The CotD for today is the Two of Vessels and its keyword is attraction. Attraction to what and whom, I wonder?
This card is from the Suit of Vessels within the Tarot. There are Four suits in this deck (Vessels, Arrows, Rods and Stones) and we have the second card that link to our emotions, how we feel, how happy we might be. I was unable to post yesterday as I was too full of a head cold to concentrate on writing anything of use.
These two anthropomorphic figures form a diamond with their hands whilst a flaming heart floats in the middle of this diamond.
There is an initial attraction between two people here, regardless of their gender. This could be a firm friendship in the making, a new relationship in the offing, an understanding becoming apparent in a friendship already established.... It all depends on where you are personally in your life journey as to how this card manifests today and what kind of relationship you want to attract into your life today.
Do you wish for a new, firm, friendship? Or do you wish for a lover, someone to come home to? The first shared spark of attraction can be simple and uncomplicated; it can start with something simple, like a smile, holding a door open for someone, helping someone out just because you can. Our perception and signals are shared, acknowledged and returned. How do you make someone smile? What makes you smile?
If we combine this card with the Oracle of the Week from the Camelot Oracle, Blaise, what might we get? Blaise is laid back, contemplative, retrospective, internal. Understanding what makes us tick, what makes us smile, also enables us to make someone else smile, someone else happy. It's a case of sit back and observe, before taking any action.
Green Man Wisdom ~ Strength comes from accepting support
This week comes the penultimate card in our look at this fantastic Oracle deck: it's the Ivy, with the Ogham name of Gort. The wise words of the Green Man about this plant is rather apt. Ivy uses, needs and provides support throughout its life and in truth, can be a pain when it gets out of control, as any gardener known. Once it gets going, it's strong, hard to get rid of and forever green. In the winter, it's often paired with the Holly, for the ever greenness of it.
The Ivy reminds us that help can come in many forms, but first, we have to acknowledge that we need the support. Whether it's asking for help from friends, work colleagues, spiritual resources or in doing the house-hold chores, someone to drive you somewhere, someone to fetch you some shopping or even make you something to eat. We believe we're independent creatures, that we can and ought to, stand alone. But I don't feel we are: we're better when we're stronger, work as a team and when we allow others to help us, to support us, we gain strength. Just like the ivy takes strength from the wall or tree upon which it may climb. Why be prideful and stubborn? We all get exhausted from time to time, for lots of different reasons and those negative attributes should not stand in the way of any assistance that is offered. The wise words of the Green Man are rather specific here: acceptance of support is what is most important.
There is a lot of lore attached to Ivy: The form and shape of it, along with its spiralling growth pattern, link this plant to the movements of the stars and constellations and is sacred to the Moon, just as its winter counterpart, the Holly, is linked to the Sun. The Ogham with this card reminds me of the moon shining between the trees on an autumnal evening. Here it is on the right.
I've learnt from the reference book that comes with this deck, that Ivy flowers in the autumn and sets its seed in spring. Along side this strange timing of when to produce and set seed, Ivy is linked to brewing houses and taverns, who used to use Ivy leaves to alleviate the effects of too much drink, whilst increasing the potency of the alcohol! It was also often used as a sign above taverns to indicate that it only served the best brew!
Ivy and white ivy leaves are sacred to various Goddesses of the Moon, including Ariadne and Artemis from Greek mythology, Pasiphae from the Crete paths and Arianrhod from the Celt. It is also rather a good bush to hide behind, as it can be rather a dense foliage plant. It is said that the Irish hero, Fionn was kept hidden from enemies by ivy that clad a tree, which is why some stories featuring Fionn often have ivy in them.
For this week though, if you need the help, please do ask. There is no point in struggling on alone, tired, weak and in need of company and help. We'll get there quicker, in a healthier state of body and mind, if we ask for help!
Green Man Wisdom ~ Energy fuels every action
This week we have the ever green Holly come and join us. I learn from reading this that Holly burns the hottest of all the woods, creating a passionate fire. Fires can be created for all sorts of reasons. There's the physical for heat, warmth, food. The others are passionate and emotionally related. Image a set of scales if you wish: On one seat, you've got actions that are fuelled by anger, creating war like situations like Aries stomping around the Planet. At the other end, you've so intense a feeling that dynamic changes are felt by everyone.
