Hawthorn – Healing – Messenger of Hardwoods (Page of Swords)
Genus: Crataegus – Family: Rosaceae
Hawthorn heralds a time of hope and healing as we begin a new adventure or chapter in our lives. This is a good time to listen to our heart and follow our passion regardless of the challenges.
In Celtic lore, the hawthorn marks the entrance to the “otherworld” and is associated with fairies, songbirds and magical spirits. The star-like blossoms of hawthorns are one of the last to bud in spring; seen as a signal that warm weather has finally arrived as the cycle of life continues. Some believe it was the inspiration for the maypole.
The genus name Crataegus comes from Greek, kratos meaning “strength” and akis “sharp,” referring to the thorns on its branches. The name haw is 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 many European legends.
The legendary Glastonbury thorn is a common hawthorn, Crataegus monogyna ‘biflora’ that “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 and planted his walking stick made of hawthorn on this site in Somerset, England. The original tree was cut down and burned in 1640’s as a relic of superstition. It has been replanted and destroyed several times since. In Victorian England, the hawthorn represented hope, based in the “language of flowers” that is “spoken” through the understanding and arrangement of flowers.
The common hawthorn Crataegus monogyna has been used for thousands of years to treat conditions of the heart, including a broken heart. In folk medicine, it is called quickset and white-thorn. The flowers, leaves and fruit are used to reduce blood pressure and stimulate the heart. In Chinese medicine, it is used to improve cardiovascular function. Modern medicine is now using it to treat chronic heart failure and other cardiovascular disease.
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 treasures 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.