The Black ASh & The European History Teacher
Written 17th February
I found it very interesting that Ben said he teaches European History….in trying to figure out more about the black ash and what it could possibly be I found some interesting connections between Ash Tree’s and European mythology. I know this is a bit of a stretch but I love history so my lost inquiries usually take these type of approaches…..
What I discovered was that Yggdrasil, the World Tree in Viking mythology, grew on an island surrounded by the ocean, in the depths of which the World Serpent lay. Like the Vikings, the Gaels also thought of the ash tree (which they called uinsinn, pronounced ooshin) as protective. Of the five legendary guardian trees of Ireland, three were ash. Ash is also the second most popular tree growing beside Irish holy wells, and on the Isle of Man ash trees were said to protect the purity of springs.
Second, In British folklore the ash was credited with a range of protective and healing properties, most frequently related to child health. Newborn babies were popularly given a teaspoon of ash sap. Ailing children, especially those suffering with rupture or weak limbs, would be passed naked through a cleft in an ash tree or ash sapling, to cure them. The cleft was often specifically made for the purpose and bound together again after the ceremony to heal over as the child also healed. Some folklore then suggested an intimate bond between the welfare and fate of the now related tree and person, with harm to the tree being reflected in the healed persons life, leading people to become understandably protective of Ã«theirÃ ash tree.
The biggest things that jumped out to me about all of this was 1) children on the island seem to be very important, and perhaps the children and/or ash have something to do with the temple waters healing power. 2) Vikings saw ash as protective and 3) that the World Tree grew on an island.
Just something to think about. I think the producers are always bringing in many different cultural references and this could be another one of them that they drew inspiration from.