Nearly two years ago we gathered with our collective seeds of inspiration to name the collaborative path upon which we were embarking. Among the various flowers and trees we heard as representing the energy and visions in our midst, the Hawthorn tree spoke the clearest.
Just like people, the language of plants can be read through how they grow and develop within their habitat as well as their medicinal offerings. In this way, the qualities and particular knowledge of the Hawthorn are fitting for our work.
The Hawthorn tree is a member of the rose family. It is part of a very complex group with up to 1,000 different species in North America, hybrids being abundant -- thriving within diversity.While their habitat varies from open fields to moist ground by ponds and streams, they are also found by the edge of woodlands where they are often growing close in to other species.
There is such a stand of Hawthorn at the edge of the nearby woods: nestled right in with the pine and maple, their quirky branches reaching out to the open space, with thorns to remind me of what is worth protecting.
For when their snow white blossoms open in the spring and their bright red berries ripen in the fall, the flowers, leaves and fruit can all act as a wonderful heart tonic acting to open the arteries thus improving blood supply to all body tissues. The berries which are astringent are also particularly effective for regulating digestion; while the shape of the leaves vary, the fruit is always edible. These offerings have been used in healing since the Middle Ages and continue to be shared in our apothecary.
In the light of the Celtic tradition, the Hawthorn has long been considered a sacred and protecting tree, connected with fertility and affairs of the heart. Springs were attached to the cradle of a newborn baby to offer protection against illness and shared at weddings to symbolize the coming of happiness and prosperity. Honoring the connection and wisdom of the Hawthorn to the cycles of living, our Center offers classes and workshops throughout the seasons to support our relationship to the continuous changes of growing, thriving, returning and storing.
With monthly gatherings such as Black Moon Harbor, Qi Gong and Tai Chi Chuan instruction, and study opportunities in plant medicine and self-cultivation practices throughout the year, we hope to inspire the sense that health and community healing is not an outcome but an ongoing practice and collective endeavor - one of shared intention and inspiration...with joy and beauty found along the way.