Tag Archives: plants

First reading with the Celtic Wisdom Sticks


I pulled one of the Celtic Wisdom Sticks to see what this oracle has to offer me for this week.

I drew Saille (Willow) and got East on the indicator stick. Before I go and read the text in the companion book, here are a few words about my associations with both the tree and the direction.

Willow is a feminine tree to me, and it makes me think of the moon although I couldn’t say why exactly. It may be something I picked up somewhere. I’m also thinking of weeping willows and the Whomping Willow from the Harry Potter novels which I find a nice twist on the concept. We actually have a willow tree in front of our house. It is a favorite spot for the squirrels that live around here. I also know that willow bark contains some substance that is similar to aspirin. Wikipedia tells me (among other interesting things) it’s effective against fever and aches and that it’s called “salicylic acid,” from the plant genus Salix. Apparently, there are also members of the same tree family called sallows. All these terms seem linguistically related to the word saille. Then there’s a Bach flower essence from willow which seems to be related to feelings of self-pity for a perceived lack of success and the treatment thereof.

East as a direction symbolizes new beginnings to me, and is associated with the element of air.

Together, these two could be about a new start in some or all of these areas.

The book confirms some of the above information and reminds me that willows grow best in wet areas. For Saille in East it gives me this bit of oracular text.

It is time to conclude some plans and to let other things go.

The availability of time together with the opportunity to finalize a project is often lacking because energies are stretched. In order to reach completion, non-essentials often have to be dropped. Regardless of a sense of things unfinished, now is not a time to complicate matters, but an opportunity to focus on conclusions.

Question: What essential factors can be finalized?

Interesting how this focuses on conclusions rather than the beginnings I thought of! There are a couple of things I have been putting off (not concluding), mostly because I wanted to do them right, not just do them any old way. I can see how that kind of perfectionism may stand in the way of finishing things.

I’m a bit disappointed that the book offers so little in terms of tree lore, especially when it comes to any traditional associations. Then again, there still seems to be some debate as to whether ogham has traditionally been used as an oracle at all, so that could explain the lack. I really need to read the introductory chapters of the book and find out more about ogham…

I’m not yet sure what to make of this as an oracle. It doesn’t seem to offer instant “aha” moment like many illustrated things. I believe I need to gain some more experience with a question that makes it easier to check meaningfulness. I also may need to get used to this particular kind of non-visual and highly symbolic oracle. The whole reading procedure reminds me of a simplified I Ching reading, so that could be an interesting comparison (not that I have much experience with the I Ching, mind you).


Flora and Fauna of Waking the Wild Spirit


Since some of the plants and animals stood out in my readings this week, I decided to look through the deck and make a list of the ones I could identify. (I once did the same with the Greenwood Tarot where it yielded a few interesting insights.)

Animals (bold = more than one appearance):

  • birds
    • bird of prey (buzzard/hawk, falcon/kestrel)
    • owl (barn owl, little owl)
    • crow/raven
    • swan
    • blackbird
    • swallow
    • heron
    • dove
    • magpie, jay, stork, seagull, kingfisher, blue tit, finch
  • mammals
    • horse/unicorn
    • rabbit/hare
    • deer/stag
    • fox
    • cat
    • dog
    • hedgehog, badger, mouse, bear, wolf
  • reptiles/amphibians
    • frog/toad
    • snake
  • other
    • butterfly (several kinds)/moth
    • snail
    • shell (several kinds)
    • spider, bee, stag beetle, centipede, wood louse, worm, fish

The most common animals are birds in general (especially birds of prey and owls), horses, and butterflies/moths. That is, if we’re not counting humans, fairies, or elves.


  • flowers
    • poppy
    • cornflower
    • daisy
    • bell flower/bluebell, rose hip/briar rose, rose, forget-me-not
  • trees + leaves
    • beech
    • ivy
    • holly, chestnut, oak, maple, linden/lime, yew
  • vegetables + fruit
    • strawberry
    • apple
    • blackberry
    • tomato, artichoke, carrot, potato, corn, string bean, garlic
  • other
    • fungi (fly agaric, parasol, morel(?), boletus(?))
    • wheat

The most common plants are poppy flowers (which is perhaps to be expected since the creators name is Poppy Palin) and corn flowers.

Several cards have plants and animals that could be identifiable if I knew more about the different species:

  • leaves (Magical Spirit, The Gypsy, Spring, Fledgeling, Wise Counsellor)
  • flowers (Wild Harvest, Full Bloom, Blood Bond, Spirit of Love, Mother of Life, Awakening Spirit, Wildwitch, The Storyteller)
  • birds (Tools, Hovering, Spiral Dance, Seed)

All the flora and fauna of the deck are indeed native to Europe (except the unicorn), which means they feel familar to me and I can read them comparatively well. That said, I still have looked up several plants to find out if they have any particular characteristics or uses or mythologies attached to them.

Finally, here are some numbers:

  • 24 cards feature animals but no plants (besides generic grass or trees)
  • 14 cars have only plants but no animals (besides generic bird shapes)
  • 22 cards have both identifiable plants and animals
  • 18 cards feature neither plants nor animals (some show generic trees or grass, or bird shapes, but no identifiable species)

How to find new friends


I keep arriving at the conclusion that I would be happy to have a few more (close) friends in my life. I lost some former friends in relation to moving to a different city a few years ago, and at first was too busy there to get out much outside of my work. Now that has changed, my life has calmed down somewhat, and I feel ready to make new friends. I have already explored some options in the past, but without much lasting success. So I thought I’d ask the cards for input on this matter.

