Modern Letter: ST
Ruler of the Dark Half of the Year
Oct 31st to April 30th
Straif indicates that the maxim “The best laid plans of mice and men…” is relevant to your situation. Any plans which you have attempted to lay out will be subject to unavoidable change. External forces may tear your plans to their foundations in unexpected and surprising ways. These changes and obstacles are unavoidable but overcoming them brings strength and resilience. Clinging to old ways and negative patterns will only delay the process and make it more painful. It is necessary to accept change to be able to move one, to be able to be reborn.
Common names: blackthorn, sloe
Scientific name: Prunus spinosa
Blackthorn is a native to the British hedgerow, though it is found throughout Europe and western Asia. The tree grows well in scrub, preferring well-drained soil and sunlight so has thrived when transplanted to New Zealand and North America.
A mature blackthorn, which can be as old as 100 years, grows to a height of 6-7m, developing a dense and spiny canopy which protects their autumn fruits. The bark is dark brown and smooth, with straight side shoots developing into purple/black thorns along smaller twigs and branches.
Blackthorn leaves are toothed ovals, pointed at the tip and tapered towards the base but it is best known by its small white flowers, which appear before them in March/April. Once pollinated the flowers develop into blue-black fruit, known as slopes, which are ready to gather in late October / early November.
Planet: Mars, Saturn
Themes: Protection and Revenge, Strife and Negativity, Balance
Stone: Black Opal, agate, bloodstone
Color: White, Black, Red
Deity: Morrigan, Cailleach
Straif Straif StraifSuggested Galdur
Sssss Traaai Ffff Sssss Traaa Ffff
Ss Sss Sss Traiii Ffff
Straif Straif Straif
Write the name of a person or situation you seek protection from and wrap it around three thorns. Tie the bundle with red thread and bury the charm, ideally at the base of the tree from which the thorns were collected.
Include the dried wood, thorns and soles in incense for rituals of purification. To have a vision of the Wild Hunt circle the Samhain fire three times and throw this incense into the flames. Stare into the smoke for your vision. Alternatively, add blackthorn wood to your Yule fire to hail the return of the sun and the banishment of winter.
Include thorns and dried soles in spell pouches for added protection from negativity and positive influence.
Mythology and Literature
Most of the mythological associations of Blackthorn lie within Celtic and Galic traditions. Goddesses associated with the waning aspects, such as the Cailleach, Morrighan and Beira, are associated with Blackthorn. These goddesses are sometimes depicted as carrying a staff or stang made of blackthorn wood.
Blackthorn has a long association with the practice of witchcraft, both in baneful and beneficial magical practice. For example Blackthorn was the preferred material for ‘blasting rods’ – a wand tipped by thorns and inscribed with the Thurisaz rune used for cursing. Thorns have been found stuck into poppets, as opposed to pins, and have an association with the way the Devil sealed his deals.
In the Irish legend, the Pursuit of Diarmaid and Grainne, Sadhbh eats sloe berries becoming pregnant and eventually giving birth to a son. Her son was born with a lump on his head which turned out to be a serpent. This serpent was later killed in sacrifice for another man, a theme which is repeated in The Sword of Oscar. Another theme associated with blackthorn is protection and proving oneself. This is best seen in the tale of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ where it is blackthorn that forms an impenetrable bramble which protects the castle and its inhabitants which the prince must cut through in order to prove himself worth of the princess within.
The wind is cold, the Spring seems long a-waking;
The woods are brown and bare;
Yet this is March: soon April will be making
All things most sweet and fair.
See, even now, in hedge and thicket tangled,
One brave and cheering sight:
The leafless branches of the Blackthorn, spangled
With starry blossoms white!The Song of the Blackthorn Fairy
Cicely Mary Barker