first day of May a year ago, or a hundred years ago. It will rise in the east and set in the west at exactly the same minute that it did on the first of May many decades ago. Just an old sun, it would seem, in an old sky, repeating the May days that have come before.
But I know that this May when it comes will be, for the world, a new May, a fresh May, a May that was never duplicated with exactness in any May before. The May of the calendar is predictable, that of nature's actual world is only partially predictable. We can have both Mays in mind when we say, 'May is a wonderful month to enjoy!'36"

Notes

1 Irwin, Keith G. The 365 Days - The Story of Our Calendar. 1964. Thomas Y. Crowell Co., New York, NY, pg. viii.
2 Ibid, pg. viii.
3 Douglas, George William. The American Book of Days. 1948. The H.W. Wilson Co., New York, NY, pg. 679.
4 Irwin, pg. 80.
5 Ibid, pg. 16.
6 Douglas, pg. 679.
7 Irwin, pg. 79
8 Douglas, pg. 679.
9 Irwin, pg. 95.
10 Ibid, pg. 96.
11 Actually, by my calculations, if the error had accrued since 46 B.C., it would be 12 or 13 days instead of only 10. Possibly the spring equinox in Caesar's day was marked on March 24 or 25, the beginning of their year. The 2 or 3 days error between then and 325 A.D. may not be accounted for because by the solar year, the equinox should fall on March 21, which it did in 325 A.D. Also, the Julian calendar was adopted later (3rd to 6th century A.D.) by most other western European countries. The 10-day error may have only been counted back to this late adoption. At any rate, our modern calendar is correct for the spring equinox.
12 Irwin, pg. 95.
13 Douglas, pg. 679.
14 Ibid, pg. 679.
15 Irwin, pg. 97.
16 Ibid, pg. 97.
17 Whitlock, Ralph. A Calendar of Country Customs. 1978. B.T. Batsford Ltd., London, pg. 13.
18 Ibid, pg. 13.
19 From Benjamin Franklin's Almanack, quoted by Cowan, H.C., Time and Its Measurement, World Publishing Company, New York, 1958, pg. 29. Irwin, pg. 98.
20 Douglas, pg. 679.
21 Irwin, pg. 86.
22 Ibid, pg. 87.
23 Ibid, pg. 93.
24 Our way of measuring the size of a circle as 360 represented the Egyptian and Chaldean way of indicating the size of the year. The was the simple picture of the sun and stood for "day." So 360 means a year of 360 days (Irwin, pg. 69).
25 Irwin, pg. 38.
26 Ibid, pg. 57.
27 Ibid, pg. 59
28 Ibid, pg. 61.
29 Ibid, pg. 61.
30 Ibid, pg. 93.
31 Ibid, pg. 107.
32 Douglas, pg. 681-682.
33 Ibid, pg. 681.
34 Irwin, pg. 108.
35 Ibid, pg. 109-110.
36 Ibid, pg. 176.


THE BINDING

- by Epona, '83

I would rather you bind me
With garlands of flowers and grasses
Which spring eternally anew
With each passage in Time:

Each garland woven
Of the woodlands and meadows
We've walked.

For a metal ring is so hard,
So inflexible;
Maintaining a facade of "forever"
Against the eternally Changing of Life.

And, shackles are made to be broken;
As things born, are to die;
But the wind ever knows
the beauty
in flowers,
As spirit amidst the form.

Relating.
The cycles' rise and fall.
Yet we are -- still,
As the wind among the trees.
The truth when words fail
And there is no answer.


FOLKLORE & PRACTICAL USES: HAZEL

by Muirghein ó Dhún Aonghasa (Linda Kerr)

Corylus avellana L. - European Hazelnut. Northern Europe and Britain; naturalized in the United States.
C. americana - American Hazelnut. Northeastern and Great Lake states, up through Nova Scotia.
C. maxima - Filbert. Southeastern Europe and Asia Minor.

