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ASH CHARMS

I

Ash bow
Ash spear
Ash beam
Ash eye.

Ash beam shelter me.
Ash bow direct me.
Ash spear guard me.
Ash eye watch over me.

Thirteen moons
There are in one year.
Thirteen times I call on you.
Thirteen watchers watch over me.

II

Ash Lady
Ash Lord
I see on the hillside
A grey horse with black hooves.
In the valley,
A straight spear with iron head.
A strong stream with purple fountains.
A bright hall filled with laughter.
A vessel for moonlight.
A heart that sees,
A well of vision,
A hand of harmony.

Air clothes rock.
Earth clothes root.
Peace clothes anger.
Song clothes silence.
Light clothes all.

III

Ash above,
Shelter me.

Ash below,
Support me.

Ash,
Standing high,
Standing firm.

—–

Commentary of kennings
The associations and symbolism were not particularly contrived as I wrote down these words. They seemed to flow out naturally from the form and qualities of the Ash.

The physical properties of ash wood, its strength and flexibility, make it ideal for the manufacture of bows, spear shafts and roof beams. The cross-section of ash shows a small pithy centre in the shape of an eye. The ash spear was associated with Odin, shaman warrior god of the North. Odin left one of his eyes with the giant Mimir at the well below the roots of the World Tree in order to gain transcendent knowledge. The World Tree is associated with the ash- so the ash spear is itself a kenning for the World Tree, the Universe.

Ash bears sometimes mainly male flowers, sometimes mainly female flowers, sometimes both on the same tree.

The number of leaflets making up each frond of ash ranges between nine, eleven and thirteen all lunar numbers.

In winter the ash shows its smooth grey bark punctuated with charcoal-black buds that resemble horse’s hooves. This visual association with horses also links to Odin’s horse, the tree he hung from to cognise the runes as well as the hangman’s gibbet.

A straight spear: the young saplings resemble spears, but ash made excellent spear shafts as well.

All trees are vertical fountains of water. Ash flowers, tiny purple red sprays in spring resemble that energy emerging from the inside of the trunk.

All trees are habitats for a multitude of creatures. Ash, though a large tree, has a light, open appearance as the leaves cast only a light shade. Ash is the best wood for roof beams – more flexible and stress-resistant than harder, heavier woods like oak. Unusually ashwood burns hot and bright whether green or seasoned.

The tree spirit energy encourages flexibility and harmony with surroundings. Strength and firm support, the ability to abide lightly.

The images are of the Tree Spirit Key of the Ash. It echoes the leaf shape, the spear head, the strong energy field, the inner and outer……

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