Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hawthorn And Other Worlds

One of my favourite trees has to be the Hawthorn. From its frothy may day abundant scented blossoms, to Autumns jewelled clusters of red berries. I love its familiarity in the landscape and all the superstition and myth that surround it.
The hawthorn was a holy tree in pagan and christian legend alike and many conflicting traditions have gathered around it. The crown of thorns is said to have been made from it. It is believed to hold healing powers and to protect any house nearby from lightening. It has a strong association with faerie lore, so never sit under one on special days such as May day, Midsummers eve or Halloween! One of my favourite connections to hawthorn, since a child, is the holy thorn of Glastonbury.
It is believed St Joseph of Arimathea came to Glastonbury and thrust his staff into the ground on Wearyall hill. It took root and grew and every year from then on blossomed at midnight on Christmas eve. It is said that the tree was destroyed in the seventeenth century by a puritan soldier, but not before many cuttings had been taken and planted elsewhere. One such daughter tree is in the grounds of Glastonbury abbey. It continues to bloom to this day although flowering now is more usually upon old Christmas eve (5th January)
A few years ago, on an icy January morning. I was lucky enough to see it in flower and feel the magic and mystery that surrounds it.
The hawthorn in my garden may not be a relative of the Glastonbury thorn, but it does have plentiful supply of berries to feed the birds through winter.

I have taken a while to settle back into my routine after my little break away. Autumn always makes me want to line my nest, prepare the house for winter nights, forage and squirrel. I have filled the freezer with bags of blackberries, surplus runner beans and sweetcorn. It was while on a blackberry picking expedition that I came home with treasure!
I rescued it from the long grass, a lovely piece of twisted ivy wood. The branch it used to wind itself around, had competely rotted away. I don't know where I shall put it yet. Its just propped up by my front door for the photo.

Finally I sat at my desk, sitting still, being transported to other worlds through a story.

I have been listening to an audio book. The magical 'I , Coriander' by Sally Gardener and whilst doing so, through the hawthorn branches a little white bird appeared.........


  1. I really enjoyed reading this post. Next time I'm in Glastonbury I'm going to look for that tree! I've given you an award over on my blog :)

  2. Glastonbury Abbey is a magical place, isn't it. And I do love your piece of ivy wood. So many wonderful things you could do with that.

    I'm glad the lovely white bird found you as you sat at your desk.

  3. I love hawthorn too - love the shape of the leaves, the profusion of blossom, the color of the berries, and all the lore that goes with it.

    Just this past weekend I was reading a book on edible berries and it had a number of recipes for hawthorn berry jellies and such. Didn't realize one might really want to eat them in some form..?

  4. I wonder which enchanting doorway the little key will unlock?

  5. Hi,
    Will your gorgeous christmas designs be available to buy as christmas cards on Etsy this year?
    Take care,

  6. Ally-
    Thanks for your interest and stopping by.
    The Christmas cards that are on my website were for a Greeting card company a few years back. I do have some cards, but I'm not sure what the rules are on Etsy,if they,ve been published by a big company??

    The company name is 'Roger la borde' so they still may have old stock for sale?
    I will be selling prints of other art work very soon and will look into the costs of self publishing my cards.
    Best wishes Karen

  7. Very nice! I love this and the thoughts you've caused to swirl in my head!

  8. What a great post Karen! Full of things to think about and wonderful imagery!

  9. thank you for this beautiful post, I found it very moving. We don't have that tree sadly but it very lovely and feels so familiar.

  10. A beautiful post, and such a sweet little bird, too!


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