Druidic Alphabet - H (Huathe)
The Hawthorn is a rather small tree that grows with a dense, many branched and twisted tangle. Due to its impenetrable growth, it is mainly used for hedgerows, and the origin of its name comes from the Anglo-Saxon 'haegthorn,' meaning hedge-thorn. It is also known as whitethorn. Its leaves can be used to make tea, and it is said to be good for people with cardiac or circulatory problems. It is also a remedy for emotional distress or long term nervous conditions. Its juice can be used in the treatment of asthma, rheumatism, arthritis, and laryngitis.
Hawthorn, is so known as Witches' Tree, and is one part of the sacred triad of trees that are said to be sacred to the Faery. Oak, Ash, and Thorn, when growing naturally together, create a place where it is easy to see the Fey. Hawthorns were once believed to be the transformed bodies of Witches, who had shapeshifted into tree form. It is more likely that the spirit seen in the Hawthorn was that of a dryad or tree Faery. Wands of this wood have great power.
Its bark is smooth and gray and its wood is used to make maypoles for Beltane (now celebrated as Mayday.) Hawthorn was often for the wreath of summers Green Man who represented the spirit of the woods. Hung outside a cow shed hawthorn assured a plentiful milk supply and when laid on rafters by someone not in the family guarded the house against storms witches and spirits.
"A hundred years I slept beneath an thorn
Until the tree was root and branches of my thought,
Until white petals blossomed in my crown."
From "The Traveller" by Kathleen Raine
Hawthorn symbolised joy at the return of summer. The Hawthorn is the female tree of April, which leads up to the fertile central Oak month after Beltane. It is often known as May, as it is closely associated with the tradition of'maying,' or riding out on a spring morning and gathering hawthorne boughs laden with white flowers. These fragrant white blossoms were used to decorate the halls, and worn as crowns by maidens in wedding ceremonies.Young girls rose at dawn to bathe in dew gathered from hawthorn flowers to ensure their beauty in the coming year.
"The fair maid who, the first of May,
Goes to the fields at break of day
And washes in dew from the hawthorn tree,
Will ever after handsome be."