Description

The hazelnut is in the family Betulaceae, which also contains birches, alders, and hornbeams. The hazelnut bears a certain resemblance to these other trees, particularly to the alder, from whom it can hardly be distinguished, except by its rounded buds and lack of cones. In Britain, the hazelnut is a shrubby plant, never quite reaching the dimensions of a tree, 'for it produces so many suckers from its roots that the entire plant looks like a very large shrub.'1
The bark of older branches and stems is brown with patches of grey; on younger twigs it is grey and covered with short hairs. The hazelnut's leaves are alternate, ridged, and somewhat round in outline, with a broad, sharp-pointed apex and a rather heart-shaped base.2 The leaves are tinged with purple in the summer, and turn a bright yellow in fall. The hazelnut produces male and female flowers on the same tree. The male flowers are the catkins -- referred to as 'lambs-tails.' They are short, stiff cylinders which are small and tight during autumn, but open to a bright yellow in the early winter.
The hazel nuts are developed from the female flower, after it is fertilized by the catkin. The kernel inside is the seed produced by the fertilized ovule, and the woody shell is developed from the ovary wall. Different varieties of hazelnut produce Barcelona nuts, cobs, and filberts. "The nut has a very high oil or fat content; this accounts for the considerable food value of the fruit."3
The wood of the hazelnut is not very useful commercially, because of the size of the tree, but it was used in cabinet-making and toy-making in the past. The long branches, especially those produced from the suckers, are very tough, yet pliable, and for this reason they were used for many agricultural purposes and for whip handles, driving and walking sticks.4
Charcoal for primitive gun-powder was made of young hazel wood, in Roger Bacon's 13th century recipe.5 The hazelnut was a well-known magical tree, but Grigson tells us, "If this was an extension of Hazel magic, it was magic only in the sense of the 'bright flash and thundering noise' which was the point of Roger Bacon's mixture, since gunpowder was at first a super-toy and not an agent of death."6

Medicinal & Food

The hazelnut as a tree doesn't seem to have any medicinal qualities itself, but the nut is a very nourishing food, in addition to a good source of chloride compounds, an essential mineral nutrient usually derived from table salt, and sulfur-containing amino acids.7 Culpepper tells us that the milk drawn from the nuts with mead or honied water (if I were to interpret, this would probably mean a decoction with honey added), is good for a chronic cough. A little pepper put into this will help a runny nose and eyes. Two drams of the dried husks and shells, taken in red wine, is good for diarrhea and excessive menstrual bleeding.8
The sweetness of the hazel nut easily lends itself to cooking; here is a recipe for an elegant Wild Hazelnut Torte.

Torte:
6 eggs, separated
1 cup ground hazelnuts
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs
Filling:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup ground hazelnuts
1/2 teaspoon rum flavoring
Topping:
2 eggs
4 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup softened butter
2 squares melted, semi-sweet chocolate
hazelnut slivers
TORTE: Beat the egg yolks until they are thick and light in color. Then, still beating, gradually add 1/2 cup of the sugar, then the hazelnuts and bread crumbs. Beat well. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar until they form stiff peaks. Gently fold the yolks and whites together, starting with 1/4 of the whites only, until well combined. Then pour the batter into a greased and floured spring-form pan, and bake at 325 for about 40 minutes or until done. Remove from the oven to a cake rack and cool completely. When cooled, divide the cake into three layers horizontally with a long piece of thread.
FILLING: Beat all ingredients together. Use as a filling between the layers and around the edges of the cooled cake.
TOPPING: Beat eggs with sugar until thin and light. Beat in butter and chocolate. Spread the smooth frosting over the top of the torte; cover with slivers of hazelnuts, and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour before serving.9

Folklore

The hazelnut had many uses as a magical tree: in Ireland, sticks of hazelnut protected the carrier against snakes, spirits and evil, and abduction by fairies. The Irish also believed a hazel nut in the pocket warded off rheumatism or lumbago, which is an elf-shot disease. A stalk of hazel with two nuts on it is supposed to cure toothache in England. Hazelnut was one of the magical, protective plants brought into the house on May Day, along with hawthorn and rowan. The hazelnut was regarded as the Tree of Knowledge in Ireland, and so it was the proper material for all rods of power.10
The hazelnut was regarded as the Tree of Wisdom in Celtic and Old Irish legend; "it represented all human knowledge of the arts and sciences, and was carried by heralds-in-arms on their missions as their official badge of honor."11 Greek mythology relates how Mercury, the god of eloquence, was given as a gift a winged wand made of hazel, whose touch would enable men to express their thoughts by words. This winged hazel rod, with two serpents twining around it, became the symbol of communication, reconciliation and commerce.12
The hazelnut was a medieval symbol of fertility;13 perhaps this is related to the old symbolism of nuts as testicles.14 A Bohemian belief held that the presence of a large number of hazelnuts outside one's house indicated that there would be a large number of illegitimate children. In a wedding procession, a hazel wand was carried to ensure many offspring. Hazelnuts were also associated with love; two nuts were placed side by side in the fire on Halloween night, also known as Nutcrack Night, to foretell the fate of lovers. If the two nuts cracked or bounced apart, the lovers would part; if they blazed brightly together, that meant a happier situation.15
Another old custom associated with the hazelnut is divining; with the forked twig one could not only find water, but also minerals, treasure, and criminals. To look for treasure, three crosses must be made on a hazel wand, and certain words must be said over it, which were 'both blasphemous and impious.'16 Grigson tells us that the divining rod seems to have been introduced into Great Britain by German miners in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.17 Birch, rowan, and mistletoe were also used for divining.18
The Norse god Thor held the hazelnut sacred; it was believed to be the actual embodiment of lightening. In Germany a farm-worker cut a twig of hazelnut in the spring, and at the first thunderstorm made it into a cross and placed it on the bundles of grain to protect them. Hazel nuts were sometimes put on window sills during storms in the hope of calming the weather.19
The hazelnut was too pagan for the middle ages, so it was duly christianized in medieval Normandy, and named filbert or filbeard. Filbeard was a 15th-16th century form of filbert, which is a shortened version of noix de filbert (nuts of filbert), or noix de Saint-Philibert, the Benedictine who founded the great abbey of Jumièges on the Seine and died in 684. St. Philibert's feast day is on August 22, when the hazel nuts are ripe. Where formerly the hazel nuts were protected by the Hind Etin, a sprite or demon, they were now the property of a saint.20
You may have heard of the witch hazel, Hamamelis virginiana, from which an astringent extract is made. Witch hazel is not related to the hazelnut, but it does bear a slight resemblance to the shrubby tree.21 The name may have come from English settlers in America who saw its resemblance and thought it may be useful for divining water, as their own hazel was back in England. They tried it, and of course it worked, so the name (and the use) stuck. "According to the tradition, a forked twig whose 'Y stands north and south must be chosen, for the rising and setting sun must have sent its rays through the prongs as it grew.' "22

