The Hazel Tree and the Salmon of Knowledge

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DaRC
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Re: The Hazel Tree and the Salmon of Knowledge

Postby DaRC » 05 Jan 2011, 13:17

It reminds me of the legend of Tuan, from the Irish book of invasions, but there's another legend where he seeks ancient knowledge which I think is closer - the story of Culwch and Olwen, from the Welsh Mabinoigen.

URL's to add'l info:
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/mab/mab16.htm
http://www.ardue.org.uk/library/book5/i ... tml#legcyc
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and to live a life without shame. (Havamal 68)
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Huathe
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Re: The Hazel Tree and the Salmon of Knowledge

Postby Huathe » 05 Jan 2011, 17:38

Darc,

You have given me more to read. Thank You!
James E Parton
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" We all cry tears, we all bleed red "_Ronnie Dunn

http://www.nativetreesociety.org/
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Huathe
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Re: The Hazel Tree and the Salmon of Knowledge

Postby Huathe » 05 Jan 2011, 17:41

I didn't want to open a new thread for my question(s), so I'll just post it here...

My first question: does anybody have by chance a link or something to the myth about the oldest beings of the world? I read it as a teenager, but can't remember properly (the hero is on a quest and first asks the blackbird of forgotthename, then he is sent to some stag and eagle and another animal I forgot, until he reaches the salmon who is the ultimatively oldest and wisest being on earth).

Next question: do these animals mentioned in the myth live longer than other animals? for example, does a blackbird in average get older than other singing birds (unless the cat gets them :grin: )? And especially the salmon: does he get significantly old? or is it all just a metaphor?

Thanks! :shake:

Inis,

Pacific Salmon die after spawning so I don't think they really live that long. Atlantic Salmon often live longer because they sometimes live to spawn more than once. Still, I don't think they are a record holder for age for a fish.
James E Parton
Bardic Course Graduate - Ovate Student
New Order of Druids

" We all cry tears, we all bleed red "_Ronnie Dunn

http://www.nativetreesociety.org/
http://www.druidcircle.org/nod/index.ph ... Itemid=145
http://www.burningman.com/

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DaRC
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Re: The Hazel Tree and the Salmon of Knowledge

Postby DaRC » 07 Jan 2011, 13:31

Glad to be of service Hawthorn-Ent :D

Yes oldest fish is virtually impossible to know but I would imagine something like a Sturgeon or Shark. A google suggests that the oldest known captive fish is a lungfish in Australia at ca 80 years.
Most dear is fire to the sons of men,
most sweet the sight of the sun;
good is health if one can but keep it,
and to live a life without shame. (Havamal 68)
http://gewessiman.blogspot.co.uk Image

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Huathe
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Re: The Hazel Tree and the Salmon of Knowledge

Postby Huathe » 07 Jan 2011, 16:56

Darc,

You are probably right, or at least close.
James E Parton
Bardic Course Graduate - Ovate Student
New Order of Druids

" We all cry tears, we all bleed red "_Ronnie Dunn

http://www.nativetreesociety.org/
http://www.druidcircle.org/nod/index.ph ... Itemid=145
http://www.burningman.com/

SeaCat

Re: The Hazel Tree and the Salmon of Knowledge

Postby SeaCat » 05 Aug 2013, 00:34

This discussion reminded me of a piece written by Mara Freeman called "The Celtic Tree of Life" which discusses the archetypal meanings of trees and water in Celtic and other myths. Link: http://www.chalicecentre.net/celtic-tree-of-life.html

Excerpt:
"At the heart of the Celtic Otherworld, the spiritual source of all life is discovered in the ecology of trees and water. No static image here, the deepest Mystery dances with life and motion, and many interchanges take place: water flows, nuts fall, the salmon leap. Where the waters emanate from hidden depths below the earth, the tree of life rises towards the power of the sky. The gushing well and its cluster of hazel trees show that this a place where the mysteries of earth converge with the heavens to form a dynamic interplay of the opposites. Where water suggests the potential for life on earth, the tree makes life manifest.

Throughout the ages seekers of truth—poets, philosophers, rulers and other pilgrims of the spiritual quest—have made the perilous journey to this sanctum. For the sacred nuts dropping from above to meet with the gushing waters below unite heaven and earth. The salmon in the well act as intermediaries—fishy priests!—by cracking the nuts. In the threefold shamanic universe, they make the knowledge of the upper and lower worlds available to our middle world, which is why seekers desired above all things to eat the Salmon or Hazelnuts of Wisdom."

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Kris Hughes
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Re: The Hazel Tree and the Salmon of Knowledge

Postby Kris Hughes » 09 Aug 2013, 06:01

I just saw this thread, and noticed that the original question of why not just go eat the hazel nuts had not been much addressed. Here is how James Stephens explains it, in "The Boyhood of Fionn"

"Here is a question," Fionn continued. "How does this salmon get wisdom into his flesh?"

"There is a hazel bush overhanging a secret pool in a secret place. The Nuts of Knowledge drop from the Sacred Bush into the pool, and as they float, a salmon takes them in his mouth and eats them."

"It would be almost as easy," the boy submitted, "if one were to set on the track of the Sacred Hazel and eat the nuts straight from the bush."

"That would not be very easy," said the poet, "and yet it is not as easy as that, for the bush can only be found by its own knowledge, and that knowledge can only be got by eating the nuts, and the nuts can only be got by eating the salmon."

"We must wait for the salmon," said Fionn in a rage of resignation.


There is a species of Hazel that's native to eastern North America, and hazels are also cultivated here, often known as "filberts".

I've blogged some about the story of Fionn and the Salmon.
http://www.godeeper.info/2/post/2013/07 ... -gift.html
http://www.godeeper.info/2/post/2013/07 ... -weir.html
"Your horse is your mirror." ~ Linda Parelli

My Blog http://www.godeeper.info/blog.html

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Re: The Hazel Tree and the Salmon of Knowledge

Postby Mannan » 10 May 2014, 20:08

The myth of Sigurd, the dwarf Regin and the dragon Fafnir also contains the same motif as the story of Fionn gaining his Imbas Forosnai. Sigurd kills Fafnir and Regin (like Fionn's shortarsed druidic mentor in 'The Boyhood Deeds of Fionn') demands he cook Fafnir's heart for him. Sigurd tests the meat with his finger and gains the magical gift of understanding the speech of birds, who tell him that the dwarf will betray him. Sigurd then kills Regin. This is a surprising concordance of myth!

The Irish Dinshenchas records show that there was a conception - common to the ancient southern Europeans - that all the world's rivers join in the sea to form the 'world river' (the Greeks called it Okeanos), at the extent of which were located the paradise islands. It is explicit in the Dindshenchas that these rivers experience a mystical transformation at their final destination and re-emerge back at the site of their original spring. That the salmon was believed to follow this path made it a mystical fish to the atlantic europeans.

One more thing - mention is made of the 'hazel' tree and its magical nuts, but there is another mystical tree from Irish Fenian mythology: The tree of the Tuatha De Danann, guarded by the giant Searbhan - read about it in 'The Pursuit of Diarmid and Grainne'. This seems to exhibit similar qualities to the tree of Finnegas from which the Salmon fed.


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