Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hawthorne Harvest

If there is an herb for each month, Hawthorne definitely belongs to May.
Of course Sweet Woodruff would get her knickers all in a twist about that statement, however, Hawthorne is the first one I think of this time of year.
Each May I harvest Hawthorne near May Day for the Love Potion that I will make the following year.
Hawthorne can also be added to teas and baths for heartache as well as for anxiety that is centered in your chest.
Some might say that is is good for gladdening the heart, and however true this might be, Hawthorne is kind of a bad-ass. Have you seen those thorns? I call on her for protection and healing, specifically in areas of the heart. Looking for a little gladdening? I would suggest a more happy-go-lucky plant like calendula or sweet woodruff.
Here's a little honey bee, having it's way with the pink bloom. I would love to get my hands on some Hawthorne Honey. Local Beekeepers?

I have to be honest, I don't really know the difference between the pink and the white Hawthorne flowers. You can see that the white flowers have pink stamens and the pink flowers have white centers. The trees grow in the same areas, often so close together they are like one tree. You can also graft them together so that they are on one tree. Although they grow so abundantly, to be considered weed trees to some, that I see no need in planting them. I use the pink & white blossoms (along with their leaves) all together and harvest as I am called by the trees.
I always tell folks that when they harvest they ought to be thoughtful with harvesting ethically and all that goes on with that, but to also be thoughtful of the exchange. This for that. The honoring of the offering of the plant.
Always ask yourself "what is the intention?" and "how much do I really need to harvest?"
My intention was to enjoy my day in the sun and to gather some flowers and leaves for tea, possibly a small bottle of tincture and for the Love Potion.
Even with all of those things in mind, I really
didn't need that many flowers.
I was loving the trees and enjoying my time and then it occurred to me: I hadn't brought an offering.
Some common offerings are cornmeal, tobacco, food for small animals, etc. Personally, I usually bring something shiny for the fairies. I peeked into my bag and found some copper pennies and a big, beautiful vintage shell button. I tossed them under the tree I had spent the most time with and just as I turned away I got snagged, hard, on a thorn.
"Pay attention". The tree seemed to say. "The shiny things are nice and all, but I really wanted you to notice my thorns."

The last part of this story is about Hawthorne's scent.
I'll never forget the time when my herb teacher Cascade was teaching our class about Hawthorne and she had us all smell it. I was enraptured with the scent. To me it smells like raspberries, the salty sea, green apples and hot sun. I was surprised when I pulled my nose away from the blossoms to find all of the other 20 or so students expressing disgust to the scent in varying degrees. I felt a bit embarrassed by my revelry, yet Cascade laughed and said to me "you have an old nose". Meaning my scent sensibility was not tainted by the modern lack of acceptance of anything other than what is appropriate to scent laundry soap.
I can't get enough of the sexy scent that Hawthorne emanates. I have it drying in my dining room and am loving it.
It's been almost a week and the Hawthorne is almost dry, but I'll tell you this; I still have a piece of thorn stuck in my finger and each time I feel the irritation, I am reminded again and again of my love for this feisty, insistent, strong and beautiful tree: Hawthorne.

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