28 Sep 2012
In my garden the birds are gorging on the ripe hawthorn berries and the first fallen leaves are beginning to blow into my kitchen. Hawthorn is common in England, often planted in hedgerows and spread by the birds.When I was a child we used to eat the new green leaves - we called them `bread and cheese. There is much magical lore about this small tree and it has many other names including thorn, may, quick thorn, hagthorn and haw (the ripe berries are called haws). Its Celtic name is huathe.
May relates to the white blossoms that were gathered at Beltane to decorate the maypole. The blossoms were hung up outside the house to ward off malign spirits and protect it from lightning, but strangely it was considered unlucky to bring them into the house. This might be because the tree is associated with witches and fairies - an echo of long ago goddess rituals and lore. Hagthorn also points to memories of its use in ritual magic.
Hawthorn is a special tree to the fairies. Many a wizened old hawthorn tree marks their ancient pathways and it is very dangerous to damage these trees. The fairy triad of trees is the oak, ash and thorn. Where all three grow together you are likely to see fairies.
Hawthorn is associated with fertility (the ancient goddess religion again) and it was often used in spells for this purpose and also at weddings for the same reason. Curiously though, placing the leaves under your bed is supposed to help chastity but I have never tried this! Hawthorn seems to have many contradictory aspects - the Romans would place it a baby's cradle to protect the child, and presumably that would have been indoors. I think the general message is handle with care. If you are cutting or using hawthorn in any way, then ask permission from the tree first because its magic is very strong and the thorns are very sharp!
6 Sep 2012
Ancient places such as stone circles, temples, burial grounds, old churches and so forth are always good places to visit in order to wake up your Wise Woman senses. They have interesting memory traces - traces of our ancestors and the Old Ones, who have gone before. Very often they are built upon energy lines, sometimes called Ley Lines here in Britain, so odd and unusual things sometimes happen round about them and there are frequently strange myths and stories connected with them.
This is an ancient stone near where I live, one of two, called The Portals of Eden. I had fun with some art work, creating images of the unseen presences that we felt when we visited. The stones feel very powerful and wise, as if they know things that we have forgotten.
Why not visit an ancient site near you? And don't forget to take along a sketch book, or a journal to write about what you encounter.