Today’s card is the Blackthorn Tree, also known as Prunus spinosa in scientific terms. The Ogam letter for with this card is Straif, and the Green Man wisdom associated with this card is ‘Magick is Everywhere’. As an alphabet, the Ogam is separated into 5 ‘tribes’ of five letters each; this tree, along with Ivy, Fern, Blackberry, and Elder are in the same tribe or family. They each possess a prickly quality that make one cautious when dealing with the magick that is produced when working with these Green Men. In fact, all magick has a light and dark side; we are reminded of this when dealing with plants that can draw blood when handled with disregard. This imagery is part of the tale of Sleeping Beauty whose hero was forced to fight his way through a tall, thick hedge of thorns. In the Disney version, the prince is disheveled but otherwise unscathed. However, the original version has the thorns blinding our hero, thus making him unable to see the object of his quest when finally he reaches the other side. This in itself in a lesson in meddling with dark magick and tells us not being bound to the ‘physical’ side of our intention or object of desire.
This plant is the sister of the hawthorn and places where they grew together were considered particularly magickal. It was often used to make the staves carried by the Wizards and Druids of ancient times. For this reason, it is considered bad luck to carry a blackthorn staff in Ireland to this very day. It is also said to be the vine/wood that was used to form the crown that Jesus wore on his head prior to the Crucifixion and older lore suggested that the Devil marked ‘his witches’ by pricking their finger with a blackthorn. This legend is probably based in the fact that Ogam is one of the original forms of sign language. Being constructed from a series of lines that bisect other lines in specific numbers and at specific angles, it makes this an ideal digital form of communication that was reserved for those of noble or esoteric import and status. Finger magick is still seen as a powerful weapon in any esoteric arsenal but it takes considerable study to perfect the nuances of this form of spell casting.
This card tells us that magick is all around us! It is not reserved for fairy tales but is real and connects us with the living continuum of the Universe. After centuries of being forbidden, reversed only for nobles and scholars, we have all but forgotten that we can each access an unlimited pool of personal power and sink ever more deeply into our spiritual dreams and purpose. The ideas, scenes, and presences that throb at the deepest level of our heartbeat and the planet itself require intense listening. In the silence of aloneness (not loneliness), or in the space of meditation and contemplation, we can reconnect with this truth. The ability of the blackthorn is to strengthen the ability of waking dreams; manifesting in the physical world what comes to us in your wildest waking imagination. All you have to do is REMEMBER!
Today, may your memory be jogged by the warmth of the sun and the smell of spring in the air!