Hawthorn (Crataegus) may be small, but she’s also one of the most magical trees in the Western traditions. Running through the folklore and herbal healing wisdom of countless cultures and continents, she’s associated with love, fairies, the Great Goddess, and the divine marriage between the Goddess and the God.
To this day, the British royal family’s Christmas table is adorned with a flowering sprig of Glastonbury thorn. Related in myth to both Jesus and King Arthur, hawthorn is a descendant of the same biannually flowering tree that was legendarily born of Joseph of Arimathea’s staff when he placed it in the ground at Glastonbury.
Embracing What Is
Magically, hawthorn is highly protective, in large part because of her ability to bring us fully into the present moment. After all, when we’re fully present, we’re both relaxed and alert, which makes us ready to defend ourselves swiftly and effectively.
Medicinally, hawthorn has been employed in a number of cultures and continents to support digestion. This mirrors her ability to help us “digest” and harmoniously assimilate what is true in any given moment. By helping us surrender to what really is—not what “should” or “shouldn’t” be—we release resistance and move through challenges in the most ideal of ways.
Hawthorn has long been considered a tree associated with fairies and the border between the realms. Her flowering branches are used to decorate on Beltane, when the veil between the human world and fairyland is the thinnest. Consequently, she’s also aligned with the sacred union of the pagan Goddess and God that is traditionally celebrated on this day.
Furthermore, the hawthorn is dear to the fairy realm because of her many contributions to the care and feeding of wildlife. By providing food, shelter, and nectar, she supports the lives of many varieties of birds, mammals, and insects.
Medicinally, hawthorn has been used to strengthen the physical heart. Author Fred Hageneder states in The Meaning of Trees, “Trials have shown that it helps in the treatment of high blood pressure and mild to moderate heart failure, while also helping to reduce the anxiety associated with these conditions.”
Magically, hawthorn’s vibration has long been employed to heal broken hearts. For example:
HAWTHORN HEALING WATER FOR A BROKEN HEART
To facilitate and speed the healing of a broken heart, gather two bottles of clean drinking water and visit a blossoming hawthorn tree. Sit or stand comfortably and breathe consciously as you relax your body and come into the present moment. When you feel grounded and centered, hold both bottles and say a prayer of blessing. Call on angels or simply the Divine to bless the water with pure, vibrant white light. Envision the water pulsating with this light. As an offering, pour one of the bottles around the base of the tree. Then request that the tree bless the other bottle with a vibration that will support the healing of your broken heart in exactly the way that is most needed. Trust that the tree responds according to your wish. When you feel ready, drink the water. As you do so, feel it filling you with a beautiful healing and balancing light.
Protection from Vampires
According to Serbian legend, if you want to kill a vampire with a stake, it must be made of hawthorn. Apparently, this is due to the vampire’s allergy to the wood, which is reminiscent of the famed aversion to garlic.
Of course, vampires in the movies drink blood, and there are actually some people who enjoy doing so; though usually not the blood of nonconsenting adults. Self-aware psychic vampires are also often quite ethical about receiving consent. The problem, however, are the people who greedily prey on others by draining their energy in the form of money, vitality, or power. If, for any reason, you feel that you are uncomfortably close to unpleasantly predatory vampires of this variety, you may want to carry the following charm:
HAWTHORN VAMPIRE WARD
Lovingly gather a hawthorn twig under the bright noonday sun. Empower a clove of garlic in this same sunlight, and then tie both into a bit of deep red flannel. When you need protection from vampires, carry it in your pocket or use a safety pin to secure it under your clothes.
As a member of the rose family and a plant with a five-petaled flower (making her sacred to the Goddess), hawthorn is associated with joyful commitment and lasting romantic love. Flowering hawthorn branches were traditionally employed in wedding ceremonies and were used to adorn altars to Hymen, the Greek god of marriage celebrations.
To precipitate a proposal or to bless a proposal you’re planning to make, place flowering hawthorn on your altar on a Friday during the waxing moon.
If you discover a hawthorn growing near a sacred well or a natural spring, you can confide in her a wish. Then tie a small bit of ribbon or colored yarn around one of her branches to demonstrate that you fully release the ideal unfolding of your wish to her infinite wisdom.