According to my datebook, today marks the beginning of the Celtic Hawthorn Tree Month.
The Hawthorn month is a time of fertility and power — in perfect alignment with the festivities of Beltane/May Day, celebrated earlier this month. From a magickal perspective, this is a good time to banish bad habits or to work spells to build protection, promote intuition or effect cleansing and purification.
Spring leaf buds are a substitute for smoking tobacco, and the berries can be harvested in the fall for use in tinctures and extracts. Herbalists use Hawthorn to address cardiac concerns. From an astrological standpoint, people born during the Hawthorn month are said to be innovators — shrewd and stable business people who are full of new ideas. The Hawthorn tree is thought to be sacred to the faeries/fey, and wands made from this wood can be used in workings for healing and guidance.
It’s this last bit that has me blogging about the Hawthorn tree today.
There are many beneficial plants immediately available to us in the natural world, if we just know what to look for. I don’t. The few edible plants and berries I can identify in the wild still make me nervous — though I’ve not yet gotten sick from picking blackberries on hiking trails.
When I grew my own basil and oregano for the first time, it struck me that I was hesitant to put something from my yard into my food. I was so used to buying food from the store — getting everything out of a jar or a box — that introducing an actual plant made me worried I’d accidentally poison myself. Crazy, considering that for thousands of years, there were no grocery stores. People got their food from the source.
It took me a while to get over the idea of putting something fresh, green and direct-from-the-ground into my mouth. But soon I was snacking in the garden. When I got hungry, I could just step outside and pull a few cherry tomatoes or snow peas off the vine, and eat them right there.
Besides offering sources of food, plants and trees like the Hawthorn also provide medicinal ingredients. But they don’t do us any good if we’re reluctant or too ignorant to use them. I’m reminded of a story about a dieter who looks at a piece of cake and only sees the number of calories — but those high calories only come into play if you actually eat the cake.
Same goes for natural or any other kind of healing. It only works if you use it.
I don’t have a Hawthorn wand, nor am I aware of any Hawthorn trees around from which I might harvest berries for healing tinctures. Truth is, I wouldn’t be able to identify a Hawthorn tree if I saw one. But the beginning of this Hawthorn month has me thinking about paying closer attention to the healing resources available all around us — sometimes literally right in the back yard. Hawthorn holds out the promise of healing and guidance, but only if we make the choice to embrace it.