Celtic Symbolic Meanings Of Blackthorn Tree
The blackthorn tree, scientifically known as the Prunus spinosa, is a deciduous tree. This means that this tree’s leaves turn colors and fall off in the winter, only to grow back in the spring. This one simple fact about this tree is the reason for much of the lore and symbolism for the tree.
When the tree has leaves it is beautiful. It is a flowery plant in the spring. When the flowers go away they give way to sweet and delicious berries. When it is warm out, this tree is beautiful and nonthreatening. It looks like a peaceful bush more than it looks like a menacing tree. In the winter, when the leaves fall off, the tree takes on a different tree.
This tree is called the blackthorn tree because the branches and twigs that make up the skeleton of the tree are black, twisted, thorny and knobby. Although the tree may be a pretty tree in the spring and summer, it is the tree’s appearance in the fall and winter that inspires the lore and symbolic meanings for the blackthorn tree.
This blackthorn tree has a lot of symbolism and mythology around it, and the most powerful myths and symbolism comes from Celtic culture. This tree was said to be an omen of bad luck and even death. Witches were also said to have used this tree for many wicked purposes, which only made the myth more mysterious. Even when the tree wasn’t related to witches or death directly, it was a symbol for war, which usually led to death or other misfortune. This tree had a bad reputation, to say the least.
Blackthorn Tree & Witches Symbolism
The myth that surrounds the blackthorn tree and witches is possibly the most interesting part of the blackthorn’s history and mythology. It is probably because of the tree’s dark look that inspired people to think that witches and other evil-doers would have used this tree. Witches were said to use the branches and twigs of the blackthorn tree in potions or for other incantations. Of course, this tree was only used for evil spells instead of for good. Of course, back when people believed in witches, they did not believe that witches did much good, except for when they were killed.
Ironically enough, sometimes people that were accused of being witches were burned to death on piers made from blackthorn tree wood. People who used blackthorn tree branches for walking sticks were often thought to be witches. The blackthorn tree was thought to have evil in it. And it was said that witches would use these sticks as walking sticks so that they could cause mischief while on the go. Back in the days of witch hunts, you did not want to be caught with a blackthorn walking stick, that was for sure.
Blackthorn Tree – A Bad Luck Symbol
Separate from the witch legends, the blackthorn tree symbol still holds omens of death, war, evil, and illness. The Celtic people knew just by looking at the blackthorn tree what the up and coming weather would be like. If the tree lost all of its leaves earlier in the year, then the Celts would know that it would be a harsh winter. They would use the extra time to prepare for the harsh winter ahead.
Of course, the sweetest berries were said to come after harsh winters though, so the three held a dual nature within itself. In one way the loss of leaves was a warning that helped the people and the sweet berries could have been seen as a reward for surviving the winter.
In a way the blackthorn tree can symbolize many other things besides death and the many ways of destruction that often comes before. These symbols include preparation, reward and punishment, weakness and strength, and bounty and destruction. Over all, the blackthorn tree can symbolize the opposites in the world and in life in general.