Monday, 2 May 2011

Beltane and May Blossom

Marke the faire blooming of the Hawthorne tree
Who finely cloathed in a robe of white,
Fills full the wanton eye with May's delight.


 Well it’s that time of year again, Beltane, when the summer starts, energy is rising, fertility rites are carried out and the Hawthorn blossoms. Happy Beltane!
I love hawthorn with its many uses, associations and stories; it’s one of my apprenticeship plants because of this. I always associate the first of May with Hawthorn flowers and every year I search in vain for Hawthorn or May blossom for Beltane celebrations, but this year, presumably due to the sunshine we’ve had, the local flowers have been in bloom for over a week. The flowers are many and cascading over bushes, the perfume is not liked by all but I like it; I want to try some flower tea this week as I have not done so before.
 Last year I collected blossom later in the month at the herb Sanctuary and made a flower essence and a tincture. The flower essence is used for courage and broken hearts. The tincture is for the heart and relates to all levels, physical and emotional. Picking so many flowers gave me time with the tree and a chance to look at how beautiful each dainty little flower is. 
Hawthorn flower essence preparing in the sun

 There are interesting stories about hawthorn, its history and lore from Glennie Kindred here and Mystic Familiar here.
We’ve spent the weekend celebrating Beltane in Glastonbury and watched the sun rise from the top of the tor.
Maypole dancing

Here comes the sun

 At the allotment the vegetables are all growing and we have some little strawberry fruits setting. Watering is a chore as we have to use watering cans, the water pressure is poor at times as the water is pumped up from a well and it took four of us an hour to water the plants today with no rain in sight. We harvested our first crop today, we thinned out the peas and the little plants were tasty so have ended up in a salad. I made a dressing which included mint from my garden and chive vinegar which I made last year from chives at the Sanctuary steeped in cider vinegar for 3 weeks.

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