Notes:

1 Brimble, L.J.F. Trees in Britain. 1946. MacMillan and Co., Ltd., London, pg. 247.
2 Boulton, E.H.B. A Pocket Book of British Trees. 1937. Adam & Charles Black, London, pg. 47.
3 Brimble, pg. 249.
4 Ibid, pg. 249.
5 Grigson, Geoffrey. The Englishman's Flora. 1955. Phoenix House LTD, London, England, pg. 248.
6 Ibid, pg. 248.
7 Lust, John. The Herb Book. 1973. Bantam Books, New York, NY, pg. 502, 504.
8 Culpepper, Nicholas. Culpepper's Complete Herbal. W. Foulsham & Co., Ltd., London (originally written in 17th century), pg. 179.
9 Knap, Alyson Hart. Wild Harvest. 1975. Arco Publishing Co., Inc., NY, pg. 166-167.
10 Grigson, pg. 248.
11 Lehner, Ernst and Johanna. Folklore and Symbolism of Flowers, Plants and Trees. 1960. Tudor Publishing Co., NY, pg. 62.
12 Ibid, pg. 62.
13 Grigson, pg. 248.
14 Weiner, Michael A. Earth Medicine--Earth Foods. 1972. Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., NY, pg. 118.
15 Ibid, pg. 120.
16 Grigson, pg. 248, quoting from Reginald Scot, The discoverie of Witchcraft, 1584.
17 Grigson, pg. 248; refers to The Folklore of Dowsing by Theodore Besterman, 'Folklore,' XXXVII. ii, 1926.
18 Grigson, pg. 248.
19 Weiner, pg. 119.
20 Grigson, pg. 248.
21 Little, Elbert L. The Audobon Society Field Guide to North American Trees, Eastern Region. 1980. Albert A. Knopf, New York, NY, pg. 453.
22 Green, Charlotte Hilton. Trees of the South. 1939. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC, pg. 255.


LUNAR ENERGIES & ESOTERICA: HAZEL

by Epona & Imré

The last few months have been a test of patience, inner strength, and commitment. From the preparatory meditations of Hawthorn to the trials of Holly, we have come to the ninth moon of the year -- Hazel or Coll. This was once called the moon of the Muses, the cycle of the Hermit (see the ninth Tarot card), and the lunar of the artist. The flood of emotion swells at the Muses' heart, cracking the dam. The artist stands back and stares at her canvas, exhausted from emotion and anticipating the lunacy of the moon to come. Both figures flee from those around them -- confused, angry, disappointed, in need of silence -- in order to collect their scattered pieces, just as the Hermit withdraws to collect his thoughts and allow the lessons of his life to light the candle of wisdom within his dark cave.
Hazel brings with her the tribulations of the past, the pain and experience that mold their bearer. Take these lessons, the fruit of your labor, for they invite the wisdom from your High-Self to fall into the pool of your consciousness, just as the Hazel nuts fell into the pool where swam the salmon that Fionn consumed (see the Mabinogion, the book of Welsh mythology).
The Hazel wand has long been used to find hidden treasures, to protect its bearer, and to reveal the wisdom within the soul. Along with this wisdom comes the realization of one's true barriers. Holly manifested unresolved emotions and pain. If, at the end of her cycle, you have not been able to fully reconcile with the past, Hazel will afford the wisdom to desist until a better time. If, however, the past has been reconciled, Hazel is the time to complete the separation from the burden; the end has arrived. Yet, be cautious -- the exhaustion caused by the emotions and feelings of disappointment and pain released in this moon will blur the vision. Haste may seem like the answer, yet careful consideration will prevent the severing of the wrong links. This is the moon of decision and fore-thought, not heedless action.
The Hazel waits nine years before bearing her fruit. Look to Her and realize that although past burdens have glided into the shadows, this is only temporary, for through time does life heal wounds and through pain and healing does the High-Self share of its wisdom.


