General – Hazel Trees have a long association within European folklore as they make up an important part of Britain’s native woodlands. Rarely grow beyond 5-6 metres they can also be found tucked into gardens, hedgerows and parks. Producing fluffy ‘lambs tails’ in spring and tasty Hazelnuts in autumn the Hazel itself is a magical little tree. Most nut trees have an associated guardian or defender as they were such an important source of food and symbol of fertility. The Hazel Tree stands where the ‘real’ world joins the ‘other’ realm and this spirit is said to protect the tree. ‘Churn Milk Peg’ is associated with the Hazel Tree and was said to be an old lady who stopped the children picking Hazelnuts before they are ripe. This folk-tale has another version made famous by the Ted Hughes poem ‘Churn Milk Joan’ which is associated with a boundary stone, a dairy maid and farmers offerings.
Medicinal Uses – A tea made with Hazel leaves can help to regulate and lessen heavy periods. Also you can crush hazelnuts and eat with honey and water to sooth a bad cough – they are full of calcium, protein and potassium.
Ritual – Hazel twigs are often used for dowsing, as they are prone to produce twigs in the familiar Y shape. Associated with Gods and mythological figures such as Thor, Brigid and Apollo, the nuts and branches can be used for rituals and magic, and are associated with luck, fertility, protection and wish granting. Hazel has applications in magic done for manifestation, spirit contact, protection, prosperity, divination-dowsing, dreams, wisdom-knowledge, marriage, fertility, intelligence, inspiration. Hazel is a tree that is historically associated and sacred Fairies and a wand of hazel can be used to call the Fey. In Celtic tradition, the Salmon of Knowledge is said to eat the 9 nuts of poetic wisdom dropped into its sacred pool from the hazel tree growing beside it. Each nut eaten by the salmon becomes a spot on its skin. The Hazel tree provided shade, protection and baskets. In Europe and North America, hazel is commonly used for ‘water-witching’ – the art of finding water with a forked stick (dowsing!) Magically, hazel wood is used to gain knowledge, healing, wisdom and poetic inspiration. Forked sticks are used to find water or buried treasure. It is said that if you are outside and in need of magical protection quickly draw a circle around yourself with a hazel branch. You can also enlist the aid of plant fairies by stringing hazelnuts on a cord and then hanging them up in your house or garden.