Hawthorn – Cratagus monogyna
In May, the hawthorn is in its glory with strikingly beautiful blossoms. These are nestled tightly among the hawthorn’s large and lethal looking thorns. Here we see the first of several juxtapositions, giving this tree/shrub its colourful reputation in history.
Excellent herbalists and botanists, ancient Celts understood the superior medicinal value of hawthorn leaves and blossoms. However, it was considered a bad omen to bring its branches inside the home. This is largely due from the smell of cut branches was much the same as decaying flesh (indeed, the chemical components are the same). Here we see life-giving aspects as well as associations of death within the same symbolic tree.
Further, the hawthorn is imbued with male energy, yet it is historically a symbol of fertility and associated with the female goddess aspects (mother, maiden, crone).
What do all these contradictions mean? The hawthorn is a standing testament to the idea of duality; it is a perfect depiction of the concept of yin and yang.
The Celts understood the power of balance. They also knew that what could not be attributed to specific outcomes (as sometimes evident in the dance of contradictions played out by the hawthorn) indicated a great source of magic. In other words, that which cannot be explained contains immense power.
The hawthorn is to be respected in all its diversity and duality. It is a symbol of union of opposites, and serves as a message for us to be more accepting of the unconventional.
Sixth month of the Celtic Tree calendar, May 13th – June 9
Sixth consonant of the Ogham alphabet
Huathe (Hoo-ah) – H
This Ogham symbol is used in Celtic Reiki and its essence represents the energy of cleansing and preparation. It clears the mind of negative thoughts and mental confusion, offering clarity. It gives patience and offers stillness
Hawthorn is burned to purify,
Planet: Mars and Venus
Symbolism: Purification, sacred marriage and male-female unity
Stone: Lapis Lazuli, Blue Calcite
Birds: Blackbird, Owl, Purple Martin
Colour: Midnight Blue, Purple
Deity: Olwen, Blodeuwedd, Gardea,
Sabbat: Beltane, May Day
Folk names: May bush, May tree, quickset, thorn-apple tree, white thorn.
The flowers, leaves and fruits of the Hawthorn have properties that reduce blood pressure and stimulate the heart, as well as act as a mild sedative.
In herbal medicine they treat heart and circulatory disorders, migraine, menopausal conditions, angina, and insomnia.
The flowers are strongest as sedatives, and used externally can treat acne and skin blemishes.
The berries contain Vitamin B complex and Vitamin C.
They can be crushed and used to ease diarrhoea, dysentery, and kidney disorders.
It is strongly advised against self medication because of the its effects on the heart
The tree essence cleanses the heart of negativity and stimulates love and forgiveness. The Hawthorn is the tree most representative of the struggles the Christian Church had in suppressing pagan beliefs and celebrations.
It guards wells and springs. Its beautiful flowers are said to help prayers reach heaven.
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 original May Poles were made of Hawthorn
Hawthorn can be woven in to a growing fence called a Hedgerow.
These thorny barriers are very effective and have saved many villages from thieves and highwaymen.