• Christine Dorman

Celtic Tree Signs: The Hawthorn and the Seahorse


To the Celts, the Hawthorn tree is sacred and magical. Those born under the tree's sign are rather magical themselves.

The Tree Sign

Straddling the time period between Taurus and Gemini in western astrology, the Celtic Tree sign Hawthorn cannot be understood with a quick glance or a few words about positive and negative traits. People born during the Hawthorn’s influence (May 13-June 11) have a lot more to them than is immediately apparent. They may seem quite ordinary but, underneath a logical, rational exterior burns fierce passion and creativity. Adaptable and often well-adjusted, they are comfortable in their own skin and good at making others comfortable. Hawthorns make excellent listeners, have keen insight, and often are good at seeing the big picture. They also have great senses of humor and are aware of the irony in people and in situations. Like their animal sign (see below), Hawthorns are intensely curious and have a variety of interests.


The Animal Sign

All Celtic Tree signs have corresponding animal signs. The Hawthorn’s is the Seahorse. In line with the Hawthorn’s curiosity, Seahorses love to learn and are interested in almost everything. They go around sucking up knowledge like a vacuum. Learning, creativity, and the experience of being alive are oxygen to Seahorses. And they don’t just learn it for the test; they collect it for keeps.


Intelligent, clever, and perceptive, Seahorses are adept at seeing issues from different perspectives. This attribute can help them grow as people. It also can be bewildering to others as Seahorses seem to keep changing their minds. Since they are both versatile and adaptable, Seahorses can be unpredictable and inconsistent.

Just like real seahorses, those born under this animal sign can blend into any environment. They like to take the opportunity, at times, to observe the room and people-watch. But they rarely stay in the background for long. Charismatic, charming, and witty, they will present themselves, when the time suits them, in all their glorious colors to become the star of the party.

Seahorses can blend into the environment or sparkle with glorious color.

Seahorses are natural communicators and great conversationalists. They thrive on engaging in intellectual activity, connecting with people, and exchanging ideas.

Possessing a great love of travel, seahorses often allow themselves just to be swept along with the metaphorical current. A seahorse might choose to latch on and stay, if there is a good reason. Still, he or she will want to keep moving, even if it’s in place.


Creativity and artistry are gifts the Seahorse has in abundance. Often they are multi-faceted in their approach to art. One might become a musician and a visual artist while another is a writer and a dancer—or a Seahorse may do all of the above. They also may pursue more than one career (sometimes at the same time)—and more than one romantic relationship. Seahorses are attracted to many things. But those things all have a common denominator: the Seahorse finds them magical and intriguing.

In reading this description, you likely can feel the dynamic energy and the lightning which crackle within the Seahorse and Hawthorn. One final note about them: they are unconventional. They don’t do it for the shock value or out of social defiance. It’s just, no matter what society thinks or whether or not it approves, Seahorses simply are good at being themselves.


The Celts considered seahorses magical shape-shifters. Seeing one could be a good sign. Or an ominous one. You just can never tell with seahorses! On the other hand, the Hawthorn was revered by the Celts as a sacred tree. According to folklore, it was an entrance to the fairy world. As both a magical and sacred tree, it was not to be messed with by humans! The exception was on Beltane, when the Celts hung ribbons on the tree to represent wishes. This custom continues today, especially in Ireland.

The Celtic roots of U.S. southerners is shown in their tradition of making Mayhaw jelly in May from Hawthorn berries that have dropped from the trees.

Hawthorn berries, according to Celtic folklore, protect against lightning and evil ghosts but don’t pull them from the tree! They are sacred to the faeries. You may pick up berries which have fallen to the ground but it’s a good idea to ask permission from the tree’s guardian first, just to be safe.


The berries also have been—and still are—used in traditional medicine. They are said to help decrease inflammation as well as anxiety. Hawthorn berries are rich in antioxidants. Studies have shown their potential promise in lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels and in lowering blood pressure. They even are said to help slow hair loss. Of course, you should talk with your doctor before using herbals as they may interfere with medicines you are already taking. Never substitute an herbal treatment for a prescription medicine without consulting a health professional.

In May, Hawthorn branches and flowers are hung over door ways to keep evil spirits from entering.

Celtic folklore says if you want to see faeries, find a Hawthorn tree growing together with an Ash and an Oak. This, however, may not be an easy task. And, before undertaking it, remember that faeries don’t like to be spied on by humans. I can’t guarantee if you find the trio of trees that you will see faeries. If you do, though, I highly recommend you make sure you aren’t seen by them!

A final warning, whatever you do, never cut down a Hawthorn tree, especially if it’s growing alone. If you do, you’ll have my prayers. But on your own head be it!


Songwriter and rock icon, Stevie Nicks, is an example of a Celtic Hawthorn and Seahorse.


Thanks for reading! Next week’s post will be about Celtic wedding traditions and superstitions. If you enjoyed this week’s post, please LIKE it and SHARE it. Thanks! Click the “sign up” button in the upper right corner of this page to SUBSCRIBE to the blog. It will then be delivered each week to your inbox and it’s FREE!


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