By Phoenix of Elder Mountain – I recently added dried Hawthorn leaves and berries (the berries are also called Pixie Pears) to our smudge which we sell, because there are a few trees on the land and in the local area. I thought I would write up the great benefits that are positive medicinal properties, not only in smudge but other uses and share some folklore.
Hawthorn is one of the many sacred Trees, she is not very big and some are even more like shrubs. She has been honored for thousands of years because of her many benefits as natural medicine. Its considered a Goddess tree because she is very healing to our hearts, both the accumulative and the karmic principles. We humans all experience when love hurts, bringing sorrow or pain to the heart chakra area and if prolonged without emotional healing, it begins to cause physical damage. Hawthorn is an excellent herb for our heart.
When i have a client that has heart issues on a physical level, I know the underlying his or her sorrows are mainly about the long journey of love, love that was loss, or betrayal and heart related emotional issues that have accumulated over decades and begun to eat away at the actual physical body. Long ago, body & soul were important, but over the last 2,000 years the mind has taken over and is so dominant, body and soul as a working interdependent relationship has been severed. Our proof is so much physical sickness in the world and not enough emotional healing in direct relief of physical ailments. But this does not happen because the ‘mind’ cannot see the soul and thus many are not believers.
Hawthorn, white and odorous
with blossom, framing the quiet
fields and swaying flowers and
grasses and the hum of Bees.
– F. S. Flint, 1885-1960
Hawthorn for the reluctant Dreamer
Hawthorn has been proven to help with insomnia and allows one to see the dreams that are more intense by falling asleep. We fall asleep sometimes to do this work which is brought forth from out karmic issues. Everyone including doctors calls these nightmares, and insomnia can be the result (of avoidance). Average insomnia is natural and the soul tells us when “not to sleep” for the dreaming will be too difficult and you need some time off so you stay awake. That is a good sign, and should be honored.
When insomnia becomes a major issue four or five times a week and over a few years, and then sleep apnia sets in, that is not healthy and then, one is completely avoiding the difficulty of their emotional body which can be avoided here, but in dreams the soul comes in and says you cannot avoid it. Thus the creation of medications to sleep then over rides everything and you soul is torn and fragmented more and more each year. This is when nightmares come as a last ditch effort with a double negative dreaming life. I do not recommend Hawthorn for that, but for the occasional insomnia person, whose dreamer is not avoiding their emotional life and dream life.
Hawthorn essence encourages forgiveness even in the most stubborn and prideful persons who wears the heaviest of heart in the waking life, and thus the dreaming life will reflect this. We learn to be vulnerable, to forgive, to slay our own mind and its belief systems when it prevents us from growing emotionally (mature). The mind convinces we are right, when we might be wrong… that is the shadow side of the ego my friend, if its continuing beyond reason or causes arguments or only triggers anger.
Folk Rites & Protection – Magic, Magick, Magik
When using Hawthorn in magical rites or healing, add a little hawthorn leaves to your smudge which allows a statement that you are trying to release some emotional pain and release is always done on a full moon. Hawthorn has magical powers to ward off evil as well, so as long as you are ‘aware or conscious’ enough of your evil, then it will work. It you avoid your own shadow “as in dark and shadow is neither good nor positive” and working on your shadow to heal it, then Hawthorn can assist you.
Hawthorn can be woven into a growing fence called a Hedgerow and protect spiritually the entrances of any entrances or gates to your home. These thorny barriers are very effective and have saved many villages from thieves and highwaymen. This twiggy thorny tree, with its white-stalked flowers and red anthers, also advises caution to passerbyers w ho know that a sacred person lives there and uses Hawthorn to deter the unconscious sides of people. So make a stick and wrap it with the intention to hand it around your driveway or gate.
Hawthorn is what some pagans call a Tree of Enchantment and many feel that the Insect Clans (faeries including butterfly) along with the nessie, dwarfs, domovoi and gnomes souls – are all Hawthorn’s smallest and most dedicated Guardians in the middle worlds behind the scenes. They protect the wells and springs located nearby where hawthorn grow. In a smudge, its beautiful flowers and new leaves dried, mixed together with your white sage, and used with intention or prayers reaches the upper-worlds (heaven) for good fortune and answers to your intention or spell, in any situation, if you also do the karmic work (personal healing work) as well for the yin types who must do that type of work. For yang type of people that is not really required.
