By Phoenix of Elder Mountain – I recently added dried Hawthorn leaves and berries to our Folk Smudge, the berries are also called Pixie Pears. There are a couple of Hawthorn trees on the land and in the local area, so I thought I would write up the great benefits that are positive medicinal properties and share some Hawthorn folklore.
Hawthorn, white and odorous
with blossom, framing the quiet
fields and swaying flowers and
grasses and the hum of Bees.
~ F. S. Flint (1885-1960).
Astrologers say that the Hawthorn is placed under the dominion of Mars, because the remarks are that he “wants weapons, so he may make use of the prickles and let Saturn have the fruits.” Hawthorn is one of the many Sacred Trees, she is not very big and some are even more like shrubs. She has been honored for thousands of years because of her many benefits as natural medicine.
Its considered a Goddess Tree, despite astrologer’s Mars association, because she is very healing to our hearts, both the accumulative and the karmic principles. We all experience when love hurts at some point in our life, for others its consistent. Bringing sorrow or pain to the heart chakra area if prolonged, without emotional healing, this begins to cause physical damage around the lungs (Mullein remedies) and the heart (Hawthorn), is an excellent herb for our heart.
When I have a client that has an emotional heart issues but it begins to appear on a physical level, I know the underlying sorrows are mainly about the long journey of love, love that was a loss, or love betrayal and heart related emotional issues that have accumulated over decades. This actually begins to effect the physical body’s health after a few decades.
Long ago, body & soul were equally important, but over the last 2,000 mind-body has become dominant. Our proof is there is so much physical sickness and karmic sickness in the world today and not enough emotional and soul healing of our feminine, a healing in direct relief of physical ailments.
As a healer, I work with others to get to the core or root of our bodies, the engine so to speak of the eternal soul. Its wise to love our physical body and life because its a gift, but our soul is what allows this gift to even be experienced at it’s continual reincarnations. Without a soul, there is no birth, its impossible.
Many are now able to honor openly with strength our healing ways and practice them again as the Goddess (nature) and her return to help us heal during this last cycle of the destruction from the patriarchal gods. When the Pagan witches healing teachings were forbidden the new medicines of the Greeks and Romans could dominate, around the 4th century the long and beloved Hawthorn tree was then under science’s control.
Even though in small villages and smaller clans, the women still did their teaching, healing and magical healing work with Hawthorn, by the 11th century it was renamed and called the God of War’s Tree (Mars) and thus was followed by the plague in the 13th century.
The seeds were then less for healing, and put more into alcoholic drinks, as the berries were in widespread use and the middle ages phrase “what ails you, drink your troubles away” was then acceptance, but alcohol even with hawthorn berries was not enough to stop the development of broken hearts and with so many heart issues and diseases today, 8 centuries later, the soul has turned dull as the magic of the goddess was gone.
Nicholas Culpeper, in 1653 believed that there was nothing left of the Goddess in the Hawthorn Tree and the Flowers because they still bore the smell and experience of the Plague over the world, from two thousand years of war. The tree then was regarded as the Crown of Thorns and was crowned in English royalty having won the battle over the old ways. Henry VII chose that new view of the Hawthorn Tree.
Medicinal Uses for Hawthorn
Parts used: Flowers, leaves, berries.
Cardiovascular Heart Issues, Stress, Hypertension
Properties: Cordial, Hypotensive. Constituents: tannins,
flavonoids, essential oils, triterpene-carbonic acids
and purine derivatives.
Hawthorn for the reluctant Dreamer
Hawthorn has been proven to help with insomnia and allows one to see the dreams that are more intense by falling asleep. We fall asleep sometimes to do this work which is brought forth from out karmic issues. Everyone including doctors calls these nightmares, and insomnia can be the result (of avoidance). Average insomnia is natural and the soul tells us when “not to sleep” for the dreaming will be too difficult and you need some time off so you stay awake. That is a good sign, and should be honored.
When insomnia becomes a major issue four or five times a week and over a few years, and then sleep apnea sets in, that is not healthy and then, one is completely avoiding the difficulty of their emotional body which can be avoided here, but in dreams the soul comes in and says you cannot avoid it.
