Hawthorn – Healing – Messenger of Hardwoods (Page of Swords)
Genus: Crataegus – Family: Rosaceae
Hawthorn heralds a time of energy and determination to begin a new adventure. By tending to our hearts desire we will have the strength and endurance to follow our dreams.
The common hawthorn Crataegus monogyna has been used for thousands of years to heal a “broken” heart. In folk medicine, the flowers, leaves and fruit are used to help reduce blood pressure, anxiety and inflammation. In Chinese medicine, it is used to improve digestion and cardiovascular function. Modern medicine is now using hawthorn to help treat chronic heart failure, elevated cholesterol and coronary heart disease. It is seen as tonic for strengthening heart contractions, thereby decreasing fatigue and shortness of breath, all of which helps to improve endurance.
Hawthorn is a tree of springtime and the birth of new possibilities.
The star-like blossoms of hawthorns are one of the last to bud in spring; this is seen as a signal that warm weather has finally arrived as the cycle of life continues. The legendary Glastonbury thorn, Crataegus monogyna ‘biflora’ miraculously blooms twice a year, once in winter and again in spring. According to legend, Joseph of Arimathea visited Glastonbury with the Holy Grail almost 2000 years ago. It was here that he planted his walking stick made of hawthorn in Somerset, England. The original hawthorn tree was cut down and burned in the 1640’s as a relic of superstition. It has since been destroyed and replanted several times in honor of the Holy Grail. In Victorian England, the hawthorn represented hope, based in the “language of flowers.” This language was “spoken” through the art of flower arrangement.
The genus name Crataegus comes from Greek, kratos meaning “strength” and akis “sharp,” referring to the thorns on its branches. The name hawis an Old English term for its edible apple-like fruit. The name hawthorn therefore speaks to both the fruit and the thorn. Hawthorn is also known as the May tree in European legend.
Hawthorn blossoms can be made into teas and tonics. The haw fruit harvested into jam and wine, while the wood can be carved into sacred items and boxes to hold our hopes and dreams.
Message: When hawthorn appears, it brings a message of hope and healing for our heart on both the physical and emotional level. This could signal the beginning of a new relationship or adventure. When we open our hearts and minds to what is possible, we soon discover that we are not alone on our journey. Hawthorn cleanses the heart of negativity and replenishes the body through nourishment. Hawthorn encourages us to feel renewed and refreshed as we venture forward on our journey through life.
Challenge: Being attached to outcomes holds us back from feeling the joy in the present moment. If we are preoccupied by goals we are missing the magic of the present moment.