I spotted this hawthorn tree just coming into blossom in a small courtyard near where I live. Hawthorn has white or pink blooms by early May in England, which is why it is also called the “May tree”. In the wild, most have flowers with five petals but some varieties – like this one – have double flowers. I’m sharing it here as part of my Floralia flower photo series of posts.
Hawthorn boughs are traditionally cut and used to deck places for May Day celebrations, and are often put across doorways or other entrances in English customs. According to Irish folklore specialist Morgan Daimler, in their book Where the Hawthorn Grows, an Irish tradition is to put a “May bush”, often hawthorn, outside the front door for luck. It's decorated with flowers, ribbons and eggshells. On May 1st people dance around it, lighting candles or a bonfire as night approaches. The decorations can be left up until the end of the month or until they get tatty.
Hawthorn twigs have spines, which are really modified shoots that emerge from leaf axils. These “thorns” can be collected and used in the pricking of poppets if you are so inclined. You might have also spotted the little spider on the hawthorn blossom in my photo. I didn’t notice it when I took the picture – only when I posted it on my blog! Well, April 30th, or May Eve, is Walpurgis Night and a time when things a little creepy are supposed to come out to play.
You can view Where the Hawthorn Grows on Morgan’s page at Moon Books. You can also see my own book on poppets on my page at Moon Books.
My Pagan Eye posts show photos that I find interesting - seasonal images, pagan sites, events, or just pretty pictures. If you want to send me a photo for a Pagan Eye post, please email it to email@example.com Let me know what the photo shows and whether you want your name mentioned or not. For copyright reasons, the photo must be one you have taken yourself.
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