My First Encounter With Hawthorn

Is This Weird?

It feels a bit weird to be writing about my first experience with Hawthorn!  Hawthorn is a prolific, native plant which I probably walk past multiple times a day.  In the UK and Ireland Hawthorn is found almost anywhere there is a hedgerow, so the chances are you do too.

So before I start sharing about my first encounter with Hawthorn, I guess it’s important for me to share a bit of the back story.

Plant Medicine

Use of plant medicines as part of rituals and ceremonies has become more and more common in recent years.  But I had noticed a couple of things

  1. The plants being brought into circle were rarely Indigenous
  2. The plants people were sitting with regularly had naturally occurring psychedelic properties

Yet when I thought of the medicine of the plants, of the land, these were not things that were front of my thoughts.  As medicine for myself and others, in my role as Bean Feasa I wanted to be going deeper with my connection with what grew on the land around me AND what encouraged people to seek what was within themselves with out the need of altering their perception to be able to do so.

I started to learn about, and sit with, the plants and trees that grew around me, but this remained a somewhat private practice – so this post is about my first encounter with Hawthorn in circle with others, which also came as a complete surprise encounter.

Hawthorn Tea Ceremony

I was taking part in a retreat held by Aoife Lowden in West Ireland focused on different fire ceremonies and as part of that she held a Hawthorn Tea Ceremony.  As soon as I knew this was going to happen I felt the importance of it rise inside me.

After the tea was prepared she went round with the tea pot pouring for each of us.

As the tea was poured into my cup I felt the knowing of it in my bones, this ancient ally I had undoubtedly walked with before. It was a powerful experience for me before I’d even drunk any of the tea.

My First Encounter With Hawthorn

I’ll share more about the properties and potency of Hawthorn in another post, as well as the Irish legends that surround it, but it is historically known for its heart medicine.

As we sat with our Hawthron tea we were reminded of the Irish word for her, Huath, and as we chanted this together we were encouraged to focus on the second syllable as we breathed out. To release, to sigh, to let go.

As I drank my first mouthful of the Hawthorn tea, I experienced it coursing through my bloodstream, and as I did I also journeyed to deep within the Hawthorn bush.  Sat within the thorns, and the berries, and the entanglement of branches I felt completely laid bare, but also completely safe.  Although there were sounds and voices in the room, everything became very silent, very still.

It was like a returning to the womb. My encounter with Hawthorn took me to a place outside of time for a wee while, to somewhere I felt held, but also challenged by a discomfort to move or break free.

I knew this wasn’t the first time I’d experienced Hawthorn in this kind of meaningful way, and I also knew it wouldn’t be the last.

Moving Forward With Hawthorn

Since this experience I’ve found Hawthorn popping up in life all over, and have now committed to a full year of sitting with Huath – I’ll be sharing more of my experiences with Hawthorn throughout the year as I move through the seasons with her, here on the blog.


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