Thursday, 19 April 2012

Continuing the Pagan blog Project - H

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 Ireland 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 Britain 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 Ireland and Wales it is tradition in the spring to braid crowns of Hawthorn blossoms and leave them as a gift for the Fae. 

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. Hawthorne in the rafters of a home is good for protection against spirits, and ghosts.    
In Appleton in the British County of Cheshire 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 Dutton. 
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. 

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