“Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart.” – Brene Brown
Summer is the season of the heart so this time of year naturally invites us to notice how our hearts are feeling.
Does your heart feel courageous, strong and connected or is your heart feeling heavy, sad and depleted?
The heart is not just a strong physical muscle, it has an emotional and spiritual strength that grows over time. Our hearts expand and contract, our emotions ebb and flow and this is natural. This is how we build our emotional and spiritual heart muscles.
Sometimes however, life gives us more to process than we can manage and we find ourselves worn down by sorrow, heartache or stress. We feel heavy, sad or disconnected and lose touch with the inherent power and courage of our hearts.
Our heart forces feel depleted. We’re unable to tap into the spiritual forces of the heart so we don’t feel joy and connection.
I have been on a rich journey with hawthorn this year, discovering that hawthorn flower essence is the perfect ally for resourcing the heart; lovingly and firmly deepening the heart’s capacity to experience the sweetness of heart joy by offering a strong salve for heart sorrows. We can’t know the full depth of our joy without also experiencing the full weight of our sorrows.
Hawthorn helps us to tap into the strength and courage of the heart so we can meet whatever arises in our hearts feeling well-resourced to move through life with compassion, courage, and trust that our hearts have got this.
Two weekends ago Sue Goodwin and I offered a retreat on awakening the heart through connection with plants that are associated with the heart, focusing particularly on the energy of the hawthorn. We’d felt inspired to offer the retreat after making a hawthorn flower essence together last May.
Hawthorn is a major heart remedy with a well-known capacity for addressing extreme stress, grief, sadness and heartache. These are the types of experiences that can make us close down, defend and protect our hearts because it feels so very vulnerable to be in touch with these uncomfortable feelings.
And yet the heart seeks to expand and contract, to feel without being felled by our feelings.
The heart invites us to find a way to welcome our sadness, grief and heartache and honour their medicine.
This is how we become truly intimate with our hearts. This is how we discover what it means to be fully human and fully alive.
The heart has an infinite capacity for feeling, and by honouring the pain that may threaten to close our hearts we access the unbroken unwounded place within us that holds the essence of who we truly are.
Hawthorn embodies the perfect combination of feistiness and gentleness; offering us both the courage and tenderness required to develop our capacity for intimate heart-tending.
Hawthorn is also recognised as having strong associations with the realm of faerie and seen as a gateway to Otherworld. When I first connected with hawthorn many years ago to ask if I could make hawthorn flower essence I was told quite clearly to bugger off. When hawthorn gives you a clear no, you listen.
A couple of years ago after the floods wrought havoc in this valley I felt called one day to go down to the river. Plastic that had been spat out from the river during the floods was wound tightly around many of the riverside trees and bushes and appeared to be choking them. It was horrible to see them suffocated by swathes of plastic that was limiting their growth.
I spent a few hours stripping the plastic off the apple and hawthorn trees and set them free again to flourish. After that I noticed that hawthorn seemed to be catching my attention more and more. The trees seemed more inviting, more willing to engage. When I went off to Exmoor at the end of my shamanic apprenticeship a few months later, I kept seeing lone hawthorns on the moor beckoning me closer.
I realised that my act of service to the hawthorns by the river had opened a gateway of connection between us and hawthorn was ready to communicate with me. I got the sense I’d passed a test that I hadn’t realised had been set.
Last year when Sue and I felt called to make an essence from the hawthorn and asked for permission the answer was an enthusiastic yes. We made the essence at new moon from blossoms from three hawthorn trees growing together, and spent time meditating with each tree giving offerings and gratitude.
At the first tree I felt myself receive healing and nurturing. At the second tree sorrow and sadness rose up in my heart and tears flowed.
At the third tree, it felt like the energy from the first experience was being united with the second.
It was showing me that both the nurturing healing experience and uncomfortable release were necessary for my heart forces to be integrated and balanced.
It was the most beautiful sunny day so we left the bowl of hawthorn essence out overnight. Next morning, I returned early to see a pink haze all around the flowers as the hawthorn trees stood in the sunlight amidst a riot of birdsong. The flowers were glowing in the same way that my heart feels when it is so full up with good feelings that I am able to radiate infinite love and compassion to everyone I meet.
I was taken back to that time when, after a soul-wrenching heartbreak, I had gone into a healing journey and been given etheric Elven ‘armour’ around my heart that looked like delicate lilac/silvery chainmail. At the time I was told that this heart filter would keep my heart open and gentle but would stop anything that was not of a similar vibration from entering my energy field. This meant I would no longer be attracted to dynamics that didn’t honour my heart and I could love fearlessly knowing my heart would never be torn apart in that way again.
