My train journeys this week have been an absolute pleasure due to the beauty of the hedgerows at this time of year. Everywhere Blackthorn has blazed into great clouds of white blossom making the landscape sing with the rising energies of Spring.
Here the fresh verdancy of the young Hawthorn leaves mingles with Blackthorn blossom and the golden puffs of Pussy Willow.
A small deciduous tree, Blackthorn often grows with Hawthorn but is easily distinguished from it by the fact that that it’s blossom arrives before the leaf where as the leaf of the Hawthorn comes out before the blossom. When it does come into leaf they are small, oval and darker than Hawthorn’s deeply lobed leaves.
Blackthorn, known as Straif in the Celtic Ogham or tree alphabet, has been typically associated with the dark half of the year and with the mysteries of the unconscious mind. Long regarded as a powerful magical ally it was much maligned by the superstitions spread by the Church during the witch burning times.
Despite it’s association with all things dark and mysterious, Blackthorn is one of the first plants to bring us the glimmer of Spring and shows us well how dark turns to light, and back again, with the turning of the year. In her brighter aspect she earned a place alongside Hawthorn in the May Day festivals where she was known as ‘the Queen of the Woods’. Blackthorn can help us attune to the rhythms of nature and is also a powerful ally to help us transform negative emotions into sources of strength and compassion.
Pussy Willow is also bedecking the hedgerows with colour and vitality. To me they so well express the vitality of Spring with their vigorous upward growth and explosive yellow flowers.
How beautiful it looks against the backdrop of blossoming Blackthorn.
In other news, this month Leslie over at the lovely Comfrey Cottages blog will be hosting the April blog party on the 20th. She says:
“I have chosen for a theme Spring Wild foraging/Wild crafting and Spring Herbal Gardening I am hoping that everyone who wants to be able to participate has a spot they can forage in, but if not, I think by including the herbal gardening in the theme all should definitely be able to participate who want to :)”
Click here to find out more.