Green Man Wisdom: Challenge opens the way before us
For the next 7 days, at last, a tree I know something about! The Hawthorn is a tree of protection and grows in many a challenging position. That is what this tree reminds us: that challenge need not be threatening, but welcomed and allows us to grow. It is not a tree that threatens, it is there, protecting wildlife and offering the little feathered creatures a home. It can be scary, living life, facing its challenges. Fear indicates that there is power and if there is fear, there is a power within to face the challenge. Transmute the fear into power and use the power to over-come the obstacle before you.
Hawthorn is used during Beltane or May Day, the beginning of the summer. May Queens would wear a crown of Hawthorn blossom upon their heads and marriage rites would often be performed under a Hawthorn tree.
The tree goes back to ancient, King Arthur times and the story of Olwen and Culhwch. Culhwch had a curse put on him by his step-mother when he refused to marry his step-sister. She made it so that he could only love Olwen, daughter of The Giant Hawthorn (Yspaddadden Pencawr) but Yspaddadden gave Culhwch a list of about 40 “impossible” tasks. It was with the help of King Arthur’s warriors that the terrible giant was slain and Olwen was free to marry Culhwch.
Love brings its own challenges, not all as brutal or as hard as Culhwch had to endure. But the challenges are there. There’s more to read but for now, we have enough. Be respectful of this tree, it grows slowly but its strength is quietly waiting for us to share.