Saturday, 21 September 2013

Green Man Tree Oracle: Honeysuckle

This week's deck is the Green Man Tree Oracle, art by Will Worthington. I bought this deck for Will  Worthington's art and nothing else. I never really even intended to use it. That's unusual for me. I ony buy decks I want to use, and only keep decks that I actually end up using. The book is by John Matthews, and I have to admit, I am not a big fan of the work of John and Caitlin Matthews. It's not that I don't respect their scholarship, it's just that I have found that most of their deck systems have been overly complicated to use, requiring study of lore and tradition (which is not a waste of time) or study of a system created by them (which, in my opinion, is). The Templar Vision Tarot, Arthurian Tarot, and Camelot Oracle, to name but a few, are examples of complicated Matthews creations. Actually, I rather like Templar Vision and Arthurian, but there's no denying they are much harder work than a plain old tarot.

Anyway, this week I thought I'd take a look at the Green Man Tree Oracle. I don't know if I'll end up using the companion book in my interpretation of these cards. I think it might be more useful for me to use what I know of tree lore and my own personal associations with the cards, particularly if what is offered in the book doesn't 'make sense' with my own feelings about the tree (or plant) in question. So just be warned! :)


Today's card is Honeysuckle. Now before I even look at the companion book, I'm going to think about my own experiences with honeysuckle. I remember seeing honeysuckle everywhere when I was a kid in Arkansas. The hedges were frothing over it with, and bees buzzed lazily around it. The blossoms were always white and gold. We used to pick the blossoms and pinch the ends off and slowly pull the stamen out backward. There would be a drop of nectar (some sort of liquid at least) which we would drip onto our tongues, convinced that it really did taste like honey. So I associate honeysuckle with summertime, freedom from schedules and authority, having all the time in the world (because summers used to seem sooo loooong when I was a kid). It makes me think of youth and innocence and the very beginnings of awareness of our budding sexuality. (The memory of picking honeysuckles is mixed with talk of boys, and who liked who.)

So here's the Honeysuckle card from Green Man Tree Oracle. The honeysuckles don't look like the American ones I grew up with. They're red! The honeysuckle here looks a bit different, but I've done a little reading around the web and find that several sources suggest that honeysuckle induces erotic dreams in teenage girls. Well, well, that's one, then!

In Bach Flower Remedies, come to think of it, Honeysuckle is used as a remedy for nostalgia, homesickness or living in the past. So that's more or less two for two.

The honeysuckle is also associated with love, because of both its sweet scent and its tendency to wind tightly around what it's climbing. I didn't really make that association.

Now, let's look at John Matthews' interpretation in the companion book. Oh yes, he does mention the erotic dream lore. Also that young men might carry a stick made of honeysuckle when going courting, and he talks about the twining properties of the honeysuckle. However, he claims that the divinatory meaning of Honeysuckle is 'hidden wisdom.' He says that this meaning may derive from the use of similar shrubs in mazes. 'Passage through one of these mazes was viewed as an initiatory journey, leading from a state of divine ignorance to one of experience -- so the secrecy of the honeysuckle becomes the quest for secret knowledge.' It would seem, then, that we are on the same track, but my vision of honeysuckle doesn't become so esoteric as Matthews'. My view of Honeysuckle ends with divine ignorance and the stirrings of youth.

How I would relate these associations in a reading would depend entirely on the question asked, and surrounding cards. But I would tend more toward ideas of youth, innocence, freshness, freedom, and perhaps attraction to the mysteries of the flesh, rather than 'secret wisdom' or 'secret knowledge'. But I can see how you could easily progress to that interpretation, depending on the question. I just wouldn't leap straight there right off the bat. 

1 comment:

  1. Your interpretation jibes much more with my feelings around honeysuckle, too. I have very similar memories, though without the boy talk... I like the idea of seeing nostalgia, youth, and the joys of the flesh (yummy 'honey') in this card.

    Am looking forward to this week as, like you, I haven't really used this deck because I don't like referring to the companion book all the time.

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