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Ash! Ash! Reaching for the sun!
The light of the gods falling down down down
Ash! Ash! Holding up the worlds 
carrying our voices to let them be heard.
Luck in your sap and light in your keys
spear of healing and destiny.

~ Ash song fragment by Haloquin

Latin Name: fraxinus excelsior (European Ash)

Clues for Identification: Will grow tall and straight up, branches reaching for the sun, with smooth, pale bark that roughens with age. The tips of the branches in winter grow little black buds like spearheads, which blossom into petalless flowers in late spring. The leaves are formed of 4-6 pairs of leaflets (similar to Rowan), with a final one at the tip. Its seeds are keys, or spinners, hanging heavy and bright green in the early summer and ripening in the autumn to spin away on the wind early the following year.

Edible: Apparently you can pickle the young keys, I haven’t tried it yet though!

Herbal Properties: Anti-inflammatory and soothing, eases digestive issues. Leaves have a diuretic and laxative effect (ash leaf tea, may be a gentle laxative). Bark is astringent and a decoction may help with rheumatism and arthritis, and as a tonic. May help with gout, constipation, and fever.  The ash after burning is sometimes used to make a soothing poultice for skin ailments. 

Mythology and Magical Associations: Ruled by the Sun, and associated with the element of fire. The Norse god Odin was described as having a spear made of Ash, and he and his brothers made the first human man from the ash tree (and the first woman from elm). Yggdrasil, the World Tree which holds all the different realms/worlds in Norse mythology is commonly thought to be ash, though others interpret it to be yew. Ash is thought to be a great healer, especially of children. Use in workings for protection, victory, healing and luck.

Historical Notes: Once commonly used for spear making, bows, tool handles, boat frames, axles, and even wheels. Ash syrup was once thought to be lucky when given as a baby’s first food. 

Practical Properties: Makes brilliant firewood, leaving a fine ash which is good for the garden. Leaves are freshest around June, so gather them then. Ash actually belongs to the same family as the Olive tree. The wood is strong, durable, and flexible, and the tree grows large, and coppices well. 

Ogham: Associated with the fifth ogham stave, named “Nion” which means “fork” or “loft”, for the letter “n”. In R. Graves’ model Ash is the third tree, and rules the third “Lunar Month” or 18th February – 17th March. 

* Please check with an actual herbalist before self medicating with plants, they can be very powerful. This information is just for inspiration. I am not a qualified herbalist!

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Over to you in the comments. What do you know of the tall ash tree? How are you seeking victory in your life?

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