Blackthorn Pricks Survival Instincts

While browsing through the new Plant Ally Cards, I was attracted to the message on the Blackthorn card, so I pulled it out and remembered several other decks that have Blackthorn in them.

SURVIVAL INSTINCTS – BLACKTHORN – prunus spinosa [sic]

The first word in the Latin name should be capitalized. I’m also disappointed in the abstract drawing and painting of these plants. I could identify about 10% of them and the rest just looked baffling. To be fair, these were never advertised as scientific illustrations, but still.


The woman looks like a fierce warrior, she’s ready to get out there and make sound choices about her life. “You may feel in a bit of a hole with no obvious way out.” That’s how I felt yesterday at least, but today I thought I would catch up with some correspondence and clear the way to spend the weekend doing our income taxes. I immediately felt better—action always alleviates anxiety I find.

Blackthorns are thorny obviously but they are often used for walking sticks because of the strength and the density of the wood. Go ahead, keep walking, don’t be resistant to change, you have no choice really but you have to accept the things you need to face.

Right then, income taxes it is.


The Hawthorn Tree Across Decks

Daily Draw May 23rd, 2013

I started this yesterday but didn’t have time to pull it all together until tonight.

Because of ordering the Wisdom of Trees Oracle, I got to thinking about trees and the Hawthorn kept popping into my mind, so I’m going to do a small study of it across decks.


Apart from the one I have on order (above), I found this tree in eight other decks.


In the Tree Affirmation Cards, it is about leaving fear behind and delighting in the innocent joy and blossoming in yourself. That little girl on the card makes you want to laugh and jump and touch trees! It is a celebration and delight in change, which is really what is going on with me lately.

The Ogham deck looks a bit more mysterious and is also about dramatic change and growth. Turbulent times can be gone through if you intuitively connect to yourself. The hawthorn berry is good for regulating blood pressure and helping your heart physically, which is also something I am working on these past few years.

I liked all the following cards because they are so botanical:


The Nature’s Pharmacy Deck mentions the heart tonic of the hawthorn fruit, as well as the thorns of the tree that can build livestock-proof hedges around pastures. Perhaps a nod to protecting yourself too against all kinds of things like fairies, and providing general protection of the home.

The Celtic Tree Oracle speaks of renewed growth and strength and also mentions the classic May poles that it decorated and its defensive, protective qualities. There is some mention of keeping to yourself, experiencing a period of restraint and keeping the focus on mental rather than physical things. Since I hurt my back this week trying to do some stretching exercises and am in pain, that sounds good. No rushing into an active phase, but having an adequate waiting period is also mentioned.

I was surprised to find the tree in The Victorian Flower Oracle, where the pruning shears and dentistry are mentioned. Sheila Hamilton writes that we go through painful but necessary experiences and duties and just have to get through them, and Hawthorn grows very slowly and lives to a great age. It also hints at a trip to the doctor which fits in with my naturopathic consultation in two days.


I don’t often use The Herbal Tarot but it has quite a few good plants. This is a demo deck from a shop I used to go to, which is why it has holes punched in it.

I often call the Six of Wands the “victory” card, but they say this victory can be tentative as you aren’t sure if it is worth expending energy on. Something a little different with that card. And the idea that if you don’t gain much, the act of going through a difficulty helps you grow or change which in the end is worth it.

More here about the calming properties of Hawthorn and its effect on high blood pressure. I do take Hawthorn for my blood pressure already so I feel this is backing me up. I will be interested to see what my blood pressure is when I go to the naturopath.

The Tree Magick deck is a gem that I don’t often see people using. Here it is about transformation and changing something extreme into its opposite, so a turning point is coming. Because of its medicinal properties she says an upsetting situation is improving, but also says to be cautious, similar to the slowing down and restraint spoken of in the other decks.

Lastly, The Green Man Tree Oracle also speaks of challenge but says that it doesn’t have to be threatening, it can simply be an opportunity to explore and test our strength. There is mention of fear again and turning that into power. I love that he mentions that your life may be in a rut and you can accept the possibility of change. I feel that so deeply this week, like I am stuck in a rut, in the fog of ennui and in a continual loop that isn’t going anywhere.

So a slow and steady progress with a bit of challenge and fear. I shall show restraint and forge on!



Snakes and Quakes in the Heather

Daily Draw June 30th, 2011

This has been a week of reconnecting with older and less-used cards which is fun. Today I drew a card from The Celtic Tree Oracle with three symbols from the Synchro-Signs.


Man, these cards, you always get the ones you need to pay attention to.

My issue today was using my visual tarot journals which I haven’t done in some time. I have a set of five handmade accordion journals I created to study a deck that is long gone, and I have my Towers Art Journal, made to study various Tower cards across decks.

Hence the Castle symbol, and the idea of a Bird soaring and the Quake. I had a bird soaring yesterday as well. I woke up at 6 a.m. this morning and started thinking about this journal and drawing turrets and towers and putting words with them, and what came out in my mind were some painful things that happened years ago—my tower experiences have been unmentionable and buried. My book Undoing Perpetual Stress talks about journalling about childhood and I skipped that chapter because it made me so uncomfortable.

It is a thought that sometimes what we bury comes back to bite us, like the snake and the earth cracking, releasing movement and scary things from beneath the surface. I know my chronic pain was caused by stress, but new stress belches up past stress and soon you are locked up. It occurs to me I could change this by journalling, but then the things would be out and there for all to see and remind me. Well, obviously they are reminding me every day anyway with deep physical pain.

I could of course put them in the back of the journal where they would be more private…Castles are about security and yet I draw castles and towers in my Towers Art Journal; that’s why this turned up today. Higher aspirations, moving up, building. The bird is freedom and broader sight, with a more positive vantage point available—let go, rise above it. Stifled, bound, go for fresh choices and sensibilities. The Quake can be a difficult symbol but in this case it is clearly saying I am in for a shake-up with regard to journalling, but it brings freedom and flight to a better place, a place of healing.

The Heather reminds me of my Mom, who had some heather in a small garden outside her window on the west coast. I had never seen it before except on television, and I remember how wonderful it was in the flesh, dull and bright all at once. In this card it represents both heather and mistletoe and mistletoe is traditionally known as “all-heal.” It’s all about a closer pathway to the spirit and the resulting healing this path can lead to. This is the fertile foundation. The three lines are bars of light from the sun, and are the Gates of Annwn, the portal to the other world, the gateway to the world of the spirit.

Transforming Yew

Daily Draw April 10th, 2009

Coincidentally, this is also a great card for Good Friday and Easter. From The Celtic Tree Oracle:


We had a couple of yews in the foundation planting of the house I grew up in. I remember their beautiful evergreen branches and red berries. It reminds me so much of my childhood and playing endlessly in the big yard and messing around around the big trees and shrubs.

This is the tree for transformation and death and rebirth. I like this sentence from the book: “You may receive set-backs, life may be directed the wrong way along unknown paths, but a new start will always be presented again.”