H is for Hawthorn
In the Celtic Year the month governed by Hawthorn was May 13 – June 9 and its Celtic name is Huath. The Hawthorn is also known by the names of May blossom, Mayflower, May tree, May bush and Hawthorn.
In herbal use the berries are used as a cardiac tonic as it is a strong herb it would be advisable not to use it on its own, therefore it would be better to mix with borage, motherwort, cayenne, garlic and dandelion flowers. Hawthorn leaves can be used too as a substitute for oriental green tea and the seeds can be roasted and used like coffee.
Hawthorn wood is similar to apple wood and usually does not grow much bigger than a shrub, it is found in hedgerows all over the
British Isles and the pink/white blossom give a
musky scent. It is said that the young
leaves of Hawthorn can be eaten in salads, much like rocket.
Some ancient Hawthorns guard ancient wells, particularly in
where torn material known as
clouties are hung on the branches of the shrub for healing or wishes and as the
material degrades; the wish develops. Hawthorn
is also one of the nine woods placed on the Bale fire and is burned to purify
and draw in the Fae. The month of the Hawthorn is a good time to do any
magickal work which will clear old habits; it can also be used for protection,
love and marriage. The Fae are fond of
Hawthorn groves and is one of the sacred Faerie triad trees of Ireland and where oak, ash and hawthorn
grow together, it is said you will see the Faeries. Lore has it that also sitting under a
Hawthorn in the month of May means that you are lost forever into the unknown,
mystic faerie world. Even today in parts
of Britain and Ireland it is tradition in the spring to
braid crowns of Hawthorn blossoms and leave them as a gift for the Fae. Wales
Branches of Hawthorn used to be fastened to houses, this custom was said to bring the blessing which the Hawthorn tree spirit has in its power to bring to the village, and in some places it is tradition to plant a may tree near the house.
in the rafters of a home is good
for protection against spirits, and ghosts. Hawthorne
in the Appleton of British County there is a custom around midsummer
of “Bawming the Thorn” in which school children walk in parade to the tree and
dance around the thorn tree which is situated outside the church. The tree is bedecked with garlands, ribbons
and flowers. Local tradition has it that
the tree in Appleton, Cheshire is an offshoot of the original Glastonbury
Thorn, brought to Appleton in1178 by the lord of the manor, Adam de
In the past most witches’ gardens contained at least one Hawthorn hedge for protection, as well as being one of the ingredients in the famous Flying Ointment. Leaves can also be used as a charm to protect a newborn child and a thorn carried in a pouch can bring good luck while fishing and can also ward off depression. A Hawthorn branch hung from the roof or chimney of a house will protect it from lightning.