This is the fourth post in the Celtic Tree Calendar series. The modern Celtic Tree Calendar is based on the idea that each of the letters in the ancient Celtic Ogham alphabet corresponds to a tree. The calendar consists of 13 lunar divisions with a different tree representing each 28 day period.
From May 13 through June 10, we celebrate the Celtic month of Hawthorn, Thorn Apple or Huath, which is the 6th month of the Celtic year and represents the letter H in the Ogham alphabet.
Hawthorns (Crataegus), which are native in Maine, are the 2nd largest species of any genus of plants in New England. They are common hedge plants and can grow to be 25-35’ tall.
A member of the Rose family, the thorns on a Hawthorn can be 1 ½ – 3″ long (not to worry, a thornless variety is available for home landscapes).
Hawthorn’s fragrant white flowers appear in late spring. Later in the summer, her red edible fruits, called “haws” (which means hedge) ripen. They are high in antioxidants and used in teas, jelly, wine, and liqueurs.
In the fall she makes a grand exit with a beautiful display of foliage ranging in colors from purple to scarlet to orange.
Sacred for centuries to many indigenous peoples all over the world, Hawthorn is one of the most magical trees in western traditions. She’s strongly associated with love, healing, fairies, the festival of Beltane, the Celtic goddess Brigid, fertility, protection, relaxation, and happiness.
Hawthorn has powerful fairy magic and is also considered an elf tree. It is said that cutting one will bring misfortune from the elves that lived within it, especially if blooming. In 1999 work was interrupted on a main road from Limerick to Galway in Ireland because a Hawthorn stood in its path. The road was re-routed, and construction was delayed for 10 years.
Hawthorns are highly protective and bring us into the present moment. Her thorns signify her power and protection. She offers anyone in need a protective space where they can heal from a wounded heart or spirit.
Hawthorn’s bark, fruit and flowers have strong, gentle medicine. Her most significant benefit is her ability to treat heart conditions, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
She is a very powerful healer of the heart – both physically and spiritually and provides kind but tough love.
Hawthorn is also used to help strengthen the appetite, as a digestive aid, for insomnia, and poor circulation.
Hawthorns are also a very valuable tree for wildlife. They provide food, shelter, and nesting sites for songbirds, native bees, honey bees, butterflies and other insects and small animals.
This month, let Hawthorn lift your spirits and fill your heart with her magic.