Danu's Cauldron: Wisewoman's Ways, and Wild Fey Magic

Living in a sacred landscape, walking between the worlds in the veil of Avalon Glastonbury. Where the old gods roam the hills, and the sidhe dance beneath the moon...wander into the mists with me and let us see what we may find...

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Hawthorn - Queen of the May.

Beltane is nearly here, and I think most of us are feeling a certain change in the season- in nature but also in our daily lives, its been a long winter metaphorically and spiritually and we find ourselves emerging into a new time wondering what the future holds. I always take my signs and omens from nature- and at this time the main sign to look for in the UK and Ireland at least, is the hawthorn blossom. This year it is flowering a little later in my garden than other years, but its not far behind where I’d expect. Traditionally it flowers for Beltane ( May 1st) - some folk only celebrate Beltane on the full moon when its in blossom and I like this idea, there’s a lot to be said for astronomical dates for the cross quarter days, but following the organic flow of nature seems to suit me best.

Hawthorn is a tree associated with faeries. Most ‘fairy thorns’ are isolated hawthorn trees, marking ancient places on the land, or where the energy is particularly special- these are favoured places for faeries and can act as access points to the other world, but Hawthorn also has a place in the Irish ogham lore, where it is the 6th letter H for Huath / Uath meaning frightful or horrible. The Ogham alphabet serves as a mnemonic device for a whole host of lore and can be very useful in magic and spiritual training. Hawthorn’s lesson can indeed by frightful. In the texts called the Bríatharogaim ("word oghams") which explain the meaning of each ogham name, Huath the hawthorn is described as  Condál cúan-  ‘pack of wolves, or pack of hounds’,  Ansam aidche - ‘Most difficult night,’ and Bánad gnúisi - ‘Whitening or blanching of the face.’ These point to a time of challenge, of facing our fears or other ordeals- yet hawthorn is also associated with such folkloric figures as the May Queen, (its known as Queen of the May) and connected to ideas of romance and eroticism. The great teaching here is all about undergoing challenges and how if we come through ‘a difficult night’ we may find we know ourselves better, becoming the true of heart, worthy of the May Queen, the sovereignty of the land and our own souls. In this way the hawthorn teaches us about sovereignty, and how that comes from within, through right action with ourselves and others, and how becoming worthy of that divine union with sovereignty means we need the wisdom of the heart most of all- wisdom born from experience and compassion. This isnt fluffy stuff, but it is beautiful, born from hard work, and deep care. It is by this heart’s wisdom, that we gain access to the otherworld and its blessing.

The hawthorn blossom is nearly here, and while it is a taboo to bring it inside lest you offend the fairies, it is also herbally (as a tea or tincture,) an excellent heart healer for times of stress and worry. Hawthorn is the perfect blossom for magic to heal a broken heart or ease grief, bringing us in touch with our hearts in a gentle way, and giving us the strength to be compassionate with ourselves and others. Hawthorn blossoming a little late to me means this heart healing is widely needed. So if this sounds right for you, step outside and head to the green places. Breathe in some of the spring, and asking the tree for permission first, gather a few sprigs to get some hawthorn tea brewing. Listening to your heart is good medicine, for spring 2021.

www.danuforest.co.uk courses books readings and consultations.

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Danu Forest is a wisewoman in the Celtic Bean Feasa tradition of her ancestors. You could call her many things- witch, seer, walker between the worlds, healer, druid, priestess, teacher, writer, gardener, herbwife, stargazer, faery friend, tree planter, poet, and wild woman. Danu lives in a cottage near Glastonbury Tor in the midst of the Avalon lakes, in the southwest of England. Exploring the Celtic mysteries for over 25 years, and noted for her quality research, practical experience, as well as her deep love of the land, Danu writes for numerous national and international magazines and is the author of several books including Nature Spirits, The Druid Shaman, Celtic Tree Magic, Gwyn ap Nudd and The Magical Year'. She teaches regular workshops and online courses and is available for consultations, including healings readings and other ceremonies.

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