Hawthorn and the Crossroads

One of the classes I attended at the Herbal Resurgence was on Hawthorn. Which was hosted by two wonderful teachers (see last blog for more info about them) It was probably the best class I have attended in a while. Not only were medicinal uses talked about, but the magical uses, and how the Hawthorn stands at the center of the crossroads. As many of you know among the billion of things I do, I am a Herbal intern with several lovely ladies under the grand instruction of Melanie Dunlap One thing that she, and the Herbal Resurgence has taught me, is that medicinal herbalism and spirituality are connected, no they are not just connected they are part of each other, there is no separation. So be prepared for future posts to reflect this.

Hawthorn is a Deciduous tree, which boasts beautiful clusters of small white flowers that have five petals much like little pentagrams covering the tree. The berries are incredibly nutritious and when ingested can be relaxing.

Properties: Relaxing nervine, Digestant, astringent, diuretic, antioxidant, reduces inflammation protects the heart from oxidative damage, cardiac, diuretic, blood regulator, reduces anxiety and a heart restorer.

Parts of the plant used: Leaves, Flowers and Berries

Contraindications: Dont ingest if you have low blood pressure. Extended use can lower blood pressure

Spiritual and Magical Use: Shadow work, opening and repairing the "heart", healing from broken hearts. Working through past issues, decision making, balance, and can be used to prick the finger to give blood offerings.

The Hawthorn stands at the Crossroads. It marks the gateway between this world and the other side. Long known as a tree of the Other world, the Hawthorn is considered a "Fairy" tree. There has been many a song about the Faery and the Hawthorn. Some say falling asleep under the tree can induce dreams of Banshee, Faery, and the like. While others say that they are not dreams at all, the experiences are real and the Hawthorn is a portal.  One very famous tale about Thomas the Rhymer can be read here. It speaks of a tale in which Thomas meets the Faery Queen under the Hawthorn tree. He is whisked off to the other world where he receives a gift or maybe a curse! Either way he is never able to tell a lie again. So perhaps the gift is truth.

Not only does the Hawthorn stand at the crossroads and marks the road between this and the other world, but  it shows all of the little crossroads in life. If you closely examine each branch and each thorn, notice where they intersect. It shows each of the crossroads we come to in life, some ending in sharp pricks, some in beautiful blossoms, others in nurturing fruit, and still others in broad branches that reach up into the sky. It reminds us that not every decision we make will be a good one, life isn't about always choosing the right thing. It is about choosing, and moving forwards. It doesn't matter if its right or wrong. Life isn't about standing still at the crossroads. One must choose a direction.
Thorn courtesy of Kayla Wilde

Oftentimes fear is what keeps us at the crossroads. It is safe under the shade of the tree why choose a path and risk hurt. Like the hawthorn's medicinal usage for the heart, so is the hawthorn used for Magical and Spiritual uses in the heart. It speaks to and of the heart. The heart is the thing that becomes torn when we are standing at the crossroads which direction do we choose? Where do we go? Often times our shadow sneaks in and the heart is torn between what it wants, needs, and the fears of the shadow.

"Oh see ye not yon narrow road,
So thick beset wi' thorns and briers?
That is the Path of Righteousness,

Though after it but few inquires.

"And see ye not yon braid, braid road,
That lies across the lily leven?
That is the Path of Wickedness,

Though some call it the Road to Heaven.
"And see ye not yon bonny road
That winds about the fernie brae?

That is the Road to fair Elfland Where thou and I this night maun gae.

These are the words from the poem "Thomas the Rhymer and the Queen of Elfland" It speaks of three different paths. When doing your shadow work or when you find yourself at the crossroads it is helpful to split the decisions or problems into different roads. Then spend time analyzing each of the paths. Are they straight roads? Or set with Briers,  or even yet will they take you on a grand adventure? Consider each road carefully, will they end in thorns, beautiful blossoms, or grow into strong branches?

When standing at the crossroads beneath the hawthorn tree it is helpful to have magical tools to which decisions can be made. Below are a few goodies I have made, feel free to make your own, or purchase them below. Good luck in your travels

Ease Anxiety and Decision making tea

Lemon balm

Divination at the Crossroads Tea



Crossroads Divination Incense 

Hawthorn Berry and Leaf
Wild Lettuce