For the spread, I’m using this one by Caridwen from over at AT. I created this layout for it:


1. Current situationFree Spirit / Wandering Minstrel (Fool)

I would like to jump forward into new friendships, optimistically and with trust, bringing with me ways to express myself and to entertain others and collaborate with them. I’m also something of an oddity, so I don’t fit in very well in most circles but stick out like a sore thumb. Then again, that oddness is one of my main characteristics, so I need to find a way to take it with me into my new friendships.

2. What is blocking me from changing this situationTears / Five of Water

I’m focusing too much on what didn’t work in the past, what hurt me, and what made me feel alone. I (or my standards) may seem overwhelming to others, as if I’m never satisfied with what I have. Maybe I first have to deal with old emotions related to previous experiences (e.g. disappointment, sadness, anger) before I can move on into new friendships. Ivy is a plant often used as a cover, so I need to examine if my covering up of my oddness stands in my way instead of helping me move forward – or if I need to cover up more of it for the first steps of friendship to succeed.

3. What attracts people to meAwakening Spirit / Transformation (Judgement)

I’m familiar with the topic of change and transformation, and usually focus on its positive aspects (this could literally be about my familiarity with all sorts of transformations of gender, sexuality, and other identity labels). I can inspire people and be creative with them. I often seem to serve as a catalyst for changes in others. (I’m pretty sure the boots with the rainbow laces also have to say something but I can’t quite access that message right now.)

4. What puts people offSpiral Dance / Six of Fire

They may perceive me as unfocused, a Jack-of-all-trades, and may have difficulty following my flights of fancy and wild associations (I tend to be interested in many things and have ideas for many projects, usually many more than I can ever realize. I’m actually unhappy if I’m forced to limit my attention to just one project for more than a week or two. Other people often seem to translate that into a lack of commitment.). I’ve also noticed that some people have a hard time dealing with my ability to effortlessly learn the basics of many skills and topics in a very short time when they themselves had to work hard for that (I can’t help being like that, but I can see how it could be frustrating to others). Maybe they feel I’m not as grounded and reliable as they’d like (I know I have a hard time keeping in touch with anyone regularly). I’m wondering if the beech leaves and burrs point to Beech as a Bach flower, where it would be related to an overly critical stance (I could see how people might perceive me as overly focused on the negative because I often zoom in onto errors and disadvantages first, especially if everyone else doesn’t seem to see them. To me, that’s a normal part of evaluating an idea/project, but I can imagine I’d come across as harsher as I mean to at times).*

5. What are the right circumstances for me to find friendsGlow / Ten of Fire

I need to get up close and personal with them in a caring and gentle manner. This speaks to my preference for one-on-one conversations (or small groups) versus larger gatherings. Perhaps I need to look amongst older people instead of younger ones. I also may benefit from focusing on giving instead of getting. The image also reminds me of my volunteer work with a hospice service (the main part of our training will start in November, so that could also be a place to meet potential new friends).

6. What are the wrong circumstancesThe Peace Keeper / King of Air

The wrong circumstances are anywhere where “keeping the peace” and diplomacy have the highest priority over expressing one’s opinions (and hearing others), learning through arguments, and being able to be powerful. The bird of prey (falcon?) in the background reminds me of something I once said: “A hawk can’t be a chicken, no matter how hard she tries.” This speaks to my need to be able to exercise my powers/abilities and not having that perceived as negative but merely as a part of my “nature.”

7. Overall GuidanceThe Council / Five of Air

I’m pretty sure I’m not meant to read even more instead of meeting people… ;-)
The book makes me think of learning, and of writing. I may need to learn more about how “regular” people work. I still often assume that everyone is more or less “like me” and will therefore “get” me (until proven otherwise), but experience shows that that’s not a helpful strategy when it comes to living as a queer, intellectually highly gifted, spiritually interested individual. The vast majority of people simply are not like me, and it doesn’t help to pretend that our differences don’t exist. Instead, I need to find a way to be true to myself without stepping on too many toes in the process (in the past I’ve erred in both of those directions, so the right balance isn’t so easy to find). The writing part could mean that journaling (blogging?) about these issues could be helpful. I’m also thinking of taking a page from someone else’s book, but I’m not quite sure whose book would work best for me here… Finally, I take this to mean that I shouldn’t judge myself or others too harshly. Not every piece of communication can be a huge success, and it may take some time until I’ve made any close new friends.


The most difficult card for me to read was the one in position 3 (Awakening Spirit). This could be because I don’t find the card image very evocative, or it could be because I’m not quite sure (anymore) what people like about me… At any rate, this has been another interesting reading.

I’m finding the deck slanted towards the positive (especially on the LWB sheets for the minors), but apparently I can read the images themselves positively or negatively as needed. I’m wondering if certain plants or animals mean something special if they’re not the main focus of the card (e.g. the choice of plants in Awakening Spirit or Glow – all summer plants? -, or the choice of a falcon over a hawk or eagle in The Peace Keeper) or if they just serve to symbolize a general connection to nature and maybe a certain season. I’ve actually just looked up ivy and beech and have then gone back to the reading to add additional insights about their (potential) meaning in this spread. This could be an interesting aspect of Waking the Wild Spirit and an inspiration for learning more about the plants and animals depicted!

ETA: * While the description in this text about the Bach flower Beech seem rather extreme, I still find worthwhile points for consideration in it. It might be useful to remember that one doesn’t have to be a “Beech personality” to be able to relate to certain points of the description.