The Nine Blossoms of Blodeuwedd: BlackthornApril 19, 2011
Drawing a Blackthorn stave or card indicates the actions of fate in your life, something that cannot be avoided but must be faced and dealt with. Blackthorn gives you the strength to accept and persevere in the face of adversity. The Sloe berry sweetens after the first trial of winter, the frost. Accepting fate and adversity as a challenge, and making it work for you, results in an unexpected sweetness in your life.
“Straif also offers initiation into the mysteries of self-conquest and transcendence.”
A Mote from the Muse:
There is some conjecture over which thorn went into the forming of Blodeuwedd: hawthorn or blackthorn. As we are in the Ogham month of Straith: Blackthorn, I feel that it might be best just to go with the Awen here…..
Image credit: picable.com
Blodeuwedd’s tale is very deep. She is by no means the dippy faithless-wife character usually portrayed but a shapeshifting goddess and one of the many faces of Sovereignty, the goddess who is the Earth. Sovereignty is how the Celts think of the Lady, the spirit, the planetary energy, that which lives and moves and holds our being. This concept is similar to how the Dineh people of New Mexico, the Navajo, speak of it; they say Dammas, that which moves. [Words by Elen Sentier, Celtic Shaman]
Image credit: Penny D photography
Blackthorn Flower Essence
Survival in adversity.When feeling panic or in times of crisis…
Blackthorn helps us to cope, so that we instinctively know how to proceed. Heightens our ability to make choices. Awakens the survival instinct. Resilience. [Sourced Wild Medicine ~ Wild Flower Essences of Avalon and Iona]
Image Credit: bibliocook
If you’re a ‘sloe gin virgin’, you might be surprised to learn that this oft-home brewed beverage tastes nothing like ‘straight’ gin at all. In fact, it makes for a rounded, fruity refreshing drink – just the thing to help ease yourself into a evening of relaxation!
8 oz. ripe sloes
4 – 6 oz. sugar
14 fl oz. gin
Remove any stalks and ash the fruit. Prick the sloes at both ends to release their juice and put them into a screw top container which should be no more than half full. Add the sugar and top up with gin. Seal the container and shake vigorously. Repeat the shaking process for two to four weeks after which time the sloes will have turned the liquid a rich red colour. The liqueur should now be left to mature, although it can be drunk after a few weeks the flavour is much improved if left for twelve months. If required the liquid may be strained after three months and bottled before being left to finish maturing. [Sourced Mercian Gathering]
How to tell Hawthorn from Blackthorn
- Hawthorn has lobed leaves, Blackthorn has elliptical leaves tapering at the base.
- Blackthorn thorns are generally longer.
- Hawthorn has leaves before flowers, Blackthorn has flowers before leaves.
- Hawthorn fruit, haws, have a single stone in a hollow red-crimson cup. Blackthorn fruit, sloes, are round and blue-black often with grey bloom. Both fruits start green. [Sourced SkillsforWildlife]
Blackthorn in bloom is considered an emblem of life and death together as the flowers appear when the tree has no leaves, just black bark and thorns. It is considered wise not to grow three trees closely together. It is said that a Hawthorn will destroy any Blackthorn near it. On the Isle of Man it is believed that if the Blackthorn and the Hawthorn have many berries then the ensuing winter will be severe. [Sourced Hedgerowmobile]