Skip to main content

What is the Celtic Month of Hazel?

Lydia is a practicing Druid who has dipped her toes into various occult organizations over the years.

The Celtic Tree months are unlikely to be an authentic Celtic Pre-Christian Calendar.

The Celtic Tree months are unlikely to be an authentic Celtic Pre-Christian Calendar.

What are the Celtic Tree Months?

The Celtic Tree Calendar also known as the Beth-Luis-Nion calendar is a modern invention. Contrary to what some people believe, the Celtic tree months are not based on any ancient calendar of Ireland. It is just a theory that grew out of the work of Robert Graves. He wrote a book called The White Goddess that should be considered a poetic work rather than an authentic look at Celtic spirituality. Trees, however, are important to Celtic spirituality. The word Druid likely comes from the word for oak, so trees are quite important on this spiritual path.

I am currently a member of ADF: A Druid Fellowship. Robert Graves's book is specifically listed as a piece of literature that doesn't qualify for inclusion in the study program. The White Goddess is heavily based on a lover of Robert Graves by the name of Laura Ridding who was an author herself. His interpretation of the Ogham alphabet relies on a book called Ogygia by a 17th-century bard by the name of Roderick O'Flaherty. His exploration of Celtic myth utilizes broad strokes of creative license and uses few legitimate scholarly resources and out-of-date archaeology.

The Celtic Tree months are used by some Neopagans, but only in addition to the regular Gregorian calendar. Those who are on a path of Celtic religious reconstruction would not follow the Celtic Tree months. However, many of the signs in nature did give our ancestors a way of tracking the passage of time. Indeed, there is much to gain by living in harmony with the seasons.

In this article, I will be focusing on the hazel tree which is legendary in Irish mythology and Celtic culture.

The hazel tree has a rich history in Celtic culture and mythology.

The hazel tree has a rich history in Celtic culture and mythology.

The Celtic Month of Hazel

The Celtic month of Hazel takes place from August 5th to September 1st. 'Coll', the word for hazel, is the ninth tree month and also the 9th letter of the Ogham alphabet. The hazel tree is a deciduous broadleaf tree native to the UK. Hazelnuts ripen in late summer which seems why August would be assigned as the month of hazel.

The hazel is connected with knowledge. The Gaelic word for the hazelnut is 'cno' while the word for wisdom is 'cnonach'. Hazel could very well be a great month to tap into the knowledge within. Inspiration and wisdom lay around the bend. This is true enough. The school year typically begins at the beginning of September. Getting into a studious mindset throughout August can certainly get the year off to a good start.

Lughnasadh has just passed on the Wheel of the Year as the Month of Hazel begins. You may wish to embark on activities related to this sabbat over this phase. This season commemorates the Celtic deity Lugh who is the God of All Skills. It is a great time to develop a skill. Since the days are still long and sunny there are lots of hours to work at mastering something. It is a great time of work and growth. Prepare for the darker months by putting in long hours.

The Celts believed you could gain wisdom by eating a hazelnut.

The Celts believed you could gain wisdom by eating a hazelnut.

Born in the Month of Hazel

Since the hazel is a tree associated with knowledge, it follows that those born in this month would be considered brainy and clever. They are great communicators who excel at writing and speaking. With these skills, they show promise as scholars and academics. Many hazels have the potential to become an expert in the field of their choice. They throw themselves into their passions while maintaining a fine eye for detail. Their perfectionistic streak enables them to get things right.

This same perfectionistic attitude can also be a bit of a burden. Their fussy tendencies can lead them to behave like control freaks. It is hard for them to deal with things not turning out as they had planned.

They can make great teachers as they are creative and have the ability to motivate others.

Hazel's Magickal Correspondences

Deities:

Mercury, Hermes, Aengus, Diana

Planet:

Mercury

Element:

Air

Hazel Trees and the Otherworld

In Celtic myth, the hazel tree is found at the center of the Otherworld which is the home of the gods and possibly where the dead go before their next incarnation. Nine magical hazel trees hang over the Well of Wisdom. Some sources refer to this as the Well of Segais and the origin of the River Boyne. Occasionally, the hazelnuts fall into the river where the Salmon of Wisdom will eat them. Consuming the nut or the salmon was said to bestow prophetic and poetic abilities on the lucky snacker.

In fact, hazel trees are often thought to occupy the borders of any magickal place. A grove of hazel trees would be considered to be a sacred place.

The Salmon of Wisdom eats magickal hazel nuts that fall into the Well of Segais.

