VII. Ash – Chariot – Life Force
Genus: Fraxinus – Family: Oleaceae
Ash trees are associated with life force energy, creative expression and the power of the spoken word. They inspire us to sense the energy of the words we hear to understand their true meaning.
The first letter “A” in the English alphabet is directly attributed to the rune Ansuz, in the Elder Futhark of the Proto-Germanic language. Ansuz literally means “breath” or “mouth” of an ash or oak. The Anglo-Saxon Futhark split the Ansuz rune into three vowels: os “o” (mouth/god), ac “a” (oak) and aesc “ae” (ash). Ae (ash) was originally used in the words aether, (ether) to describe “luminous air” and/or “divine breath,” and aeon (eon) as “life force” and/or “eternity.”
Life force is ayu or prana in Sanskrit, Chi in Chinese and Od (Odic force) in German. It is seen as an all-pervasive ‘organic’ force. In Hebrew, Ruach means spirit, which is seen as wind or the “breath of life.” Ruach Elohim literally means “spirit of the most strong.”
In Norse mythology, the first man, “Ask” was created from an ash tree.
Ash is often associated with Yggdrasill (Odin’s horse) known as the World Tree. This occurred because ash and oak were so closely connected through the Norse god Odin. In reality, the yew was the tree of Yggdrasil, because yew was called “needle ash.”
The genus name Fraxinus in Latin, means “firelight.” The word “ash” is also used to describe the solid remains of a fire. The concept of “ash to ash, dust to dust” speaks to the transcendent nature of the ash spirit.
There are 45-65 species of ash that are native to Europe, Asia, Northern Egypt and North America. All belong to the olive family. The European ash, Fraxinus excelsior or common ash produces hard yet flexible wood. It is a large deciduous tree that can grow to be 150 ft. tall and live to be 250 years old.
Ash trees actually helped inspire the age of transportation. Ash wood was used to build chariots, wagons, carriages and even early model cars. In 1903 the Wright brothers built the Flyer 1 in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, using ash for its strong yet lightweight and flexible nature. The seeds of an ash are commonly known as “keys” or “helicopter seeds,” as another reminder for us to flow with the wind.
Message: Ash asks us to be aware of our breath and our words for they fuel our life force. Trees are often referred to as the lungs of our planet for they breathe in what we breathe out. In this way, we fuel each other. This is a time of spiritual transformation. We are being asked to make choices that impact our life and our soul.
Challenge: Feeling depleted or suffocated by oppressive thinking that boxes us in or limits our potential. Not being able to dream.