Holly urges us to take action, but to temper our actions, consider the possible implication of doing so, not letting your heart rule your head and not burning yourself out by travelling at 100 miles an hour all the time. Holly helps us find the passion to commit to a project, be it new or old, but to temper our actions and channel them into useful actions. Take the opportunities as they arise, be inspired by the fiery nature of the Holly.
I look forward to seeing the Holly in my house during mid-winter. It brings some of nature in-doors, a reminder for me that spring will spring again. It is connected with protection, for the reasons of its red berries and the greenness of the leaves. Wearing a sprig of holly insured the wearer against the wiles of the faery people, while the holly wreath at the front door made sure nothing untoward would enter. However, it was considered unlucky to cut a holly branch without asking the tree's permission first. Holly is I feel, androgynous: male and female. The prickly ones are male, the smooth ones are female. It also offers steadfastness, as it's associated with strength of purpose. This makes it a welcome ally in all actions requiring an energetic response, given those two extra qualities.
In The Wildwood Tarot, the Holly appears on the cloak of The Hooded Man (The Hermit in RWS) linking him to the time of Mid Winter, and I see that The Green Man appears in the 14th Century poem of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, where The Green Man offers a challenge to King Arthur at Midwinter, demanding that he is encountered through our dealings with the natural world. What challenge do you face at this point of time?
The Ogham we see above is Tinne, which translates as "fire" and there is the link between the sacred fires of Midwinter and this tree, as it was often charcoal made from Holly that was burned at these sacred fires and was used by smiths in the creation of swords and ploughshares (which are cutting blade for ploughs).
Enjoy the passion that comes to us this week, especially as Mercury goes forward in the wee small hours of the 27th (here in the UK!) of November, and things return to something resembling normality. Whatever that is!
Green Man Wisdom ~ Defence keeps clear the territory
This week, the tree for protection and defence come out to join us. It's assigned to the fourth month in the Celtic Tree Calendar (March 18th - April 14th) and comes to us not a moment too soon, judging by some of the stuff I'm hearing and reading from friends!
It would not surprise me to find that quarter staffs were made from Alder branches, given how strong they are, that they're used for protection and defence. The trunks of alder trees were often used in town wall defences in Norman times (if I recall my history lessons of Norman forts and castles correctly) so the whole defence thing comes out in force.
You yourself know when your territory and authority are being challenged. Your instincts create a flight or fight mentality: If you don't find, fight and defend your own power, you're dishonouring yourself as you're giving it away. Hand it to your adversary on a plate.
The Ogham for this card is also rather aggressive. It's stabby, fork like, almost like three arrows being fired off at once. Here it is, off to the right.
For me, this tree makes me smile. I so want to pick up a staff and bash people about the head. At this time of Mercury Retrograde, it's not that hard to see why the lines of communications are screwed up. However, it's what to do about them, if you do anything at all, beyond shutting the door. If you do plan on doing anything, I'd wait until after the 26th of this month, (another week and a day) before doing anything.
The alder gives us the personal strength to face up to the things we've been avoiding. If you've buried your head in the sand, the Alder comes to give us a swift kick up the rear to get us moving. Alders grow near water, they nourish the soil and if we let their energy nourish us, we can then see how they can protect us. Their sap, a rusty colour, has been used for years by spinners and weavers as a dye, it reminds me a little of henna when its been removed and leaves behind a rich pattern.
So this week, I feel that the Alder lends to us its ability to bleed, to be generous with giving of ourselves but when the proverbial starts being taken, you have the right and the power to defend yourself. Use it wisely!
Green Man Wisdom ~ What lies beyond the threshold?
I've remembered to post up the Green Man Oracle for this week, which is rather good! I've been reading about the Beech tree from the book. To start with, I didn't know that it was the "Queen of The Woods", the partner if you will, to the more male Oak tree.
