Magickal Hawthorn Tree: The Mayflower Tree – Revisited [again!] for Beltane

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram:  @thewandcarver

This blog was published in 2018, including part of my 2017 Beltane blog…I like reusing things, so why not the reuse of a blog? Especially if it touches on some very good points! Besides, it does aide me in getting more of the blogs from the old site over to this one…win! So, here in 2022 with much water under the bridge between here and 2018, I wish everyone a very happy and safe Beltane. May everyone be blessed with good health, prosperity and protection.

hawthorn alone
lone Hawthorn tree, courtesy of Google images

Happy Beltane, everyone! Or, if you are in The Land Down Under, Happy Samhain! I thought it appropriate to re-visit our Hawthorn tree blog today as it is traditionally used as the “May Pole” being today is also May Day.  And then I get thinking “what more can I say about the wonderful Hawthorn?”.  I really couldn’t think of  a thing, however, as I sat researching a herb I plan on writing about by reading in Nicholas Culpeper’s herbal, The English Physician, I ran across his passage on Hawthorn! What better way to begin my re-blog than to quote the words of the foremost herbalist of his day and still popular in our time? So, forgive the misspellings, for the English language had not quite been tamed yet, or, the authors of many of the olde worldy books just could not spell! Without further hesitation, I give you Nicholas Culpeper’s take on Hawthorn:

HAWTHOEN.

It is not my intention to trouble you with a description of this tree, which is so well known that it needs none.  It is ordinarily but a hedge bush, although being pruned and dressed, it grows to be a tree of reasonable height.

As for the Hawthorn Tree at Glastonbury, which is said to flower yearly on Christmas-day, it rather shews the superstition of those that observe it for the time of its flowering, than any great wonder, since the like may be found in divers other places of this land; as in Whey-street in Romney March, and near unto Nantwich in Cheshire, by a place called White Green, where it flowers about Christmas and May.  If the weather be frosty, it flowers not until January, or that the hard weather be over.

Government and virtues.]  It is a tree of Mars.  The seeds in the berries beaten to powder being drank in wine, are held singularly good against the [kidney] stone, and they are good for the dropsy.  The distilled water of the flowers stays the lask.  The seed cleared from the down, bruised and boiled in wine, and drank is good for inward tormenting pains.  If cloths and sponges be wet in the distilled water, and applied to any place wherein thorns and splinters, or the like, do abide in the flesh, it will notably draw them forth.

And thus you see the thorn gives a medicine for his own pricking and so doth almost everything else.” ~ Nicholas Culpeper, The English Physician and Complete Herbal, 16th century

Culpeper’s way was to assign a planet to every tree, flower, and wort and every part of the human body was assigned a planet as well. If a wort or tree was ruled by Mars you only need to use it for healing the part of the body also ruled by Mars.  This was not something you took lightly in those days.  He spent most of his life researching by astrology, biology, and the science of making people well again. On the top of it all, he was quite a prolific writing.  Although centuries have passed since  this writing, we have found all to be true the things Culpeper learned in his research.  Many times when I am writing about a herb I consult The English Physician to see what Culpeper made of the herb back in his time and I find that we are still, for instance, using Angelica to help with stomach ailments or Cherry to cure a sore throat or chest congestion.  It goes to prove they did get it right in those days and we owe Culpeper and many others a huge debt of gratitude for what they learned and left with us.

Today is May Day and the first day of Beltane.  And in many places a tall post of Hawthorn may be being used today for a May Pole.  But I do hope in preparing the Hawthorn for its celebratory ritual that people remembered to use all of the Hawthorn and not to waste it…keeping leaves, bark, and so forth for healing potions or protections.

So, please enjoy the rest of the blog, if you have never read it before, and if you have, I hope you have enjoyed the re-visit with new information. Happy May Day and Beltane to all!

From August, 2017:

Hawthorn Ogham Pendant
Hawthorn Huath Ogham Pendant ~ photo by i.macy

The Hawthorn tree represents the sixth month of the Celtic Tree calendar, 13 May – 9 June, and this period is represented by the Ogham for this tree, which is also the 6th letter of the ogham alphabet, Huath (Huathe, Uath). The Hawthorn Tree, or Mayflower tree, is sacred to Roman Goddess Flora, Celtic Goddesses Aine and Brigid, along with the Manx – Celtic God Manannàn Mac Leirr. This Ogham symbol is used in Celtic Reiki and its essence represents the energy of cleansing and preparation. It clears the mind of negative thoughts and mental confusion, offering clarity: it gives patience and offers stillness. The Hawthorn tree is masculine and usually, but not always, grows in hedges, but a lone Hawthorn tree, growing on a hill is a portal to the world of faery and is also considered one of the three trees of the Faery Triad, including Oak and Ash. We offer a Hawthorn Ogham pendant in our Etsy shop for those born in the lovely month of May, or in fact, to anyone who loves Hawthorn. Not available as of this writing.

