by Nan De Grove
In the Druid tradition each of the thirteen lunar months is associated with a sacred tree, or in some cases a vine or reed. Each tree is a spiritual presence as well as a portal into a shamanic realm of magic and meaning. The tree exists in the physical world, as well as the imaginal dimension, and is a bridge between them.
March is sacred to the ash tree, a tree with a great store of mythic and magical lore. Because of the strength and straightness of its grain, ash was used for wands and arrows, and was associated with the Welsh god, Gwyddion, who wields a wand of ash for healing and enchantment. It is said that three sacred ash trees were felled in Ireland in 665 CE to assert the triumph of Christianity over Paganism. Ash, oak and hawthorn were said to be the three most powerful fairy trees, with ash bestowing the gifts of poetry and riches (though perhaps not simultaneously).
In Norse mythology the ash was the “world tree,” the axis of the cosmos upon which the god Odin hung for nine days and nights, in a sacrificial act to receive hidden wisdom which came in the form of runes. This connects the ash tree and its sacred month — February 18th through March 17th — with the Hanged Man in the Tarot, which is related in turn to Pisces, the sign of the month, and its ruling planet, Neptune. The Hanged Man implies a suspension, a time of flux, waiting for illumination, perhaps a need for sacrifice. In our materialistic, competitive culture sacrifice becomes a shadowy thing; we end up sacrificing the sacred, sometimes sacrificing our very selves to false gods. In ancient times, the gods were appeased with blood, which continued with Christ, another Hanged Man, whose suffering is observed by Christians in the Lenten season of ashes. I envision redefining sacrifice as gift, offering, time set aside for beauty, love, kindness, sacrificing old concepts of who and what we must be; sacrificing excessive material striving for the good of the soul, and the Earth.
The Full Moon of the ash tree occurs on March 5th at 11:09 am MST. It falls in Virgo, with the Sun opposite in Pisces: the Virgin and the Fishes, the mermaid rising, beckoning from the waves. This Full Moon brings revelation through dreams, creative vision, and emphasizes the balance and integration of the spiritual and practical dimension of experience. Planets are clustered now in Pisces (Sun, Neptune and Chiron), and Aries (Venus, Mars, and Uranus). This
water-fire combination implies a skillful handling of the forces of destiny — that which we inherit as fate at birth — and will, the choices we make to consciously engage with our fate. This is the hero/heroine’s quest.
“The Firewood Poem,” by Lady Celia Congreve, 1930 — https://web.mail.comcast.net/service/home/~/?auth=co&loc=en_US&id=1233931&part=2
Nan De Grove is a gardener, painter and astrologer. She writes the monthly full-Moon column for The Lore of the Garden, as well as other occasional contributions. She can be reached at email@example.com.