The Salmon of Wisdom eats magickal hazel nuts that fall into the Well of Segais.

Aengus

Aengus is a Celtic god to whom the hazel is sacred. Poetry and love are his specialties. There is a famous poem written by W.B. Yeats called The Song of the Wandering Aengus. I have included a link to a Youtube video with the folk artist Donovan singing this poem to music. Aengus was a cunning and handsome youth able to outwit his elders with his profound verbal gifts.

Scroll to Continue

Aengus's mother was Boann who is the goddess of the River Boyne. This is a real river in Ireland that also figures into much of Celtic mythology. In legend, Fionn mac Cumhaill catches the Salmon of Wisdom, who subsists on a diet of hazelnuts, in this very river.

The Song of Wandering Aengus

The Story of Fionn mac Cumhaill

Fionn mac Cumhaill is the leader of the Fianna, a band of traveling hunter-warriors. He is both a seer and poet who possesses a magic thumb that bestows wisdom on him. Hazelnuts and the Salmon of Knowledge figure into the story of how he acquired his magic thumb. Stories about Fionn mac Cumhaill are found in the Fenian cycle of Celtic mythology and are narrated by his son Oisin.

In his boyhood, Fionn was known by the name Demne. Demne studies under a poet by the name of Finnegas. Finnegas had been trying to catch the Salmon of Knowledge for 7 years. Eventually, he succeeds in catching the fish and has Demne cook it for him. Demne burns his thumb while cooking the fish. He cools his burnt thumb by instinctively placing it in his mouth and is thereby granted the wisdom Finnegas has been seeking.

Finnegas is a good sport about Demne's accidental partaking of the fish. When he sees that Demne has received the wisdom, he gives him the entire fish to eat. The boy is then given the new name of Fionn. It is decided that the wisdom the salmon has to offer was the destiny of Fionn mac Cumhaill instead of his mentor.

I find it interesting that the Celts link salmon to wisdom. Fish oil is often recommended for brain health. Those who have a greater dietary fish intake have been scientifically proven to experience less memory loss. It makes me wonder if our ancient ancestors had observed this benefit of consuming fish.

Fionn mac Cumhaill eats the Salmon of Knowledge who ate magical hazelnuts.

Fionn mac Cumhaill eats the Salmon of Knowledge who ate magical hazelnuts.

A Sign of Authority

Hazel staffs are a sign of authority. The Anglo-Saxon word for hazel is 'haesl' and it 'means baton of authority'. In Greek mythology, Hermes carried a hazel staff. And, the Roman god Mercury who is equivalent to Hermes also carried a hazel staff that gave him wisdom. According to some sources Druid priests carried hazel wands to settle arguments and lay down the law.

Hazel wood is the preferred choice for dowsing rods.

Hazel wood is the preferred choice for dowsing rods.

Dowsing Rods

Since hazel has had a link with prophecy the wood has been employed for mystical purposes. Dowsing is also known as 'water witching'. It is a way to locate groundwater. You would walk around a property with a forked stick. The traditional choice for these sticks is hazelwood.

Dowsers believe there are energies present that will cause their rods to vibrate once water is located. Landowners still employ dowsers as drilling a well can be an expensive investment. It is hoped that the dowser will discover a spot where there is an adequate supply of quality water.

Dowsing is also used for locating other treasures. It has been used to track down metals, oil, gravesites, gemstones, and many other items. This is purely a divinatory art with no scientific proof that it is effective.

Many animals enjoy eating hazelnuts.

Many animals enjoy eating hazelnuts.

Uses of Hazel

Hazelnuts are a major staple and full of protein. They have a wonderful flavor. Personally, I love hazelnut flavoring in my coffee. They can be eaten raw or roasted.

Many animals also enjoy eating hazelnuts, including woodpeckers and squirrels. You will certainly have some happy wildlife in your yard if you leave them out as offerings.

Hazelnuts are also a symbol of good luck. If you find 2 nuts in one shell you can eat one and throw the other one over your shoulder to make a wish. In the language of flowers, the hazel bloom is for reconciliation.

Further Exploration

It is true that the hazel tree is one of the most fascinating trees in Celtic lore and mythology. It certainly does seem like a good candidate to have a month dedicated in its honor. I do hope you found the information I shared with you to also bestow a little knowledge just as the hazelnut is said to.

Below I have included a link from another Druid organization that does write about the Celtic Tree months on their website. They have a wonderful write-up on the Hazel Tree that I found most informative. Hope you enjoy it.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Related Articles