Celtic Tree Wisdom. The Hawthorn Tree: ( Huath )
The Hawthorn tree represents Birthdays from May13th to June 9th. It is the 6th letter in the Ogham alphabet represented by a vertical line with a horizontal line midway from centre to left as shown in the picture below.
The Hawthorn tree is respected as a powerful and magical tree, wild and enchanted full of Fairy magic and is known as The Queen of the May.
There are many uses for the leaves, berries and blossoms which you can discover under Magic and Healing.
The Hawthorn is very hardy and it rarely grows tall as it is often enclosed with other species in woodland and hedgerow. The trunk usually twists and bends as it gets older. In the spring it is covered with little white blossoms and later in August the 'Haws' come out , first as green and then red berries which are loved by the birds.
Magic and Healing
In folklore and magic the hawthorn opens the heart both emotionally and physically. The leaves, flowers and fruit were and can be used as an infusion to help with heart problems such as irregular or slow heartbeats, angina, poor circulation, high blood pressure as it stabilises the heart and dilates small blood vessels so enhancing circulation..The berries contain vitamin C and B complex. In Chinese medicine the berries are used as a diuretic.
In Celtic times the tree was thought to be a strengthening tonic (using leaves/berries) for weakness in old age.
A Simple Herbal Tea
Pour boiling water into a cup containing 2 teaspoons of dried crushed berries.
Leave to infuse for 20 minutes and strain.
Sweeten with honey if desired.
Can use dried leaves or blossoms instead of berries.
( Check with doctor before using especially if on other heart medication)
The Hawthorn is known as the Faery Tree of enchantment and respected under protection of the faery realms. In the past, a real fear of faerie folk was common, and the scraps of ragged cloth and other little trinkets tied on the branches were gifts to appease them. Even today roads are built around Hawthorn trees for fear of upsetting the fairys!
All hawthorn is associated with the Roman Goddess Flora. She was said to have used a hawthorn wand for her enchantments and hawthorn branches hung at windows as a protection of a baby whose blood had been sucked by some creature of the night .
Much of the folklore attached to it seems to come from the fact that the tree is smothered in long branches of early, white blossom around the time of Beltane – the First of May.
If this seems early and the blossom is not ready – the British calendar was changed and went forward 12 / 13 days in 1752 .This is evident too in Hawthorn’s place in the Ogham Tree Calendar – beginning now on 13th May – it would once have started on May 1st.
At Beltane – ‘The Greening’ - the symbolism of the hawthorn or May Tree as being able to ‘open the heart’ is not lost in the celebrations where fertility as seen in the old Maypole dances was key. Fertility for the people and for the land. The pole itself, in older pagan times was a symbol of male potency, and new ones were cut and brought into the villages each year, ready to be decked with long ribbons and garlands of hawthorn as the centre of festivities.
"The fair maid, who on the first of May,
Goes to the fields at the break of day,
And bathes in the dew from the hawthorn tree,
Will ever strong and handsome be"
( Old English nursery rhyme)
Branches of May blossom were gathered early in the day (it was important to catch the dew and bathe your face for beauty's sake) with great reverence and ceremony, with the proceedings were often blessed by the presence of a ‘Green man’ or ‘Jack in the Green’ .
The sprays were taken to decorate the outside of houses, barns and May Queens! They were carried in procession from house to house so that each would be given a share of the Thorn Spirit’s blessing. Hawthorn guards wells and springs. Its beautiful flowers are said to help prayers reach heaven.
If you sit under a Hawthorn on May 1st you are liable to be whisked away for good to the faery underworld.
The blooms of the hawthorn are used in spells for fertility, happiness, and good luck in fishing.
Wands made of this wood are of great power.
Hawthorn can be used for protection, love and marriage spells.
The best beloved hawthorn tree in Britain is the ‘Glastonbury Thorn’ or ‘Holy Thorn’, said to have originated when the staff of the visiting Joseph of Arimathea was struck into the ground and sprouted.
Hawthorn is a very hard wood and is used for bowls, boxes and handles for tools and sticks. It burns very hot so was used for fuel.Hawthorn can be woven in to a growing fence called a Hedgerow and the old name for Hawthorn was Haegthorn ( Anglo Saxon) or Hag-thorn.
As mentioned before the leaves and berries can be used in potions and also for making hedgerow jellies, wines and herbal medicines..
Carefully gather a few thorns from the tree.
On a piece of paper, write the name of the person or situation from which you seek protection, and then wrap it around the thorns. Bury this in the ground - if possible near the tree from which the thorns were collected.
( Whispers from the Woods, by Sandra Keynes)