Coll

The Celts believed hazelnuts gave one wisdom and inspiration. There are numerous variations on an ancient tale that nine hazel trees grew around a sacred pool, dropping into the water nuts that were eaten by salmon (a fish sacred to Druids), which absorbed the wisdom. A variation of the story appears in the legend of Finn Mac Cumhail, who ate the salmon and then took on the knowledge and wisdom of the fish. He carried a shield of hazel wood that made him invincible in battle. The story of Finn, will be told on another page, since it is his name which is connected to the mandala.

“The Hazel Branch” from Grimms’ Fairy Tales claims that hazel branches offer the greatest protection from snakes and other things that creep on the earth.

The world Coll translates to “the life force inside you”. Hazel is associated with wisdom and creativity and knowledge. Sometimes it is connected in Celtic lore with magical springs, sacred wells, and divination.

Norse mythology considered the hazel tree to be sacred. Thor used hazel as a protection against lightning.

 

Divination

Wisdom, knowledge, inspiration/creativity, life force and divination.

 

Background

The hazel (Corylus) is a genus of deciduous trees and large shrubs native to the temperate Northern Hemisphere. The genus is usually placed in the birch family Betulaceae, though some botanists https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b0/Corylus_avellana_0001.JPGsplit the hazels (with the hornbeams and allied genera) into a separate family Corylaceae. The fruit of the hazel is the hazelnut.
Hazels have simple, rounded leaves with double-serrate margins.
The nuts of all hazels are edible. The common hazel is the species most extensively grown for its nuts, followed in importance by the filbert. Nuts are also harvested from the other species, but apart from the filbert, none is of significant commercial importance.
Hazel is a traditional material used for making wattle, witchy fencing, baskets, and the frames of coracle boats. The tree can be coppiced, and regenerating shoots allow for harvests every few years.

Hazel was a handy tree to have around. It was used by many English pilgrims to make staffs for use upon the road — not only was it a sturdy walking stick, it also provided a modicum of self-defense for weary travelers. Certainly, it could have been used as well for ritual. Hazel was used in weaving of baskets by medieval folk, and the leaves were fed to cattle because it was believed this would increase the cow’s supply of milk.