Hazel trees (Corylus avellana) are particularly striking at this time of year and along with Willow and Elder are associated with the festival of Imbolc, celebrated as the first signs of Spring appear at the beginning of February.
Both Hazel and Willow have similar properties that we can embrace as we transition out of the Winter season. Their branches are particularly flexible, and they grow quickly and with ease before other trees begin to stir, making them wonderful trees to work with to support new beginnings and when we need to connect with courage to overcome challenges.
Hazel trees have been a fundamental part in our human development. Hazel nuts provide an important protein source for both humans and animals. Hazel wood has been used to build shelters; from the early temporary structures of nomadic hunter gatherers to the frames of the first permanent wattle and daub homes. Some of the earliest boat frames were also made from Hazel, creating the expansion of travel and fishing.
Unlike Willow trees, Hazels produce male and female flowers on the same tree. The characteristic bright yellow catkins that can be seen opening now are the male flowers. The striking female flowers open a little later in the season along with the leaves.
If you have any local Hazel trees, it is well worth getting out and visiting them to observe them as they transition through the seasons. Being in the presence of these trees and observing their growth, carefully collecting a twig or wearing a piece of Jewellery from one of these trees can help us to feel more connected with their qualities.
Energetic qualities of Hazel: Vitality, New Growth, Creativity, Flexibility, Ease.