FOLKLORE & PRACTICAL USES: VINE

by Muirghein ó Dhún Aonghasa (Linda Kerr)

Rubus villosus - Blackberry. Grows in dry or sandy soil in the northeastern and middle states of the U.S.
R. fruticosus L. - Blackberry or bramble. England and Europe.
R. idaeus L. - Garden Raspberry. Usually cultivated, but also grows wild in and around forests in Europe.
R. strigosus - Wild Red Raspberry. Found in thickets and untended fields all over North America.
Vitis vinifera - Grape Vine.

Description

Many plants qualify as 'vine,' but the ones that are most useful medicinally are the grape vine, blackberry, and raspberry. The grape vine is also known simply as 'vine.' Its name is derived from viere (to twist), and refers to the twining habits of this ancient plant, which is also very long lived -- Pliny mentions one 600 years old, and some existing in Burgundy are said to be 400 years or older! The stem of old vines attains a considerable size in temperate climates, and planks 15" across may be cut from them. This wood is a very durable timber.1
Blackberries have probably been eaten for many thousands of years -- blackberry seeds were found in the stomach of a neolithic-age human dug up on the Essex coast in England. In the Scottish Highlands, blackberry was called an druise beannaichte, 'the blessed bramble.'2 Grieves tells us the name 'bramble' is derived from brambel, or brymbyl, signifying prickly.3 The blossoms as well as the fruits, both green and ripe, can appear on the blackberry bush at the same time, a feature not usually seen in other plants.4
Where the stems of the blackberry are flexible and drooping, the raspberry stands upright. The stems are biennial, with creeping perennial roots. It flowers in May and June. Raspberries are cultivated both in gardens and commercially for its fruit, which appear after the flowers. The ripe fruit is cooling; it is a good food for heat and thirst, and does not tend to ferment in the stomach as some fruits may.5
The blackberry and the raspberry are members of the Rosaceae family; the genus Rubi has 41 or more species. Another related berry is the dewberry, R. coesius, which is very similar to the blackberry, but puts out fruit earlier in the year. R. chamoenorus, the cloudberry, with orange-red fruit, was the badge of the McFarlanes, and R. saxatilis, the red roebuck-berry, was the McNabs' badge.6

Folklore

Much of the folklore surrounding the blackberry concerns its supposed medicinal value when employed in certain ways. The shoots of the British blackberry are very flexible, and tend to bend downwards and root their ends in the soil. The loop thus formed was reputed to be capable of curing hernias when the victim was passed backwards and forwards through the arch. Creeping under a bramble-bush was also a charm against rheumatism, boils, blackheads, etc. Cows that were thought to be 'mouse-crope,' or to have been walked over by a shrew-mouse (an ancient way of accounting for paralysis), were dragged through the brambleloop to cure them.7
In Cornwall, nine bramble leaves were picked and purified with spring water, then laid on swellings and inflammations. This charm was then repeated three times for each leaf:

There came three angels out of the east,
One brought fire and two brought frost.
Out fire and in frost,
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.8

In England it is said that the devil defiles all the blackberries by urinating or spitting on them at Michaelmas, and so after then it was unwise to pick any more. In Ireland, this same thing was done by the púca, but on Halloween.9 Blackberries were in olden days supposed to give protection against all 'evil runes' if gathered at the right time of the moon. Scottish Highlanders twined a blackberry bramble with ivy and rowan to ward off witches and evil spirits.10 "Graves, too, in English churchyards were neatly tucked round with a plaiting either of brambles or osiers -- no doubt to keep the dead from walking."11