Oak Ash and Thorn
The Faery Triad Talisman: Oak, Ash, and Thorn ~ photo by i.macy

Hawthorn Faery
Along with Oak and Ash, Hawthorn forms the “faery triad” that is especially inviting to the fae. Hawthorn is, in some ways, the faery tree, forming a portal to the faery realm and holding strong magick. The Hawthorn faery offers access to the Other-World, but also protects the unwary, so it is important to be patient with this spirit. She can enchant your life, bringing growth and fertility to all areas, and when the Hawthorn flowers in spring, it represents the bridal gown of the young Goddess. Hawthorn is sacred to the Welsh sun goddess Olwen, the “white lady of the day.” Where she trod she left white footprints on hawthorn, and her father, Yspaddaden Pencawr, was “Giant Hawthorn.” Thirteen tasks were demanded of her suitor, Culhwych, before he could marry her and overcome the power of the giant. Thirteen is a number associated with the moon, for the moon makes 13 circuits of the zodiac to one of the sun. Thus, the Hawthorn suggests union of sun and moon, male and female. The Hawthorn faery promises cleansing, fulfilment, guardianship, and fertility. Keeping grounded and practical is the best way to access her and use her gifts.” ~ The Faery Bible by Teresa Moorey

In Ireland, Hawthorns have always been highly respected as faery trees. They were often referred to as ‘gentle bushes’ after the custom of not naming faeries directly out of respect. Solitary thorns were known as the faeries’ Trysting Trees, and frequently grew on barrows and tumps or at crossroads, thought to be a favourite location of pagan altars.

Folklore: Much of the folklore attached to it seems to come from the fact that the tree is covered in long branches of early, white blossom around the time of Beltane – the First of May. In England, the Hawthorn is known as the Mayflower tree in honour of the month during which it blooms. Symbolising hope, it was the name the Pilgrims took for their famous ship, The Mayflower.

Hawthorn flowers
Hawthorn flowers ~ Courtesy of Google Images

If 1st of May seems early and the blossom is not ready – remember that the British calendar was changed and went forward 12 / 13 days in 1752 – trees have long memories and so work to the ancient dates! This is evident as well in Hawthorn’s place in the Ogham Tree Calendar – beginning now on 13th May – it would once have started on May 1st. Hawthorn is still prevalent in May Day celebrations, whatever the case.

Maypole_1500-56a6e0953df78cf77290a7cf
A Pagan Maypole celebration, led by the Green Man, photo courtesy of Google images

But whilst Hawthorn was a propitious tree at May-time, in other circumstances it was considered unlucky. Witches were supposed to make their brooms from it, and in some parts, it was equated with the abhorred Elder, as in the rhyme:

Hawthorn bloom and elder-flowers Will fill a house with evil powers.

In magick, Hawthorn is known as a psychic shield that can lift the spirits, and a little charm of the wood is a thoughtful gift for a friend going through a time of vulnerability or depression. It is also especially effective against malevolent spirits.

Protection Spell:
Carefully gather a few thorns from the tree.
“On a piece of paper, write the name of the person or situation from which you seek protection, and then wrap it around the thorns. Bury this in the ground – if possible near the tree from which the thorns were collected.” ~ Whispers from the Woods, by Sandra Kynes

Correspondences:
Planet: Mars and Venus
Symbolism: Purification, sacred marriage
and male-female unity

Crystals: Lapis Lazuli, Blue Calcite
Birds: Blackbird, Owl, Purple Martin
Colour: Midnight Blue, Purple
Deity: Olwen, Blodeuwedd, Gardea,
Hymen, Hera, Virgin Mary
Sabbat: Beltane, May Day
Folk names: May bush, May tree, quickset,
thorn-apple tree, white thorn.

“A hundred years I slept beneath a thorn Until the tree was root and branches of my thought, Until white petals blossomed in my crown.” From The Traveller ~ by Kathleen Raine

I hope you have enjoyed the re-visit. Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x

Sources:
Druidry.org

thoughtco.com

thegoddesstree.com

Whispers from the Woods, by Sandra Kynes

The Fairy Bible, by Teresa Mooney

The English Physician and Complete Herbal, by Nicholas Culpeper

Experience

The Magickal Hazel Tree

Originally posted on 24/10/2017 via speakingofwitchwands.net

By Isabella @TheWandCarver

Instagram: @thewandcarver

Hazel Ogham Pendant by i.macy

The Hazel tree…also known as “The Tree of Knowledge” is the ninth month of the Celtic Tree Calendar, 5th August – 1st September and is the ninth consonant of the Ogham alphabet named Coll.

