In the wee hours of the morning this morning….before the sun had even thought about waking up, I heard a small noise come from the kennel at the foot of the bed. My ears perked….not quite sure what the noise was. I heard it again….a soft and tragic sounding “Bowhooooooooo.” I hadn’t heard Friz make that sound since he was a puppy and he realized that everyone had left the room and wasn’t paying attention to him any longer.
This morning was not a morning for sleeping in….he longed for the woods this morning…more than any other. He has always patiently waited for me to open the kennel door snuggled deep into his blankets. This morning he danced at the door. I harnessed Friz up, packed up the blackthorn wand that I finished last night into my backpack, took some candles, my crow skull and my cloak and off to the woods.
We marched along at a brisk pace this morning….knowing there was a purpose ahead of us. Friz danced the whole way…almost giddy with anticipation. Maybe there was a little more bounce in my step as we strolled along too.
We got to the woods and made our way inside. The sun was still not awake yet and the skies carried that smoky misty feel that dawn always does. The clouds were heavy with the threat of rain, but I knew it would hold off until Friz and I were done. I settled down, set up the candles and lit them. Friz decided today to nest himself a little farther from me. I watched him as he made a nest under one of the trees. I pulled out the blackthorn wand and placed it in the middle of the candles. I placed my crow’s skull in front of it.
Over the past few weeks, I have become intimately acquainted with blackthorn. When a friend told me that he wanted a blackthorn wand, I have to admit that I was a little naive when it came to the magickal attributes of that wood. Granted, I had heard of blackthorn…with a grandfather who was Irish, you can’t escape the stories of the little people or learning the purpose of a shillelagh.
I delved into research of this wood. A friend had sent me several long pieces from Ireland. I liked the feel of the wood in my hand. It was smooth and sleek. It was strong…yet dangerous. When I work on a magickal tool, I like to talk to the material I use. As I talked to the blackthorn, I realized that with its strength came a protection like no other…an obligation. This is not a wood with which to play.
In my studies of blackthorn, I found that this wood was used to make the wands of the cunning women. The purpose was for protection, cursing, purification. It represents the darker side of the Craft. Blackthorn is sacred to the Crone aspect of the Goddess…..Often linked with warfare and the Morrigan. It is representative of the waning and dark moons. It is also known as the keeper magickal secrets.
As I held it over the flames of the candles. I asked the wand for protection to be its primary goal. As I have said before….life is a balance of dark and light. It will now be the responsibility of the new owner to embrace both. This wand carries the power of wolf and crow. Each have imparted their power to the magick of the wand.
As I sat huddled over the wand, I was given a vision of the cunning men and women of old. They sat in the circle with me, conversing with me about the strengths and powers that the blackthorn wand held. Memories of the blood that was shed during the carving of the wand were brought to me. A part of myself was given in the creation of this beautiful tool of magick. I picked up the wand and passed it to the ancients. Each one caressed it and blessed it. We called on the elements to imbue this wand with the power to draw strength and to repel negativity.
As I laid the wand behind the crow’s skull once again, I felt a small head against my leg. Never one to be left out of magickal workings, Friz had made his way over. He sniffed at the wand and then laid down beside me. Of course my mind raced over the many aspects of blackthorn. I am very much like this tree. My life is often twisted and thorny, but it makes me no less strong. In fact, each trial and test that I face strengthens me. Like the blackthorn, when the outer layer is taken away….my life shows the beautiful depths of color and striations that make it as incredible as it is. The more the wood is carved and sanded…..even though it is difficult, there is a dark beauty that shows through. I am just as capable of good or bad as the wand carved from it. It is in the directing of power that brings the end result. Everything I do has a purpose. It is up to me to figure out that purpose and move forward.
I thought about what I had read about the blackthorn tree. The tree’s leaves turn yellow and shed in the winter leaving a stark black skeleton…what better reminder of the turn of the wheel. The fruit that the tree bears only ripens after the first frost. It is after the first trial of winter that brings out the true sweetness of the berry. In early spring, it shows its delicate flowers peering out from the harshness of the harsh diabolical thorns. Such a terrifyingly complex tree….but known for its strength and magick.
Wouldn’t you like to be known that way? Complex, but known for his/her strength and magick? I hunger for that. The weathered wiseman has been a long time in the making. He is a culmination of all of my life’s difficulties and triumphs. He exudes the wisdom of all of my life’s lessons learned, good and bad. He has his thorns, but he also offers glimpses of beauty and sweetness. As I walk more and more days lately with the dark/Crone aspect of the Goddess, and come to understand more and more the turning of the Wheel of the Year….I pull on that wisdom, that history, the magick of the cunning men and women before me…and pull on the power of those animal spirits around me, I find my own magick and power….that I may impart it to those who come after me.