Tree of Knowledge
Hazel is the 9th consonant of the Ogham Alphabet.
Uses For Us
Long arching branches, basketry if coppiced, fencing, thatching, walking sticks.
Uses in Nature
Squirrels and mice love them! You can see whether a mouse or squirrel has eaten them by the shell left behind. A mouse nibbles it's way in whereas the squirrel will split the shell in two. Squirrels are great at re-seeding too as they can forget where they store them.
Edibility - always check with a qualified herbalist before eating or using!
The leaves can be infused to make a tea and the nuts are edible straight from the tree when the leaves start to turn yellow in the Autumn (unless you have a nit allergy)!
Medicinal & Other Uses
Haemorrhoids - Leaves and bark placed in the bath water, aaaah relief!
Circulation, diarrhoea, diuretic - tea infusion of leaves
Soap, cosmetics, coughs - nuts which are also full of protein (50% more than eggs)
Magic & Folklore
Wands - Hazel is great for helping the owner of a hazel wand with knowledge, intuition, creativity, divination and visions, and poetic skill.
Dowsing - Forked Hazel rods were also used for dowsing or finding water or treasure.
Invisibility - In the hands of a wizard a hazel walking stick could grant invisibility and protect against evil.
Romance - or not, as it was custom to present a piece of hazel to a lover if you wished to abandon them!
Wisdom - In Irish Folk lore it is the nuts which carry all wisdom, so eat up and pull down on your ear lobes - which is another way to acquire spiritual wisdom, hence the long ear lobed Buddhist images.
Faeries - To enlist the help of the plant faeries string hazelnuts on a cord and hang up in a room.
St John's Nut - two nuts naturally fused together were considered lucky and could also be thrown at bad witches!
Samhain/Hallowe'en - Throwing nuts in a open fire on this night is said to foretell future lovers and romance. The suitors would each throw a nut in the fire and watch how they reacted. A steady glow would foretell a cosy, harmonious communion, a popping, crackle would foretell a more fiery relationship. A single lady could also throw in a nut naming a potential suitor saying "If you love me pop and fly, if you hate me burn and die."
Salmon of Knowledge - 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 becomes a spot on its skin.
Inspiration charm - collect 9 hazelnuts (asking the tree spirit or Dryad for permission), then make a small bag and draw the Ogham symbol for hazel on the front. Light a candle and say a creativity charm every time you put a nut in the bag. Carry this with you whenever you wish to connect to the wisdom of Hazel. Use this or make one up;
"Hazel fair and blessed tree
Hazel nuts, smooth and lovely
Awaken within me inspiration
And creativity from life's cauldron"
This spell is especially nice during the Celtic calendar month of Hazel.