The Hawthorn lifts the spirits, gives psychic protection and brings love into the heart. Hawthorn to ancient Greeks was a symbol of hope and happiness. The Romans used Hawthorn to protect their children whilst they slept. Known as a wishing tree the Hawthorn marks the threshold to the other-world where our wishes are considered, weighed and hopefully granted. Hawthorn grants harmony amongst friends and family, releases blocked energy and creates an ability to simultaneously walk the twin paths of earth and spirit.
Folklore and Mythology
Hawthorn is a pagan symbol of fertility and has ancient associations with May Day. It was the ancestor of the Maypole and its leaves and flowers the source of May Day garlands as well as appearing in the wreath of the Green Man.
Its blossoming marks the point at which spring turns into summer, and the old saying ‘Cast ne’er a clout ere May is out’ almost certainly refers to the opening of hawthorn flowers rather than the end of the month.
Ancient Chinese used the hawthorn berry to make a fermented beverage; Archeologists have found traces of the hawthorn berry in pottery jars dating around 7000 B.C. It is believed that these beverages were used for religious ceremonies to connect the drinker to the spirit world.
In Native American folklore the spines of the Porcupine were transformed from the Hawthorn tree and gifted to the animal for protection by a trickster spirit called Nanabozho.
In Old Europe it was believed that rubbing the face with dew from a hawthorn bush on the first day of may was believed to remove freckles and ensure a good complexion. A common way to remove warts was to tub the wart with a slug or snail and then impale it on a hawthorn twig....yeuch !!!
To protect yourself from a person or bad situation follow this spell.
On a piece of paper, write the name of the person or situation from which you seek protection, and then wrap it around the thorns. Bury this in the ground near the tree from which the thorns were collected.
The most famous holy thorn is at Glastonbury, in south-west England, where it grows amid the ruins of the medieval abbey. According to legend, Joseph of Arimathea brought it from the Holy Land when he bore the Grail to England, and it blooms every Christmas to celebrate Christ's birth.
Serbian folklore that spread across the Balkans notes that hawthorn is essential to kill vampires and stakes used for their slaying must be made from the wood of the thorn tree.
Uses of Hawthorn
Common hawthorn timber is a creamy-brown colour, finely grained and very hard. It can be used in turnery and engraving and to make veneers and cabinets, as well as boxes, tool handles and boat parts. It also makes good firewood and charcoal, and has a reputation for burning at high temperatures.
The young leaves, flower buds and young flowers are all edible. They can be added to green salads and grated root salads. The developing flower buds are particularly good. The haws can be eaten raw but may cause mild stomach upset. They are most commonly used to make jellies, wines and ketchups.
It has long been grown as a hedging plant and is a popular choice in wildlife gardens.