The Beech tree is all about thresholds, crossing over, stretching yourself, not staying with the known and familiar. Refusing to confront what lies beyond the threshold can cause a stagnant condition. The Ogham for this card is interesting too. That's the small, grid like image to the right (over there) whilst the image to the left is of the card itself.
The gift of the Beech Tree Oracle in a reading suggests that the challenge that lies across the threshold is met. In doing so, you will gain experience from the unknown. Also, at this time, seek revelation and increase your knowledge.
I found it rather syncretistic that when I write-up this post, images of a Lenormand deck in production by the same artist as the Green Man Tree Oracle, (Will Worthington) are being shown to me via Facebook. Specifically, the Snake card. I know nothing about the Lenormand, but one of the images in particular made me shiver.
Then I re-read the book to find that the Beech tree is associated with serpents, according to British tradition, because of the type and design of the root systems Beech trees have. It is said that no traveller would come to harm if they sheltered beneath the branches of a Beech tree. Despite the fact that Beech canopies are quite thick, I do wonder what other protection they provide.
Throughout history, Beech leaves have been used in various things, including making paper and the first book, which fits with the Beech's association with transmission of lore. It's also interesting that the French used Beech leaves to stuff mattresses in France until the early part of the 19th Century, which is why the soft whispering noise they made were called "speaking beds". Sleeping on one of these after asking a question before one went to sleep, meant that the sleeper would receive a wise answer in the night.
I think that the sleeper was more susceptible to remembering their dreams if they knew they were sleeping on a "speaking bed". Nothing like getting their mind-set for remembering their dreams.
So this week, the message is to listen, meet any challenges head on, cross that threshold, don't hold back. What a message for the week!
Green Man Wisdom : Seek an Overview
It has been some time (June I think) since the wisdom of the Green Man Tree Oracle has come to join us here in The Wildwood. To be fair, I've not picked the deck up because I tidied it away and it took the Riviera Tarot Conference to get me to pull it back out again.
Since today is the 1st of November, I'd like to say: Happy All Saints Day. It's not just a Christian belief, it's a Pagan one too and whilst there may be some argument as to whether one came before the other in this region of the world, I frankly don't really care! (In the tone of Mavis from Corrie)
The Green Man Tree Oracle offers us the following for November. I can hardly believe it is November already. Where has the year gone?! I seem to have done a 4 of Arrows and just slept, though I know fine well I have not. I may have blinked though!
I read from the book that the Celts considered it especially appropriate to burn a Scots Pine Log on the night of the Winter Solstice, which is Yuletide. That's not for about 7 or 8 weeks yet (no, I don't want to know how many more sleeps there are left until Christmas, thank you!) The burning of the Scots Pine Yule Log is pretty wide-spread and it's burned in order to establish family luck for the coming calendar year.
So for this month, the message is one of resurrection and eternal life and hope. There's a lot of reasons, myths and legends as to why the Scots Pine tree is also forever green. However, the green the Scots Pine tree (or indeed, any evergreen) gives to any landscape is one to be grateful for, as the other trees shed their leaves. I love kicking through autumns golden gown at this time of year.
So for this month, enjoy life, keep a candle of hope burning and please, if you need to, wrap up warm!
Green Man Wisdom : Magic is everywhere
And as I work on the Oracle Card for the coming week, the song from Queen (A kind of magic) now goes around my head but my initial thought is: Oh yes, I already know that! The question though is: Do I pay attention to knowing that? My answer is: sometimes.
However, like most people who are busy with life, work, children, house, conferences, we forget to take a step back into ourselves and sink deeply into the ever-flowing stream of our magical dreams.
Thanks again to The Goddess Tree for an amazing source of information. I see from the first page of the book that the Blackthorn has a strong ability to foster waking dreams. From the Goddess Tree site, I see that it's very associated with Morrigan, as she is the Goddess for battle, fertility and strife. Her name has two meanings, Great Queen and Phantom Queen. Morrigan is not a Goddess I have personally done any work with.
