Hawthorn is celebrated the world over for its ability to nourish and heal the heart. Following loss, betrayal, and heartbreak, there is, perhaps, no better remedy than this sacred tree. If we are lucky enough to love, we will all endure private and personal heartbreak throughout our lives. But right now, as we live through a time of such unprecedented ecological, political, and social collapse, we are facing collective grief like never before.
The news breaks our hearts anew daily.
We brace against the latest headline, which inevitably tells of yet another natural disaster or human rights violations, thinly cloaked as homeland security. It takes daily effort to resist despair. When we feel overwhelmed, it is challenging to stay engaged and take meaningful action. And yet we must. Hawthorn helps to keep our emotions current so that we do not succumb to hopelessness. It strengthens us in body and spirit so that we can continue to show up, even in the face of devastation. This medicine need not be reserved only for the personal and private pains we suffer, for it is a plant with the ability to reawaken our hearts to the magic of life and remind us that this world is worth fighting for and worth loving.
Love is profoundly political.
We have been socialized to limit love to our romantic and familial bonds. But when we bring love into the public sphere, it has tremendous potential to transform the broken systems we live within. As Cornel West famously said, “justice is what love looks like in public.” When we love ourselves, we cannot be manipulated into hating others. The medicine of Hawthorn helps us to heal our own hearts so that we can place love where it belongs—at the center of our lives, our communities, and our world.