Driving down the highway, I see an ash tree standing alone, aside from the field of bluebonnets which turns the ground into a indigo-like color, both covertly full of symbolism- and the idea for my next blog topic arises. From a distance the tree appears thin, for the base of an ash tree is not thick itself, in comparison to other trees. Inside, though, the wood of an ash tree is strong and hard, yet flexible and highly elastic.
The bluebonnets, only around for a short time each year, are the Texas state flower. They are said to represent the bonnets that one would have to wear to block out the Texas sun. They are also said to symbolize forgiveness, grace, and mercy. In Spanish, the name for them is el conejo- meaning "the rabbit"...I will discuss more on this later. (Picture attributed to http://www.statesymbolsusa.org/ )
The ash was a very symbolic tree in ancient mythology; for instance, in Greek Mythology, the world tree Yggdrasill is often referred to as an ash tree, and the first man (Ask) was made from an ash tree. It also was also held to have many special powers.
When looking at my name, of course, one doesn't see all this hidden meaning. Even if one looks up the meaning of "Ashley," they don't come up with this detailed a result. This actually took a lot of digging and research, to discover these things, and I like the results I got. for one, æ is one of my favorite letters/letter combinations (depending upon where you reside), so I kinda like sharing a name with it.
"Ash" itself has a deeper meaning- the letter æ, as mentioned, is called an "ash," and in some languages, such as Danish or Norwegian, is the singular pronoun "I." Almost absent in some modern languages, it is hard to understand the importance of this letter as it stands alone, but it is used in the structure in many words we speak.
I also like that in Norwegian and Danish, the abbreviation for my name is the singular pronoun "I". It gives pronunciation to the fact that I am a very independent person, liking to do things on my own, without any help. No matter that my name is masculine, probably with its roots coming from the first man in Greek mythology bearing the name Ask, and being made from the ash tree.
No matter because I am, overall, not very feminine. I wear pants (in fact, I don't own a skirt [that fits], rarely wear makeup or paint my nails, I don't like pink or overly girly things. I'm not very masculine- I don't play sports or like cars or action/adventure movies [usually], but I'm not quite ladylike (one of my favorite bloggers, Amber (view her blog here) kind of inspired me to look at how ladylike I am) (or, in my case, am not). This, though, I doubt has anything to do with my name and its origin. I think it's just because I grew up in the south, with very few "girly" influences. And I am a little girly- I wear jewelry (never take it off actually), I love chocolate and music...but mostly, I'm really not much of a girly-girl.
Regarding astrology, which hasn't been mentioned yet, there is another symbolism that happened to be a coincidence. In Celtic astrology, I've seen 2 different applications of the ash tree- one is that each week is assigned a "tree," and, coincidentally, according to the calendar that was shown with this, I was born in the week of the ash tree (last week in November). I don't think that was planned. Another strand of Celtic Astrology divides the trees into months, which so closely coincide with modern Western astrology that the majority of the time that the ash tree covers is in the realm of Pisces (mid-February to mid-March)- my moon sign! Indeed, another interesting coincidence!
The moon sign kind of guides emotion and behavior, if anyone is interested in the meaning of the moon sign. It symbolizes the "inner self" that not many people get to see. The person with a Pisces moon sign is very emotional and empathetic. They tend to care a lot about others, and what others are feeling. They are also imaginative and creative, a downside being that they easily take on others' emotions, making them often melancholic or moody. This description is, not ironically, similar to the description for those born during the month of the ash tree (seeing as it is the same month as the sun sign, Pisces).
For more on what the moon sign in Western Astrology means, (click here). To find your own moon sign, you can fill in the charts here and get your entire natal chart. I've provided these links because I found them interesting, and wanted to provide them for anyone else who might find them interesting, even if they don't believe in astrology. (I find it fun to look at, but not a guiding factor in one's life- just entertainment for me).
Connecting the bluebonnet with astrology, I was born in the year of the Rabbit in Chinese astrology- ironically, the spanish name for the bluebonnet flower that fills Texas fields in the late spring of each year. The rabbit, if converted into Western Astrology, would be the best match with the Pisces- my moon sign! (Another [off-topic] fact- my element in Chinese astrology is fire- and Sagittarius, my sun sign, is a fire sign...ironic?)
For me, at least, this gives a little bit more of a connection to the flower, and I love seeing them bloom in the spring in the grassy fields of Texas- where I've spent 17 of my whopping 23 years of life. There is also a Comanche story of a "girl who stands alone," the singular, individual, who is attributed as the reason that bluebonnets came to being.
Another favorite about the ash tree is the blue/indigo dye derived from the tree. To those who don't already know- blue is my favorite color!! My room is done in shades of blue and tan, which is my favorite color combination. I also like that it is presented as strong and tough, yet elastic. I know that I've been through a lot- even if others don't think so- but I tend to (at least try to) be very flexible. I try to accommodate as much as I possibly can, because I don't want to neglect anything, and I try to work my schedule around everyone else's, instead of asking them to be flexible. So, describing the wood of the ash tree is something that I feel I can kind of relate to.
All in all, I've grown to love my name and the symbolism that it has, even though I hate that such a high percentage of people born after 1980, and especially during the 80s in particular, have been given that name. Not all of them, though, would fit this closely to the symbolism given with this name, and very few would actually take the time to make these connections, as I have.