There was both softness and strength in my heart after that experience, and I could see the same qualities reflected in hawthorn’s morning blossom haze.
It became clear to me that this is part of hawthorn’s signature – it fosters an inner heart strength like the heartwood of a tree which then radiates out from us as a powerful force field around our hearts. This means we can be open and loving, knowing that we have healthy strong boundaries around our hearts. Hawthorn is good with boundaries. It had given me a clear no when I asked to make an essence from it many years before and I knew it wasn’t messing about.
Hawthorn tells me that part of its gift is to help us embody ‘Tough Love’ so you’ll put your heart first, instead of abandoning your own heart to care for others or to make excuses for them. Love isn’t all sweetness and light, sometimes love requires us to be fierce and say no to people or situations which are not respectful of our hearts.
Hawthorn teaches us to honour our own hearts and gives us courage when we need to state boundaries in matters of the heart.
Hawthorn helps us to cultivate courage, strength and self-respect so we do not abandon our own hearts in our interactions with others. Hawthorn helps us develop the appropriate boundaries to be loving and clear, powerful and gentle, strong and open. It’s an essence which is both feisty and gentle at the same time. When we know that we have an inner feistiness that will stop us from getting stomped on, it gives us the courage to be gentle so it’s easier to drop our defences.
Hawthorn has two faces – one soft and blossoming, one tough and fierce. We see this in the soft delicate blossoms that grow from gnarly barbed branches. Soft sweet girlish blossom beauty grows from no-messing strong feistiness. It is as though hawthorn’s capacity to be sweet, inviting and bountiful is possible because she knows that if someone dares to treat her without respect she will give them a short sharp shock with one of her barbs. Respect her, as I did in my act of service after the flood, and you will be shown her true beauty and capacity for love. If you don’t respect her you’re more likely to see her barbs.
Hawthorn can grow in the most inhospitable places; high up on the moors twisted into strange contortions by the winds. But it stays standing, tough and feisty with an inner strength and core resilience even when the fiercest winds blow.
During a Shamanic journey to meet the Spirit of Hawthorn, I am shown the two faces of hawthorn yet again like two sides of the same coin, eternally turning. I see young girls in hawthorn blossom dresses spinning and dancing round the may. Their dresses a haze of blossom and innocence; their cheeks flushed and laughing with joy and delight. And then I see the spiky hawthorn wood crone who is feisty and fierce, takes no prisoners and will not tolerate disrespect.
During the journey, the hawthorn crone gives me healing. She has the strength to hold my burdened heart which feels full of tears and sadness. It feels like my pain is the greatest pain in the world and my heart feels tender and raw. She tells me that she’s seen it all before, she can hold this, she can heal this. No pain is too great for the hawthorn crone to handle. Sorrow and grief, heartbreak and heartache all rise to the surface as she holds a firm and loving space for release. I feel comforted and held, confident that no pain or sorrow is too great for her love. My heart feels well-tended and strengthened and I am set free to dance joyfully like the blossom girls who dance around the may.
Knowing that hawthorn is strong enough to tend to my heart sorrows makes me feel safe and taken care of, so I can let down my defences and allow my heart’s joy to flourish and shine. Hawthorn has been strong medicine for my depleted heart in recent weeks, reconnecting me to the spiritual forces of my heart once again so I feel resilient, joyful and connected.
I’m delighted to be offering this essence for a limited time so that the sweet song of her heartwood will strengthen your heart forces. Because summer is the season of the heart, and a well-tended heart enables us to taste summer’s sweet joy more fully. Available from now until summer solstice on Thursday 21stJune.
Hawthorn New Moon Essence Benefits:
- Comfort in times of stress, heartache, grief and sadness;
- Fortitude and courage for tending well to the shadows in our hearts;
- Tough love: helps us create appropriate boundaries to prioritise our own self-care;
- Awakens the core resilience of the heart – the strong song of your heartwood;
- Etheric filter around the heart so we remain open yet protected;
- Resources and strengthens the heart when our heart forces feel depleted;
- Restores our natural state of love and compassion;
- Helps us to experience the softness and strength of the heart;
- Strengthens the spiritual heart to activate our own healing forces.
When you order Hawthorn New Moon Essence, you’ll receive25ml bottle of stock level hawthorn essence made during Gemini new moon: 25th-26th May 2017 (N.B. Contains organic brandy and spring water, please let me know if you’d prefer non-alcohol glycerine preservative instead of brandy). Price includes postage and packaging.