It's got strong magical links beyond Morrigan as Wizards used to carry staffs made from the wood and in parts of Ireland, it's considered bad luck to carry a blackthorn staff. Now, it's said that the blackthorn flowers / blossoms at midnight on Christmas Eve. In Burnham-On-Sea, it is commented that Jesus landed with a saint in Burnham and travelled to Glastonbury and that each Christmas, a decoration of blackthorn is sent to Her Majesty for the Queen's table decoration for Christmas morning. Blackthorns sister plant is the hawthorn, another tree of Morrigan. They were often grown together, and while hawthorn was often wound around the maypole, the blackthorn decorated the top of the maypole itself.
Until now, I had no idea that blackthorn was part of the hedge of thorns preventing the prince from reaching Sleeping Beauty unscathed. I did have some inclination that the thorny crown upon Christ's head at his crucifixion was blackthorn. Thorns from the blackthorn were used in magic to pierce wax models of poor unfortunates and as such, only adds to the darker side of the blackthorn.
The fact (or more accurately, the information I have from the Goddess Tree website) is that this tree is sacred to the Luantishees. They're a type of fairy, from what I can gather from a Google search. I never knew there was more than one type of Fairy! You do learn something new all the time.
So this week, what are we being asked to remember? For me, it's to reconnect with my inner magical self, to remember that what I cast or wish for has a darker side and element to it. It's also a case of learning lots of things all the time, different sources, collecting and massing information.
And as for waking dreams? Yes, I get those. I shall have to add Blackthorn to my garden list of trees to plant. Enjoy your week of strife and inner contemplation. I am in for a good week, aren't I?
Green Man Wisdom: From harmony comes inspiration
I've not pulled a Green Man Tree Oracle for a few weeks, I'm sorry! But this week, I feel the need to and we have the Willow to come and greet us. And the wisdom straight from this tree is rather remarkable.
The first piece if information I find in the book is that everyone needs harmony: without it, we are fragmented, pulled apart, conflicted. I found this rather fantastic image (it's linked to the givers site, Underneath the Sycamore, who runs a Tarot Journal. This was published in August 2011) and having sat underneath willow trees before, it is rather peaceful under there, half hidden in the daylight. Fantastic place to sit and think and bring harmony to inner self, though it has been some years since I was able to do that, I will say!
I don't see many willow trees around these days, though there are the odd one or two here and there at various parks, usually near water. That is not surprising though, this tree loves the water, it likes having its feet wet. That explains the Celtic name of Saille, pronounced sahl-yeh.
Willow bark has been long used to treat fevers, coughs, but that folk medicine is hardly used these days. Probably because they found out that Willow bark contains salicylic acid, which has a synthetic cousin which is the basis for Asprin. Mother nature really did take care of pretty much everything. I wonder how come the druids knew? Or was it just by chance that they came across it and just started using it for pretty much a lot of ailments? We'll probably never know.
The Willow is strongly connected with the moon, reflecting its watery and womanly connection and the power of inspiration. There are various Gods and Goddesses connected with the Willow from many pantheons, such as Ceridwen and Belinus from the Celtic paths to Demeter, Apollo and Orpheus in the Greek.
If you've ever seen Harry Potter (who hasn't!) you may be interested to know that Ron Weasley's second wand was made from Willow. You can find more about Ron's wand on this page. But folklore does speak of willow wands being used by Druids and Wizards and traditionally dowsers, because of their connection with water.
It is interesting that the book mentions that Romanian gypsies celebrate the festival of Green George on the 23rd of April (St Georges Day). On this night (according to the reference book) a young and leafy willow is felled, erected then decorated with streamers and ribbons. The tribes pregnant women gather around the tree and each woman lays out a piece of clothing on the ground. If during the night, a leaf falls on the item of clothing, it is said that the goddess of the tree promises both an easy delivery and a gifted child. You can find out more about that festival, here.
So, this week, with all that running around my head (and now yours!) what might we need to think about? For me, it will be more about sitting near water, enjoying the ability to hide, relax, think and bring harmony to your inner self and to others. And while I do not have the time to find and sit under a willow tree, I shall enjoy hunting one down in the park and if I can, spend 5 minutes or so under it. It may even have a small present for me or the little one! I hope you have a harmonious weekend
Green Man Wisdom : Fertility wakes a fire in the mind
I often associate Gorse with the Scottish Highlands. I recall camping up there one spring and seeing the lowlands just covered in the yellow golden gorse. I had been away for a long time and had totally forgotten what gorse in flower looked like.