Medicinal

The seeds and leaves of the grape vine are astringent; the leaves were formerly used to stop hemorrhages and bleeding. The sap of the vine makes an excellent lotion, used as an eye-wash and specks on the cornea. The ripe fruit, taken in large doses, is a diuretic and good for the kidneys. However, they may cause heart palpitations in people with high blood pressure. By the same token, grapes are good for anemia, especially when taken with a light, nourishing diet. They are also said to be good for neuralgia (intense pain that occurs along a nerve), and sleeplessness. When dried, the raisins that result are demulcent (soothing to mucous membranes), nutritive and slightly laxative.12
Ancient Greeks considered blackberries a remedy for gout. In early-century England, blackberry leaves were used on burns and scalds. The flowers and fruit were anciently applied to venomous bites; the young shoots, eaten as a salad, were thought to fasten loose teeth, though Gerard suggests the addition of a little alum.13
Blackberry leaves and root-bark contain tannin, and are a good astringent and tonic; the root being more astringent than the leaves. Both are good for chronic diarrhoea and hemorrhoids, and for excessive menstruation and fevers. One oz. dried leaves infused in 1 pint of boiling water, then taken cold, is good for dysentery. For diarrhoea, boil 1 oz. of root-bark in 1 pint water down to a pint, and take half a teaspoon every hour or two. The same decoction is good for whooping cough in the spasmodic stage. The root-bark should be peeled off the root and dried by artificial heat or in strong sunlight. The fruit, dried in a moderately hot oven and then powdered, is a good remedy for dysentery. A tea of the roots and leaves is used for a sore throat gargle.14
The wild raspberry, R. strigosus, and the garden variety, R. idaeus, are very similar in their properties. Wild raspberry is antiemetic, astringent, laxative, and garden raspberry is astringent, cardiac, refrigerant. Both varieties make a good cooling beverage, and both are good for diarrhoea and other stomach ailments. The leaves, combined with powdered slippery elm bark, make a good poultice for cleansing wounds, burns and scalds.15 Raspberry Leaf Tea, made by an infusion of 1 oz. dried leaves to a pint of boiling water, is good as a gargle for a sore throat. However, its main purpose is in pregnancy and childbirth; taken daily during pregnancy it will strengthen the body and prevent miscarriage, increase milk, reduce labor pains, and generally make childbirth easier.16 It will also ease menstrual cramps and regulate the flow. It works well as a douche for leucorrhoea and vaginal complaints.17 The leaves of the wild raspberry, combined with cream or milk, will relieve nausea and vomiting. Fresh raspberries are also mildly laxative.18
Raspberry vinegar is an acid syrup made with raspberry juice, sugar and white wine vinegar. When added to water it makes an excellent cooling drink in the summer, that is also good for fever, or as a gargle for a sore throat19; it is also said to have beneficial effects on the heart.20 Grieves tells us that raspberry syrup dissolves tarter off the teeth.21 Simply add 2 lbs. fruit to a pint of vinegar. Malt vinegar may be used instead; this deepens the color. Fresh raspberry juice, mixed with a little honey, has the same quality.22

Recipes
Blackberries (or Raspberries) in Brandy:

1 lb. blackberries
1/2 lb. sugar
rind of 1 lemon or orange
1/2 vanilla pod (optional)
1 1/2 pints brandy
Clean the berries thoroughly and put them in a preserving jar. Sprinkle the sugar on top and add the lemon rind and some allspice (optional). Pour the brandy over the berries and close the jar tightly. Shake carefully from time to time. Do not open for at least 2 weeks, but better still, leave to mature for another month.23 (van Doorn).

Raspberry Liqueur:

1 lb. raspberries
5 1/4 oz. cherries
some mace
a piece of cinnamon stick
a few cloves
a piece of lemon rind
a piece of orange rind
10 oz. sugar
2 pints vodka
Carefully crush the washed cherries (fruit and pips) with a pestle and add the raspberries, which should also be squashed a little. Put the fruit and the vodka in a jar and leave the mixture to soak for 2 weeks with the jar tightly closed. Then squeeze the pulp through a linen cloth to get as much juice as possible, and add sugar. Leave for another 14 days, then filter and bottle. Let it mature for 4-6 months.24

Sources:

1 Grieve, Mrs. M. A Modern Herbal (2 volumes). 1931. Dover Publications, Inc., New York, NY, pg. 832.
2 Grigson, Geoffrey. The Englishman's Flora. 1955. Phoenix House LTD, London, England, pg. 145.
3 Grieve, pg. 108.
4 Ibid, pg. 108.
5 Ibid, pg. 671.
6 Ibid, pg. 109.
7 Ibid, pg. 109.
8 Grigson, pg. 145.
9 Ibid, pg. 146.
10 Grieve, pg. 109.
11 Grigson, pg. 145.
12 Grieve, pg. 833-834.
13 Ibid, pg. 109.
14 Ibid, pg. 109-110.
15 Ibid, pg. 671.
16 Lust, John. The Herb Book. 1974. Bantam Books, New York, NY, pg. 328.
17 Hutchens, Alma R. Indian Herbology of North America. 1973. Merco, Ontario, Canada, published in London, England.
18 Lust, pg. 328.
19 Grieve, pg. 671.
20 Lust, pg. 329.
21 Grieve, pg. 671.
22 Lust, pg. 329.
23 van Doorn, Joyce. Making Your Own Liqueurs. 1980. Prism Press, San Leandro, CA, pg. 62.
24 Ibid, pg. 63.