Thus the creation of medication to be able to sleep, then over rides everything and your soul is torn and fragmented more and more each year. This is when nightmares come as a last ditch effort, within a double negative dreaming life. I do not recommend Hawthorn for nightmares, but for the occasional insomnia person, whose dreamer is not avoiding their emotional life issues, and they do have a dream life, its fine occasionally.
Hawthorn essence encourages forgiveness even in the most stubborn and prideful persons who wears the heaviest of heart in the waking life, and thus the dreaming life will reflect this. We learn to be vulnerable, to forgive, to slay our own mind and its belief systems when it prevents us from growing emotionally (mature). The mind convinces we are right, when we might be wrong… that is the shadow side of the ego my friend, if its continuing beyond reason or causes arguments or only triggers anger.
Herbal Medicine for the Physical Body
A medicinal flower, fruit, leaves and berries, all which are all astringent and useful. They are very helpful in curing that Winter sore throat to bring relief. In more serious ailments its a good dilate for the blood stream improving oxygenation and re-energy metabolism in the heart and decreasing lactic acid, basically any physical ailment connected with the heart. Hawthorn berries used in combination with motherwort will also strengthen the heart.
Hawthorn is used for diseases of the heart and blood vessels such as congestive heart failure, chest pain, and irregular heartbeat. It is also used to treat both low blood pressure and high blood pressure, “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis), and high cholesterol. So far, research suggests that hawthorn might be effective in treating congestive heart failure. Some people use hawthorn for digestive system complaints such as indigestion, diarrhea, and stomach pain.
It is also used to reduce anxiety, as a sedative, to increase urine output, and for menstrual problems. Hawthorn is also used to treat tapeworm and other intestinal infections. Some people apply hawthorn to the skin for boils, sores, and ulcers. Hawthorn preparations are used as a wash for sores, itching, and frostbite. Before taking hawthorn, talk with your a professional and seasoned herbalist, for she or he would want to know if you take any medications. It has major interactions with many prescription medications.
Folk Rites & Protection – Magic, Magick, Magik
When using Hawthorn in magical rites or healing, add a little hawthorn leaves to your smudge which allows a statement that you are trying to release some emotional pain and release is always done on a full moon. Hawthorn has magical powers to ward off evil as well, so as long as you are ‘aware or conscious’ enough of your evil, then it will work. It you avoid your own shadow “as in dark and shadow is neither good nor positive” and working on your shadow to heal it, then Hawthorn can assist you.
Hawthorn can be woven into a growing fence called a Hedgerow and protect spiritually the entrances of any entrances or gates to your home. These thorny barriers are very effective and have saved many villages from thieves and highwaymen. This twiggy thorny tree, with its white-stalked flowers and red anthers, also advises caution to passerbyers w ho know that a sacred person lives there and uses Hawthorn to deter the unconscious sides of people. So make a stick and wrap it with the intention to hand it around your driveway or gate.
Hawthorn is what some pagans call a Tree of Enchantment and many feel that the Insect Clans (faeries including butterfly) along with the nessie, dwarfs, domovoi and gnomes souls – are all Hawthorn’s smallest and most dedicated Guardians in the middle worlds behind the scenes. They protect the wells and springs located nearby where hawthorn grow. In a smudge, its beautiful flowers and new leaves dried, mixed together with your white sage, and used with intention or prayers reaches the upper-worlds (heaven) for good fortune and answers to your intention or spell, in any situation, if you also do the karmic work (personal healing work) as well for the yin types who must do that type of work. For yang type of people that is not really required.
If you sit under a Hawthorn on May 1st, the Celtic legends of the Goddess says that you are liable to be whisked away to the faerie worlds in your dreams at night or for the lucky few, a visit to you during the day if you can be still of mind enough. Also at dusk candles are lit on the Hawthorn (May Tree) as it is also known, to welcome Summer although May is technically still the third moon of Spring until the Summer Solstice happens on the equinox, so use common sense today regardless of tradition and their timelines to align with mother earth.
The blooms of the Hawthorn are used for protection, fertility, happiness and good luck. Wands which are made of the sacred Hawthorn have great power and allow the person some boundary power. Witches and Magical people use Hawthorn for protection, love and marriage in ceremony. As an Omen, its said that if you take a blossoming branch of Hawthorn inside one’s house it will bring illness to one’s mother, but that is a religious backfiring from the church fathers who no longer wanted any of the old healing rites in community.
