I wonder if you will be blessed to be able to say, “I went out to the Hazel Wood because a fire was in my head?” This is where you are inspired to leave the ordinary world for the world of the extraordinary. It is where you cross a threshold and discover something that you will long to rediscover and be in union with.

The Song of Wandering Aengus poem by W. B. Yeats is a poem of inspiration and transformation. It is a poem that invites an awareness of that experience referred to as the Breakthrough Experience (The Hero’s Journey). Let this be your experience. Let this be you longing.

In a series of blog posts related to this poem by W. B. Yeats, I will share a line-by-line analysis of this Wandering Aengus poem.

The word appreciation, however, shows the true nature of these sharings rather than the word ‘analysis.’. These series of reflections form the basis of the book entitled A Journey with Mr Yeats – 10 Poems for Companioning YOUR Greatness.

To give you an overview of this blog post, listed here, are the short sections of this article:-

  • The Power of Reflection
    • Personal Call to Adventure
  • The Power of Metaphor
  • The Power of Practice
    • Creating Space
  • The Power of Intention
  • The Song of Wandering Aengus Recording

I Went Out to the Hazel Wood

In A Journey with Mr. Yeats – 10 Poems for Companioning YOUR Greatness I take various lines and begin with a reflection on what they mean to me.

This is not an academic understanding. Neither am I interested in the poem’s structure.

I am interested in reading it and reflecting on it from “the deep heart’s core” (The Lake Isle of Innisfree).

The line from the Wandering Aengus poem that I reflect on here is:-

I went out to the hazel wood because a fire was in my head.

The Hero/ine is that individual who answers The Call to Adventure. They leave the Ordinary World. This is leaving the world of the known for the world of the unknown. This is the world of the comfort zone for the adventure into the mystery. It is choosing the Red Pill (The Matrix 1999) to see just how far into the wonderland that is the True Self you can go.

The Power of Metaphor

I Went Out to the Hazel Wood

Here is my favorite W. B. Yeats’s poem. It is a poem of awakening to the potential seeded inside you. It is the beginning of the journey of Companioning YOUR Greatness. You feel inspired to follow your unique Call to Adventure.

I went out to the hazel wood

The hazelwood is a metaphor for a place set apart. Although it is for Aengus a place in the outer world, it is a place that invites the transformation of your inner world. It is a place that facilitates your way of seeing the world anew.

For Wandering Aengus the hazelwood is a place of sacred intent. For the Druids, the place of sacred intent was the Holy Wood. It was a place where you allowed yourself to be thought through. This is where you felt inspired.

The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper. ― W. B. Yeats

From that place, sacred intent called the Holy Wood, we get the modern name of Hollywood. It is a place of magic and mystery.

Hazel and The Salmon of Wisdom

For Wandering Aengus, the hazel tree is a symbol of wisdom. It is the hazel nut on which the mythical Salmon of Wisdom is fed. In the Celtic spiritual tradition, the Salmon of Knowledge is said to eat the nine nuts of poetic wisdom dropped into the sacred pool from the hazelnut tree above it.

The wood is also a place of twixt and in between. It is often a mixture of light and dark and everything in between.

In the middle of the journey of our life, I came to myself, in a dark wood, where the direct way was lost – Dante

The hazel tree is the Tree of Immortal Wisdom. This is not mere intellectual information but an understanding and KNOWING of your reason and purpose for being here on earth in human form.

The Power of Practice

In reading the reflection and in gaining a deeper appreciation of the metaphors included in the poem the time comes to act. This is the act and actions of companioning your greatness. This is more important than engaging in an intellectual analysis of The Song of Wandering Aengus.

Creating Sacred Space

For practical every-day purposes, you are required to create your personal hazel wood. This is the daily practice of entering sacred space.

This is also called entering liminal space. It is going into the twilight zone (Into the Twilight). (More of Into the Twilight poem by William Butler Yeats later)

Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.” ~ Joseph Campbell

This sacred space needs to be a place set apart. It might only be a part of a room inside your home. It is a space in the outer world where you go every day with sacred intention. I go to my personal hazelwood every morning as I sit before a blank page propped up on pillows while listening to sacred chant.

Becoming a Stream Entrant

Whatever works for you is OK but you are the one to explore the possibilities open to you. How you create sacred space will be determined by the stream that you fish in. There are many streams but they all flow to the one Ocean.

These streams are the various spiritual traditions from which different people are drawn. When I refer to streams, I am referring to the mystical tradition of that stream and not the dogmatic aspect.


I intend to write more about these steams later in the year (2019). I will also write more about HOW TO set up a place set apart for the practice of sacred intent.

The Power of Intention

Nothing in this world happens without it first being intended. The intention is the experience of going out (I went out to the hazelwood). The important thing in Companioning YOUR Greatness is to make your everyday intention conscious.

Most people live lives of reactivity rather than lives of clear intention that lead to a vision for life. The clear intention is not goal setting, which is always directed from the personal sense of self.

When you set an intention, when you commit, the entire universe conspires to make it happen. – Sandy Forster

There is a role for goal setting, but like much generated from the overthinking mind, they overstate it.

It can lead to imbalance and for some a kind of addiction to the need to overachieve. This is a major aspect of Western culture. The practice of intention needs to be in alignment with the Intention of Love as it created to express through you.

Then you will truly Awaken to Love.

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It is the intention of this writer to have a section of this website dedicated to practices for learning to companion YOUR greatness. To be informed as regards these updates I recommend that you subscribe to the email updates.

The Song of Wandering Aengus – Recording

Listen to a recording of The Song of Wandering Aengus poem by William Butler Yeats recorded by the writer. This is a track on the CD entitled The Yeats Experience – Listening form the Deep Heart’s Core.

recording of song of wandering aengus

Simply press the orange button to the top right of the Soundcloud Graphic

You can listen to extracts from all tracks on this CD The Yeats Experience on HearNow

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