LUNAR ENERGIES & ESOTERICA: VINE

by Epona & Imré

Vine, the tenth moon of the Lunar Calendar, is the moon of tonifying energies, the moon of joy through tears and pain. It is a time of healing, for the past months have overwhelmed one with emotion, grief, pain, and disappointment. The Muse and the artist have withdrawn, anticipating the destruction of the dam that holds back their emotions, their visions and words. That dam is now shattered and the silencing of the mind has released the floods. The poet grabs her pen and wildly scribbles the words of inspiration as the artist's brush flails wildly across her canvas, bringing out of the mists the vision that will describe her experience and wisdom. This is a time of healing through creativity.
A symbol for this moon is the spiral, a form seen throughout nature and in all lifeforms (see Sensitive Chaos, by Theodor Schwenk). Imagine a spiral -- it has no beginning, it has no end. It is; it always has been and always will be. At some point on this spiral lies this life, your life; for time does not run on a linear scale, but in a spiral. During Vine, the veil of time has thinned, and you are able to step out of this time and place; into the Once-Upon-a-Time. For those interested in past-life regressions, this will be a beneficial time to look through your spiral of existence and learn from that which has been and that which will be.
In this way, the poet in all of us is able to reflect on past experiences and future wisdom, and gain inspiration. Keep in mind, however, that inspiration is not a thing of time, but a thing outside of time. It is the winged horse, Pegasus, who flies within and without the net of time. His mother, Medusa, warns the students of the mystery schools that that which is timeless, infinite, and divine cannot be reached through the conscious mind. The mind is only a product of time; it cannot function without time, knowledge (the accumulation of experience), and thought. The rational, thinking, commanding and calculating mind -- all of these are aspects of the Yang of the male, and Medusa turns men into stone -- she blocks the mind from inspiration. To walk past her and touch the infinite, to harbor inspiration, one must fly on the wings of Pegasus.


ONCE UPON A TIME

- by Epona

Cherish that which lives
Under the arch of Time.
For remembering is the only way
It will come again,
-- So unique the relation
Of the Universal hold:
In review you may see
But you may not be
In those same times again.

Currents of the River of Life
Washing to the Sea,
Pass On...

We remember
And forget to live the now.
Fading...
For too many memories make us old.

Holding back on Time
We act as dams against the Sea...
And there are breakers on the shore.


THE GORGON'S MASK

- by Epona, '82


Nion... Moonstruck
And Spinning,
Behind the Gorgon's mask,
I lie, impaled on this stake of ash.
My mind writhes and turns,
As the snake-locks of my hair;
I perceive Her reflection
On the swirling waters...

Muin...

Behind the briared hedge I yearn,
The snake-locks pull me toward the door.
Contracting snakes: in comes my strength,
But drives my mind to madness
To follow my hair...

Gort...

Beyond the mask,
Beyond the limits of the mind
Like the ivy going
Beyond its clinging Source,
Go I.
The gorgon's mask
No longer barred the door.


PRIDE BEFORE THE FALL

- by Raven '93

There was a little pagan,
who once was heard to say
that circle was too boring,
and going solo was the way.

She bought all the books and pamphlets,
oil and candles by the score.
Then she found a book of shadows
in a funky little store.

The price was just six-fifty!
At that price it was a steal.
Then she called her little witchlings,
and bragged forever about the deal.

All that night she read it
and her eyes got round and bright.
But soon the words grew scary
and she had to turn on the lights.

Her friends all begged to see it,
and she promised all that soon
she would hold a proper circle,
at the fullness of the moon.

So she studied just that one book,
ignoring all the rest.
And found a spell of calling,
that would prove to be a test.

Because the items called for
were strange beyond belief,
she decided that substitutions
would cause no undue grief!

Bloodworm eyes and ring worm spore?
That really couldn't be.
So garlic and oregano
will be the ones for me!

Although she searched the herbal shops,
more pieces she couldn't find.
So gravel was used for meteor dust,
and no ambrosia, but heart of pine.

The full moon came and all was set,
she had planned it out so well.
Her heart was filled with utmost cheer,
and her head began to swell.