Hawthorn for Protection
Hawthorn is one of the oldest protection wood, berry and flower for your soul, for your soul is not manifested in physical matter and therefor for many who are not seers, unseen, especially unseen soul shadows of living people. Hawthorn protects your soul from the unseen forces. Try carefully gathering a few thorns from the Hawthorn tree and on a piece of paper, write the name of the person or situation from which you seek protection from.
Then wrap it around the thorns and bury this in the ground – if possible near the tree from which the thorns were collected and do it out of love and forgiveness to that person (Sandra Kynes). You can carry a few berries in your pocket or even string them like a beaded necklace and wear them during ceremony or for protection or anytime you feel you need protection from shadows.
There’s also the eventual corruption of the Goddess Tree. Mara Freeman (from druidry.org) writes in her Tree Lore: Hawthorn…
“The hawthorn, was once known simply as ‘May’, is naturally enough the tree most associated with this month in many parts of the British Isles. When we read of medieval knights and ladies riding out ‘a-maying’ on the first morning of May, this refers to the flowering hawthorn boughs they gathered to decorate the halls rather than the month itself. For on this day, according to the Old Style calendar that was in use until the 18th century, the woods and hedges were alight with its glistening white blossoms.
This and similar customs to welcome in the summer flourished in rural places until quite recently. In some villages, mayers would leave a hawthorn branch at every house, singing traditional songs as they went. The seventeenth-century English poet Robert Herrick wrote:
There’s not a budding boy or girl this day,
But is got up and gone to bring in May;
A deal of youth ere this is come
Back, with whitethorn laden home.
The young girls rose at dawn to bathe in dew gathered from hawthorn flowers to ensure their beauty in the coming year, as the old rhyme goes:
The fair maid who, the first of May,
Goes to the fields at break of day
And washes in dew from the Hawthorn tree,
Will ever after handsome be.
May was the month of courtship and love-making after the winter’s cold; and so the Hawthorn is often found linked with love and sacred sex. In ancient Greece the wood was used for the marriage torch; and girls wore Hawthorn crowns at weddings in full bloom. One writer has even gone so far as to suggest that the ‘stale, sweet scent from the trimethylamine the flowers contain, makes them suggestive of sex.’ (Geoffrey Grigson: The Englishman’s Flora, Phoenix House, 1956)
But while hawthorn was a propitious tree, when the church got a hold of it, circumstances changed and the church fathers demanded that it be unlucky.
Hawthorn blooms and elder-flowers will fill a house with evil powers.
Even today many people will not allow the branches inside the house; for, as one might expect from its association with Beltane, a time when the two worlds meet. The threshold of the Otherworldly became feared. The Fairies are a part of the tradition of Hawthorns, and as he sits beneath an ancient thorn known as the Eildon tree. In another old rhyme, the Ballad of Sir Cawline, a lady dares the hero to go to Eldridge Hill where a Hawthorn grows, to await there the faery king.”
The Hawthorn, according to ancient myths, originally sprang from Lightning. After the rape of the Sabines, upon which occasion the shepherds carried Hawthorn-boughs, it was considered propitious; its blossoming branches were borne by those assisting at wedding festivities, and the newly-married couple were lighted to the bridal chamber with torches of the wood. At the present day, the Greeks garland the bride with wreaths of Hawthorn, and deck the nuptial altar with its blossoms, whilst on May-day they suspend boughs of the flowering shrub over their portals.
The ancient Germans composed their funeral-piles of Hawthorn wood, and consecrated it with the mallet, the symbol of the god Thor. They believed that in the sacred flame which shot upwards from the Thorn, the souls of the deceased were carried to heaven.
The Hawthorn is the distinguishing badge of the royal house of Tudor. When Richard III. was slain at Bosworth, his body was plundered of its armor and ornaments. The crown was hidden by a soldier in a Hawthorn-bush, but was soon found and carried back to Lord Stanley, who, placing it on the head of his son-in-law, saluted him as King Henry VII. To commemorate this picturesque incident, the house of Tudor assumed the device of a crown in a bush of fruited Hawthorn. The proverb of “Cleave to the crown, though it hang on a bush,” alludes to the same circumstance.
The Hawthorn has for centuries borne in England the favorite name of “May,” from its flowering in that month: “Between the leaves the silver Whitethorn shows its dewy blossoms pure as mountain snows.”
