The locust (of the Gleditsia or Robinia family) is aligned with the “dark mother” aspect of the Goddess: the destructive, purifying energy that helps us let go, transform challenges, neutralize negativity, and move on.
When I first encountered a honey locust (Gleditsia tricanthos), I heard her message loud and clear: “Stay away!” It turns out that her extremely sharp, vicious-looking, head-to-toe thorns may have evolved to protect her from the oversized animals of the Pleistocene (aka Pleistocene megafauna). Don’t you just love stories like that? Now you can imagine your thorn-bedecked neighborhood tree looking pretty much exactly the same back in the days when she effectively warded off mammoths and giant armadillos.
As mentioned, the locust is pretty much an expert at boundary setting. While she often provides nutrition to neighboring animals in the form of her flowers or pods (depending on the species), she can also be really spiky and toxic. So this is good news for magical practitioners who also happen to need help transforming into something other than a pushover or a yes-man, or those of us who have had codependency issues in the past. Simply visit a locust tree, sit in quiet contemplation, and allow yourself to receive an infusion of her wisdom and potent, boundary-setting energy. As you relax into her vibe, let yourself clearly sort out what feels good to you and what doesn’t, and resolve to tune in to your heart, gut, and intuition before responding to requests for your time, money, effort, or attention.
Burying items with heavy or undesirable energy, or symbols of unwanted conditions, near black locust trees helps neutralize the negative energy they hold. This mirror’s the tree’s proclivity for growing in poor soil and “disturbed” areas, and improving the quality of the soil in the process. The tree herself is also a metaphor for neutralizing negativity, as her thorns and toxicity give way to her beautiful, abundant, sweet-smelling blossoms. (They are even sometimes edible, depending on the species.)
If you feel that you’ve picked up or are carrying a lot of negativity, try the following:
LOCUST NEGATIVITY PURGE
During a waning moon, light a black candle and roll an organic potato all over your body, consciously sending any and all negative, dark, heavy, or stuck energy into the vegetable. Extinguish the candle and approach a locust tree. Dig a small hole near her base and bury the potato in it, knowing and sensing that the tree will naturally compost the negativity into positivity and nourishment, and that she therefore will see the potato (negativity and all) as an offering. (If you find this hard to believe, consider the way plants thrive when fertilized with rot and manure.) Inwardly express gratitude to the tree for taking care of this negativity for you. Know in your heart that she has instantly, efficiently, and completely neutralized it. For good measure, thank her once more.
Return home. Shower or bathe. Then light a white candle to symbolize your newly purified state.
For a tree aligned with toxins, sharp points, and the dark goddess, sweetness is an unexpected magical use…or is it? Consider Halloween: it’s associated with death, darkness, fear, and…candy! Similarly, in Día de los Muertos (day of the dead) celebrations in South America, the traditional ornamental skulls are made pure, unadulterated (but sometimes colored) sugar. So the locust is one more participant in this age-old tradition of interweaving sweetness with the beautiful dark. It’s a tradition that points to an underrated truth: in many ways, embracing the darkness and shadows might not be so terrible after all, and it may even be the secret to living the sweet life.
Locust honey (called acacia honey in Europe) is world famous for its light sweetness, and acacia fritters (made with sweet-smelling black locust blossoms) are a European delicacy served with powdered sugar. Consume either of these (or just spend time with a blossoming locust) to bring more sweetness into your life and to find delectable sweetness not just in the brightness and sunshine, but also in the full spectrum of the human experience.