The Hawthorn Tree
I was visiting my mom and my aunt the other day out at the ranch, which formerly belonged to my grandma and where I grew up. We were sitting around the old Formica table in the kitchen chatting on about how green everything was, when my aunt said that she was going to have the Hawthorn cut down.
“What for?” I blurted out, before remembering that grandma left her the house and surrounding property.
She said the thorns were too dangerous. Well okay, yes, the thorns can grow to three inches, but we all grew up with the tree and learned to be respectful of it. My grandma received the tree as a gift from her sister and it is over 100 years old.
I tried explaining that it was a magical tree and that the thorns, flowers and berries were used in various applications. I stopped short of telling her it was sacred to the faeries. Mom was giving me the ‘Mom’ look. You see my aunt doesn’t follow the family path, never had an interest and thinks it’s foolish and superstitious.
I walked outside to visit the tree. Apparently she had already been hacking at it. I began picking up some of the small branches with thorns on them. Mom came out and I tried to appeal to her to convince my aunt not to have the tree cut down, but again, we have no claim. Buggers!
Mom helped me find all the thorny branches and take them to my car. I told her that offerings of cream need to be made to the tree and before it is cut down, the trunk should be beaten so that the faeries retreat to the roots and the earth. As I looked around the yard I noticed that the Lamb’s Ears & Chamomile were gone and grandma’s private garden was turned under. The storm last week took out the Willow tree, but the Elder tree is still standing. I have hopes for the Elder because my aunt makes jelly.
Some Hawthorn Lore:
In the British Isles, the blooming of the hawthorn signaled the beginning of summer and the celebration of Beltaine. The flowers are known as ‘The May’. At sunrise on Beltaine, women would wash their faces in the dew of the hawthorn flowers for beauty and men wound wash their hands to be skilful in their work.
The hawthorn blooms at a time when the veil is thin (Beltaine) and is considered an ‘Otherworldly’ tree, especially when growing next to a well, also a portal to the Otherworld.
Witches were said to make their brooms from the hawthorn not the ash.
Magic wands and walking sticks are made from the hawthorn, but you must inform the faeries of your intention and never cut more than you need.
The tree is also known as the Elf tree and to harm a Hawthorn is to incur their wrath.
Hawthorn berries added to your spell will increase the spells success.
Crowns braided from Hawthorn blossoms and left for the faeries to dance around them at night, would bring blessings to the one who braded the crown.
The thorns of the tree can be used in all types of protection magic, like being added to a Witch’s Jar.
With poppet magic, the thorns can replace the pins. Piercing the heart on a poppet can either open the person’s heart up to your love or can break the heart of another (depending on your intent).
Fishermen would carry a thorn from the Hawthorn tree in their pocket to assure a plentiful catch.
The hawthorn can live to be 400 years old, are hearty trees and can grow even in poor soil.
I have not given up on saving grandma’s hawthorn. I’m working to postpone the cutting down of the tree until it begins to bud, then I can take a cutting and hopefully start a new tree. At least I know the Elder in the yard and the Nightshade that grows behind the hills are safe, for now.
Blessings on your Hearth & Home