In olden times, very early on May-day morning, lads and lasses repaired to the woods and hedgerows, and returned, soon after sunrise, laden with posies of flowers, and boughs of blooming Hawthorn, with which to decorate the churches and houses: even in London boughs of May were freely suspended over the citizens’ doorways. Chaucer tells us how: —
“Furth goth all the Courte, both most and lest,
To fetch the flouris fresh, and braunche, and blome,
And namely Hawthorne brought both page and grome,
With fresh garland partly blue and white,
And than rejoicing in their grete delight.”
“We have been rambling all this night,
and almost all this day; and now returned back again,
we’ve brought you a branch of May.
“A branch of May we have brought you,
and at your door it stands;
It is but a sprout, but it’s well budded out
by the work of our Lord’s hands.”
Aubrey, writing in 1686, records that at Woodstock, in Oxfordshire, the people were accustomed on May-eve to go into the park and procure a number of Hawthorn-trees, which they set before their doors. In Huntingdonshire, on May-day morn, the young men used formerly to place, at sunrise, a branch of Hawthorn in blossom, before the door of anyone they wished to honour.
A curious superstition survives in Suffolk, where to sleep in a room, with the Hawthorn in bloom in it during the month of May, is considered, by country folk, to be unlucky, and sure to be followed by some great misfortune. In some parts of Ireland, it is thought unlucky to bring blossoming Hawthorn indoors, and unsafe to gather even a leaf from certain old and solitary Thorns which grow in sheltered hollows of the moorlands, and on the fairies’ trysting places.
It is considered unlucky to cut down a Hawthorn-tree, and in many parts the peasants refuse to do it: thus we read, in a legend of county Donegal, that a fairy had tried to steal one Joe McDonough’s baby, and, telling the story to her neighbors:
“I never affronted the gentry [fairies] to my knowledge,” sighed the poor mother; “ but Joe helped Mr. Todd’s gardener to cut down the old Hawthorn-tree on the lawn Friday was eight days: an’ there’s them that says that’s a very bad thing to do. I fleeched him not to touch it, but the master he offered him six shillings if he’d help wi’ the job, for the other men refused.”
“That’s the way of it,” whispered the crones over their pipes and poteen—“that’s just it. The gude man has had the ill luck to displease the ‘gentry,’ an’ there will be trouble in this house yet.”— Among the Pyrenean peasantry Hawthorn and Laurel are thought to secure the wearer against thunder. The inhabitants of Biarritz make Hawthorn wreaths on St. John’s Day: they then rush to the sea, plunge in after a prayer, and consider themselves safe during the ensuing twelve months from the temptation of evil spirits.—
The old herbalists prescribe the distilled water of the Haws of the Hawthorn as an application suited to “any place where thorns or splinters doe abide in the flesh,” the result being that the decoction “will notably draw them out.” Lord Bacon tells us, that a “store of Haws portends cold winters.”
Among the Turks, a branch of Hawthorn expresses the wish of a lover to receive a kiss. The Hawthorn attains to a great age, and its wood is remarkably durable: there is a celebrated tree enclosed in Cawdor Castle, near Inverness, which has stood from time immemorial. Tradition relates that the Castle was built over the tree in consequence of a dream, by which the original proprietor was instructed to erect a castle on this particular spot. From the most remote times it has been customary for guests to assemble themselves around this venerable tree, and drink success to the House of Cawdor.
The most remarkable of English Thorns is that known as the Glastonbury Thorn, which is reputed to have sprung from the staff of Joseph of Arimathea.
Yes we can be 100% physical fit as a sign of health, but the soul isn’t in the physical world, a part of her is within us (the energy body, chakra body or whatever teaching your familiar with, they are all the same, your well spring or life force). The majority of our soul is spread out in the graves of your karmic lifetimes sedimentary past lives. Or what we shamans call, the dreaming tree, which for most has died. Its time to replant them!
Sources: http://www.thegoddesstree.com/trees/Hawthorn.htm ; anniesremedy.com, webmd.com, thegoddesstree.com, Whispers from the Woods, by Sandra Kynes ; The Old Woman in the Wood, from The Grimm’s Fairy Tales, illustration by Arthur Rackham ; Hawthorn Tree Vintage Botanical; druidry.org; http://www.gutenberg.org/files/44638/44638-h/44638-h.htm#page-35