Friday, 16 October 2015
There are many obscure elementals, beings, giants, gods and heroes that don't get a wide enough recognition. It depends on the audience. Some of these include the Ash Maidens of Norse and other Germanic mythology. Ash Maidens, also named Askafroer, are a type of northern dryad.
They're female spirits who resemble women but they can make themselves invisible and transparent, sometimes visualised as coloured lights. They dwell in woodlands and forests, disappearing inside trees and giving the energy of trees supernatura; strength for regrowth and immortality. They're very similar to the Yakshi nymphs and the hamadryads of Hindu and Greek mythologies.
The Ash Maidens got their name because it's believed they are the main guardians of Ygdrasil the World Tree of life, a gigantic ash tree containing worlds including the earth.
Some people feared the Ash Maidens, as they believed that the spirits of the trees were spiteful and caused much famine, forest fires and disease. So there were sacrifices to the Ash Maidens done on Ash Wednesday. Originally this was a day of fasting, in respect of the Ash Maidens. On the early frost morning of Ash Wednesday, the elders covered the roots of an ash tree in water and said:
"Now I sacrifice to you so you do us no harm".
Ash trees have always been considered one of the most sacred trees and if anyone cut it or broke it, they would be punished by the Ash Maidens. Little else is known about them as the stories have been lost in time.
The Ash Tree in Norse myth