Straif is the tree of Samhain, the beginning of the dark half of the year. Its message is that the forces of change are working through our life. Straif is the root word for the English word strife and this ogham, one of the oracular oghams, tells us that we are going to be acted upon by Fate until it will seem that we are brought to the point of no return or of feeling that there is no way left open before us. Another word deriving from this same root, however, is strive. We can let the clouds overwhelm us, or we can struggle to find our way. However Fate acts on us we can decide how to respond.
Whitethorn and Blackthorn are closely related trees. Whitethorn, though, focuses on the growing season and the flowers. Blackthorn sends a message of the fierce thorns and the strong cudgel that can be made from the trunk. The rune with this message is the Rune Hagal, the rune of the hailstorm. Straif is the storm-bringer. Both the rune and the ogham stand for disruption and the destruction of our clear path.
The Thrush is the bird paired with Straif. In the same way that the Raven carries messages from the Gods in Tir-na-Og, the Thrush is an oracle in the mundane world of our Wyrd, or life-path. The Thrush knows us through and through, our unvoiced motivations and desires. He can break through the shell of our preconceptions, like breaking the shell of a snail on a rock, and cause us to see our deepest selves. Breaking our superficial image, breaking through the rocks that stand in our way, is destructive but brings us to a clearer understanding and vision. The storm can jolt us out of the easy way we have picked through laziness or selfishness and into a higher path. No matter how attractive the path we have chosen is, our Wyrd shows us that we are capable of more by showing us this ogham.
Sometimes the storm clears the air for what is to follow. We have all experienced the brilliant sunshine and special freshness that come after a storm. Because storms come into our life whether we will it or no, this ogham has no reversal. When the disruption is past we must see what has weathered the storm, where we need to make repairs, and what has not lasted and must be replaced. This is the time to decide if changes should be made, and to benefit from what we have learned.
We should remember that this is an oracular card, not an evil one. There is always a message being sent that we should be looking for in the events. A warning that is listened to is far more helpful than one that is ignored. We should look into the heart of the mystery rather than close our eyes to it.
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