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Monday, 10 October 2016

Blackthorn: the Dark Crone of the Woods

Blackthorn is depicted in many fairy tales throughout Europe as a tree of ill omen. Called Straif in the Ogham, this tree has the most sinister reputation in Celtic tree lore. The English word ‘strife’ is said to derive from this Celtic word. A long hard winter is referred to as a Blackthorn Winter.

To Witches, it often represents the dark side of the Craft. It is a sacred tree to the Dark, or Crone aspect of the Triple Goddess, and represents the Waning and Dark Moons. Blackthorn is known as ‘the increaser and keeper of dark secrets’.

The tree is linked with warfare, wounding and death, associated with the Scottish Cailleach - the Crone of Death, and the Irish Morrigan. In Scotland, winter begins when the Cailleach (also the Goddess of Winter) strikes the ground with Her Blackthorn staff. According to Christian folklore, Blackthorn is seen as a sinister tree and associated with Witches. Blackthorn was often used for ‘binding and blasting’. A black rod is a Blackthorn wand with fixed thorns on the end, used to cause harm to others. In British folklore, a Witch will use a Blackthorn stang in rituals of cursing. The sharp thorns were reputedly used by English witches to pierce poppets in their curses, called the ‘pins of slumber' ... read more>>>...