By Isabella @TheWandCarver
Blackthorn is a winter tree and it has black bark and vicious thorns, or “spines”. It has delicious berries called sloes which only ripen and sweeten after first frost. It is a formidable tree and yet, it is a protective tree, a tree of authority and strength. It is wise not to go up against Blackthorn for it will always win. Blackthorn’s Ogham letter is called Straif, which sounds much like ‘strife’. It is not a Birth Tree Ogham, but it is the Ogham for the dark half of the year and its date is 31 October. If you were born on this date, you could easily call it your birth tree. Be forewarned though, the meanings of Blackthorn and Straif may not be ones you wish to be associated with. Or again, perhaps you do. Straif’s chthonic current speaks of secrets and the preservation of secret knowledge. It can refer to magickal or occult mysteries and to a depth of magickal and spiritual practise. Straif reminds us to expect the unexpected. Sudden reversals of fortune are possible. The spiritual direction is to use divination in whatever manner you get best results from to help lead you through the journey of change and your intuition will help guide your discernment.
Representations: Authority, Control, Protection, Strength, and Truth
Ogham Letter: St, SS
Colour: Dark Purple, Grey, White or Yellow
Tarot: Wheel of Fortune
Animals: Bees, Butterfly, Thrush
Divination Meaning: Pulling the single stave, Straif, means unexpected change, plans altered, plans ruined. Always be prepared for the unexpected with the appearance of Straif. You must question yourself: What part of my life needs a total change? How am I being transformed?
How to Mend the Problem: Change can be managed through spiritual work when Straif is an influence. Straif gives the ability to transform attitudes in healing. Despair can become hope. This Ogham is good for work with the emotions and for transforming deep-seated issues that have strong roots in the past, changing things without destroying the vessel. Leave off any negative view you may have. Clinging to old ways and facing challenges with anger, resentment, and stubbornness will only hurt you more. Accept the changes and move on with grace. Realise your life has changed dramatically and emerge reborn.
Many wrongly assume the Death card in tarot would be most likely the partner for Straif. Not at all. Yes, of course, you must “die” to some old ways so that you can rebirth to new and healthier ways. The Wheel of Fortune card is the best partner to Straif. The upright Wheel of Fortune card asks you to be optimistic and have faith that the Universe will take care of your situation in the best way possible. Meditation and visualisation can reinforce your intention to bring increased abundance, good fortune and prosperity to you. Your life is about to turn in more positive directions if you are willing to grow and expand. Keep your mind open to all kinds of synchronicities and signs from the Universe. The magick of fate and destiny is behind you, and miracles are happening. However, when the Wheel of Fortune is reversed, your luck and fortune may take a turn for the worst. You may experience unexpected change or negative forces could be at play, leaving you feeling helpless. You have a choice: you can do nothing, and hope things will get better, or you can act to improve your situation. See this moment as your opportunity to take control of your destiny and get your life back on track. So, like the wheel, what comes round goes round… and refer to the upright to fix the upside down.
You can catch up the first thirteen blogs, Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, Part Seven, Part Eight, Part Nine, Part Ten, Part Eleven, Part Twelve, and Part Thirteen by clicking on these respectively.
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The Celtic Tree Oracle, by Liz and Colin Murray