She took her place at center stage,
and swirled her robes with grace,
and when she raised her arms on high,
her pulse began to race.

With open awe, her friends all watched,
as the guttural chant began.
But when the smoke coalesced and grew,
like panicked sheep they ran!

Our silly little pagan,
who thought she knew it all,
forgot the wording to her chant,
and saw IT reaching out its paw!

Stop! she said. Stay put! she cried.
You are bound now to my power!
Then she cringed, tried not to cry,
as the demon began to glower!

"Why yes, it seems, you've tried to bind,
but your plan did have a fault.
It seems that in your ignorance,
you didn't add the salt!"

When morning came and all returned,
they joked about their fright.
Then found the circle, rocks and all,
had vanished in the night.

So remember our silly pagan,
who didn't get it right.
She bought a book she didn't understand,
and was snuffed out like a light!


RITUAL

- by Epona

Ritual implies an imitation;
And imitation implies an original
Not present in this time and space.
How can you relate to something that isn't there?
Do you worship the tool? --
The tires on your car? --
Because of the concept
Which carries you around so you can go somewhere?
Or, does the going involve you?
And the tires take you?
Do you get out of your car
When you've arrived?


(Note: R.R. stands for Rudy the Red)


INTRODUCTION TO RUNES

by Stormy

"The Speech of the High One"

I know I hung on that windswept tree,
Swung there for nine long nights
Wounded by my own blade,
Bloodied for Odin,
Myself an offering to myself:
Bound to the tree
That no man knows
Whither the roots of it run.

None gave me bread,
None gave me drink.
Down to the deepest depth I peered
Until I spied the Runes.
With a roaring cry I seized them up,
Then dizzy and fainting, I fell.

Well-being I won
And wisdom too.
I grew and took joy in my growth;
From a word to a word
I was led to a word,
From a deed to another deed.

-From the Old Norse
The Poetic Edda
(ca. C.E. 1200)

The above poem refers to the great Norse Shaman, Odin, when he received wisdom and understanding and unraveled the secrets of the runes while hanging upside down on the world tree Yggdrasil.
I don't know if he hung upside down on the Yggdrasil for nine days, nine months, nine years or nine thousand years! In the day of a god, just how long is a day? No doubt an immortal's day is much longer than that of the average mortal!
Odin, or Woden as the Anglo-Saxons of Breton called him, wounded himself and made himself his own offering to himself on the tree of life. The Yggdrasil is described as sort of a juniper, or yew tree, that always stays green, like an evergreen. The roots of the tree run so deep that no one knows where they end. This is symbolic of the mythical and historical beginnings of homosapiens. Our roots reach back to the aeons of time. The roots begin at the well, which is the entrance to the otherworld.
The severed head of Mimir is at the entrance of this well, guarding the entrance to the otherworld. The roots are inhabited by the three Norn Sisters: Urdhr (Past), Verthandi (Present), and Skul (Future). It is their job to make sure the tree is well-fed so that it can go on growing. This part of the myth probably refers to a time before patriarchal religion, when the Goddess was worshipped solely. The three Norns are probably a forerunner of the Celtic Triple Goddess, Brigit, depicted as Virgin Maid, Mother and Crone.
Odin while on the tree fasted a long time until he reached what is called an "ecstatic state" in shamanism. He cried out, fell from the tree and fainted. While in this state, he received the wisdom and secrets of the Runes. The knowledge he acquired from the otherworld enabled him to become a more powerful Shaman; so powerful, that many elevated his status to a god.
Today, a legacy left behind are the days of our week. Each day is a reminder of the Norse Mythology.
Monday: "Moon's Day" governs the emotions, wildlife, fertility and life giving waters. This day honors the Goddess, the moon cycles, the tides and our feelings.
Tuesday: "Tiw's Day" represents the spirit of justice, discipline and integrity. Although he was the God of war, he was also a peace keeper and spiritual warrior.
Wednesday: "Woden's Day" represents Odin, the Norse God of magic, battle fury, protection, inspiration, ectascy, consciousness and communication.
Thursday: "Thor's Day" was named for a huge and hearty Norse god who was a defender against the world of chaos with his hammer of thunder. He was a popular god because he was a defender, a protector, brought needed rain or could cause a calm.
Friday: "Freya's Day" represents harmony, pleasure, beauty and the arts. The Norse warrior Goddess, Freya, had the power to decide who would die in battle, and was also responsible for bringing men and women together in fertility. She had the power of giving or taking life.
Saturday: "Saturn's Day" is not of Teutonic or Celtic origin but comes from Roman Mythology and the God Saturnus. He was honored for representing a time when no one was a slave, a subordinate or a superior. He also represented a time when age, wisdom and maturity were respected.
Sunday: "Sun's Day" represents vitality, self-expression, pride, creativity and life. In some European cultures the Sun could represent a goddess as well as a god.

