Today’s card is Honeysuckle, also known as Lonicera periclymenum in scientific terms. While a variety of bush itself, honeysuckle is known for its climbing properties and it loves nothing more than to twine around a nearby tree trunk, often covering its host with bright yellow blooms. Honeysuckle folklore mainly centers around love and courtship. In the lowlands of Scotland, a young man off to visit his sweetheart would carry a branch of honeysuckle with him. In the language of flowers, this would indicate his honorable intentions and bring luck to the future of the relationship. Its strong, sweet smelling fragrance is most intense at night and was said to bring dreams of romance and eroticism when blowing through the open bedroom window. In Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, the Queen of the Faeries says of Bottom after she casts a sleep spell on him, “Sleep thou, and I will wind thee in my arms…so do the woodbine, the sweet honeysuckle, gently entwist”.
This twining plant represents the Ogam letter Uinllean, whose divinatory meaning is Magick. Alternative names for this letter include the Snowball Tree or the Wayfaring Tree, both also members of the Lonicera family. Honeysuckle also has the divinatory meaning of ‘secrecy’ and may derive from its connection with these particular plants which are associated with secret, hidden knowledge and with the ritual dance that leads to the inner heart of wisdom. Some experts have linked this dance with Garanos, the Crane Dance, a sacred step that was performed in the labyrinths of the ancient world. Passage through one of these mazes was seen as the initiatory journey, leading from a state of ignorance to one of experience in the ways of the occult. Thus, the honeysuckle became associated with the quest for secret knowledge.
The Green Man wisdom for this card is ‘Wisdom Hides in Secret Places’. The presence of this card in a reading indicates that a wealth of meaning lies hidden from you but is there just below the surface, ready to be uncovered and explored. The ancients saw wisdom as hidden or secret, only available to those who took the steps of the initiate and not the ordinary man or woman. This notion came form a desire to preserve the power of the mysteries, to limit the point of divine interaction with the everyday world. Their true nature could be known to all but the practices and rituals which opened up the teachings of the gods was kept hidden; they believed that the more who know the ways, the more diluted the power became. Revealing these teachings to the initiate shines a light into the darkness of the soul and illuminates the innermost longings of humankind. However, the pool of wisdom is not diluted by those who seek it, and those who don’t will not understand it even if they trip over it in the darkness. This is the nature of Magick. Wisdom today can be just as hard to find but it is there, nonetheless, waiting to be discovered and tapped by those who seek it.
May you find wisdom in the most obvious of places today and may it shine a light in your darkness.