Hawthorn 2024

By S.F. Skyheart - March 21, 2024
Hawthorn 2024

The period from March 21 - April 17 is Hawthorn according to the Celtic Tree calendar.

Hawthorn is native to temperate regions of Europe, Asia, North America and North Africa. It has about 100 varieties within its species, bearing red, yellow, or black fruit called "haws." The leaves are small, trefoil shaped, with a pointed tip. Its common names are hawberry, quickthorn, whitethorn, gentry thorn, lone bush, skeagh, thornapple, haeg thorn, May tree, May Flower, and faery trees.

The trunks are often gnarled and twisted, and its branches are thorny, both lending to ancient Celtic superstition. In Ireland, Hawthorn trees are often found standing alone on old ring forts or in fields, which makes them appear haunted and otherworldly without their leaves in the winter. The trees that were not deliberately planted, growing up on their own, were feared as shelter for nocturnal faery gatherings, often guarding buried gold under its roots. It was believed that the faeries could bring misfortune to anyone who upset them or tried to get the gold, so people avoided them--and the Hawthorn--rather than risk poor health, bad luck, or destruction of livestock or crops. Children were warned away from single Hawthorns, lest they disappear with the faeries into the magickal realm.

Hawthorn earned the nicknames May tree and May Flower because of its red, pink or white blooms in early May in Ireland, coinciding with the festival of Beltane. Beltane Eve was believed to be an especially mischievous night for faeries, when people did protection rituals of their children, homes, crops, and livestock. Some theorize that the superstition is rooted in the Hawthorn flowers, which emit a musky, pungent smell like a rotting corpse. 

In stark contrast, several species of Hawthorn are used in Bonsai, the traditional Japanese art of growing and shaping miniature trees in containers. The art of Bonsai uses pruning and other cultivation methods to produce small trees that look like mature, full-size trees. It is a contemplative practice, intended to connect with the present moment and inspire creativity. 

The dried berries from some varieties have been used as a digestive aid in traditional Chinese medicine and Japanese medicine. Herbal folk medicine uses a variety of Hawthorn for strengthening cardiovascular function. Scientific research from 2008-2010 established that it has potential as a treatment for cardiovascular disease, but it is still being evaluated.

Hawthorn is most often planted as a hedge to provide a natural fence to property. Superstitions aside, it reminds us to reflect on our boundaries--emotional, energetic, and physical. Do we need to trim any people or activities, to give ourselves more space or time? How can we better love ourselves and guard our own golden value?

If we can't cut ties with someone (perhaps family or coworker) we can certainly fortify our boundaries with them to better define how we allow them to interact with us. The best boundaries give others a clear expectation of you, rather than demand they change their behavior. Instead of "please don't email me on the weekend," your auto-reply can state, "I will reply as soon as possible during business hours."

I recently read about a woman whose employer insisted they had to return to in-person work, mandating absolutely no working from home was allowed. The same employer kept contacting her in the evenings/weekends and the woman became fed up, so she stopped responding. On her next work day, the employer demanded to know why so many calls were ignored. The woman said, "Your policy is clear. No working from home." Brilliant!

It's time for spring cleaning: our home, car, office, inbox, subscriptions, and obligations. Hawthorn symbolizes self-empowerment and clearing of anything (or anyone) that no longer aligns with our heart. 

Do what lights you up,

See also: 

Aries 2024
Hawthorn: Huathe
Hawthorn: Hagalaz
Hawthorn: topaz
Hawthorn: stag
Hawthorn: unicorn
Celtic Tree Months

Blog is for inspirational and entertainment purposes only. 

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