hazel The hazel tree is one of powerful magic, according to ancient beliefs. Hermes’ caduceus, a gift from Apollo, was made of hazel. The early roman naturalist, Pliny, wrote of how to use hazel wands for divining underground springs. The rod of Moses was cut from a hazel tree by Adam in the Garden of Eden. Moses and Aaron used hazel rods to bring plagues into Egypt. In the fourth century, St. Patrick is said to have rid Ireland of snakes by drawing them together with a magic hazel rod and then casting them into the sea.
Hazel wood and hazelnuts are believed to offer protection against witchcraft, Demons and fairy bewitchment (see Fairies). Hazel breastbands on harnesses have been used to protect horses. In Ireland, the hazel is a symbol of great mystical wisdom. Cattle are singed with hazel rods at Beltane and midsummer fires in order to keep fairies away. In Scotland, double hazel nuts are thrown at witches.
Hazel nuts also have been used in the casting of spells. In some areas, picking hazel nuts on a Sunday is believed to summon the Devil to appear. Hazelnuts are gathered in traditional fall fertility rites in some parts of England.
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