Hawthorn (Crataegus) is the contradictory, symbolizing the good and bad of nature and the mystical world. It
blooms mid-May and is gone within a month. Nearly immune to rot, it shelters the weakest animals and insects, making
it a symbol of strength.
Since Antiquity, Greeks and Italians have used hawthorn for the protection of children; the Teutonic people used it,
as the flower of death, for funeral pyres, its smoke believed to carry souls into the afterlife.
Bacon compared the scent of hawthorn's beautiful blossoms to that of the Plague, while in Arabic erotica, they are
said to be an aphrodisiac because of their scent, which reminded ancient men of aroused women.
Hawthorn is Britain's unluckiest flower, yet the Celts used it to cure broken hearts. Modern pagans, carrying on a
belief held by the Gaels of the past, say that branches are markers of faerie entrances to the Otherworld. In
England, colored ribbons are tied to hawthorn branches during their bloom for good luck.
The British believe that the Burning Bush of Moses was hawthorn, while the French say that it provided the wood used
for the Crown of Thorns; branches today are said to weep and groan on Good Friday. Since it represents both the holy
and the evil, the death of hawthorn is considered highly unlucky.
Hawthorn blossoms are my favorite flowers.