Life, it is beautiful, it is terrible. So, Hawthorn brings us our hearts on a platter and the medicine to make it all better. Blood red berries bring beats of life to a broken heart. This is true. (Hawthorn is used in heart medicine).
The Queen of Elfland
The Queen of Elfland. Is she a goddess? Does the Queen of Elfland care what you call her? Human concerns are not her concerns, yet her concerns are the concern of humans. And how so? Because the tale tells us, she gives Thomas fair warning of her turning into a loathly lady should he sin and so she does. She is not the Christian sinning we might think of. No, this is much, much older, this is the sinning which turns away from the cycle of life. You cannot steal kisses, you must ask for them. We must not turn away from the wild world, for if we do we will pay the price …. As indeed, we currently are. Later she warns him directly not to partake of any food other than that which she gives him, for Thomas must return to the human world.
Hawthorn, Colour and Fairy Tale
There is the road of good (heaven), evil (hell) and the road in between. This road to Elfland where Thomas gains his gifts of seeing the future and telling the truth. This is the road of non-dualism. He sees reality as it is. And in this reality who is the greatest player but the Queen? Colours are very specifically mentioned and we should always take note when they appear in a tale. The green, white and the red. Colours when spoken of in fairy are never there by chance. And these colours just so happen to be the colours of the hawthorn. Thomas fell asleep under the thorn it is true, but he also awoke under the thorn. In other words, he left the mundane world behind for one of colour and deep magic.
Of course, there is a huge amount of depth to ancient stories like these, I merely pluck one tiny sprig of flowers from it for you to muse over. Just like Hawthorn, there is more to this story than meets the eye.
The Waking of True Thomas the Rhymer
This tree draws us away from the illusory world by having Thomas fall asleep and then it awakes us to the wild world. Thomas sees this world not as a human conditioned into perceiving things through an imposed cultural ‘human’ lense, but through his wild animal eyesight. Of course, to retain his humanness, and to remain alive, he can’t stay but, he does bring back the experience with him… and it changes him forever.
I’ve spoken before here in this blog and elsewhere about vision quests, sitting out, sit spots, call these what you will. This is ancient idea spanning the continents about going back to the wild to seek the truth of the world and then bringing it back to the everyday.
The Wisdom of Hawthorn
When we encounter hawthorn what will it change within us? What needs to fall away so we have a renewed lust for life that will make us dance around the maypole? Yes, she is heart, yes she is love, but this too simplistic a way to see this tree. It is easy to say these things having seen it writ elsewhere. Don’t believe the dogma. Find your own relationship, your own truth. This beautiful tree may dress in a youthful fleeting gown of blossom while underneath her trunk belies the wisdom of the old woman, yet she gifts us boons to bless our hearts that we might balance our sorrows with a little joy.
She thrums with the buzz and hum of insects while birds sing full throated trilling melodious in their joy. Lying down in the grass with petals landing in your hair and sunlight dappled skin what other place could there be to spend your time? Sweet dreams, and may you travel to Elfland but, may you wake up back in the human world tomorrow morning. May you live to tell the truth of your heart.
This is the end of part two
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