May is in bloom!
As it always flowers in May, hawthorn is often simply referred to as 'May' or 'May tree'. Due to this association with the onset of summer - and the fact that it so often blooms for Beltane - the tree has historically symbolised marriage, fertility and the union of man and woman. May poles, which were traditionally danced around as a fertility ritual, were originally made from hawthorn wood.
Also linked to its flowering at Beltane - the sabbat opposite Samhain on the Wheel of the Year and the mirroring of a time when the veil between this world and the 'Otherworld' is considered to be at its thinnest - Beltane has a rich lore associated with the faery realm. Legends say that if you sit under a hawthorn on May 1st, you will be led into the world of fae for good.
Wands made of hawthorn wood are said to contain great power - it works particularly well for spells concerning protection, healing and fertility or blessings for love and marriage. However, be careful never to cut a branch of hawthorn - it is a sacred tree and should be treated respectfully. Even if you do not believe in its spiritual properties, hawthorn hedgerow is native to the UK but declining - as a result, it is protected.
As always, take care when foraging or using wild plants for medicinal purposes. Hawthorn has several qualities which make it suitable for treating medical conditions. Its berries (haws) contain many vitamins and are widely used to treat heart conditions. Its flowers can also be used externally to treat acne but when taken internally it acts as a sedative. It is strongly advised not to self-medicate with hawthorn due to its significant effects on the heart. It should not be used during pregnancy.