Sources:

The Book of Runes, Ralph Blum, St. Martins Press, N.Y., 1987.
The Goddess in the Office, Zsuzannah E. Budapest, Harper San Francisco, 1993.
Fire in the Head, Shamanism and the Celtic Spirit, Harper San Francisco, 1993.

Send a self-addressed envelope to "Stormy" in care of The HAZEL NUT to request reading list for more information on runes and Norse Mythology.


BUBBLES FROM THE CAULDRON
BOOK REVIEWS, ETC.

The '94 Lunar Calendar - Dedicated to the Goddess in Her Many Guises, by Nancy F.W. Passmore. 1993. Luna Press, Boston, MA. 8 1/2x11; opens to 11x17. $14.95.
- Reviewed by Muirghein

I know it's a little early to think about calendars, but we've just received the '94 Lunar Calendars almost literally hot off the presses.
The Lunar Calendar is the lovely calendar that graces our centerfold every issue, so look to that for a preview. The '94 calendar features original artwork and/or poetry above each month. Also included are the quarter and cross-quarter holidays, and tons of lunar information throughout and in the back.
The Lunar Calendar is inspired by Robert Graves' The White Goddess. Each lunar month corresponds to a tree. Look in the center of each month's spiral of moons for a brief explanation of the energies for that lunation. (By the way, these explanations were written by our own Epona!)

The Family Wicca Book by Ashleen O'Gaea. 1993. Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, MN. Softcover, $9.95.
- Reviewed by Mirhanda Spellesinger

This book is a MUST for Pagan parents! Ashleen O'Gaea has filled a void with this work. While most books of rituals don't really allow for small children, this one has rituals specifically geared for groups that include little Pagans. Child-free Pagans will also enjoy this book as it has wonderful ideas for all Pagans. There is a guided meditation that is useful for Pagans of any age, simplified rituals, and useful ideas for explaining death, life, why "bad" things happen, sex, and why some people think we're Satanists. I think everyone will want to build O'Gaea's 'Elf-lights' -- I know we did! (If you want an explanation of 'Elf-lights' you'll have to read the book!) While this book is specifically geared to Wiccan parents, I truly think there is something for any Wiccan in this book.
Mirhanda Spellesinger has been a Witch all her life, but didn't realize it until 1987. She lives in the mountains of Tennessee with her husband and magickal partner, along with their two daughters, myriad cats, and a dog. She very much enjoys correspondence and meeting other Pagans.

The Tao of Pooh, 1982, and The Te of Piglet, 1992. By Benjamin Hoff. 1992. Penguin Books, Penguin Group, NY. Softcover, $9.95 each.
- Reviewed by Muirghein

I knew nothing about Taoism when I first read The Tao of Pooh, so I went into it with no pre-conceived notions. Taoism, for those of you who aren't familiar with the concept, "is a way of living in harmony with Tao, the Way of the Universe, the character of which is revealed in the workings of the natural world." The book is very lightly and humorously written, making a deep subject quite easy to understand. I immediately put it on our group's required reading list.
Then just recently The Te of Piglet appeared in paperback. Again, I knew nothing about the Te, which, in a nutshell, means the virtue of the small. This book was just as enjoyable and readable as the first, but with a lot more social and political commentary. And, surprisingly, rather pagan in the last chapter! I found myself agreeing with a lot of what he had to say, and again, put it on our required reading list.
I highly recommend these books; they are easy to read and understand, and leave you with a very happy feeling!

Real Men Don't Bond, 1992, by Bruce Feirstein. Warner Books, Inc. New York, NY. Softcover, $6.99.
- Reviewed by Muirghein

My husband received this book as a Christmas present last year, and I thought the title was great, considering all the Robert Bly workshops and wildman weekends currently trendy in the new age scene. So when I was looking for some light reading recently, I decided to read Real Men Don't Bond.
Well, I was surprised. While the reading was light, it was certainly not mindless male chatter. 'Flex Crush,' the Real Man interviewed in the book (which, by the way, is a sequel to Real Men Don't Eat Quiche), actually has some good things to say. For instance: George Bush is not a Real Man, but Barbara Bush is, and Real Men suspect the country might truly be a kinder, gentler nation if he had listened to her more often. And: Real Men recognize you can't have rights without responsibilities; Real Men compost. Flex even has something to say about Real Women, who are "still pissed off that the business accolades 'tough, performance-oriented and no-nonsense' translate to 'bitch' when applied to a female."
Good teachings disguised as humor -- for men and women.