Hazel tree people are known as “the know-ers” of the Celtic tree “zodiac”.

People born under the Celtic Hazel tree sign are highly analytical and intelligent. They are gifted in academics and are often the brightest students in the classroom. They are also artistic and can make motivating teachers. They tend to be profound in thought and philosophical by nature.

Their intellect gives them the talent to remember and repeat things with amazing accuracy. Hazel people are well versed in all topics which can make them seem as a know-it-all in social situations. They pay great attention to detail and like things to be just right.

The perfectionist tendencies of the Hazel tree zodiac will sometimes leave them with control issues if everything doesn’t turn out exactly how they pictured. Their ambitious standards can make it impossible for anybody to meet them. They can be perceived as someone who is very difficult to please because of their overly critical nature.

Their critical nature is just their way of trying to analyse a problem and find ways to fix it. They want situations and people to be at their best, but they need to realize that no one is perfect and very few, if any, will meet such high exacting standards.

The Hazel Druid Celtic tree sign often finds it hard to unwind and relax and can come across as too argumentative.

According to The Fairy Bible, by Teresa Mooney:

Hazel Tree ~ woodlandtrust.org.uk

The Hazel Fairy is a mercurial sprite, deeply wise, a bringer of insight and flashes of inspiration. This fairy can help you to find knowledge in a very individual way, and to develop your intuition so that you can see deeply into many things.

Hazel holds the secrets of the earth and can teach about dowsing and the currents within the land, known as ley lines. She also encourages meditation and confers eloquence on those who respect and honour her.

Folklore:

Wisdom is at the heart of the Hazel tree. Druids, Poets, Bards, and Shaman have long sought wisdom through Hazel. Many early Irish tales describe poets and seers as ‘gaining nuts of Wisdom’, which is most likely a metaphor for such heightened states of consciousness, although the more literally-minded have argued that this expression could refer to a potent brew made from hazelnuts that had psychotropic effects. As to this theory, there are numerous references to drinking ‘hazelmead’ in early Irish literature and many references to Scottish druids eating hazel-nuts to gain prophetic powers.

Hazel woods frequently figure in the sacred landscape. In Ireland, hazel is coll, and the early triad of gods of the Tuatha Dé Danaan, MacCuill, (son of HazeI), MacCecht (Son of the Plough) and MacGréine (Son of the Sun) supposedly divided the island into three so that the country was said to be under the plough, the sun or the hazel, for ‘these were the things they put above all other’.

The Hazel’s association with wisdom extends to other cultures of the ancient world. In Norse mythology it was known as the Tree of Knowledge and was sacred to Thor; the Romans held it sacred to Mercury, who – especially in his Greek form, Hermes – was the personification of intelligence. Hermes’ magic rod may have been made from hazel. The English word derives from the Anglo Saxon ‘haesl’ which originally signified a baton of authority.

Medicinal purposes:

Finely powdered Hazel nuts steeped in hot water then with the addition of honey and lemon is thought to relieve a stubborn cough.  The leaves brewed into tea can be used to treat such ailments as circulatory problems, fevers, diarrhoea, and excessive menstrual flow.

Magickal:

Hazelwood has been used for centuries to divine for water. For help from the faeries, tie hazelnuts onto a cord and hang in your room. Like Holly, Hazel protects your home against lightning.  It is a wood used often for making wands and other magickal things such as talismans and amulets for purposes of gaining knowledge and wisdom.

Correspondences:

Planet: Mercury

Element: Air

Symbolism: Wisdom & Divination, Poetry & Science, Playfulness & Enchantment, Healing Arts

Stone: Topaz, Pearl

Birds: Crane

Colour: Orange

Deity: Hermes, Aemgus, Artemis, Diana

Underneath this hazelin mote,

There’s a braggoty worm with a speckled throat,

Nine double is he,

Now from eight double to seven double

And from seven double to six double

and so on until:

And from one double to no double,

No double hath he

~Old adder bite charm, writer unknown

Many thanks for reading and warmest blessings to all whom this way wander x

Sources:

The Fairy Bible, by Theresa Mooney

Druidry.org

SunSigns.org

woodlandtrust.org.uk