The Blackthorn shares the same lunar month as its gentler counterpart the Willow. It is an enigmatic thorny tree, pictured here close-up with its long talon-like thorns and delicate blossoms. I notice it most when it comes into flower, though in winter its fruit the sloe is also quite noticeable. Once it was regarded as a tree of great magic. In my tree meditation for the Blackthorn within the Gorse season meditation I write
” As a blackthorn you share the same consonant as the Willow, only your strength has doubled. As a double letter in the runes you are a double Willow consonant, so in effect you amplify the aspects of the willow too, and take it to a new level, combining the strength of her gentle qualities and your own firmer male qualities. The Willow has shifted from the aspect of a Fecund Woman to a more masculinized barren Woman, often known as the Hag. The fecundity now resides in the Imaginative realms, rather than the physical.”
The surest way of understanding how the ancient peoples viewed their trees is to use your imagination. We are all connected to our ancestors, whether we choose to realise this or not. Life has continuity. Once people revered their trees more as a culture. The respect and honour they gave these great members of the plant kingdom was borne out in the Ogham calendar that aligned itself with the lunar cycles of the year.
Now we have almost reached the end of the Willow/Blackthorn month, and as its blossoms are in full flow I have decided to focus on the blackthorn this year.
It is a most difficult blossom to photograph, as the blossoms often fade into a pale sky that is almost as white as the blossom. In the photo at the end here, most of the white you see is actually blossom, although it looks like sky. There is something deeply purifying to the overall look of a blackthorn thicket. It always uplifts me and stops me in my tracks. It is as though the virginal white blossoms reflect the wisdom bestowed upon the Hag, whose presence in Irish mythology is deeply rooted in the national psyche. I feel her presence is not one that belongs to our popular culture, and for that reason it is even more powerful to encounter when we choose to seek her out and examine her energies.
To sit among the blackthorns on a sunny day is one sure way of going into another time when things were slower and more measured. These were times of great patience and quiet hope. Such qualities are not obvious in today’s society or consciousness. The shadows were always present, and it took an act of grace to rise above them. This deep Saturnian patience bore dividends in the long term. There is an inner fire to this tree that expresses itself in the exceptionally sharp thorns.
I like to see the blossoms as a bridal bouquet for the angels who come from the starry filaments. It is still relevant to call upon her inner strength when times are stressful, for she bridges all times and will wait silently for the new era to take hold. We often face unexpected or expected shadows in our lives that apparently prevent our progress. It requires a shift in focus to understand why this is so. It requires divine insight that the Hag portends to.
Try this affirmation that ends my Blackthorn meditation. It is a help in moving through difficulties.
I accept the grace the shadows bestow on me.
If you wish to purchase the full meditation for the Blackthorn, Willow, Imbolc festival and Gorse season they are available here for only €10!