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Moon Mná Women's Celtic Circles is an international community of women, whose heart beats with Celtic soul and is for those who love the Moon, Celtic and nature-inspired books, diaries, journals, and gifts.
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Their Moon Mná Diary-Journal offers the precious gift of personal sacred time to reflect. Each month features fascinating facts and personal stories on different Irish trees. This month focuses on the Hawthorn Tree which you can learn more about below.
The Hawthorn Tree: one of Ireland's oldest native sacred trees
An extract from the Moon Mná Diary-Journal 2022 by Dr. Karen Ward
The Hawthorn ‘Faery Tree’ is native to Ireland and in Irish Gaelic is both Huath/ Huatha as well as Uath and Sceach Gheal while its horticultural name is Crataegus Monogyna. However, it is also known by plenty of folk names including the May Tree, Whitethorn, Quickset, Thornapple Tree, Hagthorn and Boojuns.
Many people do not realize that this deciduous tree actually belongs to the rose family. With around 200 species worldwide, Hawthorn grows in moist, sunny places though rarely tall due to its strangely distinctive hardy gnarled and twisted trunk.
They are very long-lived with dark green, and many lobed leaves with thin, sharp thorns. In early May, the Hawthorn has beautiful fragrant small milky white blossoms both male and female in the same flower. These become vibrant red berries called ‘haws’, in September beloved by a huge variety of birds.
Hawthorn is one of the ‘fairy tree triad’ of Oak, Ash and Thorn in the Celtic Isles and where all three occur together, according to legend, fairies gather as a portal to the Otherworld.
Did you know that...
Hawthorn wood burns hot and so was used for fuel and charcoal by our ancestors while the young leaves are eaten raw earning the nutritious ‘Bread and Cheese Tree’ name. Medicinally, the powerful antioxidant polyphenols stabilize the heart, and improve circulation and high blood pressure in herbal tonics and teas. Hawthorn wood makes beautiful craft items while jellies and wines are made from the berries which are high in vitamin C.
As the Ogham tree ‘H’ for May and the first lunar month 13th May - 9th June, Hawthorn blossoms graced the floral crowns for the young maidens at the Celtic Festival of Bealtaine, also Beltane, in early May. Even today many superstitious people will not bring any part of the Hawthorn into the house and those sensitive to Faerie energies will never cut down this magical tree. Some tie rags called ‘clouties’ to the branches to appease the ‘wee folk’ and petition their help for both fertility and protection.
Wisdom Of The Heart – a Hawthorn Tree story extract from the Moon Mná Diary-Journal 2022 by Karin Huber, Shamanism Student, Brain Gym and HANDLE Practitioner (Instagram: @nourishing_mother_earth)
"May is my birth month, and the Hawthorn tree is my heart tree. Her blossoms at this time bring me so much joy, and in the Autumn, her deep red berries speak to me of the wisdom of the heart. She whispers to me on my walks and encourages me to follow my heart. The Hawthorn tree has become part of my life and of who I am.
I don’t have any childhood memories of Hawthorn trees though as I was born in Switzerland. It was when I came to Ireland in my early 20's and fell in love with this land and an Irish man that I also discovered my love for this special tree. Being away from home in a strange country with a language I could barely speak, I felt great comfort in walking along the hedgerows on country roads and over fields. By the time the Hawthorn started to blossom in May, my heart was open and full of love.
My husband made sure I knew the history of my adopted country and learned about its heritage, culture, and customs. I was introduced to the eight Celtic festivals and learned that the Hawthorn is the Faerie tree and one should never bring any part into the house except on the 1st of May. I was fascinated to hear that a motorway had to be redesigned to protect a Hawthorn tree.
It was in the years after my husband’s death that I truly felt and experienced the healing power of the Hawthorn. I don’t remember the blossoms that year. My husband died in January, and I wasn't able for Spring that year. I couldn't bear the bursting vitality and joy. Once Autumn came, the season matched my pain of loss and letting go, and I became aware of the Hawthorn’s bright red berries. It felt soothing and grounding to breathe in the magic and the power emanating from her tiny red teardrops. I could feel their healing power. With every year that passed, my heart healed a bit more, and I could open again to the joy of Hawthorn’s blossoms in May.
Ireland has become my home and the Hawthorn, my companion, throughout the seasons. In Spring, her snow-white blossoms remind me of the maiden within. The intoxicating scent invites me to open my heart and tune into the innocence and purity of being young and free. In Summer, I feel the nourishing, nurturing mother in her. Standing in her fullness and strength, deeply grounded. In Autumn, her deep red berries dare me to reignite my passion and pause to give thanks for all the heart moments that enriched my life. As Winter comes and she stands naked in her truth, she speaks to me of the wise old crone. And as I dream in the darkness and rest in the stillness I already look forward to the month of May and her blossoming."
Moon Mná Women's Celtic Circles is an international community of women, whose heart beats with Celtic soul, mná being the word for women in the Irish Gaelic language and pronounced ‘meh-naw’. We commune daily through the pages of the Moon Mná Diary-Journal while gathering online for Lunar Gatherings and ceremonial Rites of Passage Courses. Find out more here.