If you sit under a Hawthorn on May 1st, the Celtic legends of the Goddess says that you are liable to be whisked away to the faerie worlds in your dreams at night or for the lucky few, a visit to you during the day if you can be still of mind enough. Also at dusk candles are lit on the Hawthorn (May Tree) as it is also known, to welcome Summer although May is technically still spring until the Summer Solstice, so use common sense today regardless of tradition. The blooms of the Hawthorn are used for fertility, happiness and good luck in fishing. Wands which are made of the sacred Hawthorn have great power and allow the person some boundary power. Witches use Hawthorn for protection, love and marriage spells. As an Omen, its said that if you take a blossoming branch of Hawthorn inside one’s house it will bring illness to one’s mother.
To protect yourself, try carefully gathering a few thorns from the tree and on a piece of paper, write the name of the person or situation from which you seek protection from. Then wrap it around the thorns and bury this in the ground – if possible near the tree from which the thorns were collected and do it out of love and forgiveness to that person (Sandra Kynes). You can carry a few berries in your pocket or even string them like a beaded necklace and wear them during ceremony or for protection or anytime you feel you need protection from shadows.
Herbal Medicine for the Physical Body
A medicinal flower, fruit, leaves and berries, all which are all astringent and useful. They are very helpful in curing that Winter sore throat to bring relief. In more serious ailments its a good dilate for the blood stream improving oxygenation and re-energy metabolism in the heart and decreasing lactic acid, basically any physical ailment connected with the heart. Hawthorn berries used in combination with motherwort will also strengthen the heart.
Medicinal Uses for Hawthorn:
Parts used: Flowers, leaves, berries.
Cardiovascular Heart Issues, Stress, Hypertension
Properties: Cordial, Hypotensive. Constituents: tannins,
flavonoids, essential oils, triterpene-carbonic acids
and purine derivatives.
Hawthorn is used for diseases of the heart and blood vessels such as congestive heart failure, chest pain, and irregular heartbeat. It is also used to treat both low blood pressure and high blood pressure, “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis), and high cholesterol. So far, research suggests that hawthorn might be effective in treating congestive heart failure. Some people use hawthorn for digestive system complaints such as indigestion, diarrhea, and stomach pain. It is also used to reduce anxiety, as a sedative, to increase urine output, and for menstrual problems. Hawthorn is also used to treat tapeworm and other intestinal infections. Some people apply hawthorn to the skin for boils, sores, and ulcers. Hawthorn preparations are used as a wash for sores, itching, and frostbite. Before taking hawthorn, talk with your a professional and seasoned herbalist, for she or he would want to know if you take any medications. It has major interactions with many prescription medications.
As the strong souls once again return the ancient pagan and pre-pagan traditions and call it back forth from the divine realms of pre-history – we now are able to honor openly with strength our healing ways and practice them again as the Goddess (nature) returns to help us heal during this last cycle of the patriarchal god. When the Pagan teachings were forbidden along with the ancient shamans & witches who were “the” medicine people, around the 4th century the long and beloved tree was then under science’s control. Even though in small villages and smaller clans, the women still did their healing and magical healing work, by the 11th century it was renamed and called the God of War’s Tree (Mars) and thus followed by the plague in the 13th century.
The seeds in the berries were increasing in the uses of alcohol and alcohol had its first uses of widespread “what ails you, drink your troubles away” acceptance, but that was not enough to stop the development of broken hearts and with so many heart issues and diseases today, 8 centuries later, the soul has turned dull and lifeless as the magic of the goddess was gone, or what we shamans call, the dreaming trees have died. Time to replant them!
Nicholas Culpeper, in 1653 believed that there was nothing left of the Goddess in the Hawthorn flowers because they still bear the smell and experience of the Plague of London from a thousand years of war. The tree then was regarded as the Crown of Thorns and was crowned in English royalty having won the battle over the old ways, the Oglives, chosen by Henry VII.
Sources: http://www.thegoddesstree.com/trees/Hawthorn.htm ; anniesremedy.com, webmd.com, thegoddesstree.com, Whispers from the Woods, by Sandra Kynes ; The Old Woman in the Wood, from The Grimm’s Fairy Tales, illustration by Arthur Rackham ; Hawthorn Tree Vintage Botanical ;