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My thoughts about Traditional Witchcraft, Wicca, cooking, gardening, and anything else that catches my fancy.

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Blackthorn Tree

The Blackthorn
I've been away down South for a few weeks attending a friend's wedding, but I returned home on Wednesday. In the two weeks I was away, Spring appeared in full-force and there are now flowers aplenty. The trees are in bloom, and the days are now warmer and sunnier. It was so nice yesterday that I went for a walk in the middle of the day (something I never do) and found myself in a  nearby park where I had previously found some Hazel trees. In a corner of the park I saw some small trees with beautiful white blossoms and went to investigate. When I did so I found that the trees had long, sharp thorns and dark-looking bark. I at first thought that they were Hawthorns, but closer inspection has revealed that they are in fact Blackthorn trees.

The Blackthorn has a long, long association with Witchcraft and magic. Thought to be the home of Faeries, the Blackthorn is usually viewed with some trepidation, if not thought to be actually evil. The long, sharp thorns can deliver a nasty prick that is prone to serious infection. The tree flowers before it has leaves (one of the ways in which one can tell it apart from Hawthorn, which leaves before it flowers) and is one of the traditional signs of Spring. In the autumn the fruit of the Blackthorn, knows as sloes, appears and can be used to make jellies and wines. The wood is incredibly hard and was commonly used to make walking sticks (the famous Irish "shillelagh") and the much-feared "blasting rod" of the Witch. In modern Witchcraft the wood is still used to make powerful magic wands as well as protective charms, and the thorns continue to have their place in darker, defensive magic.

The Blackthorn is very uncommon in the US, and I feel very lucky to have found one. Please enjoy these images of the trees.

Behold the thorns and dark bark

The long, sharp thorns can deliver a nasty prick

The white flowers have an enchanting aroma

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