I've just read the book on gorse and my first thoughts, before I had read the first paragraph, was: We've just covered this in the latest Tarot Blog Hop!! I hadn't associated Gorse with fire, mental stimulation, fertile thoughts or anything along those lines.
Gorse though, is damn vigorous. I think I've some growing between my greenhouse and the log pile. So now, when I look at it, I shall remember that it is supposed to encourage us to listen to our creative instincts and to tend the fertile garden of our imagination. John claims that we can find happiness and the answer to all sorts of problems this way! The only thing is, I have trouble now, working out which voices in my head are my guides and which one is my own! I feel my guides more than I hear then, hence why I said what I did above. And if you think I ought to be in the loony bin, too late, I was born in one! (Well, it wasn't one when I was born in it, but it became a psychiatric hospital after I was born, 1982 I think it changed uses. It's been flattened now in the re-modelling that is, Glasgow)
I notice that the Ogham is Onn, or O and has links to Lugh, hence the festival on Lughnasadh, or August 1st. People sometimes take sprigs of gorse and put them in the fires to brighten up the fireplace and with its bright yellow flowers, remind them of the warmth the hearth will give out over the winter.
Lugh though, by all accounts, was a jack of all trades. I wonder if he was a master at any? King or not, he certainly seems to have tried his hand at almost every aspect of life! I shall read up on him another day during the week. I knew Gorse was associated with keeping the wee faery folk away: its said that they hide in it on the magical May eve (not long gone)
So, this week, what are you going to do to cause that internal, intellectual flame, to burn? I wasn't aware that Gorse flowered most of the year, but I do love it when I see its yellow brightness as its scattered along the motorways! So, enjoy what sunshine you can this week and if you cannot, light the home hearths and enjoy the intellectual stimulation. I know I shall!
Green Man Wisdom : Perseverance leads to achievement
The Oracle tree this week is a tree I see in the park every day. I walk underneath several of them as I enter my local park, often with the dog and youngest child for our daily walk, come rain, wind, snow or shine. Of course, I prefer shine at this time of year.
The Yew tree is associated with transformation that arises after death, according to the book. It may be a real death or is probably more metaphysical than anything else. However, I have associated it with the bows archers use, and their arrows. Archers are persistent, they deal with change in the form of making arrows and their bows: No two are ever the same. However, the two concepts are linked, the physical and metaphysical, in the way that change, however it is bought about, can be just as important as the need or determination to change.
(My thanks to MysticFamiliar.com for their image)
The Yew tree goes back further than legends indicate, even if Tristan and Isolt from the Arthurian Legends are separated from each other in this life, they find each other in death. It is said that they're buried in either side of the nave of Tintagel Castle. From their graves, Yew Trees grew, despite King Mark of Cornwall's efforts. Eventually, he realises that love cannot be stopped, even in death, and the trees grow quickly, arching over the entrance, entwining forever.
I find the above story rather sentimental and heart warming, but then, I am a Pisces and I love a good love story!
For me, I now wonder if the heart from the Three of Arrows is made from Yew. I suspect that the arrows are, for the Yew tree is the tree of the Archers. It is something to ponder. However, when I next look at a Yew tree (if this pouring rain ever lets me look up this coming week!) I shall remember the story of Tristan and Isolde, their perseverance, boarding almost on stubbornness, even beyond death. That might explain the Irish tradition of this tree being the Death tree (or the Renown of Banbha. If you link it to the Death card, we probably have a match!) and as such, it has a linked to Hecate, and the Yew tree even gets a mention in "that Scottish play".
(Thank you again to The Goddess Tree website for brilliant background and other reading on Trees & Oghams)
It does not surprise me that the Yew's Ogham has a similar sound to the Gaelic word for Salmon (co). Both are considered the oldest of their kind and both have a connection with wisdom.
So, this week, I feel that the message with this Ogham is to keep on trying, persevere, keep on trying and in the end, you might succeed. But heck, if you don't really try, you'll never really know!