Its that autumnal drafty time of year, where the sun sets earlier, the winds of change blow and Lancashire rainy showers us heavily in the North when dense clouds regularly hit the Penines.
In an early shower this morning, I was reflecting on the seasonal changes picking grand shiny glowing red Hawthorne berries. Creeping into my soul was a light under the grey skies. Reflecting a brighter internal light that will keep me warm through the coming months. Filling up my basket the Hawthorne berries began to open my heart to let the light in where internal or external darkness may feel heavy.
It makes me think of a Sufi prayer someone gave to me recently (thanks River)
“Shatter my heart to make space for a limitless love”
I could feel how the Hawthorne was shining light on the dusty corners of my heart cluttered by old grief and sorrow to let a new love in. A far cry from 9 years ago, when several months after my dads death, in a picturesque scene on a cobbled bridge over the hilly rivers of the lake district, I sat hanging of the bridge collecting the berries breathing every moment of them and the surroundings in. To find half way through the process, basket in hand I stumbled blindly back to find my friends a slobbering mess of snot and tears. It really does do that, crack open your heart with love whatever’s inside. Whatever grief and sorrow we hold , it gently opens us up to shift it, to feel it, to hold space to release the feelings we either weren’t ready to let go off or didn’t feel safe enough to give them air. Hawthorne provides that safety and it provides that love. Placing a soft cushioned safety net around the heart and whispers ‘Its ok to cry, its ok to feel what you do.”
Its effects on healing the heart are just as much physical as they are emotional. It is one of the most researched plants and has been prooven to effectively lower blood pressure, strengthen the heart muscle, increase oxygen uptake and strengthen and relax the arteries. It increases the amount of blood pumped around the body in one beat, lessening the work on the heart muscle and slowing the heat rate.
It is traditionally indicated for angina, palpitations, a history of’ high risk of heart attacks, Tia’s and strokes. (It is recommended you see a herbalist for a combination of herbs that suit your needs). Its support of the whole circulatory system also means it is useful in Reynauds phenomenon, intermittent claudication and generally reduced circulation to the hands and feet.
To Tincture: Fill a jar of vodka with berries, shake daily for 2 weeks. Strain.
Dose: 5ml 2 x day
Decoction: Fill a pan with approx 2 inches of berries and top of with water. Reduce till an inch above the berries and a thick reddish liquid is left. Strain.
Dose: Take 3 tablespoons a day. If you want to preserve add equal parts honey and keep refrigerated.
Hawthorne is a guide of all matter of the heart. It will give you permission to let your pain breathe because it is through the cracks in the heart where the light can enter.