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Today’s card is the Fern, also known as Gymnocarpium dryopteris in scientific terms. The fern is represented by the Ogam Ngetal which is from the third house of five Ogams and means ‘Preservation’ in the secret language of the Druids. Like the other plants in this Ogam tribe, the fern is not really a tree at all but is still known for its magickal properties. We should also bear in mind that not all modern arboreal references have been as they were in ancient times. Ferns have always been known for their ability to shelter those in need; it also has many other magickal properties that are actually associated with the fern seed, which grows on the back of the fern leaf and is almost invisible to the human eye. For this reason, one of its magickal properties was believed to be invisibility. This curious bit of legend is reflected in Shakespeare’s Henry IV Part I, in which Gadshill says, “We have recipe of fern seed; we walk invisible”. It is also said to only seed on the night of the Summer Solstice and that evil spirits keep mankind at bay while the search to find the ferns in darkness.

Folk names for the fern range from ‘treasure fist’ to ‘death plant’ and ‘death flower’ and its meaning ranged from good to evil accordingly. In the far north, when night became as bright as day, the fern’s bloom was said to glow like an ember, its rare appearance being announced by thunder. This lead people to believe that its location signaled buried treasure. The Finns believed that orphan children were the most likely to be able to obtain the fern seeds, presumably because they were thought of as changelings. It was also said that the seeds were guarded by trolls, that they would disappear if held in a non-magickal container, and that only a stack of 11 pewter plates could capture them. Apparently, the seeds only contained enough magick to pass through ten layers of pewter before being trapped by the eleventh. The seeds could also reportedly bestow wealth and magickal power on the one who could somehow possess them.

This card tells us of the benefits of speaking the truth.The Green Man Wisdom here is “Truth is the Preserver of Life” and it reminds us that what we say refers to the quality our our character and honor whether we be King or common. In legend, the bard was actually bound to speak (or sing) only the truth, which in some cases must have been difficult at best when singing of their masters looks virtue, or skills on the battlefield. However, the possession of personal wisdom, the Truth, is observable. If a person speaks falsely, then sooner or later they will be found out for the truth has a way of coming to light. Truth also preserves and improves life for to live in a way that is honorable increases the well being and happiness of our existence and reflects a true and honest understanding of the world. When this card appears, it asks us to face the truth and to, in turn, discover our own preservation underneath its shelter. It challenges us to neither live nor believe a lie, as this will unburden the soul and allow truth to return the quality of your life.

May you always live in acknowledgement and openness of your inner truth as you face the path ahead!